Essay about Theological Symbolism in "Cool Hand Luke"

Essay about Theological Symbolism in "Cool Hand Luke"

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In the 1967 prison film Cool Hand Luke, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, there are many examples of theological symbolism and religious themes. Most of the symbolism alludes to Jesus Christ, which is often utilized in film to add depth to the protagonist in the story. Such Christ figure symbolism can also be seen in films such as the 1999 hit The Matrix and the original Star Wars film (1977). Along with these visual suggestions, there are also thematic elements that underlie Cool Hand Luke which involve Biblical allusions and metaphysical questions.
The film revolves around a man named Lucas Jackson, portrayed by the legendary actor Paul Newman, who is sentenced to two years in a small suburban jail. He is convicted for destroying public property, and being intoxicated while doing so. Before his conviction, Luke was in the Army and attained the rank of Sergeant. However, he was demoted when his service was up, and is seemingly running into trouble no matter where he goes. At the jail, the warden asks him about his carelessness and impulsive actions, to which Luke replies “…it’s something to pass the time”.
From the first day at the jail, Luke stands out amongst the inmates. Most of them follow and bend to every rule that is made by the warden and prison guards, while Luke sneers at the establishment. The prisoners also follow the rules of the biggest inmate, Dragline, who is portrayed by George Kennedy. Still, Luke does not take the excessive rules and regulations seriously, which gets him into trouble. Dragline challenges Luke to a boxing match, and they meet out in the court yard. Due to Dragline’s large stature and strength, he beats Luke into a pulp. What was initially a large crowd cheering on the fight, turns into a sad spe...

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...ons also served to help bring a new light to old scriptures. Taking the values and lessons of Biblical accounts and placing them into the context of a film work to reinforce the good values and wisdom passed down from generations ago. In no way did this film carry an anti-religious sentiment or offensive remarks. If you take the entire context of the film, it was in fact an encouragement to pursue religious and spiritual endeavors.
I personally thought this was a great film, although initially I thought it might be boring. Once I got past the older production quality and immersed myself into the story, I enjoyed it. I can see why this film is a cinematic classic, especially with the memorable dialogue. My favorite lines came from Carr, the floor walker. He seemed to know his job like the back of his hand. “Any man loses his spoon; he spends the night in the box”.

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