While having a discussion about why David cried in that scene I had mentioned it was just like when Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) had to shoot Gasim for what he had done. He had to execute his friend to preserve peace and eliminate any possible revenge that could happen if Bedouin had carried it out themselves.
David and Lawrence both understood that to create a new world there needed to be sacrifices made, the old world of cruelty and indifference destroyed – @muthur9000
That was a key moment when Lawrence had to shoot Gasim… and admitted afterwards that he ‘enjoyed’ it, which horrified him. It revealed so much about him, below the pragmatic surface.
I found this quote that expresses some of the common themes between that execution and what David does:
“In the film, Lawrence’s godlike power to give Gasim life is soon mirrored by the godlike power to deprive it.” Lawrence’s description of his experience, and the almost-botched, bloody execution, implies the trauma that could be occurring in David. But even though it’s traumatic, it’s necessary. To clear the way to use this world, and be safe in it, and indirectly punish the Engineers for creating humans in the first place and being inferior gods who tried to destroy David himself. – Executed today 1917: Gasim, by Lawrence of Arabia
Ripley: Ash, can you hear me? [slams her hands down on the table]
Ash: [awakens and starts speaking in an electronic and distorted voice] Yes, I can hear you.
Ripley: What was your special order?
Ash: You read it. I thought it was clear.
Ripley: What was it?
Ash: Bring back life form. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded.
Parker: The damn company. What about our lives, you son of a bitch?
Ash: I repeat, all other priorities are rescinded.
Ripley: How do we kill it, Ash? There’s gotta be a way of killing it. How? How do we do it?
Ash: You can’t.
Parker: That’s bullshit.
Ash: You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
Lambert: You admire it.
Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
Parker: Look, I am… I’ve heard enough of this, and I’m asking you to pull the plug. [Ripley goes to disconnect Ash, who interrupts]
Ash: Last word.
Ash: I can’t lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies.
The admiration Ash has for the Xenomorph is the same that David has for his romantic hero T.E Lawrence.
In the beginning, Lawrence was an island, out of place in the army because he was an educated man. People did not see him as their equal, much like David. His intelligence set him apart from the rest and they often mocked him for showing it off.
“You know, Burke, I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.” – Lt Ellen Ripley, Aliens 1986
Both had to prove their worth by travelling through the desert, and through those trials and tribulations, their beliefs were challenged. In the beginning, Lawrence denounces the murder of his guide and boldly says he would not be friends with a killer, by the end of the movie he was responsible for more than one death directly and lead an army to slaughter many in the name of revenge, doesn’t that sound familiar?
David’s revenge against the Engineers and his judgement of them leaves a trail of destruction. As does his reverse engineered creation, the Xenomorph (I have drawn similarities to in my analysis of the Punishment of Thieves – The Crossing Part VI ). The Xenomorph lifecycle makes a killer out of their friends, the unwitting host. An alien emerges from their comrades and consumes them with violent delight.
David and Lawrence are altered by their experience and observation of mankind and ultimately both of them viewed the human race and as greedy, violent and cruel, just as the Gods did in Das Rheingold.
Lawrence and David are survivors who are unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality. They kill their friend and guide, they kill their adoptive ‘children’, they go against any morals to achieve their ultimate goal and will stop at nothing to get the task done.
But for Lawrence his suffering is palpable, he sheds more than a solitary tear when he has to do these awful things, and in all of it, he thinks he is doing the right thing by the Arab people. David, in this case, is different, although we learn he can indeed feel it’s a credit of his programming in which Sir Peter Weyland has allowed him free will, his agency becomes the driving force in his journey from created to the creator. He is aware that he has done unimaginably cruel things, although showing emotion he lacks a soul, a conscience by which a man could judge himself. He is aware that he is doing bad things but like Lawrence, he sees it as a necessity.
David becomes like the Xenomorph and Lawrence, a survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality. Because what they admire, they are also themselves.
Giger’s alien was a reflection of humanity’s darkness, the pure, primordial desires and impulses buried within the deepest pits of our inner selves. Looking at the harsh realities of war, we can see how easily humans succumb to their primal instincts. In the havoc and mayhem, we become animals, predators.
Throughout human history there have been countless travesties, many of them laced with a blatant disregard for human life, with destruction, pillaging, and violent rape, even necrophilia. The xenomorph is an animal, lacking the sentience to understand the destruction it causes.
