The Selfless Hero
February 14, 2019 at 10:14 pm #1295Shaina FifieldParticipant
Overall, I thought that Casablanca was a great representation of how selfless a hero can be. Michael Curtiz’s way of showing how Rick wants to do the right thing by giving up the woman that he loves, Llsa in order to make sure that she is safe even if she is with another man, Victor. Rick was able to think of the larger picture, and Llsa being safe was the most important thing to him, and that is a truly heroic behavior. This in turn could make the viewer believe that they need to think if the big picture before they think of doing something major like leaving a country very last minute, however, when looking at all of the stress that the community was going through you wouldn’t think that anyone would be selfless and send others before themselves.
I also found that when Rick was approached by Annina who was just recently married, and Annina and her husband did not have enough money to be able to leave the nearing dangerous place of Casablanca. Rick being the hero he is helps out the struggling couple by cheating the system to benefit another’s well-being, which in turn will benefit what others are able to think about one another.
Rick overall is being represented as this selfless hero under this arrogant nightclub owner persona. Rick was not the type of person that we all thought that he would be, selfish, but he did seem to change our minds with his thoughtful actions. Though the initial thought that Rick was this selfish nightclub owner that would not ever be seen having a drink with another person was actually a coverup of how this seemingly selfish man was actually the selfless hero if this story.
~ Shaina FifieldFebruary 17, 2019 at 3:02 pm #1303Jessica DrechslerParticipant
I agree with you that Rick was definitely selfless throughout the film. He could have easily sent Victor Laszlo on the plane by himself and stayed in Casablanca with Ilsa but instead he sent them both on the plane to safety so Laszlo could continue his fight against the Nazi regime. I however interpreted the role of the hero in this film to be different than your interpretation. I see Victor Laszlo as a hero in the film and Rick is the “supernatural aid” who helps the hero along his journey. I recall a scene in which Rick and Laszlo are conversing at the bar and Rick asks him “Don’t you sometimes wonder if it’s worth all this? I mean what you’re fighting for.” and Laszlo replies saying “You might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we’ll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.” This conversation between Laszlo and Rick is what caused me to believe that Rick is the supernatural aid who is destined to help Laszlo continue his hero’s journey to stop the Nazi’s. I agree that it can also be viewed that Rick is the hero in this film and that is probably the more accepted interpretation but the sacrifice that Rick made at the end of the film allowing Laszlo to continue his journey made me believe that he was the hero and Rick was the aid.February 17, 2019 at 9:51 pm #1304Gabrielle EspositoParticipant
Although Rick is in many ways a selfless hero, this aspect of him is more apparent towards the end of Casablanca. There is no doubt that Rick letting Laszlo leave with Ilsa, the woman he loves, was a selfless act, one that personally made me feel sorry for him given the state of Casablanca during the war and because of how much he loved Ilsa. But in the beginning of the film, I wasn’t impressed with him mostly because of the way he treated women. The rejection of Yvonne is somewhat a powerplay; Renault goes as far as to call him “extravagant” because he rejected Yvonne. There’s also the curious line of dialogue when Rick asks Sam to play “As Time Goes By,” saying that if Ilsa “can stand it, so can I,” which in part implies that Rick is slightly threatened by Ilsa’s emotional strength because she can stomach the song that brings up terrible memories. He seems like a jaded man, but in the end, I think that he does redeem himself by allowing Ilsa and Laszlo to get on the plane. Rick’s actions demonstrate strong character change, and make the viewer all the more sympathetic for him when he’s left in Casablanca because he’s demonstrated humanity.February 18, 2019 at 1:37 pm #1308Jonathan KalmanParticipant
I must agree that Rick does act selfless on many occasions, most notably sending Ilsa and Victor out of Morocco to escape the Germans; however, I must agree with Gabrielle in that he does act fairly jaded towards most other characters in that he does not give many the time of day. He even acts petty towards Ilsa, and although he is reasonable for feeling so, I would not agree that acting out those feelings towards Ilsa would be considered selfless. Neither of the characters are perfect and even force Sam to play a pawn in their squabbles. Ilsa definitely appears to egg Rick on by initially playing “As Time Goes By”, but Rick makes matters worse by doing the same in some sort of pitiable retort, “if Ilsa “can stand it, so can I”. On the other hand, I must also agree with Jessica in that Rick is selfless on many occasions; however I feel that some of them are more attributable towards his feelings for Ilsa and some unspoken set of principles. A few characters in the film do state that Rick is a man of his rules or something of that regard and in breaking said rules, namely by drinking and interacting with Ilsa and Victor, we see that Rick has some never before seen motives for doing so. That motive being his fealings for Ilsa. Therefore, I believe that it is aptly put to say that Rick is more of Lazlo’s “supernatural aid” as the reason that he made it out of Morocco was because Rick, a man of specific values could not rid his feelings for a woman who had used him. Though regardless of whether or not we can call Rick the hero of the film, I do believe that we can say that he is sometimes selfless, sometimes extremely jaded human being.February 18, 2019 at 2:39 pm #1309Nicholas GentryParticipant
I have to disagree with you all on this. From my perspective, Rick is NOT a selfless hero. Frankly, I’m still unsure if I consider him a ‘hero’ at all, but where I really must disagree is in calling him “selfless.” Rick is a very selfish and bitter man. He does not exist in Casablanca as a symbol of morality, instead Rick is able to thrive by dancing around in moral gray area. Consider his relationship with Renault, gambling is illegal in Casablanca, yet Rick is able to continue running his back room gambling operations (which are blatantly fixed and therefore even more immoral) by paying off Renault to look the other way. A selfless hero would pick the righteous side and stand firmly by it, but Rick sticks his neck out for nobody, serves both Allies and Nazis, and remains “neutral” to the whole war situation. Rick initially refuses to give Lazlo the exit visas because he is bitter about what happened with Ilsa. A selfless hero would not refuse to help a righteous man because of a personal vendetta that happened years prior. A lot of people seem to consider Rick giving Ilsa and Lazlo the visas as an act of selfless heroism, but I disagree. Even though Rick was heartbroken by Ilsa, Lazlo did nothing wrong. Rick had no reason to have beef with Lazlo, yet Rick was bitter toward the both of them. Rick had the opportunity to leave Lazlo in Casablanca and fly away with Ilsa and live happily-ever-after, but leaving Lazlo trapped in a dangerous war zone and running away with his wife would have been a very shitty thing to do! Rick is not a heroic man simply by virtue of not doing a shitty thing! I agree the most with Jessica about Rick being more of the supernatural aid to Lazlo’s story. I think that calling Rick a selfless hero is really missing the point of his role in Casablanca. He is not the hero. He functions more like the fates, choosing who leaves and who stays. He does not act purely on morals, he acts for his own selfish gains. Rick is NOT a hero, rather Rick is a bitter expatriate who’s big ‘act of heroism’ is simply not to letting his bitterness negatively affect the lives of other people.
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