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In the deeper layers of the modern consciousness all means are unlawful every attempt to succeed is an act of aggression leaving one alone and guilty and defenseless among enemies one is punished for success Robert Warshow This is a quote from the famous essay The Gangster as Tragic Hero a classic example of film criticism and cultural analysis The essay was published for the first time in 1962 in Robert Warshows book The Immediate Experience In it the author examines some of the generally accepted conventions that most gangster movies follow and draws conclusions from them about the reasons and the way this genre appeals to the audience The quote represents one of the main ideas of Warshows argument - it shows the attitude of the mass public towards success According to Warshow we need to be able to acquiesce in our failure He says that we have one intolerable dilemma failure is kind of death and success is evil and dangerous is - ultimately - impossible and the resolution of this dilemma by the gangsters death makes us feel safe He also argues that the gangster is doomed because he is under the obligation to succeed and claims that he is what we want to be and what we are afraid we may become The author gives us the reasons for the inevitable failure of the gangster These are the very conditions of success He states that success is established by imposing the individual on the others by drawing himself out of the crowd And what dies is not some anonymous man but the individual with a name the gangster the success The gangster is doomed for his attempt to be something more to be above the others above the crowd But the general public is the crowd Most of us are ordinary people with everyday lives We all dream of being successful but in most cases we are not And thats
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