Amadeus Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Mozart's Laugh (Motif)

Mozart's laugh has a strong presence in the film. Salieri believes that God is taunting him and laughing at him through Mozart's laugh. The last sound of the film is Mozart's laugh, which symbolizes that Salieri continues to be tormented by Mozart's laugh (a.k.a. God's laugh) long after Mozart's death.

Prayer (Motif)

Prayer is a recurring aspect of the film. Salieri prays several times to God. Before Mozart arrived to court, he felt that God was answering his prayers. After Mozart arrives to court, Salieri begins to feel the futility of his prayers, and his relationship with God begins to deteriorate.

Costumes (Motif)

Costumes are an integral part of the film. They give Mozart's operas and the overall film a sense of grandeur. Furthermore, Salieri uses a costume to torment Mozart. Salieri purchases a costume identical to one that Mozart's father, Leopold, wore to a party. In the costume, Salieri approaches Mozart and uses the costume to increase the guilt and grief that Mozart feels towards Leopold after Leopold passes away.

Loans (Motif)

As Mozart's financial situation worsens, he becomes more and more desperate. He appeals to Salieri for a loan, but Salieri rejects his request. He also appeals to Michael Schlumberg, a man whose daughter Mozart once refused to teach due to the presence of dogs in the man's household; this request fares no better. In fact, Mozart's desperation is more apparent the second time: he begs relentlessly until Schlumberg shows him the door. Both Salieri and Schlumberg get great satisfaction from Mozart's fall because they both faced great humiliation at his hand.

Parties (Motif)

Mozart continues to party even though his finances are in disarray. For Mozart, the parties serve multiple functions. They are Mozart's attempt to reassert his status, which dwindles as the film progresses: at the parties, Mozart is revered, and he is able to counteract the alienation from Vienna society that he faces due to his actions and Salieri's actions. The parties also serve as an escape. They help Mozart escape the lack of performances that his operas receive and also the crushing weight of Leopold's death.