Man in the Iron Mask (1998): Moon Scene

the man in the iron mask

Spoiler alert: don’t read this unless you’ve already seen the film.

This is about the scene where Philippe (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) is looking at the moon as he decides to take part in the 3 musketeers’ plot to overthrow King Louis (also played by Leo). Philippe and Louis are identical twins, separated at birth. Philippe had been locked away in the dungeons with a metal mask on his face while his twin brother got to rule the royal court.

This scene is brilliant because it creates a figurative speech out of the relationship between the twin brothers. As you might know, King Louis XIV is known as The Sun King. One brother is the sun (Louis) because he is king in broad daylight. The other brother (Philippe) is the moon because he is king “at night.” Night connotes darkness, mystery, secrets…the unknown. Philippe is the unknown king.

You were probably pissed that I put the masked Leo at the top. This picture is your reward for reading the blog entry.
Another beautiful idea that can be gleaned from this scene is that Philippe reflects his twin brother. Duh, they’re twins. Yeah, but the scene says it beautifully because science tells us that the moon reflects the light of the sun. Like the moon, Philippe is a reflection of “light” from Louis. He had to pretend to be Louis by displaying the same mannerisms. At the same time, Philippe also lives in the shadow of his brother.

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