Planet of the Apes :Themes

The film uses the depiction of ape society to attack notions of human superiority. In particular, the apes' prejudice against humans, based on religion, can be seen as an attack both on creationism (Taylor's trial bearing some resemblance to the real-life Scopes Monkey Trial, and the apes' religious texts to the King James Version of the Bible) and on the idea of an "evolutionary ladder" with humans at the top. This reaches its dramatic climax near the end of the movie when Cornelius reads directly from the SacredScrolls at the now-captured Dr. Zaius' request:

Beware the beast man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him and for he is the harbinger of death.
The story of the Tower of Babel is reflected in the nuclear war that, the movie implies, abases the human population and elevates the apes — human arrogance and self-assurance cause the humans' downfall (attributes that - as the viewer retrospectively realises after watching the film - Taylor displays himself throughout the story).


The famous last shot of the film.The contrast between the mute and primitive humans and the cultured apes echoes the relationship between the Yahoos and the Houyhnhnms in Gulliver's Travels. Both the apes and Swift's Houyhnhnms possess reason and speech, and use those capabilities to oppress a more primitive humanoid population; both works satirize human-centric biases by having the speaking creatures commit "reasonable" acts which the audience can perceive as blatantly immoral (the apes' lobotomizing of Landon, the Houyhnhnms' hunting of Yahoos).


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