Essay Preview: Amistad
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I have watched the “Amistad” directed by Steven Spielberg, written by David Franzoni, presented by Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, Mathew McConaughey, David Paymer, Pete Postlethwaite, and Stellan Skarsgard. It was rented from Hollywood Video to complete the assignment.
“Who we are, is who we were”, states attorney Baldwin, the persuading point reaching into the hearts of the jurors. Telling a story about the intriguing life and life lost of the Mende people. Their ending up in America and the tragedy and violent cruel torture they endured not only on La Amistad”, but also the treatment they received here in America. Who were these people? Why was it such an issue on whose “property” they were? The time was around 1854, and the progression toward the Civil War had begun.
Stephen Spielbergs film “Amistad” is an illustrative tale of history
inevitable course. On the surface, Spielberg relates the journey of Cinques and
his people to the America. In a larger sense, however, he contrasts a story of
passage to America with its simple values and way of life to the arrival of an
even more savage life and ideas of the civilization from Africa, a story of greater historical significance. The characters are not extensively developed; instead, they are simply presented, even understated at a point. Spielbergs intent is to draw vivid characterizations and to create objects and characters as symbols with larger meanings.
Power and authority are the first symbol presented in the story, which had
in the beginning and which ended up with in the end. The superior attitude
of the La Amistads crew and the harsh and cruel treatment of the passengers,
implies how primitive and unrefined society was.
In addition to power and authority, characters were used as symbols.
Treated like objects from the beginning, a metaphor for the ideals and principles of European society. In contrast, blacks traditionally were even simpler than whites because they were viewed merely as objects of possession. Beyond of this simple representation, blacks were also viewed as threats, but they actually protected customs valued by their culture for posterity. Second, the arrival of the ship “La Amistad” brought forth passengers from another world further questioning human rights values supplanting the current mindless values of America. The appearance of the Mendes in America changed the lives of everyone; from the President of the United States down to the common wealth living in the South.
Attorney Baldwin represented good and true values that had never
existed in society. Entirely under qualified for the case he took on, Baldwin used emotion in his argument and turned the tables around to show discrimination
and poor treatment among “human beings, not objects.”
This story touches upon two schools of thought. The first was the judicial
court and their “jurisdiction over ownership”, and the controversy of “objects