Way Movie Schindler’s List Shaped my Understanding of the Meaning of Aggression

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Schindlers List, directed by Steven Spielberg, is a probing film that endeavors to show us the true meaning of aggression. There are many forms of aggression portrayed in this film: physical, psychological, abuse of power, and passive aggression. Spielberg chose to demonstrate these forms, in most cases, quite graphically, and in some others, in a subtly disturbing manner.

Physical aggression is the most commonly depicted mode throughout the film. Physical aggression is, for the most part, equal to physical abuse. This can have serious effects on a person's life. For example, it could leave their appearance significantly altered, thereby affecting the way they view themselves probably in a negative way. An example of physical aggression in Schindler's List would be the scene in which the woman's hair is cut off at the Auschwitz camp. In this scene, the Jewish women are stripped of even their most basic feminine possession, a dehumanizing act. The overbearing sounds of snipping scissors cover any minute murmuring to be heard.

In our community, there are many couples existing where one partner physically abuses the other. That person can be cut, burned, or simply battered and bruised so badly that their physical appearance can be altered. This can leave a person with absolutely no self-esteem, making them feel worthless and unwanted. The form of physical aggression is definitely the most detrimental to a person's body and can even result in the extreme of the victim's death. Schindler's List shows this form of aggression many times: each scene puts into perspective how much physical aggression can seriously break an individual's spirit.

Psychological aggression is the next most common form portrayed in the film. Often teamed with physical aggression, it is very harmful to a person's well-being as well. Psychological aggression taps directly into a person's emotions. Often the individual being attacked by psychological aggression will suffer from poor self-esteem and sometimes even a more serious mental illness. In the film Schindler's List, psychological aggression is on view in the scene in which the German citizens are throwing dirt at the mass of Jews. By this stage, the Jews would already be feeling loathed and unwanted, but by this act, they would have asked themselves: Is this all I am worth? Dirt? Is this what I deserve? Depending on the individual, the answers to those questions would seriously affect the individual's nervous or mental state, quite possibly even contributing to their breaking point. This scene also incorporates a young child who screams, goodbye Jews, goodbye Jews, repeatedly, an act!

Which also could have serious repercussions, for even the young German children were disgusted by the Jews and wanted them gone. Racism is a common form of psychological aggression in our community. Often we hear of people who are in a state of depression because of the inhumane treatment they have undergone due to their racial characteristics. In Schindlers List, the psychological aggression portrayed was mostly spawned from racism and resentment. The film repeatedly shows us the blank, zombified faces of the Jews as they descended toward their absolute breaking point.

A few times in the film Schindler's List, the aggression shown can be classified as the abuse of power. When some individuals are granted a position of power, they can be inclined to milk it for all its worth, which can lead to serious problems, not only for the victim of the aggression but also for the aggressor. An example in the film would be the scene where Amon Goeth attempts to seduce Helen Hirsch. Amon knew Helen could not resist because she feared him. He used this fact to his advantage. During the course of the scene, he also tells her that she is nothing but a Jewish bitch and turns to violence because of his own inhibitions. Amon simply used Helen as a release of tension and anger.

A similar situation in our community would be when a boss takes advantage of his workers, for example, by making sexual advances. Schindler's List showed us both the effects and consequences of aggression through the abuse of power. It showed Helen's powerlessness and feelings of intimidation while also showing Amon Goeth's punishment for his crimes against humanity.

Passive aggression is the least common, yet most disturbing, form of aggression portrayed in the film Schindler's List. It is usually accomplished with the victim being unaware of it. An example from the film would be the scene in which the Jewish children are loaded onto trucks and taken away. This scene is particularly disturbing to the audience, who is aware of what will become of the children, whereas the children themselves are unaware of their fate. They continue to sing happily while the adult women scream and run toward the trucks. There are no particular or distinctive voices in this scene, mostly the horrified screams of the Jewish mothers for the lives of their children.

An example of passive aggression from our community would be the situation in which a group of people says cruel comments whenever an individual has left their company. This is a form of passive aggression because if the individual became aware of the group's comments, he/she would be extremely hurt. Schindler's List portrays passive aggression in a particularly disturbing manner. Although it is not the most common form of aggression in the film, its use is definitely the most potent.

A visual display has always been one of the best and most powerful methods of education. The film Schindler's List uses this method to show the world what aggression is and how destructive it can be. Whatever form aggression takes, whether physical, psychological, abuse of power, or passive, aggression is always harmful to the victim and, in some cases, even to the aggressor. The film is a most effective form of shaping understanding, particularly when dealing with human issues.

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Way Movie Schindler’s List Shaped My Understanding of the Meaning of Aggression. (2023, Mar 06). Retrieved May 24, 2024 , from

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