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Osallistu Koulukinon palautekyselyyn

Arvomme kaikkien palautetta antaneiden kesken elokuvalippuja

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What does “Leviathan” mean?

Leviathan is a sea monster referenced in the Old Testament, a creature without fear. He looks down on all that are haughty; he is king over all that are proud. Leviathan is an indestructible monster: “When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before his thrashing. The sword that reaches him has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart, or the javelin. Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood”. The Leviathan of the Middle Ages was used as an image of Satan, endangering both God's creatures, by attempting to eat them, and God's creation, by threatening it with the upheaval in the waters of Chaos.

English philosopher Thomas Hobbes used the image of Leviathan as a metaphor of the Commonwealth in his work “Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil” (published in 1651). The work about the structure of society and legitimate government is regarded as one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory. Hobbes is infamous for having used the social contract method to arrive at the conclusion that we ought to submit to the authority of an absolute—undivided and unlimited—sovereign power. Hobbes' ideal commonwealth is ruled by a sovereign power responsible for protecting the security of the commonwealth and granted absolute authority to ensure the common defense. The frontispiece to the first edition of “Leviathan”, which Hobbes helped design, portrays the Commonwealth as a gigantic human, built out of the bodies of its citizens, the sovereign as its head. Hobbes calls this figure Leviathan.

For discussion

  • Why, do you think, is the film titled Leviathan?
  • What and who represents this image and why?