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   >> Interpretation
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LaughingGnoome
(kook)
04/05/03 03:45 PM
Re: the plays the thing new [re: LaughingGnoome]  

In reply to:

He runs his hand across his angel's image (who looks identical to himself), and sees himself decaying in the mirror.


In the face on the portrait, he runs his hand along the left side of the face, and the decay appears on the right side of his face. Which suggests that the portrait of him as an angel is like a mirror image, like the real mirror image he sees when he looks into the actual mirror. Perhaps as opposed to being about a separate Guardian angel, the angel portrait or character is a metaphor for the good "pure" side of himself, which he is damaging. The portrait is made of paint, which can be rubbed off, damaging the painting, the "pure" side of him is thus fragile.

It has been said already but the angel is "waiting so long", yes - "till you come". The word "come" suggests sexual pleasure of course - does this mean that Bowie has been living an extremely hedonistic lifestyle? That is that he has been enjoying a purely devil may care, live for maximum pleasure lifestyle, extending pleasure beyond the boundaries nature perhaps intended?

Lastly on the mirror itself there is an etching of a female figure with what appear to be horns on her head, reaching upwards towards what looks like a halo with a ball in the middle. The female figures lower body appears to be that of a fish, mermaid.

It seems significant because of the importance of the mirror and the fact that some light is reflected from the mermaid etching forming a reflection on his face as he is gazing in, and because he then tries to paint furiously over the figure.



LaughingGnoome
(kook)
04/05/03 11:37 PM
Re: the plays the thing new [re: LaughingGnoome]  

A mermaid is a hybrid, just like the character in the song, half one thing, half another.

Yes a mermaid is a hybrid, as is the character, half decaying half not, half good - half human. When he paints upon the mirror what does this suggest in itself? If he is painting upon his reflection, to make his reflection look half decayed as he is, maybe this symbolises something.

He looks in the mirror, but if the decay represents his "sins" then the physical mirror would not show them up as actual disfigurement upon his face (weakness - in the video the scars are visible in the mirror). This is the idea of "sin", it doesnt manifest itself physically - recall from station to station "should i believe that ive been stricken, does my face show some kind of glow?". Painting upon his reflection symbolises his coming to full awareness regarding his "sin", he wishes he had some kind of way of quantifying the danger his soul is in while in the physical (material) world, because in the physical world how can we be sure we know what pleases/displeases God?

To sum up, the mirror and the portrait serve identical purposes in the song except for one. The mirror tells him the condition of his body, the portrait tells him the condition of his soul. The mermaid has two different aspects that exist in two different environments as well (just like the character, soul and physical).




T.J. Newton
(cracked actor)
04/06/03 01:23 PM
Re: It's the Angel Man new [re: Adam]  

In reply to:

In the video, the relationship between the angel and the narrator is somewhat symbiotic. He runs his hand across his angel's image (who looks identical to himself), and sees himself decaying in the mirror. This is actually because, it is his angel that is decaying.


Strange, but the video for Look Back In Anger has always reminded me of Oscar Wilde's The portrait of Dorian Gray. Am I alone on this one?

It's too late - to be grateful
It's too late - to be late again
It's too late - to be hateful
The european cannon is here


Sysiyo
(thunder ocean)
04/07/03 02:44 AM
Re: It's the Angel Man new [re: T.J. Newton]  

T. J. Newton, oh no, you're not alone.



T.J. Newton
(stardust savant)
04/07/03 08:41 AM
Re: It's the Angel Man new [re: Sysiyo]  

I know that Bowie ranks Wilde among his favourite authors of all time and I'm pretty sure that the Look Back In Anger video was influenced by The portrait of Dorian Gray. Correct me if I'm wrong.

It's too late - to be grateful
It's too late - to be late again
It's too late - to be hateful
The european cannon is here


AdamModerator
(crash course raver)
04/07/03 09:43 AM
The Portrait of Dorian Gray new [re: T.J. Newton]  

Yes, The Portrait of Dorian Gray influence has been suggested before, in Nic Pegg's book and an earlier thread in this forum (now achived).


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Sysiyo
(thunder ocean)
04/08/03 02:29 AM
Re: The Portrait of Dorian Gray new [re: Adam]  

As well as in David Buckley's book (Strange Fascination, that is).




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