The film Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles, is a great example of how a man can be corrupted by wealth. Through the characters in the film we can observe how Charles Foster Kane, an idealistic man with principles, can be changed and misguided by wealth and what accompanies wealth. The film takes places during the late 19th century and early 20th century, a time in American history when the world is changing and wealth is a great power to change it with. Through the story telling of Kane's life we are able to see how wealth changes, not only Kane's ideals, but his actions and how he perceives the world.
The corruption of idealism by wealth can be seen throughout the film, especially through the thoughts and actions of Kane and the other characters. For example, when Kane publishes his first newspaper for the Inquirer he prints his "Declaration of Principles". Jebediah Leland remarks at that time that he would like to keep it because he feels that it will be an important document one day. As Kane becomes more wealthy and more corrupt by his wealth, Leeland returns the document and we see that Kane understands that he is no longer the same man he was before or the man he set out to become. From this we also see that Leeland and the other characters in the film have come to the same conclusion. Furthermore, in the film, Kane states more than once, that people will think or do whatever he wishes them. Kane, with his wealth, tries to create his idealistic world with the power that wealth gives him and as a result tries to control everyone. In addition, the reference of "Rosebud" throughout the movie is a symbol of Kane's wish to return to his childhood and a new start. When his second wife leaves him Kane realizes the corruption wealth has done on his life and says "rosebud" because he wants to return to his sled, his childhood, to return to the beginning when wealth has yet to corrupt him. Citizen Kane is the story of a man's great ideas to make the...
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