Critical Theory and Film

As per the directions of the assignment, pick ONE of the literary criticisms from the reading package and show how using the theory helped you to understand your chosen film.  As with the other blogs, the rubric is  /10 for content and /5 for citation format and grammar.  (Don’t even think of citing an in-text quotation improperly at this point in the course!)  Deadline is Saturday 16th at midnight; however, I encourage you to post before Friday if you can.

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~ by Ms. Cox on June 13, 2012.

13 Responses to “Critical Theory and Film”

  1. Kill Bill is a highly stylized, carefully crafted work of art. Tarantino carefully chose colours to match archetypal images. His choice in colours is extremely evident during the confrontation between O-Ren Ishii and The Bride. Mythological criticism can be used to analyze Kill Bill because Quintin Tarantino uses colours to help the viewers understand and predict characters’ actions and states of mind.
    White represents death, terror and the supernatural. These are all things O-Ren Ishii also attempts to embody. Clad all in white, O-Ren Ishii is known for killing anyone who gets in her way and her actions cause people to be terrified of her. She hopes to be seen as better than everyone around her giving her the air of being super natural. Another way to look at O-Ren Ishii’s white clothing is as a symbol of her imminent death and her own terror of battling with The Bride. If this is the case than Tarantino used white to help the viewer to understand O-Ren Ishii’s inner terror and help the viewers predict her death.
    Death, decay, sensation, and hope are all ideas the colour green embodies. The Bride and O-Ren Ishii battle to the death in a garden surrounded by green trees and other plants. O-Ren Ishii comments that “But as last looks go, you could do worse”(Tarantino 2003), which implies that The Bride will never see anywhere else again and will rot and decay in the garden. During the battle both parties are hoping they will win. For The Bride specifically, she hopes to complete this task so she can continue on her mission to kill Bill. The green in the background helps the viewer to understand the hope The Bride has and the inevitable death and decay of the losing opponent.
    O-Ren Ishii and The Bride do not fight under a black sky, instead the sky was tinged with midnight blue during their battle. Tarantino deliberately put midnight blue in the sky because blue represents spiritual purity. Standing under a blue night sky, O-Ren Ishii asked to be forgiven for ridiculing The Bride. The Bride feels it is her right to extract her revenge because of how the Deadly Viper Assassin Squad murdered her, her wedding party and her unborn child. The Bride is attempting to achieve her own spiritual purity while the sky is blue. The blue in the sky gives Tarantino’s audience insight into what The Bride believes is spiritually right.
    Dull or dingy yellow represents caution, decay, sickness and jealously, all ideas The Bride represents or feels. The Bride wears a dingy yellow body suit during her confrontation with O-Ren Ishii. The colour of the body suit cautions O-Ren Ishii and the viewers as to how dangerous The Bride can be. While The Bride is not decaying and she isn’t physically ill she is mentally ill. The Bride has become so obsessed with her mission that she refuses to let anything get in her way and she now lacks any form of self preservation. Lastly, The Bride is jealous of O-Ren Ishii. O-Ren Ishii was able to continue living her life even after she, along with the Deadly Viper Assassin Squad, took everything from The Bride. The Bride’s dingy yellow body suit gives the viewer a better understanding of how she is motivated by jealousy and needs to be handled with caution because of her sickness.
    Black is a predominant colour in the battle scene. Night is falling therefor there are lots of shadows and most of the buildings are silhouettes. Black and darkness represent the mystery of the unknown, death and evil. The acts The Bride and O-Ren Ishii are committing are evil. The Bride in particular has killed dozens of people and is still trying to kill more humans. The black shadows also give a feeling of mystery. The viewer is never sure whether or nor someone will appear in the shadows or what O-Ren Ishii and The Bride are going to do. Both, O-Ren Ishii and The Bride’s swords have black handles. No one knows what the two warriors will do with their swords and when they do fight all the viewer sees is chaos. Neither O-Ren Ishii or The Bride know exactly what their opponent is going to do with their sword which gives the swords an air of mystery. Lastly, The Bride’s sword is described as “an instrument of death”(Tarantino 2003) which plays into the idea that black represents death. The colour black helps Tarantino’s viewers understand when a fight will break out and the severity of The Bride and O-Ren Ishiis’ actions.
    Examining the colours in one specific scene according to mythological criticism sheds a new light on Tarantino’s characters. Archetypal images are “certain images that reoccur in the myths of peoples widely separated in time and place tend to have a common meaning or, more accurately, tend to elicit comparable psychological responses”(Guerin et al. 149). Tarantino uses the meaning behind colours and the association and psychological response attached to them to enhance the viewers’ experience when they watch Kill Bill. For viewers, the colours shed light on The Bride and O-Ren Ishiis’ motives and actions.

