In Looking for Richard by Al Pacino, how does Pacino represent the concept of free will in our modern society?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One way in which Pacino represents free will in our modern society is in how there is no definite answers offered.  Pacino, as both filmmaker and actor, is clear in that "Looking for Richard" is about the struggle for identity.  It is an elusive struggle that lies far from absolutism and dogmatism:  "'You know, in the area of acting, it's going to be interesting if I talk about it, because I try not to...I don't even talk about it with myself. I just can say that I try to free my unconscious to work. You see a little bit of that style in 'Looking for Richard."  Pacino does not offer any clear answers.  True to the title, he is "looking."  This is evident in how he turns to other actors for insight.  This represents free will in a couple of ways.  The first is that it represents modern freedom.  There is only the search and the ability to act as an agent of action. There is little else in terms of clear definition.  Another way this represents free will is that Pacino does not put his own answers to the issue of artistic identity.  He does not seek to provide direct and simplistic answers.  Pacino is not the source of all knowledge.  Rather, he sojourns.  He is "looking."  This represents free will in our modern society in showing how the journey might be more important than the end result.  

The process by which freedom is understood is more a search, a quest, than anything in a fixed or absolute condition of being.  When Pacino asserts that the spirit of acting, or art, in general, "just lives in you," it is clear that he is speaking of free will in the modern setting.  Free will is not absolute and is not fixed.  It is fluid and dynamic, and reflective of a search for identity and the questions of being in the world.

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