Capitalism Kills: An Analysis of the Military Industrial Complex in The Physicists College
In the satirical play The Physicists, screenwriter Friedrich Dürrenmatt explores the morality of nuclear science and the true intentions behind the creation of nuclear weapons against the backdrop of three physicists in a sanatorium run by head psychiatrist Doctor Mathilde von Zahnd. After the physicist responsible for discovering the solution to the “problem of gravity,” Johann Wilhelm Möbius, resolves to remain imprisoned in the sanatorium to prevent humanity from abusing his work, Doctor von Zahnd reveals that she has copied all of Mobius’ documents in a scheme to use his scientific research to construct an international cartel seeking world domination (Dürrenmatt, p. 59). Doctor von Zahnd’s extreme capitalist motivations for exploiting Mobius’s scientific work parallel the increasing global skepticism of the military-industrial complex post-Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dürrenmatt uses the structure of the sanatorium and the character of Doctor von Zahnd in order to warn against strengthening of the military-industrial complex and argue that nuclear politics are not a practical means, but a means of strengthening the military-industrial complex to consolidate wealth and power in the hands of the elite.
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