  2. Emily Garratt
    ETS 4U1
    Mrs. Cox
    Saturday, June 16th, 2012

    Mythological Criticism in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

    According to the psychologist Carl Jung, mankind possesses a “collective unconscious” that contains archetypes specific to mythological criticism and that is common to all of humanity. Through Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, Quentin Tarentino displays several key premises that support a mythological criticism: significant use of images and colours to help emphasize dramatic scenes, immortality and the mystical submersion into cyclical time and the hero archetype. Quentin Tarentino’s portrayal of his two films allows the critic to creatively criticize the films through a through mythological analysis.
    Tarentino uses specific colours and images to emphasize dramatic scenes and reinforce the importance of a visual appetite for his audience. Overdramatic use of the colour red demonstrates several characteristics throughout the films – blood, sacrifice and disorder (Guerin et al. 150). Overcome with revenge and motifs to kill, the screen flashes with red tinges whenever the Bride (played by Uma Thurman) is in the presence of her next target. This foreshadowing technique is followed by jaw-clenching sword fights and battles between Uma and her opponent, entrenched with gory scenes of chopped off limbs, bleeding eyes and squirting jugular veins. Excessive blood and disorder was evident during her intense, extremely gory fight with O-Ren’s army, including the elite “Crazy 88” squad and O-Ren’s personal bodyguard, GoGo. Upon murdering O-Ren and all of her vicious army, Uma travels to the desert in search of the next target on her list. The desert symbolizes spiritual emptiness, death and hopelessness (Burris, 2010), which all proves to be true when she is captured, tortured and nearly killed by Budd. Karma proves to exist, however, when Elle releases a Black Mamba on Budd that kills him. A symbol of evilness, mystery and destruction (Burris, 2010), the serpent plays a significant role in a mysterious appearance as well as a mysterious ending, thus leaving the audience to question whether or not the vicious snake found and poisoned Elle who was left blind, writhing on the trailer floor. Escaping death, yet again, Tarentino demonstrates to his audience just how immortal Uma really is.
    Uma demonstrates immense immortality and the mystical submersion into cyclical time through endless escapes from death and regeneration of one self (Guerin et al. 154). Despite being beaten, bloody, bruised and battered, Uma is able to escape death on multiple occasions giving the audience the impression that she is immortal. Escaping the enclosure of a wooden box, six feet underground with hands and feet bound by rope and nothing but a flashlight is a significant feat where any normal human being would not be capable of achieving success. Through these successes Uma is able to regain inner strength and regenerate herself both mentally and physically be stronger than before. Through the use of multiple flashbacks to explain how Uma arrived to be where she is today, Tarentino generates the feeling that time is both cyclical and never ending. Another example containing both immortality and cyclical time is when a flashback reminisces Uma sprawled in the back of the “Pussy Wagon” attempting to regenerate feeling in her lower limbs upon awakening from a four-year coma. Inner strength and perseverance allows Uma to use her mind to send signals to her toes in a repetitive manner, which eventually work in her favour as she is finally able to teach herself to walk again. Inner strength and external power are only two characteristics that demonstrate how Uma can be categorized under the hero archetype.
    The final evident point of mythological criticism present in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 is Uma’s character demonstrating behaviours that coincide with the hero archetype. Primarily, Uma endures harsh initiation rituals under the all-seeing, all-hearing, worshipped Pai Mei who teaches her valuable techniques, which later help her to slay her targets. Ultimately, Uma’s targets become her quest, where she undertakes an extremely long journey around the world, overcoming insurmountable obstacles by battling hundreds of skilled assassins in order to save her dignity by killing Bill. At one point, it is assumed that Uma is going to become the sacrificial scapegoat, however, that notion is quickly turned around when Uma swiftly uses Pai Mei’s five-point heart technique as a means of finally killing Bill. The dramatic end of the Kill Bill sequel reinforces once again how Tarentino has used the notion of cyclical time by drawing memories from past events to form present conclusions.
    Mythological criticism provides a universalistic approach to literature and works extremely well with works such as Kill Bill, which are highly symbolic (Burris, 2010). It helps to identify why certain literature/films may survive the test of time (Burris, 2010). Tarentino displays several key premises that support a mythological criticism: significant use of colours and images, immortality and the mystical submersion into cyclical time and Uma as the hero archetype. Through mythological analysis, critics are able to creatively analyze Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 through the use of different symbols and archetypes.

  3. Blair Tokiwa
    Ms. Cox
    ETS4U
    16 June 2012
    Pirates of the Caribbean: A Mythological Analysis
    To understand Pirates of the Caribbean, one must understand the roles of its important characters. It is a story of cursed treasure, immortal villains, and, of course, pirates. Mythological analysis allows us to explore how characters could identify with an audience in this strange, alien world. The characters Will Turner, Jack Sparrow, and James Norrington are significant because they are hero archetypes. Contextually understanding these characters as heroes with quests, initiations and sacrifices is critical: identifiable, familiar archetypes anchor this foreign world with their presence.
    Will Turner’s quest resonates around Elizabeth. From the start, we see that he feels tasked with finding her once she is taken away. His quest as a hero to save her is clear with his actions to release Jack Sparrow to pursue her captors and his declaration that he would die for her. The audience knows that he is a hero: his quest is apparent as he sets out to find Elizabeth, and he is quickly presented as willing sacrificial figure. Will’s initiation is his social discomfort with pirates. Initially, news that his father was a pirate disgusts him, and he stays in a constant state of rejection from what he has heard. This demonstrates both a rejection and alienation of the society he has entered: a social order of piracy. Turner then transforms into a sacrificial figure for what he believes is right. His transformation is apparent when Will tells Norrington that he is the son of a pirate, and one himself when rescuing Jack. This is imagery of sacrifice as he expects punishment for saving Jack, which he says he must morally do for the sake of his conscience. Will’s quest is saving Elizabeth, his initiation is his alienation of pirates, and his sacrifice is in saving Jack as one himself.
    Jack Sparrow’s archetype is symbolic of a king-hero’s quest for a restoration of order. His rightful place, as captain of the black pearl, is gone and he must reclaim it. This is apparent in his insistence that he is Captain Jack Sparrow, and when Mr. Gibbs asks him what he is after, Jack doesn’t hesitate to say: “The Pearl” (PotC). His initiation is his exile upon the abandoned island. He is rejected from his rightful place as captain, and denied an extra bullet for his own suicide. This demonstrates the complete denial of his status amongst the pirate society. His sacrifice is later found in his use of his gun against Barbosa. Jack held onto the pistol in hopes of killing him with it, but sacrificed it to save Elizabeth from getting shot. While Barbosa died afterwards, Jack sacrificed this treasure that he held dear, believing it would be wasted. Jack’s quest to claim the pearl leads him to his initiation on the island and finally his sacrifice in giving up his gunshot to save someone else.
    Norrington’s role as a hero plays into a quest for love, love from Elizabeth. This is apparent in requesting her marriage after earning an impressive social status, saying “This promotion throws everything into perspective, and that which I have not achieved: a fine woman” (PotC). His initiation is in his desire to fulfil Elizabeth’s wedding gift request to fight Barbossa. He overcomes this obstacle for her love, while he is truly only alienating himself in the social world between them. His actions end, without any love or recognition from Elizabeth in return. Norrington is last seen as a sacrificial figure, and transforms to be respected in Elizabeth’s social world. He gives up his dreams of love for Elizabeth, allows Will to continue as a free man to marry her, and allows Jack time to escape. He has transformed into a hero and won true recognition from Elizabeth (and the audience). His quest for Elizabeth made him a hero, initiating a battle against the black pearl and a sacrifice of his dreams of love.
    These characters are all thematic heroes that fit the archetype. In identifying these hero archetypes, the audience understands the actions and universal appeal of these characters that set the story in place. Even with magical zombie pirates.

