Insanity In The Film 'Eighteen Seconds'

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In the screenplay “Eighteen Seconds” by Antonin Artaud, we explore the possibility that madness can be forcefully imposed onto a mentally healthy character simply by being repeatedly told that he is. While the idea of being driven to lunacy is not new, it has always been perceived a certain way. With the source of the mental illness being the patient’s own mind, and the environment as an aggravating factor. Instead, here we perceive the human environment as the source of the malady, and the mind is only a catalyst. Firstly, we need to recognise that the character’s madness has never been a certainty. In addition, the fright he feels everywhere gave him nowhere to turn to. Eventually, society’s neglect was the tipping point. To understand…show more content…
During “The Crazy Years” of the 1920s, artistic flair and socialites reigned supreme. Someone who did not fit this flamboyant profile would likely be ostracised. The rejection he faced everywhere left him no choice but to turn his mind inwards to cope with the lack of outside support. Terror can be derived from a scene such as when “The entire room trembled with its columns and its candelabra” (118), depicting the theatre hall as his mind in its final stage of implosion, not to mention those present were all against him. On the recurring symbol of lightings, the usage of Rembrandt lighting in the news vendor scene adds to the fear factor. A technique used when lighting is insufficient, casting a light onto half of the subject’s face at an angle, while the other cheek is only slightly visible. It portrays a mysterious side of the character assuming the news vendor is one of the many personas he assumes, and the unknown is an allegory towards dread. Common people fear unknowns. It starts with society first fearing him, then retaliates by making him fear society. One man cannot defend against the masses, spiraling him into

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