by Thea von Harbou
In the great future city of Metropolis, the ruling class and the working class are sharply divided. The privileged live in towering skyscrapers and fill their lives with play, while the workers toil in the machines below for ten-hour shifts each day. Freder, the privileged son of the Master of Metropolis, lives a carefree but meaningless existence until Maria appears, and he learns the meaning of injustice and vows to do something about it by becoming a mediator between the rulers and the workers. But his father, Joh Fredersen, sees Maria’s dangerous ideas as a threat and enlists his old rival, the brilliant and eccentric scientist Rotwang, to devise a solution. He will build a female robot and give it Maria’s appearance and voice, then use it to influence the workmen to riot, allowing the Master of Metropolis to destroy Maria’s reputation and establish even more control over the working class. But even the Master of Metropolis has not reckoned with the power of love. Can Freder save Maria and stop these plots in time, or is Metropolis doomed?
Author’s note: This book is not of today or of the future. It tells of no place. It serves no cause, party or class. It has a moral which grows on the pillar of understanding: “The mediator between brain and muscle must be the Heart.”
Editor’s note: This novel has been edited with modern punctuation in mind, and italics have been added throughout for emphasis. A few small edits for clarity have also been made. The chapters have all been given new titles that were not originally present. Otherwise, the text is complete and based upon the English translation of the original novel, which can be found at Archive.org. We hope you enjoy this classic novel’s vision of the future.
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