Gattaca Ideas


  • issues a waring: dangers of genetic selection
  • moral

Projected into the future: 

  • advances in genetic science
  • rocket science
  • electric cars

Elements of the past that have been revived: 

  • modernist architecture
  • prejudice
  • people (not robots) doing menial work
  • music 
  • cabaret: 
  • cars
  • clothing
  • hair 

Andrew Niccol’s film Gattaca presents us with a warning about the future. His new eugenics have a distinctly early 20th Century resonance. How does Niccol convey his warning by using visual references to the past?


– Show history repeating itself by using NAZI Historical References

If this film is set years in the future then why are there double breasted coats? Why are there 1940’s cars? Why is prejudice so prominent? In the film Gattaca, Andrew Niccol uses visual references to issue a warning:  history repeats itself endlessly for those who are unwilling to learn from the past. World war 2 was toxic, both literally and figuratively. It was a time where great animosity rained down on society because people believed that there was a superior race. The dystopia portrayed in Gattaca is again controlled by a hierarchy of genetics. Niccol connects this future to the early 1900s though visual themes to send the message that genetic selection will do nothing but divide us. Maybe even to the length of the Nazis and the Jews.

Modernist buildings: They are sharp and cold like Ms Trunchbull from Matilda – what you see is what you get. There are exposed beams, not because they are beautiful but because there is no good reason to use up resources to cover them. This type of architecture is at every turn throughout Gattaca. Flashback to 1940’s when the style emerged, but in the film it’s back and more icy than ever! What does the style of modernism represent? Practicality, cleanliness, simplicity. These qualities also could describe the aim of the Nazis. Get rid of the Jews so there is more jobs for the Nazis, it’s practical.  Kill off every person who does not have white skin, blond hair and blue eyes, it makes the population look clean and uniform. The Nazis simply wanted Germany to have a superior population. And the same could be said for the society that is pro-genetic selection. It is again practical, clean and simple; more healthy people, less health care and there are no complications attached when creating the child because people can’t just design the DNA of a baby on accident. Andrew Niccol uses the cold clinical essence of the modernist architecture to further communicate what the values of the dystopia are and to also link it back to the time period where the architecture was used the values were also important. 

Practice Paragraph

Describe at least one idea that changed your perspective or point of view in the film. 

“There is no gene for the human spirit” 

The film Gattaca by Andrew Niccol portrays a dystopia where necessity and function are the only important qualities in the society, while religion and emotions a tossed to the side.  These new ideas are depicted obviously and purposefully through the architecture used in the film. Andrew Niccol uses modernist buildings and designs to visually represent the key qualities of this future society. This is seen in Vincent and Jerome’s apartment. Their walls are concrete, floors are concrete, supports are visible, windows are small… Nothing is added to look nice or make an environment welcoming. This was a clear sign that this society is one I would not like to live in. The idea of necessity over human emotions turned my perspective on this dystopia from a perfect and practical society to morally incorrect society. 

Gattaca Scene

1. Car, long shot (high) – electric car noise, worrying music
2. Vincent, mid shot (low) – car noise, speaking, music
3. Jerome w hand scraping, mid shot (level) – phone ringing, 
4. Vincent, mid shot (low)
5. Jerome on phone, mid shot (level)
6. Vincent, mid shot (low)
7. Jerome, close up (level)
8. Vincent, mid shot (low)
9. Jerome wheelchair, long shot (low)
10. Jerome stairs, mid shot (high)
11. Jerome, long shot (level)
12. Driving car, long shot (low)
13. Jerome, long shot (high)
14. Stairs Jerome, long shot (birds eye view)
15. Irene and Anton, two shot (level
16. Hand, close up (level)
17. Feet, close up (level)
18. Car, long shot (level)
19. Jerome stairs, long shot (level)
20. Back of car, long shot (level)
21. Hand, close up (low)
22. Stairs, point of view (level)
23. Car, long shot (level)
24. Stairs, long shot (low)
25. Car park, long shot (high)
26. Stairs, long shot (low)
27. Eyes, close up (low)
28. Doorbell, two shot (level)
29. Top of stairs, mid shot (level)
30. Doorbell, two shot (level)
31. Button, close up (level)
32. Doorbell, two shot (level)
33. Button, close up (level)
34. Jerome lying down, long shot (high)
35. Irene and Anton, Two shot (level)
36. Lying down, long shot (high)
37. Jerome sitting, mid shot (level)
38. Anton entering, long shot (over the shoulder) 
39. Irene, mid shot (level)
40. Jerome, mid shot (level)
41. Anton, close up (level)
42. Irene, mid shot (level)
43. Telescope, long shot (level)
44. Jerome and Irene, two shot (level)
45. Anton, mid shot (level)
46. Jerome and Irene, two shot (level)
47. Anton, long shot (over the shoulder)
48. Irene, close up (level)
49. Anton, close up (level)
50. Jerome, close up (level)
51. Irene, close up (level)
52. Anton with syringe, mid shot (over the shoulder)
53. Arm syringe, close up (high)