  4. Kill Bill is a film full of action, revenge, emotion, and death. This film can be perceived in many different ways depending on the outlook one takes when deconstructing the movie. It can be depicted as a violent film filled with death, a sad film based off of a heart-broken mother, or a film of a revenge-obsessed woman. These different outlooks are based off of the four different types of critical theories we have studied in class. The mythological theory is best suited to deconstruct Kill Bill, since many of the contributing factors that create this theory are outlined and evident throughout the film. From the endless examples of the mythological criticism that are shown in Kill Bill the strongest aspects remain to be the colour images used in the film, the examples of the mythos of the seasons, the hero archetypes represented, examples as to why myths are present in films, and the clear portrayal of what exactly myths are. These evident factors shown in both volumes of Kill Bill prove to show why the mythological criticism is the best critical theory to help comprehend Kill Bill.

    Universally there are symbols that are commonly understood among the human population. This is not only true in everyday life, but more importantly, within the mythological criticism. Having the different archetypes explained with common images and their meanings, helps to get a complete grasp on what the film is truly trying to portray. An image commonly used throughout the film was the colour red. This colour is a representation of blood, sacrifice, violent passion, and disorder (Guerin at al. 150). Since the film is about an assassin seeking revenge on other assassins, there is an abundance of blood and death. Red is arguably the strongest symbol used throughout the film, not only because it is used so often, but because it is a pure representation of Uma Thurman. She was sacrificed and almost killed, which resulted in her ‘violent passion’ to seek revenge on the others, which cause disorder in their lives. There are endless symbols used throughout the film that fit perfectly with mythological symbols, this helps to understand the film because the common symbols help the audience to depict what the meaning of the film truly is.

    As explained in the reading, archetypes are not only represented through images, but can also be outlined through the seasonal cycle (Guerin et al. 155). This means that different types of films are represented through the seasonal changes. The four main types of films are best suited to the season that is best fitted; hence winter being irony, while summer is romance. Kill Bill would undeniably result in being the mythos of winter, which is irony. The movie focuses around Uma Thurman seeking revenge on the members of the ‘Deadly Viper Assassination Squad,’ which results in her travelling around the world to kill multiple people. While normally one would be hope for the failure of a deadly assassin, instead the audience is hoping that she succeeds in killing all the members, which is ironic. The audience is hoping to see more violence because of the violence in the past. The whole film is ironic clearly, which is explained under the mythos of winter. This helps to understand the film, because knowing which type of film Kill Bill is helps to comprehend why it is a positive thing when Uma Thurman brutally murders multiple people.

    The third piece of evidence as to why mythological criticism best helps to understand Kill Bill is the examples of the hero archetypes. Uma Thurman is a perfect example of the quest. The quest is a hero archetype that consists of a hero that goes through a journey during which they perform impossible tasks to reach their ultimate goal (Guerin et al. 154). This is exactly what Uma Thurman does throughout the film and her quest is what the film revolves around. Mythological criticism plainly helps to understand films or literature better by completely explaining different situations and characters. Uma Thurman’s whole role is summarized into one hero archetype, which helps to give a better overview of the entire film.

    Myths are no longer just old folks-tales told to explain inexplicable events, or to scare young children. The mythological criticism outlines how much deeper myths are and how they connect so clearly to films. The reading states, “And just as dreams reflect the unconscious desires and anxieties of the individual, so myths are the symbolic projections of a people’s hopes, values, fears, and aspirations” (Guerin et al. 148). Uma Thurman’s hopes, values, fears, and aspirations are so clearly projected throughout the film. The fashion, in which the chapters of the film are mixed up, tends to make Uma Thurman’s hopes, values, fears, and aspirations confusing, but it is easily understood with the mythological criticism. Myths help to reveal the character of a person and their mind. Using this criticism, although the chapters of the film were assorted, it was still easy to identify why Uma Thurman was seeking revenge and what truly happened to her.

    The final aspect of the mythological criticism that helped to make deconstructing Kill Bill simple was the explanation of what a myth was. This is because if fit so perfectly along with the story of Kill Bill that it better helped to explain the story. The reading explains, “Myth is to be defined as a complex of stories-some no doubt fact, and some fantasy- which, for various reasons, human beings regard as demonstrations of the inner meaning of the universe and of human life” (Watts). Kill Bill is clearly a fabricated story with aspects of it that are not true at all, but at the same time there are aspects that could happen in real life. For example, Uma Thurman breaking free from a casket and unburying her body is a fabricated tale. While on the other hand, surviving a gun wound and going into a coma for a couple years could very well happen. The explanation of a myth explains what human beings regard as the inner meaning of human life and the universe. The fantasy and reality aspects of Uma Thurman’s life portrayed that the meaning of her life was love. She was seeking revenge because she believed her daughter had been killed, and killing the people that killed her daughter was the most important thing in the world to her.

