Essay: Master and Commander

Pages: 2 (622 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World  ·  Buy This Paper

Master & Commander

Peter Weir's Master and Commander was surprisingly riveting, complex, and historically accurate. In spite of a few liberties the writers take, Master and Commander seems a solid entertaining adjunct to historical scholarship. One of the reasons why Master and Commander seems realistic is its inclusion of sub-plots that are unrelated to the Napoleonic wars: exploration of the Galapagos Islands, for example. The budding popularity of scientific inquiry during the Age of Enlightenment was contemporary with the Age of Imperialism and Colonialism. Master and Commander fleshes out the thorny ties between France and Great Britain, as well as between European nations and their colonies. The film brings to life the sharp conflicts that were taking place as nationalism became a theme in European history and politics. Democratic ideals and humanitarianism were beginning to replace monarchy and absolutism until the crises that France sustained during the Napoleonic Wars and the Reign of Terror. Master and Commander is a satisfying historical war drama, one that includes references to Enlightenment ideals, scientific exploration, and European imperialism.

Focusing on fictitious characters allows viewers to relate to life during the early nineteenth century. Through the eyes of Captain Aubrey, we can fathom the universal themes that transcend historical epoch, culture, and geography. The desire to explore new terrain and visit the "far side of the world" remains a poignant desire in the human consciousness. Even if Master and Commander dramatizes and glamorizes exploration the fundamental principles of science and expansion of human knowledge remain constant. Weir and his fellow screenplay writers seem to appreciate historical context, including minute details that can be later verified as facts and especially names and dates. Therefore, as a historical movie Master and Commander succeeds.

I would have appreciated more explicit references to the effects of Napoleonic doctrine on Europe and the colonies. However, the film captures more than… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Essay:

APA Format

Master and Commander.  (2008, October 13).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Master and Commander."  13 October 2008.  Web.  19 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Master and Commander."  October 13, 2008.  Accessed July 19, 2019.