Persuasive Speech


Sexism is not a problem for me. But the same cannot be said for too many other girls. Some countries are still plagued with inequality and in these places where women are inferior, they are not treated as people but rather as possessions. They are denied their human rights. They are denied control over their own lives. And as possessions, like you would think they cannot change the systems of their government on their own because no one would listen. These people need others voices too. Therefore, the feminist movement is still a necessary one.

There is a mountain of examples of injustices for women world wide. To name a few…

Article 26 of the Human Rights declaration gives everyone the right to education. In Afghanistan 9/10 women are alliterate. Reasons for this include the government providing fewer schools for girls and girls being kept home due to discriminatory attitudes that do not value or permit their education. They are instead raised to be married.

1/3 of girls in developing countries are forced into marriages before they are 18 years old. They cannot marry the person of their choice at time that is right for them. Imagine if this still happened in New Zealand. 1/3 of us girls have 2 more years at the most before we would become the property of our family’s acquaintance. No more chasing dreams. No more making the world our own.

In some parts of India women’s looks are valued over their lives from a law where women are exempt from wearing a helmet as to not mess up their carefully styled hair and makeup. Of course it is still a choice for the women to wear a helmet, but people will put ease over safety every time. It could be compared to having a law in New Zealand that allows adults to drive without wearing a seatbelt. Immediately some would think great! Now I don’t have to wear that uncomfortable, constricting strap over me every time I want to go somewhere. Better judgement goes straight out the window. This law in India means that the women don’t have to lug around a helmet or even buy one in the first place. And what’s more they will look beautiful as they ride which is very important. Why would they choose to wear one? This futile law lets thousands of women die each year.

And, if you are a female in Saudi Arabia you aren’t even allowed to drive a car. You have to rely on someone else to drive you places, meaning you have very limited freedom. The same amount as we do now as kids.

If you happen to be a woman living in a county called Vatican City which is in central Europe by the way! You can’t vote. Women here have no power in deciding who will make decisions for them, decisions that can possibly change their life.

In Yemen, a country sharing a border with Saudi Arabia the law for legal testimony is that women are not recognised as a full person before the court. A woman’s testimony is not taken seriously unless it is backed up by a man’s or if it concerns a place where a man would not be. And women can’t testify at all for adultery, theft, or lie-ball.

In Saudi Arabia and Morocco rape victims can be charged with crimes.  For leaving the house without a male companion, being alone with an unrelated man or for getting pregnant afterwards. Makes sense doesn’t it? It’s her fault for being raped because she was by herself and her fault for being pregnant after being raped by a man who had no form of contraception. A famous case of this is the Qatif Girl. At 19 she was gang raped and abused by 7 men. She went to court to prosecute her attackers but instead was sentenced to 200 lashes and six moths in prison for being alone with an unrelated male. She was alone with him from no choice of her own though. Because of threats she had to see this man in his car. While being in the car incident occurred. She went to the hospital the next day but did not speak of the ordeal. She told ABC in an interview, “The criminals started talking about it [the rape] in my neighbourhood. They thought my husband would divorce me. They wanted to ruin my reputation. Slowly my husband started to know what had happened. Four months later, we started a case. My family heard about the case. My brother hit me and tried to kill me.” “Everyone looks at me as if I’m wrong. I couldn’t even continue my studies. I wanted to die. I tried to commit suicide twice,”.  The Qatif girl’s rapists were convicted, but their sentences were very light, between just 2 years and 9 years in prison. Also, the girl’s attorney had his licence confiscated. If the same crime were to have be committed in New Zealand each of the men would have received between 16 – 20 years in prison and of course the lawyer would not lose their license.