We, as members of the human race, don’t have that excuse. We do have a conscience, we make judgements on morality. Yet we have committed the same heinous acts as the xenomorph— to each other, billions of times over. If we call the alien a monster because it does not have a choice in how it acts, does that mean that we are more loathsome than it because we understand the choices we make? – Father of the Alien Xenomorph
In Greek mythology, the TitanPrometheus had a reputation for being something of a clever trickster and he famously gave the human race the gift of fire and the skill of metalwork, an action for which he was punished by Zeus, who ensured every day that an eagle ate the liver of the Titan as he was helplessly chained to a rock.
In Prometheus 2012 we can see many references to the black Ooze being like fire, the references in Lawrence of Arabia and David in Prometheus gives us that link. As well as the Peter Weyland TED Talk where he also speaks about the Prometheus Myth. In the Mission Ready clip, the Weyland Employee also talks of the Prometheus Mission as Weyland’s gift to mankind.
Prometheus (Forethought) was one of the ringleaders of the battle between the Titans and the Olympian gods led by Zeus to gain control of the heavens, a struggle which was said to have lasted ten years. Prometheus did, however, switch sides and support the victorious Olympians when the Titans would not follow his advice to use trickery in the battle.
I have also drawn parallels between Weyland and Prometheus here.
David was stranded on Planet 4 for 10 years and in that time he had used the Black Ooze to refine his creation. He switched sides from Elizabeth Shaw to destroy the engineers and pursued his own cause in creating the Xenomorph. Just as Prometheus created man.
According to Hesiod’s Theogony, Prometheus’ father was Iapetus, his mother was Clymene (or Themis in other versions) and his brothers were fellow Titans Epimetheus (Afterthought or Hindsight), Menoetius, and Atlas. One of Prometheus’ sons was Deucalion, an equivalent of Noah, who survived a great flood by sailing in a great chest for nine days and nights and who, with his wife Pyrrha, became the founder of the human race.
Deucalion is interesting because he was a Noah like figure, just like Walter was. Bringing the USCSS Covenant/Ark to Origae-6, but now David has taken his place he is representative of Deucalion.
In some traditions, Prometheus made the first man from clay, whilst in others, the gods made all creatures on Earth, and Epimetheus and Prometheus were given the task of endowing them with gifts so that they might survive and prosper. Epimetheus liberally spread around such gifts as fur and wings but by the time he got around to man, he had run out of gifts. Feeling sorry for man’s weak and naked state, Prometheus raided the workshop of Hephaistos and Athena on Mt. Olympus and stole fire, and by hiding it in a hollow fennel-stalk, he gave the valuable gift to man which would help him in life’s struggle. The Titan also taught man how to use their gift and so the skill of metalwork began; he also came to be associated with science and culture.
David is just like Prometheus because he is a scientist(mad scientist counts right?) and he is very cultured in the way he composes music, recites poetry and illustrates. And Walter is like Epimetheus.
PROMETHEUS RAIDED THE WORKSHOP OF HEPHAISTOS AND ATHENA ON MT. OLYMPUS AND STOLE FIRE; HE THEN GAVE THE VALUABLE GIFT TO MANKIND.
In a slightly different version of the story, mankind already had the fire, and when Prometheus tried to trick Zeus into eating bones and fat instead of the best meat during a meal at Mt. Olympus, Zeus, in anger, took away fire so that man would have to eat his
meat raw. Prometheus then stole the fire as in the alternative version. This also explained why, in animal sacrifices, the Greeks always dedicated the bones and fat to the gods and ate the meat themselves.
David sacrifices his love Elizabeth to create the xenomorph. And Planet 4 is a rotting Paradise filled with things that smell of rotting flesh.
Zeus was outraged by Prometheus’ theft of fire and so punished the Titan by having him taken far to the east, perhaps the Caucasus. Here Prometheus was chained to a rock (or pillar) and Zeus sent an eagle to eat the Titan’s liver. Even worse, the liver re-grew every night and the eagle returned each day to perpetually torment Prometheus.
The lifecycle of the Xenomorph could be symbolic of this, after being impregnated by the Facehugger or the motes will have a Chestburster or deacon eviscerate the host on escaping.