Schindler’s List

A character analysis of Oskar Schindler


The first time I had ever watched “Schindler’s List” was two years ago. The first impression I had of the movie was that it was a masterpiece. But why? Initially, I thought it was the plot. World War II had always interested me and Oskar Schindler’s story was so powerful. Although the plot is still engaging, I found another subtle reason that made the film superb: Oskar Schindler himself.

In the first five to ten minutes of the film, I could instantly understand that Schindler was observant, smart, and charismatic. Most of all he was set apart, both physically and mentally from everyone else.

Schindler is physically a large man that towers over everyone else in a room. Amon (Nazi officer) mentions in the film hat Schindler never loses control when he drinks. The protagonist of the story can be seen partying like everyone else, but yet feels different than all the other Nazi party members in the room.

Schindler’s main motivation at the beginning of the film is one thing: money. As violent events continue to make the Jewish people suffer, Schindler’s motivation changes. He wants to save people’s lives.

The turning point can be noticed when a woman calls his factory a haven and pleads with him to save her parents. After this event Schindler tries to convince the Nazi Amon to pardon Jews, he gives water to the Jews being crammed into train cars, relocates his factory entirely, and most notably creates a list to save more than a thousand Jews. To accomplish his mission, obstacles are constantly thrown at Schindler as bureaucracy gets in the way and Jews get constantly moved or killed.

Schindler’s self-revelation comes at the end of the war before he has to flee in his car. Breaking down in tears the stoic man the audience has watched for almost three hours claims that he could have saved more people, just one more. The viewers see over time how Schindler has come from greedy to selfless.

Schindler himself does not take center stage the whole film, indeed the Jewish people do, but his journey secures the lives of Jewish people who might otherwise be lost to the world.

Other characters like the Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern and Nazi officer Amon Goeth feel almost as compelling. However, the film is called Schindler’s List for a reason.



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