The religious connotations of the song are shown a lot through the costumes of the characters. In the first few shots it shows a biker gang driving down a road and the names of Jesus’ disciples are written on thebacks of the jackets. This is almost comparing Jesus and his disciples to a ‘gang’, which is done to create controversy. The leader of the gang is wearing a crown of thorns – this suggests that he is Jesus. Lady Gaga plays the part of Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus’ most celebrated disciples,throughout the video. At the beginning of the video Lady Gaga is sat on the back of Jesus’motorbike, who represents good, however as the video goes on she is being tempted by Judas, who represents evil.
The first screen shot shows Lady Gaga pushing Judas away from her and holding onto Jesus, showing that she is resisting temptation.In the second two screen shots there is a riot scene in which Judas starts a fight. In this scene Jesus saves Lady Gaga from the crowd and she follows him.
As the video goes on, Lady Gaga begins sinning by falling for Judas. She points a gun at him but the onlything which protrudes from it is a harmless lipstick, which is ironic as guns are weapons which are made to kill and destroy. This shows that although she is trying to resist temptation she cannot bring herself to harm/destroy her love for Judas. The next scene shows Lady Gaga sat in a bath tub between Jesus (who represents good) and Judas (who represents evil) as she is choosing which side she will serve. Later in the video she chooses Jesus and he forgives her. However, because she has sinned by falling for Judas she stands in her white dress while being stoned to death. This connotes that even if one shows remorse for their sins, it does not mean that ones actions will not result in consequences.
Throughout the video low key lighting has been used to portray the dark meaning of the song, which is about good vs evil. In this video Judas is portrayed as being evil and a rebel, and in the Bible he is a traitor. Lady Gaga could have used Judas as a metaphor to represent someone who betrayed her or an ex-lover.
This video conforms to Andrew Goodwin’s theory as Lady Gaga has used many inter-textual references about religion in this video to create controversy, for example, the crown of thorns which Jesus is wearing. The video also illustrates the lyrics of the song as they both have religious connotations. Other inter-textual references include Madonna’s famously controversial ‘Like a Prayer’video and ‘Alejandro’ which is a previous Lady Gaga video. Both of these videos have manyreligious connotations and have used religion to cause controversy and therefore get more interest in the video.
Again this video conforms to Andrew Goodwin’s theory as Lady Gaga is frequentlyobjectified due to the skimpy costumes which she is wearing throughout most of the video. This also links to the theme of voyeurism, as Lady Gaga is being seen as sexual object. According to Andrew Goodwin’s theory, music videos must contain close ups of the performer and the main subjects in the video. Lady Gaga is dressed in very unusual costumes with extreme make-up, which is part of her unique iconography and makes her image recognisable.