Role Reversal In The Planet of the Apes Shows Our True Side
The Planet of the Apes is a satirical look at human society. This series, through role reversal, shows the prejudice nature and discriminatory practices of humans by allowing only orangutans to hold positions of power, by having the other apes believe that all gorillas are war-like and stupid and by bringing to our attention that few chimpanzees earn positions of respect.
Throughout the film The Planet of the Apes, orangutans are portrayed as the undisputed leaders of the apes. They are shown to occupy all the positions of power in the ape society. The three judges at the trial of Taylor were orangutans and all were leaders of their respective fields. Dr. Zauis holds the position of Minister of Science, one in the most powerful occupations. His power is shown at the trial of Taylor when his word is taken over the evidence presented by Cornelius. This practice of having one race hold positions of power in a society is reminiscent of our past where white males dominated the western world. This practice is very discriminatory towards the races that are not deemed worthy to hold such occupations.
In the series, many references are made to the war-like tendencies and general stupidity of the gorillas. Zira was positively disgusted when she was compared to a gorilla in Escape From the Planet of the Apes. She felt all gorillas were beneath her and did not like being associated with them. This line of thinking reflects the attitude that one race is superior to another.
In the first film of The Planet of the Apes series, Zira discusses her fortune at being able to work with Dr. Zauis because it was very rare that he would hire a chimpanzee. At first, she did not want to challenge him because she was very proud that she was able to earn her position despite her race. In our society, the practice of not hiring minorities was so common, it was finally addressed by Affirmative Action.
The Planet of the Apes series used role reversal to show how humans are prejudice and discriminatory. This series showed that these practices are built into are society. The apes, just like humans, felt they were very advanced but when you looked closely you could see that they could not even treat each other with respect.