Analysis Of Social Angst And Succumbing To Evil In Fritz Lang's M

Decent Essays
Social Angst and Succumbing to Evil in Fritz Lang’s M In Fritz Lang’s film M, citizens of Berlin are horrified and on high alert due to a series of murders involving young girls. In the effort to locate and capture the killer, citizens from an array of backgrounds push the limits of morality and justice. Particularly, clear examples of social decay and human angst can be analyzed by exploring the actions of three key groups in the film: the police, the criminals, and the everyday people. An analysis of Asma’s theory that the emotional burden that the threat of monsters evokes causes people to behave in irrational, perhaps even monstrous ways is beneficial to understanding why citizens and police in the film turn on each other and view Hans …show more content…
Philip Zimbardo defines evil as “intentionally behaving in ways that harm, abuse, demean, dehumanize, or destroy innocent others” (5). While Hans destroys innocent others, it is not intentional in that he does not have full control of himself, but rather is victim to mental illness and society’s unwillingness to acknowledge and treat people with his type of disorder. However, the criminals do have control over their actions. The fact that they continue to live the life of crime strengthens the claim that they are evil when applied to Zimbardo’s theory of evil because the criminals are “knowing better but doing worse” (5). Moreover, the criminals are evil and hypocritical in that the majority of them want to kill Hans without a trial, therefore making him innocent—judicially speaking. The rest of the criminals are willing to wait for a bogus trial before killing Hans. The irony is that Hans is tried by criminals who one would think are in no position to judge. Using Zimbardo's theory, the evil and merciless behavior of the criminals is caused by the acceptance and encouragement of such behavior amongst the larger group. In other words, the criminals view their behavior as acceptable because everybody else is doing …show more content…
Specifically, it displays human angst, and the devastating effects it can wreak upon a society. Fear and paranoia cause people to think irrationally and view others as the enemy. Due to this angst people subconsciously let their emotions negatively dictate their actions and responses to what would otherwise be harmless encounters. The effect this has is a divided society that essentially exists in chaos. This is seen in the film through boundaries being overstepped, as seen with the police. A divided society is also seen when neighbors are pitted against each other, as seen through the anonymous tips and distrust by the populace. As is typically the case with social discourse, there is a domino effect. In the film, the domino effect would be the killer causing general paranoia, which leads to amplified police activity, which in turn leads to disgruntled criminals. The final collapse is the descent into evil that criminals succumb to. They dehumanize and devalue the life of the killer. They hypocritically give him a fake trial that would have inevitably resulted in his death had it not been prolonged enough for the police to arrive. As is typical of human nature, the crowd of criminals did not recognize the evilness of their ways because they were removed from guilt due to the group setting. However, Hans is saved by his fake defense lawyer, who sees the wickedness of his peers as well as feels sympathy for Hans and his

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Though the monster’s acts of murder alone would make him seem evil, his killings are justified by the distress he was put under. Completely alone and rejected, he believed the only justice that would serve him right would be if his creator felt the same pain he did. The readers connect with the pain that the monster is feeling and understand his reasoning behind the crimes he committed. The monster makes readers react sympathetically towards him due to his innocence at first, his isolation from his creator and society due to his horrid looks, and his strikingly relatable emotions. The monster in Frankenstein represents the detrimental affects that the isolation of oneself can have.…

    • 1491 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Cause Of Hate Crimes

    • 652 Words
    • 3 Pages

    They may use explosives, arson, weapons, vandalism, physical violence, and verbal threats of violence to instill fear in their victims. This leaves the victim vulnerable to more attacks and feeling alienated, helpless, and fearful. Hate crimes most definitely have a negative connotation, this comes from the hate and violence involved in these evil crimes. Hate crimes often make tensions worse, which can trigger large racial conflict and civil disturbances. People dislike hate crimes because it may put their city or town at risk.…

    • 652 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    After committing the terrible assault to the 17-year-old, “The gang told police they carried out the attacks ‘for no reason’ because they were ‘bored’” (Narain). The boredom of the attackers led them to commit a horrible act, showing that at their natural state, humans are the embodiment of evil. It takes a huge amount of willpower to suppress the evil within oneself, which explains why humans rarely carry out acts of kindness when they’re bored. Therefore, it is evident that, in humans, evil will prevail over good. If left to take…

    • 1243 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    It creates violence, control, fear and results in an unstable society not allowing any chance for society to progress. People are aware while committing an evil acts, but it’s their inner desires or interests that blind them of the consequences, resulting in them committing the most extreme course of action. Evil is a natural act of mankind as every man that walks the face of this planet has committed some sort of evil, but its mankind's responsibility as conscious beings to commit good deeds that are in favor of the society and others…

    • 1130 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    If the audience had not known of Iago’s ill intentions, the audience would see Othello as much more evil for his murder. Since the audience knows that Iago clearly corrupted Othello, the reader can feel sorry for and understand Othello’s evil action. Iago clearly presents himself as the antagonist when Iago provides advice to Cassio, and then says to himself “what’s he then that says I play the villain?” (2.3.245) Here, Iago’s ill purposes show through. As Iago deviously plots against Othello, the audience steadily grows to hate or feel anger…

    • 1127 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Many criminals, killers, and felons have a mental disorder that messes them up. Then they go out and create mass hysteria. There is also the fact that decisions made over time will affect the type of person you will become. Like The monster started as a naive being then got upset from the poor environment around him, and acted out in revenge. Thus ruining his life and place in society even more than it already was.…

    • 1012 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    If he doesn’t really know anything about the plot, but you keep torturing him so that he will speak up. That won’t work no matter what because increasing the level of torture won’t change the man’s mind or say yes he knows about the information. The answer will be the same. By torturing the innocents, you have committed a crime. By torturing the innocent people, you think we will get the information, but there are so many cases where innocent people have been hurt for nothing they did.…

    • 840 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    What does it mean to be evil? Some people may define it as physically or mentally harming others for selfish reasons. Or other argue it means to hurt the ones you care about most. Moreover, both definitions are expressed in William Shakespeare 's Macbeth and William Golding 's Lord of the Flies. The audience recognizes the characters immediately react immorally and not respectably given different situations; proving naturally, people do evil and not good.…

    • 1385 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Crimes and criminals are everywhere on this earth; and they are the ones who make people’s lives dark. We definitely don’t need and want them in our lives, and they must be eliminated. Some people do the crimes because they believe that they have no other way to make it through. Others do it just for fun. I am not saying that all of them must have the death penalty.…

    • 1785 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Innocent Killer Ender Wiggin, a genocidal killer we somehow feel sympathy for, but is our sympathy justified? In an essay by John Kessel, titled “Creating the Innocent Killer”, Kessel discussed this matter and concludes that we should not feel sympathy for him as he is a murderer. He killed two people as well as the entire population of a foreign species, yet still labeled innocent. I agree with Kessel’s conclusion, because although he didn’t know he was committing genocide at the time he planned on doing so in the future, he was always unnecessarily violent but wasn’t punished for it, and his intentions don’t change his actions. To summarize Kessel’s essay, “Creating the Innocent Killer”, Kessel felt no sympathy for Ender.…

    • 792 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays