For today’s Overanalysis, I’m using a movie that might be obscure to many of my readers. The film is called One Night with the King and retells the biblical story of Esther, Queen of Persia as she attempts to save her people from genocide. While its overall quality varies, the movie features several performances by great actors, including John Rhys-Davies, John Noble, Omar Sharif, and a brief cameo by Peter O’Toole. It’s not the best movie ever made, but I’m definitely glad I saw it.
However, I wonder just how intentional the filmmakers were in pushing the Nazi imagery, because it’s blatantly obvious. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Haman, the main antagonist, is the movie’s equivalent of Hitler.
Think about it . . .
Let’s get the obvious part out of the way first. Both Haman and Hitler want to exterminate Jews. That much is clear, and neither is surprising if you know both their stories. But that’s hardly conclusive proof of the correlation between the two. Fortunately, there’s more evidence. In the movie, Haman wears a special mark that his mother had made for him to remind him of his quest for vengeance. Take a close look, and you’ll see a snake wrapped around a spiked piece of metal that looks an awful lot like a swastika. It has four arms arranged like an X, each bent in the middle at a right angle. If the endings were squared off instead of spiked, it would be an exact replica of the Nazi symbol.
But that’s not all. At one point, Esther discovers Haman speaking to his followers. Everyone is dressed in black, the arena is lit by torches, and several people are holding red banners. While watching this scene, I kept expecting to see a bonfire of books or a “Heil Hitler” at any moment. And up on a raised platform in front of everyone, Haman paces back and forth. He often gestures ferociously and shouts his messages at the top of his voice. And he constantly makes speeches about the evils of Judaism and of Greek democracy. He denounces the idea that “all men are created equal,” asking, “Are you equal to a slave?” to the outraged cries of his audience. Thus, not only is he preaching Jewish destruction, but also Persian superiority. It may be a bit of a jump from Persian to Aryan, but the comparison is more than justified.
Is this correlation accidental or a mere literary ploy? Probably not. “History repeats itself,” as the old saying goes. While the swastika might be pushing it, these two men are most likely much more alike than we might think at first.