Comparing Casablanca To 1984 Essay Research Paper

Comparing Casablanca To 1984 Essay, Research Paper

How can a hero survive in a world gone mad? Both Casablanca,

the classic 1940s film, and hailed as the greatest movie ever by some,

and 1984, a piece of classic literature by George Orwell, also seen as

being one of the most important novels of the 20th century, revolve

around a world in chaos, where no one trusts anybody else, and a war

wages on within and without. In 1984, Winston hides from a

totalitarian, thought controlling government, that is out to stomp out

all aggression against the Party. Rick dealt with a world rocked by

the impacts of World War II, where everyone was a spy, and even the

spies were spied on. Both wish for hope and courage in their mutually

exclusive worlds, yet only Rick finds hope in his. Winston dies with

utter hopelessness, where no one will ever know of his life or deeds,

yet he dies a hero. Rick is a cynic, tossed into a chaotic yet

romantic world, and comes forth victorious.

In Casablanca, we emerge with a feeling of hope, and joy, that

the forces of good can win, and that eventually we will triumph over

our enemies, wherever or whatever they may be. While slochky and

romantic, Casablanca is a touching movie, and probably one of the best

ever made. 1984 on the other hand, is a deep psychological thriller.

In the world of utter thought-control, we find that even a strong

hero such as Winston, is struck down by the party, for simply being

alive, and that the virtuosity within humanity will eventually be

overcome by our greed and lust. Their struggles are that of man

against the oppressor. Both 1984 and Casablanca deal with a world

gone mad, and the struggles of not-so-ordinary people.

Oftentimes, parallels can be made between characters in the two.

Renault can be compared with O’Brien, because both are ‘double agents’

in their own ways, and one never knows for which side they work for.

Of course, in the end O’Brien is an agent of the Party, and Renault is

a sympathetic Frenchman, who befriends Rick – Louis, this is the

beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Sam of course, is stability. He can’t be bought or sold, and

is seemingly a constant, always there and never too deep into the

problems of the world. Sam represents the carefree aspect in all of

us, the feeling that we’d just as soon turn our attention away from

the war and hum a tune. Parsons could be the Sam of 1984, the escape

from reality. Winston wishes he could simply give in as Parsons did,

to just pledge his allegiance to the Party, and live out his days in

relative happiness (Parsons is even glad when he was turned in by his


While vastly different, many similarities can be made between

these two classics. Both take place in a world gone mad, where

nothing is truth, and reality is always questionable. In 1984, we see

that truth is temporary, and in Casablanca, people are not always who

they seem. Rick and Winston both face the ultimate human enemy: the

unimportance of the individual. Rick exemplifies this theme, as he

relates to Ilsa: “The problems of two little people don’t amount to a

hill of beans in this crazy world.” Simply put, individuals don’t

matter. That the events surrounding their world and time overpower

those of the individual. In the world of 1984, we see the total

eradication of the individual, and the loss of all personal rights.

Winston and his comrades are part of the one, the Party, and any

strives in another direction were punished with Room 101.

Casablanca deals with a festive arena in the midst of war,

Rick’s Caf Americain, and 1984 deals with the opposite, a dismal view

of a war torn London. Yet both of them are set in places that are

different than the surrounding world. Winston hides in his corner

away from the telescreen, where he feels he can think and write, yet

he realizes that as he sits there, he was the dead. Outside Rick’s a

war wages on, but inside the kindly caf , an atmosphere of warmth and

freedom emanates. Yet it is soon crushed by the iron fist of the

Germans attempting to capture the rogue Lazlow, as Winston’s alcove by

the Party. Both Winston and Rick’s worlds are torn apart by forces

beyond their control, but Rick is victorious in the end, and Winston

loses the battle.

In summary, both 1984 and Casablanca revolve around the idea

that humanity is losing its personal identity to that of the masses.

The individual, in both cases, is far less important to that of the

rest of the world. Hero’s can exist in a world gone mad, as we find

in both 1984 and Casablanca. Lazlow is a hero of the rebellion, who

stood out against the oppression of the German government, and escaped

to Lisbon. Winston spat in the face of the Party, and stirred within

himself, human emotions and committed the gravest crime: he was alive.

Both acted in the face of defeat, and won their own victories. There

are many similarities between the characters and events of 1984 and

Casablanca. The line that sums it all up, was spoken by Rick. “That

day in Paris, the Germans wore gray, and we wore blue.” They dared to

be different, and to be human, in a world gone utterly mad with its

own evils.



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