    All four criticisms have different pros and cons to how they would help to deconstruct a literary work or film. Although there are pros to all four criticisms, it proved that the mythological criticism was the strongest and more helpful when specifically deconstructing Kill Bill. The mythological criticism helped to depict the different images in the film, the seasonal mythos, the hero archetype portrayed in the film, how myths were present in the film, and what exactly myths are. These different aspects helped to fully lay out different factors of Kill Bill and help to explain Uma Thurman’s revenge seeking journey.

  5. Oh Baby, O-Ren Ishii
    Kill Bill volume one and two follow the story of a vengeful Uma Thurman as she tries to kill her ex-lover and partner Bill. Though her main goal is to murder Bill, she must defeat his henchman first; they call themselves the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. The squad is made up of Vernita Green, Budd, Elle Driver, and O-Ren Ishii. Uma takes them out one after the other, with each kill divulging into Uma’s past with Bill, and her previous relationships with the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. The film features many strong female characters, but when applying feminist criticism, it is evident that O-Ren Ishii breaks social boundaries for women, causing viewers to rethink social prejudices.
    When O-Ren Ishii, played by Lucy Liu, was nine years old, after witnessing her parents being murdered by the Japanese Yakuza boss, Boss Matsumoto, she was inspired to become a deadly assassin. She eventually killed Boss Matsumoto, which resulted in her becoming the leader of the Tokyo Yakuza. Using feminist approaches, it is clear that without having witnessed her parents murder, she would not have redefined her identity as not only a woman, but as an assassin. When she kills Boss Matsumoto she says, “Look at me, Matsumoto. Take a good look at my face. Look at my eyes. Do I look familiar? Do I look like somebody… you murdered?” (Tarantino). This represents her overall distain and the vengeance she feels toward him. Though he murdered her parents, she would not have defined her identity as an assassin without him.
    O-Ren is a dangerous assassin, who demonstrates how manipulative she can be by pretending to be a prostitute to kill Boss Matsumoto, and eventually becoming leader of the Tokyo Yakiuza. The feminist approach says, “‘the essence of politics is power,’ and that the most fundamental and pervasive concept of power in our society is male dominance” (Guerin et al. 187). O-Ren dismisses the idea that power in our society is male dominance when she proves to the Tokyo underground that she can be the leader of the Tokyo Yakuza. She is questioned throughout the film about whether she is worthy enough to be the leader, but by demonstrating her forceful, yet successful leadership skills, she validates her worth.
    Though O-Ren Ishii is the leader of the Tokyo Yakuza, she faces ridicule from the Bosses below her not only because she is not fully Japanese, but because she is a woman. Feminist minorities have accused other feminist critics: “of developing their ideas only in reference to white, upper-middle-class women” (Guerin et al. 206). The film dismisses the reference to minorities because although Uma Therman’s character “The Bride” is a white, upper-middle-class woman, there are many minor characters from different minorities, like O-Ren Ishii. O-Ren may be seen as a minority, but her influence on the film, and the overall theme of the movie would not be the same without her.
    O-Ren is a powerful woman in the film, with a gang of assassins as well as a group called the Crazy 88. Her power, and control over such a large group of people confirms her power as she: “continues to challenge long-held beliefs and practices” (Guerin et al. 233). When she becomes the leader of the Tokyo Yakuza, she is the first woman, and first Japanese-American half-breed to run the organization. This goes to show that she can handle herself under pressure, while still maintaining a high level of expectancy and power.
    Because O-Ren is the leader of such a powerful group and a woman, it is seen that she can hold her own among men, and is not easily controlled or taken advantage of. Feminist theory states: “women speaking men’s language [is seen] as a foreign tongue” (Guerin et al. 189). O-Ren is called a “Chinese Jap-American half-breed bitch” (Tarantino) by one of the Bosses below her. She is powerful, and because she can speak men’s language, she is seen as a threat, and the Bosses feel threatened by her. O-Ren is powerful in Japan, so to cross her takes guts, and results in the betrayers’ decapitation. She speaks foreign tongue because she can converse with men, and be more powerful than them, which upsets people.
    Throughout the film, women play an important role. From Uma Thurman to the three women in the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, the feminist approach helps viewers have a better understanding. O-Ren Ishii is a strong woman that can handle herself, who makes feminists proud of the power she holds throughout the film.