Women in all these countries are suffering from discriminative, sexist people and laws. They are preventing them from being educated, being able to drive and being able to stand up for themselves and others in court. These laws are even causing women to die. It seems the leaders of these countries must be blind to let such appalling things to happen to citizens of their country. Yet, in fact these decisions and laws are made purposefully, so the people in power stay in power. But, men of quality do not fear equality.

We are so lucky to be living in New Zealand, where we have good men and decent people running the country, and where the worst show of sexism affecting us is not being allowed to wear leggings in P.E.  We have this privilege because of so many men and women fighting for a hundred of years before us. Because of people like Kate Shepard shaping our culture and laws I, like many, many other girls have no extra barriers to climb in order to achieve success. Now we have the opportunity as the least corrupt nation in the world (tied with Denmark) to keep the movement for equality going until there is not one country were women can’t vote, not one where women are exempt from wearing helmets, where they are forced into marriages and not one country where women get put in prison for being a victim of rape.



Possible topics

  • Decision to sharing is always up to the oldest sibling
  • how annoying libby is
  • Teenagers have too many jobs to do and too many expectations to meet – Listen to people more experienced than you, one tells you have fun at this age, nothing matters another says most important time and you need to work your but off

NCEA Formal Writing 1.5, Literary Essay


The Scottish Play is one crowded with witchcraft, ambition and consuming uncertainty.  Shakespeare makes full use of the conventions of language and theatre through Macbeth’s speech/actions to elucidate to the readers and audiences a world of direst cruelty. Macbeth forgets his morals and religion in the whirlwind of ambition he then suffers the consequences with the deterioration of his mind. The way Shakespeare illustrates this shows the volume of the crimes Macbeth has committed but also adds another dimension of direst cruelty by displaying mental illness.


Personification is one of the many language features that Shakespeare uses to convey the intense darkness of the play. In Act one, scene 4 Macbeth says “Stars hide your fires; let light not see my dark and deep desires…”. Macbeth does not want the “powers that be” to see his following actions; they are too completely wicked. This is said though the use of personification and symbolism. Stars are used as a emblem of the “Heavens” so by the means of this passage we can tell Macbeth is speaking to his “God”. He says to the stars to “hide their fires” so they cannot see his damnable ambition, but of course stars can neither hide fires nor see. Using personification in this situation, Shakespeare not only gives the impression that stars represent “God” but also shows the power of the stars; that they can see, and that there will grave consequences when they do. Deeper, the line shows that Macbeth fully believes in God and cares about what will happen to him in the afterlife. Like Macbeth, the original audience of the play Macbeth think “God” as undeniably real. A statement like “Stars hide your fires…” strikes fear and anticipation into the crowd of the 16th century because it shows that the following events are dire enough to send Macbeth to “Hell”.  This line so intensifies the plays submersion in ominous events.


“Mine eyes are made the fools o’ th’ other senses”. In Act 2 scene 1, Macbeth sees a dagger, one he cannot touch. This is an example of a theatre technique that reveals the darkness of Macbeth’s mind. He can see a dagger in front  of him, but he does not trust his eyes since he cannot grasp it; “Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.” At this stage he is very unsure if what he is seeing is real or a creation of his deteriorating mind. The dagger “appears” before Macbeth because he is completely consumed by the decision he has to make; to commit treason or not. In the soliloquy Macbeth says “The handle toward my hand?”, which shows he has imagined the dagger as if it is “asking” to be held. He also says “And such an instrument I was to use”, meaning that the dagger is the one he was planning to use when murdering King Duncan. Macbeth is convinced by these two things that he is meant to kill Duncan, that the dagger is a sign. From this he feels that the decision has been made for him, by the ‘dagger of the mind’. Such a theatre technique shows  the true intensity of the events that are about to occur, they induce a character under such heavy strain to conger up a hallucination to decide his fate. This scene further deepens the darkness of The Scottish Play. A character talking to a murder weapon (one meant for the king) that is not in front of him.  It storms the audience with uncertainty of Macbeth’s state of mind, but also, one now knows Macbeth is going to kill the King of Scotland.


In Act 2, scene 2, Shakespeare uses a hyperbole to convey Macbeth’s state of mind. Soon after murdering King Duncan, Macbeth says “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand?”. Will the whole ocean be able to wash the blood off Macbeth’s hand? The answer to this question is shown through the statement made by Macbeth, “making the green one red”. He feels that if he would try to clean the blood of his hands in the sea the blood would die the entirety of it red. He feels like the blood would never stop running from his hands, and he could never be rid of it. This of course is  extremely far fetched, the blood on someone’s hands obviously could not cause the entire ocean to become red but the imagery created from it makes such an impact. To actually have someone’s blood on one’s hands already represents so much; they are responsible for someone’s death. But to have so much blood on one’s hands that no amount of water could wash it off depicts that there is no way of escaping the guilt. To use a hyperbole in this instance really shows how grim an act of treason is and how it affects Macbeth’s state of mind. From murdering Duncan onwards Macbeth becomes a completely different person. He cannot escape his actions so it begins to define him. This powerful use of language also effects the audience heavily, reading or listening to a line like that provokes an image of gallons and gallons of blood polluting the largest body of water. It gives a sicking feeling. It again builds on  direst cruelty of the Play Macbeth. 


Another powerful use of theatre in Macbeth was the Iambic pentameter. Throughout the play Shakespeare uses a pattern of speaking that both makes the lines easier to remember for the actors, but also and more importantly conveys ‘status’. The higher in society a person is in Macbeth, the less likely they will falter the rhythm of the iambic pentameter. For example, the gentlewomen’s lines are; “That, sir, which I will not report after her.” and “Ay, but their sense is shut” where there is no real rhythm recognisable. While, when King Duncan speaks it is always recognisable; “We will establish our estate upon” and “But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine”.  Macbeth is of the highest status in the country for the majority of the play, meaning that the rhythm of his speech should not waver, yet it does. This is noticeable in  Act 5, scene five where Macbeth says his speech that begins with “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…” Every second line of this has 11 syllables, when they should just have 10. The technique of using the iambic pentameter adds another dimension to the storyline and the idea that Shakespeare want’s to convey: Macbeth’s life is ending. In the speech that Macbeth makes, he talks about days being meaningless, that instead time is measured in syllables: “To the last syllable of recorded time…”. At this point in the play Macbeth has given up, he no longer values life: “Signifying nothing.”, and no longer cares about what will happen to him after he dies: “The way to dusty death.” (dusty signifying that when we die we simply become dust). So now Macbeth does not care about using up his ‘syllables’, he uses one more every second line. The use of the iambic pentameter really shows how Macbeth’s mind has diminished; he is a king and can no longer talk properly. This point in the play is the height of the sickness of Macbeth’s mind. Macbeth’s mind being dark, darkens the whole play and even for some, their view on life.

In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare uses many, many language and theatre techniques to drench the audience in a world of direst cruelty. Examples of this are his use of personification, hallucinations, hyperboles and iambic pentameter. These techniques reach so much further than simply Macbeth’s character or the storyline, it steps over into real life. The techniques relate the play to the world the audience lives in, their religion, their values, oceans and views on life so the darkness of the play is quite influential. Macbeth’s struggle with his mind dimensioning and the ideas his character convey because of it really effects the audience. Sometimes even name of the play inspires darkness in one’s mind, so some cannot even say the name, Macbeth.



Ideas For Macbeth Essay

Macbeth is referred to only as The Scottish Play by actors and theatre-makers, such is the dark power of the play. How does Shakespeare exploit the conventions of language and theatre to fill his play from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty – and moreover, why is this so essential to the universal meaning of the play?

Macbeth is referred to only as The Scottish Play by actors and theatre-makers, such is the dark power of the play. How does Shakespeare make full use of and derive benefit from the conventions of language and theatre to fill his play with extremely serious cruelty. And why is this so essential to the universal meaning of the play?

Shakespeare makes full use of the conventions of language and theatre by showing it through Macbeth’s speech and actions.  Forgetting his morals and religion in the whirlwind of ambition he then suffers the consequences with the deterioration of his mind. The way Shakespeare illustrates this shows the volume of the crimes Macbeth has committed but also adds another dimension of direst cruelty by displaying mental illness.

  • Main characters (most time on stage, most lines, most important characters in the storyline)
  • Minds deteriorate (seen in use of metaphors, “hallucinations”, sarcasm, soliloquy and use of iambic pentameter)
  • Shows the power of the crimes they committing
  • Also makes us think of: morals, greed, mental illness, religion, meaning of life
    He puts his desire to be king over all his friends and religious beliefs, achieves his goal but feels worse than before, even though he has committed so many ‘sins’ as L.M. has he still feels baffled and betrayed by “god” when L.M. dies

Useful Quotes:

“To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.” – He would prefer to be absolutely unaware of the crime than to think of the crime he commited. He knows this was a bad idea and regrets it, feels ashamed of it. Crime and M are separate.

“Stars, hide your fires! Let not see my black and deep desires…”
“Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.”
“Yet do I fear thy nature: it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness”

“My hands are of your color, but I shame To wear a heart so white”

“O! full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! ”

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

“To the last syllable of recorded time,

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing”


“Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” (Act II, Scene I)

“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red” (Act II, Scene II)

“False face must hide what the false heart doth know.”

“If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me
Without my stir”



“If Chance will have me king, why, Chance may crown me
Without my stir”  – Personification
Fully believes and trusts in his religion. At this stage he will not defy it to fulfil his ambition. Seen as: quote as a whole means if he is meant to become king, he will. Macbeth will not do anything to become king. Chance = fate/god because chance is not a living thing but they say “chance will have me” and “chance may crown me” which confirms he is talking about “god”. From this statement we see that  he trust that “god” will give him the best and it is more important to him to be seen as “good” by “god” than break the law, but more importantly defy his religion by committing treason. He has his values and morals in order and his mind is stable.
* chance has a capital C too so this again shows he is talking about a proper noun.
“Stars, hide your fires! Let not see my dark and deep desires; ”  personfication
“Is this a dagger I see before me…”    – Hallucination
 This is the first falter of his mind. With the intense pressure from his wife and the underlying ambition in him he is finding the decision of what to do incredibly difficult. Macbeth knows what is right but he also has the temptation so he congers up a dagger that is “making the decision for him”. He actually voices his doubt of the reality of the dagger: “A dagger of the mind, a false creation proceeding from the heat oppressed brain” – actually thinks about whether he should trust himself.   (Could be schizophrenia)
 “To know my deed, ‘t were best not to know my self” – guilt


Act 5 Scene Summaries


Act 5

scene one: 

This scene shows Lady Macbeth break down. A doctor and a gentle waiting lady are present with her in a room in the castle trying to figure out what is wrong with her. The waiting woman says she has not really woken. As they are observing her sleepwalking she looks as if she is washing her hands. Then she speaks but she speaks nonsense. Finally the Doctor says that the ‘condition’ she has is beyond his practice. After this Lady Macbeth starts telling them they need to go to bed.

“Yet there is a spot” 

“Out, damned spot! Out I say! – One; two; why, then’t is time to do’t – Hell is murky. … Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?”

“More she needs the divine than the physician…”

“To bed, to bed: there is a knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone.”


scene two:

News of Malcom and Macduff coming to defeat Macbeth has spread. Mentieth, Angus, Caithness and Lennox talk about this. They all agree that Macbeth has killed Duncan and Banquo.


scene three: 

Macbeth has taken on a new role. He is now portraying himself as confident and unworried, he believes that what the witches told him; that no man thats born of woman shall e’er have power upon him and he has nothing to worry until Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane. Macbeth’s servent comes to explain what is going on with the english army coming, but Macbeth makes fun of his enemy and says to the servent that he does not want to hear anymore. Soon after Macbeth orders in Seyton and then asks him what is going on outside.

Act 4 Scene Summaries

Act 4

scene one: 

At the start of this scene the three witches are in a dark cave making a potion with disturbing ingredients such as ‘sow’s blood, that hath eaten her nine farrow’. This is also where the witches say the iconic line ‘double, double, toil and trouble ‘.  Hecate, the chief witch appears for the first time. When Macbeth comes and demands more information Hecate gives the information in the form of three apparitions. The first apparition is and armed head, the second a bloody child and the third, a child crowned with a tree in his hand. The apparitions say that Macbeth should be weary of Macduff but they also say no person could harm him and he has no worries until trees walk. Finally, Lenox arrives and is asked by Macbeth if he saw the ‘weird sisters’. Lenox says he didn’t then tells Macbeth of the news, Macduff has fled to England, confirming what the witches said.

“Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware of Macduff; beware of Thane of Fife. – Dismiss me. – Enough. “

“Be bloody, bold and resolute: laugh to scorn the power of a man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth”

“Be lion-mettled, proud and take no care who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him. “


scene two: 

This scene is a discussion between Lady Macduff and her son. She is telling him Macduff is a liar and a traitor, and that he has been put to death. The son does not believe his mother. He doubts because Lady Macduff is not sad. He is right to think this because Macduff is not dead, only dead to her. 

“If he were dead, you’ld weep for him: if you would not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father”