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An examination of gender, religion,

and other issues

in one of SciFi's most famous films

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The Significance of Names










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Joh (John), Freder's father - The name John is significantly religious. John was one of Jesus' Disciples in the Bible and is also the name of several Popes thoughout the ages. Freder's father also shares his name with John the Baptist, who was responsible for baptizing people in preparation for Jesus' ministry. Though Joh was not a precursor to Freder in the sense that he prepared his son's way, he did set up the society that needed to be changed and gave his son the opportunity to do so by providing him with everything he needed, including connections, to get the job done.



Freder, the hero - It is believed that this name could be derived from 'Frederick,' meaning 'peaceful ruler.' The Freder in the film does act as a peaceful ruler who works to bring the two Metropolis societies together in order to achieve harmony. Another notable person with this name is Frederick Douglass, a slave who escaped and became an advocate for the abolition of slavery. Freder relates to him closely, because Freder was a 'slave' to his desires and the Upper city's pleasures, who became the voice of the oppressed after witnessing the cruelty of the life of the workers.



Maria, the heroine - Maria is most recognizably one form of the name Mary, the mother of Christ. With Freder likened to a Christ figure, Maria acts as his mother by revealing to him the brutality of the Lower city and guiding him to advocate for change in the upper city. There are several theories as to the etymology of the name 'Mary,' one being a word that means 'rebelliousness' which certainly describes Maria's ideas about how the workers should be treated; another meaning is 'beloved,' reflecting her attachment to Freder.



Joshaphat, Freder's mentor - This name could be derived from three possible sources. The first is the Biblical name 'Jehoshaphat,' meaning 'Yahweh has judged.' The second, closer relation to our Josaphat is another derivation of the first name, Jozafat. This man was a saint and martyr who died in the 17th centurty trying to bring the Eastern and Catholic churches back together. The third meaning could be that this name is related to 'Joseph,' the earthly father of Christ. The last two meanings in particular are easily interpreted in the movie. Josaphat acts as Freders mentor after being insulted by Joh and nearly killing himself. Freder comes to Josaphat for advice on how to help the Lower city inhabitants and Josaphat encourages him to do everything he can to protect them.