  6. Paul Estrada
    Ms.Cox
    ETS-4U1
    June 16, 2012
    Pirates of The Caribbean: Mythological Analysis

    Mythological analysis offers the best type of criticism to analyze the importance of various literary symbols in Pirates of the Caribbean that an average viewer would not be able to understand. A film such as Pirates of The Caribbean with an abundance of quests, imagery, symbolism and heros can be analyzed in a deeper context with the use of mythological analysis. Mythological analysis helps the viewer better understand Pirates of The Caribbean because it offers a finer breakdown of the various quests, imagery symbolism, and character archetype roles within the movie.
    One aspect that mythological analysis offers in better understanding Pirates of The Caribbean is the importance of the various quests that is seen throughout the film. One major quest is that of Will Turner’s, his goal is to rescue Elizabeth from Captain Barbossa and his cursed crew. Mythological analysis helps the viewer establish and understand that Will Turner is the hero of the story by doing anything he can to save Elizabeth. According to the Mythological and Archetypal Approaches article, a hero “undertakes some long journey during which he or she must perform impossible tasks, battle with monsters, solve unanswerable riddles, and overcome insurmountable obstacles in order to save the kingdom” (Guerin et al. 154), which Will Turner satisfies as an individual. Will, along with Jack Sparrow and their crew, venture off to rescue Elizabeth to defeat Barbosa and reclaim the Black Pearl for Jack. Will undergoes a long journey in which he performs seemingly impossible tasks; such as stealing a boat from the British navy and escaping near death experiences. He is also put into situations where he must fight the ghouls of Barbossa’s crew that consist of undead cursed pirates and a monkey. As for Captain Barbossa and the cursed crew of the Black Pearl, mythological analysis helps better understand their quest for the Aztec gold medallion and Will Turner’s blood. In respect to Barbossa’s quest, mythological analysis puts Will Turner in a different light and defines him as a sacrificial scapegoat. According to the article, a sacrificial scapegoat “must die to atone for the people’s sins and restore the land to fruitfulness” (Guerin et al. 154) which Will satisfies because his blood needs to be spilled to rid the Black Pearl’s crew of the curse and restore the fruitfulness in their lives. The quests of Will Turner and Captain Barbossa are better understood through mythological analysis because it helps the viewer break down the roles that each individual plays within their conflicting goals.
    In Pirates of the Caribbean, there is an abundance of symbols and imagery that is seen throughout the film. One of the most obvious symbols is that of the green apple that Captain Barbossa is so keen on having. The first time the viewer sees the green apple is when Captain Barbossa has dinner with Elizabeth. He tells her that their only hope in ridding the curse is if she gives him the medallion and her blood, which then he offers her the apple. According to the article, the colour green symbolises hope and fertility, which in the context of Elizabeth’s blood, symbolises the hope of ridding the curse and the fertility of bettering their lives after it is uplifted. Another time the green apple is seen is when Jack Sparrow shoots Barbosa after the curse is lifted and ultimately ends his life. As he falls, the green apple is seen rolling out of his hand and onto the ground. According to the article, green, in a negative context, symbolizes death and decay. The separation between Barbosa and the apple symbolizes the death of him and the decay of his dreams. His aspirations to relieve the curse were fulfilled, but his victory was short lived due to Jack Sparrow. The symbolism of the green apple is better understood through mythological analysis and it gives the viewer different views on what the colour symbolizes such as hope and fertility, or death and decay.
    Mythological analysis also helps the viewer understand the different character archetype roles that is seen in Pirates of The Caribbean. Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner both symbolize a sacrificial scapegoat within the film. Elizabeth portrays the sacrificial scapegoat for her kingdom. She boards the Black Pearl and pushes through the dangers of being surrounded by pirates and makes a deal with Barbossa to give up the Aztec medallion if they promise to leave her town. Barbossa agrees and they take the medallion as well as Elizabeth, and the crew boards the ship leaving her town in ruins, fulfilling his promise. According to the article, a sacrificial figure is someone who, “for the welfare of the tribe or nation is identified and must die to atone for people’s sins and restore the land to fruitfulness” (Guerin et al. 154) which Elizabeth does to rid her land of the ravenous pirates and give her citizens the chance to recover from the attack. Will Turner plays the sacrificial scapegoat because of his role in Barbossa’s quest of ridding the curse. Will Turner’s blood must be spilled in order to uplift the curse from the crew of the Black Pearl, which symbolizes his necessary death to restore fruitfulness to the crew. However, Will breaks this bond and only sacrifices a small amount of his blood to alleviate the curse and with a cunning plan by Jack Sparrow, it ultimately results in the defeat of Barbossa. This act also shows that Will portrays a hero archetype. He undergoes a long journey to rescue Elizabeth and defeat Barbosa, fighting monsters on his way and overcoming seemingly impossible tasks such as alleviating the curse in order to complete his quest. Mythological analysis helps the viewer understand the importance of character archetypes and the duties they have to complete their quest.
    Mythological analysis helps the audience better understand Pirates of The Caribbean because it offers a finer analysis of the various quests, imagery symbolism, and character archetype roles within the movie. With a film that has an abundance of mythological symbolism, this method of analysis offers the best way to understand Pirates of The Caribbean.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/129x0FFhxJ5hq3lfpJr2x7v4fi8Z6b9PlvPeQhK360rM/edit

  7. A Mythological Approach to Kill Bill

    Quentin Tarantino’s masterpieces, Kill Bill Part 1 and 2 are full of mythological traits. The main character, her journey and many images seen in the films support the idea that the Kill Bill films are movies that are viewed best when looked at from a mythological point of view.
    Kill Bill’s protagonist is Beatrix Kiddo, a character that has a distinctly mythological and archetypal journey. The character begins the first movie in a coma and soon after, she begins her murderous rampage of revenge. “Immortality: another fundamental archetype, generally taking one of two basic narrative forms: a. escape from time: “Return to paradise,”… timeless bliss enjoyed by man and woman before their tragic Fall into corruption and mortality” (Guerin et al. 154). Beatrix’s “Return to Paradise” was her being in a coma, as her coma was from being beaten and shot in the head at her wedding rehearsal. After she awakes, she falls into corruption when she begins to kill people for revenge. This could also be seen as a kind of immortality as she is beaten by four trained assassins and then shot in the head. This makes Beatrix’s journey an archetypal one and also shows her character to be archetypal.
    Beatrix Kiddo’s is definitely an archetypal hero. She performs a quest that matches up completely with The Quest described in the reading when it sates that “The Hero undertakes some long journey during which he or she must perform impossible tasks, battle with monsters, solve unanswerable riddles, and overcome insurmountable obstacles…” (Guerin et al. 154).. Beatrix must do every single one of the listed tasks. Her journey is long and she performs impossible tasks, such as escaping from a coffin after being buried alive, battle with an enormous group of highly skilled assassins, among other difficult challenges in order to achieve her goal. This quest is one of the images that show the viewer the mythologicality of the films.
    Some of the images in Kill Bill are astoundingly mythological. First and foremost is the color red, which appears frequently throughout the film. Red represents “blood, sacrifice, violent passion; disorder” (Guerin et al. 150). As the entire movie is based on murder for revenge, an excessive amount of blood is shown. At multiple points through the films, we see Beatrix sacrificing people who had nothing to do with what happened to her but she needed to kill them as they were standing in her way. The entirety of the two films is based on violent passion as she is doing much of her killing for the revenge of her unborn daughter. As red also represents disorder, we can see it in not only Beatrix’s actions of murder but we can also see disorder the way that the film is constructed. Tarantino edited the films so that the events were edited out of order. This adds the chaos felt in the film. Water also plays a role in the mythology of the film. While Beatrix is fighting O-Ren Ishii, one of the people she seeks revenge on, the camera keeps focusing on a fountain that makes a steady thump every time water falls into it. “Water: the mystery of creation; birth-death resurrection; purification and redemption; fertility and growth” (Guerin et al. 150). The water could represent the redemption as by dying, O-Ren is paying her debt back to Beatrix for killing her child. As it also represent death, water is a perfect symbol; especially fro this scene.
    Kill Bill is seen best from the mythological point of view as it has many mythological details that encompass themes of death and revenge. Through Beatrix Kiddo’s character, her journey and images seen throughout the film, it is a sure bet that the mythological criticism is the best way to understand Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.

