Conflicting perspectives could be defined as how beliefs and viewpoints clash. William Shakespeare’s play ‘Julius Caesar’ and Steven Spielberg’s film ‘Shindler’s list’ are both great examples of conflicting perspectives. Shakespeare and Spielberg seem to deliberately create an ambiguity in their texts. I as a reader become intrigued to find out the true intensions of the characters, which leads me to question where the moral center of the texts lie.
In the first scene of ‘Julius Caesar’, William Shakespeare introduces the polarized perspectives of common people, immediately to engage the audience. Shakespeare seems to be deliberately ambiguous about his own perspectives in order to allow the audience to create their own perspectives. Shakespeare shapes Caesar to be somewhat of an ambiguous character, through that of inviting the audience to explore the links between Caesar’s private persona and his peremptory somewhat arrogant persona, with his personal infirmities.
It is possible to suggest that Caesar displays a public peremptory persona, as he believes he must appear strong and imperial as a leader, rather than superstitious. The irony of this situation is that of Caesar’s human frailties, such as his sterility, “shake off their sterile curse”, which effectively damages Caesar’s imperial image. There are evident conflicting views between Cassius and Brutus over Caesar, with differing motives to kill Caesar.
Cassius is fueled by his jealous nature, his envious nature is revealed by Shakespeare, ““Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world Like a Colossus, and we petty men Walk under his huge legs and peep about to find ourselves dishonourable graves”. Cassius reveals his envious nature through personal anecdotes pointing out examples of Caesar’s personal weaknesses, “help me Cassius or I sink”. One of the main ways Shakespeare communicates conflicting perspectives is through soliloquies. Soliloquies give the audience the advantage of being privy to the inner thoughts and feelings of the characters.
I personally believe that Brutus’s involvement in Caesar’s death is not from self-interest but rather from that of genuine concern for the greater good of Rome, as he had “no personal cause to spurn him” Brutus justifies his perspective of Caesar by attempting to be “purgers, not murders” and dignifying his actions, as shown in the line “carve him as a dish fit for the Gods”. Shakespeare leads me to personally perceive the ambiguous character of Caesar, as that of genuine, honest man who believes a leader should not publicly show weakness, that is not a self-seeking tyrant.
Similar to Shakespeare’s play, we can see numerous, differing perspectives in “Shindler’s List”, a film set during the 1940’s amid the holocaust in World War 2. The concept of conflicting perspectives is explored through Spielberg’s representation of Oskar Shindler. The idea that conflict arises from political debate and perspectives is heavily demonstrated within Spielberg’s film. The central conflicting perspectives involve the industrialist Oskar Schindler and the German SS Guard Amon Goeth. Oskar Shindler was a very complex and dynamic man.
During the beginning of the text, Shindler became congenial with the Nazis in authority, through partying and sharing his wealth with them. From this he gained influence and contracts to produce goods. At this point of the text I personally perceive Shindler as a self-centred war profiteer rather than a hero, however my perception as an audience member gradually changes over the course of the film, with simple acts of kindness, such as, saving Jewish children from death through saying, “They are my workers, they should be on my train!
They are skilled ammunition workers”. Such actions have an ambiguous nature as Shindler’s intensions are unknown, the audience are able to ask themselves, is Shindler wanting these workers for self-gain or for the greater good of these Jewish children. The ambiguity of Oskar Shindler’s intensions could be parallel to that of Caesar’s ambiguous intentions in Julius Caesar. It is possible to suggest that Oskar Shindler appears to have his own individual internal conflicting occurring, similar to that of Brutus’s internal conflict in ‘Julius Caesar’.
Such evidence that reflects the internal conflict and ambiguous intensions of Shindler is, him telling Stern his Jewish accountant, “You run my business, I am going home, I have got what I came here for, I have more money than any man could ever dream of” and the next day juxtaposing these words by spending extensive amounts of his personal money to purchase 1100 Jewish workers from Amon Goeth, indirectly saving these Jewish people from almost certain death.
I personally felt sympathy for Shindler in the conclusion of the film, where Oskar Shindler breaks down emotionally in front of his 1100 Jewish workers that he saved, sulking, “Why did I keep the car? 10 people right there”. This conclusion to the film creates a possible final perception for the audience. William Shakespeare and Steven Spielberg both deliberately create a certain ambiguity to each of their individual texts in order to allow the audience to create their own perceptions to the individual texts. I as a reader personally create and hold my own perceptions of characters’ intentions within their respected texts.