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Analysis of the Plots: "Memento" and "Oedipus Rex"

An Analysis on Memento

Memories are an important element in the life of a human being, giving them the aptitude to grow and develop from previous levels to a better and more knowledgeable future state. “Memento” is a screenplay as well as a movie directed by Christopher Nolan based on a story by Jonathan Nolan of a man with a condition referred to as anterograde amnesia. It is a condition where the victim loses memory after a short time, fifteen minutes in the case of the character of this play, and cannot, therefore, create any new memories. The term memento means a reminder, for this reason, the title perfectly associates with the content of the play. The story relays a lot of information to the audience in a peculiar and distinct way, and the following essay is an argument on the play’s intended meaning.

The plot is set in a way that the sections are fragmented into scenes that keep jumping back and forth in fifteen-minute intervals. The composer uses this setting so that the people watching can see the film the same way Leonard saw life. He kept memories for fifteen minutes and then he would forget everything. The plot helps the audience to see the hardship that the victim was facing. The fragmentations make it hard for the viewers to put the story together and, therefore, create suspense. The play is shown in black and white scenes and then the colored ones. The black and white episodes show the narrative of Sammy, while the colored ones display Leonard as he continues with his investigative work. This plot setting gives the audience a clue of how severe amnesia affects the patients. It later shows Leonard having flashbacks of the night he lost his memory. This scene is colored, and the memories are familiar with the ones that Leonard had about Sammy. The episode appears in color to connect the previous scenes to the current scene and depict them as the memories of the same person.

From the beginning, Leonard appears in black and white scenes, where he is talking about another person, named Sammy, with a condition similar to his. The composer develops his story in a way that Leonard judges his own character. He explains how Sammy handled his issues in the wrong manner and that it was not the case with him. The idea is to develop self-judgment in the story and portray how human beings judge others, not knowing that they are doing it to themselves. As the play comes to the end, Leonard questions if he was lying to himself just to feel better (Tamer and George). The truth is that he was actually hiding in a self-righteous state which he did not belong to.

The film version of the play is centered on vengeance as the main theme. Leonard, the victim with amnesia, is seeking revenge against those who killed his wife (Schmidt). His intention is dictating how he lives his life. The play tries to show how individuals become so obsessed with getting revenge to a point that they forget that revenge is not necessarily justice. Leonard suspects that his wife must have been murdered, and makes it his main mission to track down the killer and avenge his wife. The plot makes the audience develop pity on Leonard to a point that they desire that he finds the culprit and clip him like the latter did to his wife. The composer finally brings it to light that the victim had been the culprit. Vengeance had been his own creation aimed at satisfying his guilt for what he caused to his wife. Vengeance is a cover story for self-satisfaction and justification. It helps the audience nderstand that not everything is as plain as it seems. There exist different interpretations, even of the things that seem to be most obvious to the general public.

The plot of the play actually develops in a series of flashback memories. Leonard takes simple notes and tries to analyze what they signify. The meaning of this habit was to portray the importance of information. The composer sets the scenes in a way that the simple forms of information like pictures, his camera, and his tattoos connect his process of investigation. Having information means that one acts on the issue at hand in an informed manner. Lack of information, on the other hand, means that one misinterprets what the situation currently is, making them act irrationally. To look at the importance of information in another way, Leonard believes that John G, the person he thinks murdered his wife, is alive. He makes his mission to find the suspect and kill him. The composer’s intention was to show the audience how important and valuable memories are in the life of human beings.

Leonard is initially depicted as innocent and seeking revenge for the death of his wife. He is shown as the victim, and the audiences pity him. He is constantly describing to his friends how innocent he was and how his wife was murdered. Later, the plot portrays him as the real cause of his wife’s death. His constant repetition of his story was not to convince his friends about the story, but to try and convince himself that he did not cause the death of his wife.

The composer of “Memento” is able to package information in a peculiar manner as explained above. The audience is finally, at the end of the play, able to connect the whole play and its intended meaning. Memory loss is a great blow to any human being which would cause a significant change in the course that the victims take after the memory loss. A story behind a plot is a theme that the composer relays in the text, cautioning the audience not to take information plainly but rather identify the actually hidden and intended meaning.

An Analysis of Oedipus Rex

Destiny is a term that most people do not pay keen attention to, yet it is the one thing that describes why people end up in certain positions in life. “Oedipus Rex” is a story by Sophocles describing an analogy of a king by the name Oedipus. The story illustrates a situation of people calling on their king to save them from a plague that had befallen their land, only to realize that the king himself was the main cause of their calamities. The composer has the meaning of the message intertwined between his stories and, therefore, readers ought to read it carefully and with an open mind to understand the intended meaning. The following essay provides the perspective on the composer’s intended meaning in this particular text.

The plot of the story starts with Oedipus as a king, who is stable and making promises to his people. The king has his memories of his past. In search for the murderer, the king realizes he is able to connect the past with the present. The plot is specifically developed in this manner to show the importance of the information and truth. It develops to the part where Oedipus realizes that he was the son of the previous king and his wife. The composer expands the story from a point where the king never thought that the prophecy told by the oracle of Apollo would ever come to pass. He is able to create a series of the events from a prevvious uninformed state to a knowledgeable state. The king’s past and present are connected. The plot illustrates how uniform of one’s past is to his/ her future.

Another theme that Sophocles puts across as he develops the plot is the significance of superstition in the world. The people of Thebes believe that these are not natural causes that have resulted in the emergence of a plague. They attach a lot of weight on some natural happening to supernatural factors depending on their cultures and faith. People will handle situations differently based on the belief that they are dealing with the issue according to their faith. The composer develops the plot from the point of prophecy to that of its fulfillment. In this case, the prophesy that the king is killed by his son who would later marry his mother, i.e., the king's wife, and bear children with her is coming to pass. The underlying meaning of the analogy is the description of the power of religious beliefs and the extent to which they influence the livelihood of those who share that common belief.

This plot also identifies the issues of dependence on the existing authority at times of catastrophes, which cannot be handled by the public. At the beginning of the play, people are gathering, and they listen to their king making promises to handle the situation according to his strength. The king calls for the priest to speak on behalf of the rest and relays their queries to him. The writer’s intention was to portray the current regimes that seem to address the issue by making empty promises to the people. Most of the present governments try to intervene in the society when problems and disasters have already occurred. The leaders appear to listen to the cries of the people they lead only to go back to their comfort zones and forget about the society. The governance also misuses funds collected from the society, which in turn makes the latter poor and dependent. As portrayed in the story, the aristocracy causes problems instead of solving them. In the case of Thebes, for instance, the king happens to be the culprit, and this leaves the people perplexed because the leader that they thought would be their savior turned out to be the reason why they were experiencing calamities. 

Another interpretation of the story is the intention of the composer to show how fate, or rather destiny, influences the events of one’s life as he moves toward a predetermined position. The plot of the play develops the various events that helped Oedipus reach the throne. Oedipus was supposed to be killed, but luckily he was not (Sophocles). He kills men on his way to the throne without knowledge that one of them was a king who he would later replace. Moreover, the king he kills was his biological father. The composer shows how one's destiny is accomplished in a mysterious way that even the people themselves do not understand. It was Oedipus’ destiny as the son of the king to inherit his throne and nature makes this come pass. The meaning of the text is that people who are destined for greatness will always get there regardless of the prevailing conditions.

The above analysis describes the interpretation of the text. Life events develop in ways that are mysterious at times. One predetermined position will be reached by all means and every obstacle preventing that will eventually be eliminated. Information, on the other hand, is an important tool in the life of a human being, determining whether actions that were taken were either appropriate or inappropriate.

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