  8. Feminism Aboard The Black Pearl–Nathalie Reid

    One of the most interesting aspects of feminism for me in the context of Pirates of the Caribbean is the contrast between the behaviors of different male characters toward female characters, particularly the difference between the pirate world and the world of ‘civilization’. The treatment of Elizabeth Swann by men ranges from opposite ends of the spectrum, from the acknowledgement of the grey stuff in her head to being mentally and physically stifled.
    The film opens with Elizabeth on board ship, sailing to Port Royal. She is considered to be bad luck by sailors on board right away, which shows how little freedom to travel women had in the time period of the movie. Shortly afterward, her fascination with pirates is judged by her father as “concerning” (Verbinski), a statement that could indicate his preference that she only show interest in traditionally womanly subjects. When Will Turner is saved from the water, the stereotype of women’s places being in nursing is perpetuated as Elizabeth is ordered to look after him. As the film continues, Elizabeth is repeatedly pushed into the traditional gender role of women as she is forced to dress in a certain way, being physically restrained in the corset, which contributes to her typically feminine fainting fit, which leads to her exciting protective behavior from Commodore Norrington and all of the British soldiers as Captain Jack Sparrow threatens her. ‘Civilized’ men, so far, have not done much for her in the way of rights to personal freedom and self-expression.
    Enter Captain Jack Sparrow, notorious pirate and crook. He saves Elizabeth’s life at their first meeting, threatens her less than five minutes later, and lands himself in prison soon afterward. At first, Jack seems like a typical bad guy, threatening the lady and taking advantage of the good hearted soldiers of the kind, but his character soon takes a little turn. Rather than rot in prison, he chooses to help Will to rescue Elizabeth, though his motives may not have been entirely selfless. This decision seems like it may have been following the ‘save-the-damsel-in-distress’ pattern, but Jack later shows that he is far more respectful of women than any ‘civilized’ man.
    On Will’s and Jack’s arrival at Toortuga, the pirate port, women are seen running amok, doing as they please. The women may appear to be majorly sexualized, in actions and dress, but the scene shows the complete sexual freedom of women in this environment. Jack apparently has two girlfriends in Toortuga, but both take the liberty of slapping him openly without fear, and seem to be able to choose their sexual partners: the complete opposite of the situation of ‘civilized’ women. Jack also demonstrates his respect of the power of women in his fear of Annamaria’s wrath. Annamaria is another woman Jack has managed to anger, this time by stealing her boat. He appears desperate to appease her, even offering her the only ship he has to escape another slap. Jack clearly has no trouble in yielding some of the balance of power between the sexes to women, at least in his piratic dealings.
    Later, however, Jack shows his respect for Elizabeth personally in a short exchange with Will:
    “Will: Where’s Elizabeth?
    Jack: She’s safe, just like I promised. She’s all set to marry Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her, just like you promised. So we’re all men of our word really…except for, of course, Elizabeth, who is in fact, a woman.” (Verbinski)
    With this short reply, Jack reveals his attitude toward Elizabeth. He seems to regard her as on an equal footing with men, with her woman’s word carrying just as much weight as Will’s and his own. Her dress and behavior do not have to be refined and delicate–she appears at the fight in the cave in the uniform of a British soldier and incurs no comments on her masculine behavior. Even Will, a formerly ‘civilized’ man, has no problem with her fighting off pirates by her own free will.
    There is a clear contrast between the two worlds of Pirates of the Caribbean, but the line is blurred and characters can cross over in their treatment of women. Jack is the complete opposite of Norrington in his treatment of Elizabeth, allowing her to dress as a man without a qualm, while Gibbs and Will cross over from believing in the ‘civilized’ rules of womanly behavior to supporting the piratical way. The men of this movie choose a side or slide between, but despite the best efforts of ‘civilization’, Elizabeth Swann gains her freedom and releases herself from the cage of the ‘civilized’ world through being treated like a person by Captain Jack and the other pirates aboard the Black Pearl.

