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Written by kyle keenan
“Rupert's extremely radical. Do you know that he selects his books on the assumption that people not only can read but actually can think?”
This remark made by Brandon, though clearly satirical, reveals his cynical outlook on much of the human race, which he believes to be inferior to himself. This comment comes on the heels of Janet’s statement that the books which Rupert prefers, philosophical books, do not sell. Brandon exploits this fact to generalize society as unthinking and base.
“I never strangled a chicken in my life!”
This exclamation of Phillip’s is one of the first clues Rupert picks up that all is not as it should be. Phillip, clearly unable to handle the strain as well as Brandon, lies about having strangled a chicken, suffering from the acutely paranoid belief that any act of violence associated with himself will lead to his implication in David’s absence. Phillip is an interesting contrast to the cool Brandon, and the viewer is led to believe that had the same question been put to Brandon, he would have registered a much calmer reaction.
Brandon: “Mrs. Wilson, champagne!”
Kenneth: “Oh, it isn't someone's birthday is it?”
Brandon Shaw: “Don't look so worried, Kenneth. It's, uh, really almost the opposite.”
This exchange further illustrates the stark contrast between Phillip and Brandon. While Phillip sinks deeper into anxiety and paranoia, Brandon seems determined to gloat about his accomplishment, even dropping subtle hints like this one. At this stage in the movie, Brandon is still very much the “cat” playing with his dinner guests.
“Cat and mouse, cat and mouse! But who is the cat and who is the mouse?”
Arguably the most famous line of the film, this ejaculation is uttered by Phillip who can no longer bear up under the strain of the possible discovery of the body. Although Brandon smugly “plays around” with the guests throughout the evening, much like a cat playing with its food, Rupert slowly turns the tables on the murderers, making them feel very much the hunted, rather than the hunter.
“Did you think you were God, Brandon?”
Superiority and the idea of certain people being superior over others is the overriding theme of “Rope”. With this statement, Rupert opposes Brandon’s views by confronting him with a truly superior being, reminding him that he (Brandon) is only a man. This is one of several times that Rupert refutes Brandon’s views on who has the right to take life.
“It's not what I'm going to do, Brandon. It's what society is going to do. I don't know what that will be, but I can guess, and I can help. You're going to die, Brandon. Both of you. You are going to die.”
This quote also goes to the heart of the major theme of “Rope”: superiority. Similar to when Rupert points out the superiority of God over man, here he is telling both Brandon and Phillip that they will soon come under the superiority of justice, and it is justice that will put them to death for their crimes.
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