The film Vertigo by Hitchcock is a thriller that is narrated through the male gaze of the protagonist, making certain forms of scopophilia pop up more in the film. Out of the three forms of scopophilia (narcissistic, voyeuristic and fetishistic), I felt that it was the hardest to connect with the character or view characters through narcissistic scopophilia. Narcissistic scopophilia ties in with the concept of the mirror stage which is like what happens in a theatre when you recognize yourself with the ego ideal which is most likely the protagonist of the film. Although Scottie is the story’s protagonist, he demonstrates that he is a character that should be sympathized with, but not to be recognized as the male ego ideal. This is established during the beginning of the film, as Scottie faints into the arms of Midge, ultimately depicting the protagonist as a venerable character. It is because he is venerable due to his phobia, which allowed him to easily be manipulated by the other characters (Both male and female). Gavin being the antagonist takes control over the course of events that happens, as he is the one that sets the plot in motion to achieve his goal. Scottie is much like a pawn controlled by Gavin and depends on into a spiral of madness and love due to his manipulation.
The Yellow-Wallpaper to me is such an interesting text, as the ending is so satisfying but at the same time so vague and left so much to audience interpretation. From the face value of what we can see from the ending, Jane is driven into madness due to the influence of the wallpaper and her projection of her state of mental entrapment onto the wallpaper; the manifestation of the women behind bars on the wallpaper heavily reflects unstable mental state of Jane and also her feeling of being entrapped by the male dominant society even in the domestic space that she should feel safe and comfort in. Also, I believe that another possible interpretation towards the ending would be Jane being representational spark during the beginning of a change in the androcentric culture. She is portrayed as crazy or insane through her sickness of depression, thus making her perspective and points seem invalid or heretical. Since Jane sees things differently than other’s, specifically the wallpaper, she holds a perspective that is against what was generally accepted by society at the time. Although she may be crazy, she still shows purpose in her action. Throughout the short story, Jane attempts to break free from the constraint of the room and the yellow wallpaper and at last, she is able to obtain the freedom that she tried so hard to attain. The end depicts Jane physically above John, which is not only representational of the shift in power but also we get the feminine perspective above of the male perspective of the androcentric culture.
In other texts that we have read such as the life of Galileo, knowledge and truths are often hard to truly identify. Galileo’s views and knowledge were seen as heretical because it was not beneficial for those in power. Similarly, Jane’s perspective is often overlooked and dismissed by John simply because he has physical and mental ‘authority’ over her in society.
After reading the play Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, it made me question how we as humans come to the idea of truth and what is part of a discourse. Anything and everything can be brought into question of how valid it is and whether if it is deemed worthy of being knowledge by society or authorities. Galileo’s proposal for putting forth the heliocentric model to correct the existing Ptolemaic model is a great example of knowledge being questioned and shows how authorities dictate the knowledge exposed to the public. In act four, Galileo says, “Truth is born of the times, not of authority. Our ignorance is limitless: Let us lop one cubic millimetre off it. Why try to be clever now that we at last have a chance of being a little less stupid?” Galileo wants to change the existing system that is proven through his physical evidence as incorrect, but the evidence is still rejected simply because the authorities (Chief fathers of church, philosophers, Classical scientists) don’t want their current system to be disrupted. If the Aristotle model is abolished, it would prove that the church was wrong, thus tarnishing the ‘perfect’ representation of earth and heaven.
The authorities who decides on what knowledge is are represented in the play as people who aspire to become so close to God that they are too ignorant to realise the truth that is presented to them. In act nine, the opening epigraph states,
“Eight long years with tongue in cheek
Of what he knew he did not speak.
Then temptation grew too great
And Galileo challenged fate.”
