Character Analysis: David 8

Why did David cry while destroying the engineers?

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


Originally posted by leofromthedark


Originally posted by leofromthedark

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


Originally posted by maeden

Fire in Lawrence of Arabia, Prometheus & Alien: Covenant

“T.E. Lawrence, eponymously of Arabia, but very much an Englishman, favoured pinching a burning match between his fingers to put it out. When asked by his colleague, William Potter, to reveal his trick — how is it he so effectively extinguished the flame without hurting himself whatsoever — Lawrence just smiled and said, “The trick, Potter, is not minding it hurts.”

The fire that danced at the end of that match was a gift from the Titan, Prometheus, a gift that he stole from the gods. When Prometheus was caught and brought to justice for his theft, the gods, well, you might say they overreacted a little. The poor man was tied to a rock as an eagle ripped through his belly and ate his liver over and over, day after day, ad infinitum. All because he gave us fire, our first true piece of technology: Fire.” – Sir Peter Weyland, TED TALK 2023

The idolisation of T.E.Lawrence was first Sir Peter Weyland’s, dubbing his spaceship the Prometheus. He had hoped to steal the Engineer’s technology to benefit mankind, or that’s what he had told his investors and the world.

We know his journey was, in fact, a last-ditch hope to extend his life. The Last Engineer thought he was unworthy of such a gift, as a result, his creation David became the vehicle of his destruction.


Gif Originally posted by theplaylistfilm

Similarly, T.E.Lawrence owed his power to the Military and the Bedouin. In the beginning of Lawrence of Arabia, he demonstrates with ease his trick of snuffing out a single match, exclaiming “The trick William Potter is not minding that it hurts.”


Gif Originally posted by elviscostello

David’s journey paralleling Lawrence’s’ as he holds his version of fire in the form of the Chemical A03959x.91-15 also known as the Black Ooze. Looking at the liquid glistening and dancing at the end of his fingertips while exclaiming “Big things have small beginnings.”


David, using this fire, this power is stolen from the Gods, using it he goes on a crusade to become a creator. Both Lawrence and David away from their respective creators dare to use the power which doesn’t belong to them and at first, it is manageable, like the pathogen in Holloway’s drink or the fire which Lawrence warms himself by as he talks to Prince Feisal.



Gif Originally posted by filmforfancy

But as they both travel through their respective deserts, both David and Lawrence are surrounded by fire. Symbolic of the power they wield, it is ever present like the Black Ooze for David, in the form of the canisters or present in the form of his creations.


The fire grows as the film progresses, like the fire, his creations are easily controlled initially, as we saw after the Chestburster errupted from Oram.


Originally posted by wouldyoukindlymakeusername


And just like Lawrence he is destined to be undone from the very thing he created, Lawrence loses control of the Bedouin as they start a fire in the city, and David’s visage in the screen is attacked by the Xenomorph.


Originally posted by sonjackcarl

To preserve the peace Lawrence has to shoot his friend Gasim to prevent the Bedouin from taking revenge into their own hands. His sacrifice to create an Arab state breaks him but he still carries on, he knows that to handle fire he has to not mind that it hurts.

But David, similarly has to sacrifice Elizabeth Shaw to create the Perfect Organism. Not minding that it hurts, he knows “Sometimes to create you must destroy.”


Originally posted by saintalia

And this all comes at a cost to Lawrence, he is only a man and has a soul. Has a conscience. He cannot mind that it hurts and eventually it erodes him. Exclaiming he only wants his fair share of common human decency, he cannot go on. But he does.


Originally posted by dying-suffering-french-stalkers


Originally posted by designscene

The lonely perfection of David’s dreams is like in Lawrence’s, in that he is a man who can dream with his eyes open and make them a reality.

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom


Ash and David, beguiled by purity

Ripley: Ash, can you hear me? [slams her hands down on the table]

Ripley: Ash?

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.

Ripley: What?

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.


Originally posted by e-ripley

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