  9. Pirates Of The Carribean is a movie in which one could easily use all of the critical reading approaches to literature. However, Mythological Criticsm helps one understand the deeper meanings behind the symbols in the film. Pirates Of The Carribean uses many colours and significant imagery that coincides with many of the criteria that applies to Mythological Readig Criticisms.
    Throughout the whole movie, the symbol of the pendant is one that represents strength and also freedom for those of the crew doomed with the curse of the Black Pearl. The pendant is round and the roundness of the pendant represents wholeness and unity for Captain Barbossa’s Crew. Circles are meant to “represent the mystery of life and the forces of generation” (Guerin et al. 151) This applies to the movie when during the night the Crew unwillingly transforms into skeletons and begin to show something of an immortality. “Mystical submersion into cyclical time: the theme of endless death and regeneration (human beings achieve a kind of immortality by submitting to the vast mysterious rythm of nature’s eternal cycle of the seasons” (Guerin et al. 154) The idea of immortality is one that coincides with elements of nature and that Mother Nature almost always has something to do with it. Just like in Pirates Of The Carribean and how they only turn into the undead with the help of the moonlight.
    The green apple is subtly present throughout the entire film. The green apple is a symbol that represents hope. Hope is perceived because the apple is green; and green is a colour that represents the sense of hope. The apple is there as a reminder that something will go wrong because apples bloom in the Fall, it implies the mythos of Fall which states: “tragedy” (Guerin et al. 155). The idea that the green apple represents both the sense of hope and implies that there will be a tragedy leads one to believe that maybe there will be a loss of hope; resulting in tragedy. The imagery depicted in the movie as a loss of hope is shown at the end when Captain Jack Sparrow kills Captain Barbossa also lifting the curse of the Black Pearl; it’s shown when as Barbossa falls to the ground and takes his final breath he allows the apple to fall from his hand and go down alongside him. This symolizes the immense loss of hope Barbossa has, and it also shows that he completely resigns himself to Jack and that he has nothing left to work for. The apple is an image of hope; an image of hope that will soon end.
    Pirates Of The Carribean shows many other ideas discussed in Mythological Criticsm. It also emphasizes the good and the bad; similar to most myths. The pendant and the green apple help examine further into detail certain elements of Mythological Criticism, which also allows us a deeper understanding of the movie at hand.

    -Wiley

  10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Mythological Approach

    The Pirates of the Caribbean film series, more specifically, the first sequel: “The Pirates of the Caribbean: The curse of The Black Pearl” contains many symbolic objects and themes. Critiquing the first film of the four series in the Mythological approach is rather intriguing because there are many applicable scenes and themes that are symbolic to this approach. The first example is Will Turner’s blood that is not only crucial to the history of the film itself, but to save Captain Sparrow, Elizabeth, and the Royal Navy from the pirates. Another very important object is the golden medallion; one of the eight hundred and eighty two aztec gold the cursed treasure. Throughout the movie, the body of the ocean is shown in almost all the scenes which implies that is an important asset given that setting of the movie is in the Caribbean, but not only that; the sea is “the mother of all life”. The greatest symbol that basically represents what the first movie is all about is the Black Pearl. This cursed ship is mainly black with a very rugged appeal which represents chaos, mystery and evil.

    Throughout the movie, we are exposed to blood in many scenes. In the mythological approach it states that blood represents sacrifice, violence, passion and disorder. The blood can most definitely represent sacrifice in one the scenes where Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is held captive by the pirates to kill him so that they can unleash the curse. Because of his strong love and devotion towards Elizabeth, Will is not threatened by the thought of death. His only mission is to protect and save Elizabeth from the Pirates so he cuts himself to stain the medallion with his and Jack Sparrow`s blood and throws it in the chest. In the same scene, Jack Sparrow shoots Captain Barbossa as he tries to kill Elizabeth. In this scene the blood can be symbolized as violence because of the death of the evil captain but it also symbolizes sacrifice as Will unleashes the curse of the black pearl with the drop his and Jack Sparrow`s blood.

    A significant object to the movie is the golden medallion that Elizabeth takes from Will`s neck when they were younger. The exterior shape of the pendant is in a circular for which symbolizes wholeness and unity because it unites Elizabeth and Will at the end of the film. The pendant is vital in unleashing the curse of the black pearl, therefore, when Elizabeth faints and falls into the sea, the medallion hits the sea floor which causes a direct shock towards the black pearl. On the interior of the pendant there is a picture of a skull. Traditionally, skulls represent mystery and death and in the film`s case it is a symbol to represent the evil pirates. We are always exposed and taught that pirates associate themselves with the symbol of the skull to portray and express the darkness viciousness of their nature. Hence, the golden medallion represents wholeness and unity because it acts as a saviour for Will and Elizabeth and brings them together and represents mystery because it is needed to alleviate the curse of the black pearl.

    The Black Pearl is one of the most significant symbols of the film because the whole plot revolves around it. The ship is portrayed in a rugged manner and ripped black sails with a black flag and a skull symbol in the middle. The Black Pearl in the very essence symbolizes the unknown death and evil due to it`s black, mysterious colour and because it is a representation of an vicious curse that is only unleashed by blood; another symbol for chaos and death. Traditionally, ships represent travels, destinations, and time. The Black Pearl represents history because it for-tells a dark legend that involves pirates who could care less about the price of blood only to gain it for their own desires. On the contrary, one can also say that the Black Pearl can represent

    During most, if not all of the scenes throughout this film we are portrayed bodies of water from the sea. According to the mythological approach the sea is the `mother of all life, death and rebirth, purification, etc. The sea is symbolic when Elizabeth falls down into it wearing the golden pendant because it represents a transitional phase in which she then, is more aware about the the meaning behind the pendant as she gets captured by the pirates who received an impulse from the pendant as it hit the sea floor. The sea represents purification because it washes away the blood of the dead pirates that were thrown into the water.

