Citizen Kane Essay – Consequences of Obsession
In Citizen Kane, Orson Welles explores the consequences of obsession. Such obsessions include Kane’s desire to win the love of others, regaining his lost childhood, Kane’s obsession with his reputation and public image, and Thompson, the journalist, seeking to unravel the mysteries of Kane’s life. Kane’s obsession with winning the love of others is due to him being stripped of a maternal figure at a young age, which the latter was replaced by the imposing presence of Thatcher. This is evident through the motif of childhood throughout the film; the photograph of Kane’s mother, the snowglobe, and the all too common “Rosebud”. There is also, of course, the recurring motif of the letter “K” in celebration of Kane’s achievements. Lastly, there is Susan; their first meeting represents innocence, comprising of Kane performing shadow puppetry and wiggling his ears in an attempt to make Susan smile, drawing her attention from her toothache. Kane also states that he was “in search of my childhood” as he was heading for a warehouse when he met Susan. Because of Kane’s obsession with winning the love of others, he becomes an egocentric man who confuses power and control with love. He is not capable of loving others, and ultimately dies alone, misunderstood by all around him. Kane was fanatical about his reputation and image, due to receiving no love or respect from Thatcher; as such, he seeks to win the love and attention of the public. Welles conveys this through his use of dialogue and setting, such as the breakfast table montage between Kane and Emily; Emily: “People will think-“ Kane: “What I tell them to think.” This demonstrates Kane’s self-centredness and lust for power and dominance over others. Also, in the ‘News on the March” sequence, the statement “Xanadu is the biggest monument a man has built to himself since the pyramids” suggests Kane’s ridiculous ego and wealth. There is also Kane’s repeated use of the...
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