Citizen Kane Analysis

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Through his 1941 film, Citizen Kane, Orson Welles’ portrays the complex nature of individuals as he explores the defining characteristics of the human condition through the depiction of the protagonist, Charles Foster Kane. The film’s enduring values is attributed to its explorations of relevant contextual concerns present throughout the 20th century and contemporary society. Through Welles’ use of innovative cinematic construction and textual flair, Welles highlights the complexities in shaping an individual’s identity, whilst also exploring the corrupting nature power has on an individual and their relations. Through the fragmented portrayal of Kane, we are positioned to understand the complexity of defining an identity. Welles’…show more content…
Thompson’s epiphany “I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life”, when he describes Rosebud as “just a piece of a jigsaw puzzle”, serves as a motif to reflect Kane’s fragmented and incomplete identity, thus presenting Citizen Kane itself as a puzzle, subsequently manifesting as the camera pans out from Xanadu to the “No Trespassing” sign, completing the cyclic structure of the film emphasising our incapacity to understand Kane’s true identity, thus undermining our efforts to decipher Kane’s world. Thus, the innovation and insight of Citizen Kane engages us through its exploration of the intricacy of human identity. Welles’ commentary on the controversial, yet universal contextual ideal of the American Dream is developed through Kane’s corruptive nature for the pursuit of power. This is exhibited within the “Declaration of Principles”, which at first, Kane’s youthful self pledges to be “a fighting and tireless champion for rights”. His use of emotive language, in combination with his white attire symbolises his initial pure determined ethics. However, the use of chiaroscuro lighting overshadows Kane, foreshadowing his eventual downfall. Ultimately, his corruption is subsequently exposed as he tears up the Declaration, mockingly referring it to as an “antique” revealing Kane’s descent into corruption and its repercussions on his moral integrity. Consequently, his ambition for power is revealed to have transformed his initial

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