Michael Z. Williamson
  • What Is The Meaning Of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"?

    Guest post by Denys Lalande.

    Esp. since the release of the film _Bohemian Rhapsody_, people keep asking "So what is that song actually about?"

    It's actually about Adolf Hitler in his bunker, as he's committing suicide.

    "Is this the real life/ Is this just fantasy," refers to Adolf's inability to acknowledge until it was too late, "I have lost."

    "Caught in a landslide/ no escape from reality," refers to the superior numbers of Allied and Soviet forces descending on him.

    Adolf was born into relative poverty -- "I'm just a poor boy"; and he spent most of his early life as a "drifter" -- "'cause I'm easy-come, easy-go," and "any way the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me." He was also probably manic-depressive -- "little high, little low."

    "Mama, just killed a man/ Put a gun against his head/ Pulled my trigger, now he's dead" -- Adolf killed himself with a pistol shot to the head (with a cyanide chaser). "Life has just begun," for him as ruler of all Europe in 1940, "but now I've gone and thrown it all away" through a series of Poor Military Choices. "If I'm not back again this time tomorrow, carry on[...] as if nothing really matters," and "gotta leave you all behind and face the truth," refers to Adolf's narcissistic views of Germany without him: Once he dies, it doesn't matter what happens to Germany (the "truth" here being the reality of losing the war).

    (The repeated references to Mama -- Adolf adored his mother, and despised his abusive father.)

    "Shivers down my spine/ Body's aching all the time," refers to the palsy and other physical maladies he'd developed over the course of the war, esp. after the July 20 assassination attempt. "I don't want to die/ I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all," reflects his dismay at being tarred a Loser and a Monster, rather than one of the Great Men Of History.

    The reference to "Scaramouche" (the "little skirmisher") and "silhouette of a man" refer to the Resistance and Partisan fighters which sucked away so much of his military strength at the front lines; while "Thunderbolts and Lightning" refer to USAAF escort fighters being able to escort bombers all the way to and from targets -- a fact Goring, for one, explicitly stated as being a sign Germany was doomed. "Galileo," being a scientist, is an acknowledgement of the Nazis' failure to use Actual Science, as such was deemed "too Jewish"; while "Figaro's" inventiveness in The Barber Of Seville mirrors the Allies' ability to adapt to changing circumstances, while the Germans were the worst kind of Hidebound Traditionalists.

    Adolf knows the Allies will show him no mercy ("No, we will not let you go"), and will execute him if they catch him ("Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me"); begging for his life will do no good ("Spare him his life..."). Defiant to the last ("So you think you can stone me..."), he chooses suicide over being taken alive ("Just gotta get right out of here"), with a final "who cares" being directed at his would-be judges ("Nothing really matters to me").

    So now you know.