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Class and Terror in Dr. Zhivago (Essay Sample)


explain the aspects of class and terror in the film dr. zhivago


Class and Terror in Doctor Zhivago
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Class and Terror in Doctor Zhivago
The film Doctor Zhivago was produced in 1965 and features the experiences of the titular character Dr. Yuri Zhivago who goes through life before during and after World War I and the Russian Civil War. In the film David lean with Omar Sharif and Julie White taking up the leading role of Yuri and Lara. The film's context explores the changing times that followed the monumental political changes that happened in Russia and how they constructed the lives of all characters in the film. Apart from painting an impressive picture of the conditions during this period in history, the film exposes the realities of life under the Bolsheviks and the triumph of communism in Russia. This paper uses Dr. Zhivago to paint a picture of the Bolshevik revolution and its subsequent totalitarian rule by looking at how the filmmakers address life under its rule. It looks at the various aspects of the humble beginnings of the revolution and its connection with the masses, the nature of the ensuing class war, the crackdown on freedom of expression, and the use of violence and terror.
Class and the Bolshevik Rule
Doctor Zhivago correctly portrays the use and impact of class in the development of the Bolshevik revolution and State. It depicts the revolution and eventual Bolshevik rule as having very humble beginnings. In the early scenes of the film, we are introduced to Russian before Bolshevism became a reality. In these early conditions, the upper class is seen as enjoying the privileges of wealth and being aloof to the conditions that later lead to the revolution. Pasha who later is revealed as a general in the Bolshevik army is during this period a young revolutionary who is seen organizing protests and marches in the quest for a communist revolution. The brutality of the Tsarist government is revealed when saber wielding Tsarist Cossacks brutally attack a peaceful protest injuring many people including Pasha who vows to continue with his fight against the regime.
A significant thematic concern during this infancy of the revolution was the role of class and class differences in providing fuel to the revolution. The upper class is seen as aloof to the conditions of the other classes. They are completely disconnected from the grievances of the revolution and even ridicule it as Komarovsky does while in an expensive restaurant. The Grimekos also seem unconcerned by the wave of revolution and watch from afar as the Tsarits break up the peaceful protest.
According to Ardent the emergence of a classless society is a necessary condition for totalitarianism because it provides what she refers to as the masses which are the support base for the regime. The masses she states “are not held together by a consciousness of common interest and they lack that specific class articulateness which is expressed in determined, limited, and obtainable goals.”(Ardent, pg. 311)
Class feature prominently in the film as Yuri and his family have to contend with the policies of the Bolshevik policies on ownership of property.
Violence and Terror
The rightfully shows the role of violence and terror in a totalitarian state. Arendt explains that violence and terror “Total terror, the essence of totalitarian government, exists neither for nor against men. It is supposed to provide the forces of nature or history with an incompar

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