How Does Kazan Convey Ideas About Good and Evil in 'on the Waterfront'?

Topics: On the Waterfront, Elia Kazan, Good and evil Pages: 2 (646 words) Published: May 21, 2012
Elia Kazan's portrayal of good and evil in 'On the Waterfront' is more than it meets the eye. Good and Evil appear in seperate characters and also at different times on the same characters. More importantly, Elia Kazan gets an important message across; No character is truly evil. Good is symbolised in numerous ways throughought the film. The church is one such example of this. It represents the highest order of purity and goodness, yet it is always on the background of the film. During Edie and Terry's walk through the playground, the Church could be seen in the background, yet unlike other structures in the film such as the docks, the Church cannot be seen prominently, but rather it is mostly present in the background. Elia Kazan had perhaps used the Church to depict goodness as something present in all the characters, yet, much like the Church it is not always so prominent.

Johnny Friendly is the primary antagonist 'On the Waterfront', however a question to be considered is that is he purely evil? Friendly's name is not as ironic as it seems. It is true he is wicked enough to order chilling homicides and remain unperturbed afterwards, however he has a affection towards his underlings. After Friendly observes Terry being deeply shaken by his role in Joey's death, he hands Terry a note of cash as a "present from your uncle Johnny." This shows that Friendly has some level of compassion over his minions and appreciates their 'good' work. Despite some goodness inside him however, Friendly is still clearly a cold-blooded killer. Johnny Friendly's menacing figure represents dictatorship in "On the Waterfront". With a whole community of thousands working for him, Friendly still finds the need to murder the minority who disobey him despite having "the fattest piers and the fattest harbour in the world." Although he has "two thousand deuce paying members: at his disposal, Friendly's overpowering evil lusts for more dominance and this leads...
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