Prometheus: My Interpretation Of The Metaphors
One of the first things that I heard about this film was that it was a prequel to Alien. And after seeing the trailer I was expecting another film to do with the end of the world. I wasn’t expecting too much and I went into the cinema with an open mind.
After watching the film for the first time I thought it was interesting and it wasn’t until shortly after I had watched it, that I came to see that this film was incredibly deep and full of meaning. So I went to the cinema again and I have come to conclude that this film is a metaphor for trauma; with childhood trauma being the point of focus.
These psychological aspects and metaphors of the film are my personal view and are based on my own interpretation of what these metaphors and psychological aspects are and there meaning. They are in no way the right or only interpretation, they are just my view.
This will mean that I will miss out certain parts and only describe what stood out for me and what I felt was significant. There will also be parts that I don’t understand and that will also be a reason as to why it has not been mentioned. This will also mean that it will not be like a story board and that I won’t be describing the whole
So with the disclaimer of sorts out of the way, let’s begin.
In the beginning of the film we see someone that looks like an extremely muscular human being that has come to earth via a space ship. However, what is not clear is if this is actually what is classed as a male on our planet. And shortly after the beings arrival the ship soon disappears. It is at this point that the being begins to drink some kind of liquid.
This liquid then begins to destroy its body and during this process we see Its DNA splitting into two parts; with his body being destroyed in the process. Its DNA then filters into the water system.
And based on the premise of the film, it is here that one is shown who ones creators are. This one moment is meant to show how male and female human beings were created on this planet.
To take a deeper look here, what this is showing us is that this was the beginning of duality. And duality is a product of the mind; it is not something that exists in nature or the universe.
After this we see a group of archaeologists looking in caves in the isle of sky in Scotland. And soon after digging they come across a map in the cave. This map shows alien looking creates pointing towards space ships in the sky.
The focus at this point goes to two people. One is a male called Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) and a female called Elizabeth Shaw (Naomi Rapace). These two people not only have love for archaeology, they are also in a relationship together.
The minds duality of higher and lower and as seeing life as what’s inside and what’s outside is demonstrated here. These are two people who are not looking for the answers within; they are looking for them outside. And the ego mind is extremely capable of projecting inner splits and inner conflicts externally.
The Space Ship
From this point the film jumps to the space ship named Prometheus. And the first person we meet is David (Michael Fassbender). Who at this moment, appears to be human. The rest of the crew are all asleep, and this is due to the journey taking two years to complete.
David is able to listen and watch the dreams of the rest of the crew. And the dream that we see is the one Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) is having.
We see Elizabeth as a child asking her father why her mother had to die and where she had gone. Her father has also died at a young age.
This gives us an extremely deep look into what motivates Elizabeth in her archaeological work and in the pursuit of her creators. In many ways this search for her creators is her inner child’s need to understand what happened to her as a child and why her parents had to die.
Because due to the minds way of seeing life through duality, it means that there is always a creator and a created. This is how the mind sees life; it does not see that these are two sides of the same coin. The heart sees only oneness, but the mind does not.
The planet of their destination is close by and the crew have been woken up. What one begins to understand at this point is that they are on the space ship because they have located where these beings came from and are on their way to try and communicate with them.
Each person on the ship has an area of expertise and the briefing is held by Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). It is also around this time that one finds out hat David (Michael Fassbender) is actually a robot.
Through this early experience of Vickers, we can see that she appears to be somewhat cold and calculated and lacking in empathy. In fact she could just as easily be a robot herself. However, she has emotions and expressions that are primarily classed a ‘negative and a robot is typically neutral in its expression.
It would seem at this point that Vickers has experienced trauma in her life, most likely in her childhood and this has lead to the closing of her heart and therefore this has created a lack of empathy and the ability to be emotionally intelligent.
Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) appears at the briefing via a hologram. The maps have been found in different countries and although the two archaeologists are there to find out why they were created, we soon find out that the financial provider of the mission has a very different purpose. He wants to live forever.
We can’t see at this point what Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) is like, other than he paid for the mission and is no longer alive. The nature of his psychology is hard to understand; all one has to go by is what his daughter is like.
Leaving The Ship
The team leave the ship and enter the structure where they believe their creators are. What they soon find out is that their creators have all been killed. And through the help of a hologram, they are able to partly see how this happened.
Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) takes the head of one of their ‘creators’ and David (Michael Fassbender) takes a long object from inside.
Once they are back on the ship David (Michael Fassbender) offers Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) a drink and he puts a drop of something from the object that he took from inside the structure. However, their relationship up until this point has not been positive. David has been put down and marginalised by Charlie from the very beginning.
So although he is a robot, he is developing and adapting to his environment and as a result of this, he has started to develop emotions. And everything that Charlie has not dealt with and faced within himself; is has been projected onto David (Michael Fassbender) from the beginning. This has lead to David reacting to his projections and in responding to them both internally and externally.
It could be said that even though David (Michael Fassbender) is a robot there was still an intention behind his creation and this original intention may have caused him to have certain idiosyncrasies. Similar to how the intention behind the birth of a child can influence how the child develops and behaves when the child is born.
