Power and Control Picture

Inspired by the legend of Damocles:

"The Damocles of the anecdote was an obsequious courtier in the court of Dionysius II of Syracuse, a fourth century BC tyrant of Syracuse. Damocles exclaimed that, as a great man of power and authority, Dionysius was truly fortunate. Dionysius offered to switch places with him for a day, so he could taste first hand that fortune. In the evening a banquet was held where Damocles very much enjoyed being waited upon like a king. Only at the end of the meal did he look up and notice a sharpened sword hanging directly above his head by a single horse-hair. Immediately, he lost all taste for the fine foods and beautiful girls and asked leave of the tyrant, saying he no longer wanted to be so fortunate."

Bernhardt is no king, but he does live his life in a way so that nothing exerts any sort of real power over him. He doesn't hate the Jews and other "undesirables" he kills for the Nazis (he believes hatred is a weakness because others allow their lives to be changed by those they hate), he doesn't drink to excess, he doesn't put himself in any situation where he isn't in complete control. The only time that control he exerts over himself lapses is when he's killing someone. And while he enjoys the act of killing and while that is the only time he feels normal, he often regrets the loss of control.

Ultimately, it is Bernhardt's thirst for power and control that leads to his own undoing as he becomes overly paranoid and defensive of his position that has allowed him to live a life in which he feels comfortable.

I also included the stained glass imagery because even though Bernhardt clearly smacks the "thou shalt not kill" commandment in the face, he was raised Catholic and still holds to that religion in some ways. He explores and often embraces other religions and mythologies, but he has a certain longing for the religion he grew up in that does not allow him to throw it aside despite knowing he can never truly follow it.

Finally, the color scheme was chosen for two reasons. One is that greens and yellows, when combined, are sickly looking and are known to make the viewer highly uncomfortable, which is what I imagine Bernhardt would do. The colors also resemble what it looks like underwater looking up. Due to an incidence in his childhood, Bernhardt's only fear is of drowning. The colors are meant to look like he is drowning -- drowning under the weight of his own desire for self-control and power.

Why do I always write so much about Bernhardt???

Silver Wings and all its characters and concepts, including Lukas Bernhardt, (c) me.
Continue Reading: Places