From my Art of Film class. An essay or response to ‘Amadeus.’
Wednesday, October 26, 2005, 9:23 AM
This movie is not really about Amadeus but about a man named Salieri. Salieri is the court composer for an Austrian king in the late eighteenth century. He composes music and operas for the king and is generally considered to be the greatest composer. However a young genius musician named Mozart has come along and is also highly regarded. Mozart doesn’t have the necessary social graces so is not taken seriously by the upper class. Salieri however recognizes the ability of Mozart. He also recognizes the superior ability and talent of Mozart and instantly becomes very jealous. Salieri is so jealous of Mozart that he hatches a plan to kill him. Not being courageous he does not kill him upright but instead tries to influence Mozart into killing himself. Salieri succeeds and Mozart dies very young, depriving the world of the music he would’ve created had he been allowed to live. The movie is told from the viewpoint of an institutionalized Salieri who feels guilt and shame for what he had done while at the same time trying to justify it.
Salieri is a rotten evil person who does not really hate Mozart; in fact he hates God and takes his hatred of God out on Mozart. A very cowardly man with a sense of entitlement, Salieri just cannot see the beauty in Mozart’s music. Salieri
believes the musical ability he has was given to him by God to make up for a lousy childhood. Salieri has to work very hard for what he has accomplished and gets jealous when he sees the effortlessness way in which Mozart goes about composing. It seems that Mozart truly was sent by God or has talent given to him by God whereas Salieri only has a belief that God has chosen him. God has not chosen him and he is delusional. For all his self importance Salieri remains to this day unknown to the common person. The name and/or music of Mozart is known by all.
9) At the end of his life Mozart did not know he was dying unlike Joe Gideon who was aware of his health problems just didn’t care to do anything about them. Mozart didn’t smoke or do drugs, he drank quite a bit but wasn’t falling down drunk all the time. Gideon was a drug addict chain smoker who knew he was destroying himself; Mozart was a naïve genius who had no clue that someone was trying to kill him. In the end Gideon killed himself and Mozart was killed by another person.
Taken in light of their circumstances the activity near the end can be looked at objectively. Gideon, who knew he was dying, was trying to finish off one last musical; get one last thing done before he dies, one last triumph of his genius. He wanted to be remembered for something great. Kind of like going out with a bang. Gideon did not care of the toll the frantic pace of his last days took on those who cared for him and needed him. He was too self absorbed to care for
anyone else but himself.
Mozart did not know he was dying. He did not think anything was wrong with himself. He had father issues like not believing he lived up to his father’s standard for him and that his father never approved of him or his work. But he continue to work as if he knew he would live for a long time. The Requiem Mass Mozart composed at the time of his death was composed because Salieri forced him to, not because he wanted to. Mozart wanted to rest but Salieri would not let him; that is why he worked so hard during the final days. He was being used and manipulated and didn’t recognize it. Simple genius like Mozart’s does not care to understand the politics of his position, it only wanted to be left alone to write what was in his heart.
8) I do not believe any forces were in conflict in this scene. Salieri hated Mozart and was so jealous it is indescribable. Salieri is a loser who used and manipulated people to get to where he was. For there to be conflict here Mozart would need to know Salieri was trying to kill him and then he could possibly put up a fight. But Salieri was so good at these games a naïve man like Mozart could never see through them. If there was a conflict it was Salieri with himself. How
could he convince a man on his deathbed to continue working? With Mozart it was easy, just get him to write music. It was his life’s love and he couldn’t stop himself from doing it.
Mozart actually believes Salieri wants to help him. He is wrong and never learns that. Salieri regards Mozart as the genius that he is but somehow places himself above him. Salieri knows Mozart is the superior musician but he makes himself better because he is more refined a person. As that is somehow relevant when considering artistry. So in this scene Salieri looks upon Mozart as a genius but not as a person. He is a tool to be used to build something, his own
death, that is all.