At this point it is hard to say what this intention may have been, especially as his creator Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) is now dead. The only insight into his character right now is his daughter.
Are You A Robot?
Janek (Idris Elba) asks Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) is she is a robot. This is of course coming from her dark nature. She is not there to make friends and is clearly out for herself.
And after all these experiences with Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) a gradual picture is being created of what her father was probably like.
When they go back into the building, David (Michael Fassbender) goes into another part and finds out that one of their creators is still alive. And while he is there, he watches a re-enactment of a mission that they had planned to complete, that involves the destruction of planet earth.
Back From The Dead
In the following scene we see that Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) is still alive. And that he was put to sleep with the intention that, if the creators were still alive, he would have enough life left to speak to them.
Now is the first time that we get to see Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) interacting with her father. And what we see is that she has a lot of anger and rage towards her father. But as well as this, we see her get down on her knee and kiss her father’s hand. And as she does this he clenches his fist.
We are being shown many things here. It is clear that she was abused by her father in some way and how she feels towards him shows she wasn’t given what she needed from him as a child. This doesn’t seem to bother him and he shows no understanding to Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). He is also very cold and appears to be lacking empathy himself.
However, even though she feels this way towards her father she still kisses him on the hand. This seems like not only dysfunctional, but also very strange, why would she express such anger on one side and yet still submit to this man by kissing his hand?
This is the result of Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) regressing to her inner child and the
child she once was. So even though she feels all these emotions, she is still indentifying with the original fear that she had of her father. And because she is not aware of this, she is still reacting to her father and to the feelings that she felt all those years ago.
David And Elizabeth
Before they head back into the building again, David (Michael Fassbender) says to Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) ‘But doesn't everyone want to kill their parents?’
Now, this is a loaded statement and as David is a robot one could assume that he doesn’t feel anything towards his creators. But as we have seen from the behaviour of his creator Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), it wouldn’t be surprising if the reasons and intentions behind his creation were for the wrong reasons. And as a result of this he is projecting the rage and anger he feels onto other people.
He has also been exposed to the relationship between Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) and Meredith
Vickers (Charlize Theron). And so it is likely that he has very little experience of relationships between parents and children that are made of love and not control and abuse.
And this statement is the consequence of how abusive parents make their children feel. But it is largely taboo to reveal these feelings and at the time would lead to the rejection of the parents and so they have to be denied and repressed. And in many cases this goes on for not only the whole of one’s childhood, but also for the rest of their adult life.
The Last Journey
They head of to see the last remaining creator; with the intention of finding out why they were created. One they are here, David (Michael Fassbender) communicates with the creator in a different language.
And the question of why were they created is soon asked; With Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) desperate to understand the reasons. This doesn’t go to plan and their creators are soon found out to be anything but friendly.
So what was this all about? I believe that these creators were a projection of how their own parents were. They had regressed to their inner child and from this position they were unconsciously looking for their parent’s reassurance again.
We can see that from Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and from Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) that their childhood wasn’t very functional or loving. And Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) lost her parents when she was very young, leaving her with many unanswered questions in regards to where she was from and why her parents had to die.
These questions didn’t appear to be observed or to be looked at from a different perspective and so they were directly pursued by her mind. And this is a mind that can only see in duality and cannot see any other way. To the mind there is only life and death and beginnings and endings.
Saving Planet Earth
As Soon as Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) gets up and goes back towards the ship, she tells the other crew members that it is going to destroy planet earth and that it needs to be stooped. So Janek (Idris Elba) and the other two pilots fly into the space craft as it is about to leave.
Here we see another duality of life and death and the heroes and the villains. I think these are childhood fears that are being projected and played out again. We have Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) who lost her parents at a young age and this must have felt like the end of the world. And then we have Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) who appeared to have been abused at a young age.
So where as it became the end of the world when Elizabeth Shaw's (Noomi Rapace) parents died, it must have felt like the end of the world whenever Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) were exposed to abusive treatment. And due to these fears being repressed and denied, they become unconscious. This leads to reality being created and perceived through these original experiences.
After the destruction has ended, we are left with only one survivor and that is Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace). This is not much of a surprise; as she seemed to be the one who had the biggest drive to find out where she came from.
She is not alone though, as David (Michael Fassbender) is still alive. The plan is to go to where their creators came from and ask them the questions.
It is easy to see how this journey could go on forever. If Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) was to find out why they were created; then what about who created the creators? And then who was it who created them? These are questions that could go on ad infinitum and without ever getting anywhere.
As this film is classed as a sci-fi and deals with deeper questions like who are we and where did we come from, it is often easy to miss the psychological and metaphorical aspects involved.
From the very beginning of this film we are shown an example of duality; with the male and female aspects. And then the trauma involved with the father/daughter relationship and with the women’s loss of her parents at a young age.
I believe it is the original childhood trauma that these people experienced, that set these people up to look for their creators. And because of their traumatic experiences with their own creators, their caregivers; they ended up creating this experience again.
They were still identified with the child they once were and to their ego mind and this made it impossible for them to see any other way.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.