The focus of this poem is the word ‘fate’ as it implies that it is beyond one’s control but in this case, fate is controlled by those with power and authority. When Galileo challenged fate, he challenged the belief of Christianity thus challenging the sphere of influence of the church and cardinals. This is further shown through the views of the old cardinal as he says, “I am walking, with a firm step, on a fixed earth, it is motionless, it is the centre of the universe, I am the centre and the eye of the creator falls upon means me alone.” He is represented as such an ignorant person who rejects knowledge given to him simply because if Galileo were to be right, he would no longer be the one who God favours because he is the ‘centre’.
Anyone can say that they know something, but to prove it is harder and even if it is proven to one’s self that it is true, it does not mean that society will accept such truths and views. This limits and restricts the boundaries of our knowledge and also our creativity, as truths are rejected due to how beneficial it is for the authority.
Through the reading of Galileo “The Starry Messenger”, and “Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina”, I wanted to look further into two questions. The questions are, to what extent is it more effective to understand sacred scriptures through the book of nature as suggested by Galileo, and How do we distinguish between what is recognised as knowledge and what’s not (In terms of gaining knowledge). I believe that Galileo’s belief that sacred scriptures should follow the proof that nature provides is true, because it limits the amount of interpretations that a scripture could hold. As Galileo claims, “mistrusting their defence so long as they confine themselves to the field of philosophy, these men have resolved to fabricate a shield for their fallacies out of the mantle of pretended religion and the authority of the Bible”. The sacred scriptures are used by the church to create a false shield which protects their interpretations, while blocking out all other thoughts and interpretations which don’t aline with the ones of the bible. This can be problematic, as not only does it limit the bounds of knowledge that people can have, but also generate vague and ‘inaccurate’ interpretations of scriptures. Also, it is more useful to interpret the bible through nature, since nature is something which is tangible to us, thus making more understandable.
In the second question, I asked how knowledge can be distinguished between what is, and what is not. I believe that knowledge is something that changes overtime, thus there is no true form of knowledge, as the knowledge base of anything can be proven and disproven later. This can be seen through how the Ptolemaic theory was at first proven ‘true’, but is later disproved by Galileo. The theory claims that the earth is the stationary center of the universe, with the planets moving in epicyclic orbits within surrounding concentric spheres. People believed the theory because it was the theory which best explained the positions of planets, and also did not conflict with the bible, thus not deemed as heretical by the church. Galileo said, “it is impossible for a conclusion to be declared heretical while we remain in doubt as to its truth, then these men are wasting their time clamouring for condemnation of the motion of the earth and stability of the sun, which they have not yet demonstrated to be impossible or false”. Without solid evidence from nature, what is seen as knowledge can be vague, as that form of knowledge can change in the future, through new theories or claims.
Through the reading of Plato Republic, it can be seen how Plato seeks to create a just state (Kallipolis), with the specialisation of people, and the rule through philosophers. This brings me to question how well Plato’s just state would work in our present day if it were to be established. Although Plato provides interesting theories and ideas such as the myth of the metals (Gold being the philosophers, Silver being the auxiliaries, Bronze being the producers), it is not ideas which are feasible in today’s society. This is because the theories such as the myth of the metals limits people’s creativity and motivation to innovate as they are suppose to only do work which suits their class of metal. This would be problematic if applied to the present day, since it would mean that there is less elasticity in job finding, and also limit in advancements such as technology. Plato believes a just society must also have just people, which would mean people who have control over their appetites. This would be counter productive in today’s society, since if everything were to be under strict control, and limited what people can do, it would remove the idea of freedom and also create a society which ironically seems much like Plato’s allegory of the cave. People are unable to see beyond what Plato or the philosophers allow them to see, meaning that new philosophers never see the forms that Plato sees, as the city is controlled by Plato’s ideals meaning that they cannot see beyond Plato’s views.
My name is Patrick, I am from Hong Kong and I chose to enrol in Arts One because there is a wide variety of texts that is studied, while also offering chances to help improve my essay writing skills. I am excited to discover new texts, explore different methods which can help me increase the quality of my analysis in texts, and also generating interesting discussions in the group.