    “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl” is a good example to critique under the mythological approach because it encompasses many images that are applicable to analyse in light of this theory. The blood represented death and violence but it also represented sacrifice when Jack Sparrow kills Captain Barbossa before he tries to shoot Elizabeth and Will Turner drips his blood on to the golden medallion to unleash the curse. The golden medallion or pendant represents unity because without it, Elizabeth and Will would not end up together, but it also represents mystery because of the symbol of the skull and because it is the final piece that is vital to detach the curse. The Black Pearl represents chaos, mystery, and melancholy because of it’s black colour and scruffy look, as well as, it holds a dark and mysterious legend ever known to man. Lastly, the sea is symbolic for death and rebirth, purification, and the transitional phases that Elizabeth goes through and as the entire plot progresses.

  11. Shamim Hakam

    ETS4U1

    Ms. Cox

    June 16, 2012

    Pirates and criticism

    Mythological criticism helps the audience interpret Gore Verbinski’s movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, because we understand the plot/characters/imagery etc. Through Imagery, colour and archetypal motifs, we come to understand Pirates of the Caribbean as a mythos of summer.

    Water, or more specifically, the sea is the main theme of the whole movie. Water is the mystery of creation; birth-death-resurrection; purification and redemption. The sea is a mysterious being, mysterious and eternal. The very curse of the black pearl is a good example of the sea’s mysteries. Barbosa had committed mutiny, and in turn the sea bestowed him with the curse that came with Cortez’s gold, who also had committed atrocious crimes out of greed. “That’s exactly what I thought when first told of the tale. Buried in the island of the dead that which cannot be found except by those who already knows where it is. Find it, we did. And there be the chest… and inside, be the gold. We took them all! Spent ’em, traded ’em and fritted ’em away, for drink and food and pleasurable company. But the more we gave them away, the more we came to realize. The drink would not satisfy, food turned to ash in our mouths, nor the company in the world would harm or slake our lust. We are cursed men, Miss Turner. Compelled by greed, we were. But now, we are consumed by it” (Verbinski). How this explains the movie is we learn that sea is not merely the sea, there are other forces at work as you sail it. The most horrible crimes have a price, even for a pirate. The sea is also the mother of all life. She gives life accepts all living things, that is why pirates are fond of the sea, for she never turns them away. Tortuga is the place where all the normal rules that apply to people on land have no effect at all. Tortuga is one example of a the sea’s acceptance of every living thing, because Tortuga is not under the sea yet. Also, the sea is the place of death and rebirth. The sea has taken claimed many lives, and given it to those who deserved it. At the beginning of the movie, after Elizabeth had spotted William Turner, the crew goes over the edge, where a some distance away, they saw ravaged remains of a ship burning in the middle of the sea. The sea claimed lives that were destroyed in the fire, yet, it left a survivor who is William. The sea is a place of death and rebirth, for at that time, William was reborn into a normal life, and not the life of his father who was a pirate. The sea is everything to a pirate, a place of possibilities, acceptance and life as well as death and through these three things, we come to understand the sea, as well as the movie.

    But the sea isn’t all that the audience needs to understand in the movie. Colors and shapes play a large role, for they both have meanings. Black is the color of chaos, mystery, primal wisdom and melancholy among other things, and so is the Pearl. When Jack was left on a small island for the second time, along with Elizabeth, where after they had drunk and danced around the fire, Jack said “That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that’s what a ship needs but what a ship is… what the Black Pearl really is… is freedom” (Verbinski). The quote speaks for itself, but even if it doesn’t occur to the audience, it makes one wonder what is it about the Pearl that Barbossa and Jack fight over so much. And the reason why the ship is black, from it’s sails, to its wood and everything else. The ship is mysterious on its own, yet, with the crew, it seems to symbolize everything true to its color: mysterious, chaos, the unknown, death, primal wisdom, evil, melancholy.And in direct contrast is the moon, the silver-white sphere that hangs in the sky. A sphere represents wholeness and unity. Yet the moon is white, a color that represents light, purity, innocence and timelessness. Together, they create a pure force that forces any illusion, any lies away. After Elizabeth stabs Barbossa and runs away to the deck, she sees skeletons working on the deck. And after an unfortunate trip among them, Barbosa seizes her by the arms and tells her: “Look! The moonlight shows us for what we really are. We are not among the living, so we cannot die, but neither are we dead” (Verbinski). The moon is the mysterious, and pure force that light up the darkness as well as anything else that is false. The moon helps us understand the movie, for it lets the audience see what is veiled. And the force of passion, red, that represents sacrifice, violent passion and disorder. “It’s not your blood they needed. It was my father’s blood. My blood… the blood of a pirate.” (Verbinski). This quote refers to the part after William had rescued Elizabeth, and they were on board the Black Pearl, with William cleaning Elizabeth’s wound. Red is the color of sacrifice, so is blood. In order to break Cortez’s curse, they needed blood of sacrifice to set them free. The color red rings true, and it helps make a direct connect, for many times, blood has been known to mark sacrifice, but it is color that marks it and makes it so easy to distinguish. Together, color and shapes help us understand the movie in the mythological context, for they all stand for something other than itself.

    Yet colors and themes, as well as imagery re not enough to understand the plot. It’s the motif and pattern that’s needed to be identified to understand Pirates of the Caribbean. The Archetypal motif that falls into this movie is Immortality, an escape from time, “return to paradise,” the state of perfect, timeless bliss enjoyed by man and woman before their tragic fall into corruption and mortality. “But the greed of Cortez was insatiable. So the heathen gods placed upon the gold a terrible curse. Any mortal that removes but a piece from that stone chest shall be punished for eternity” (Verbinski). This is a quote by Babossa, talking to Elizabeth as he explained the gold piece that was in her possession. The motif helps explain the movie, for Barbossa and his crew spend almost a decade trying to break the curse, which in their case, was falling into immortality. And their quest is to be mortals again , to live. “Return to paradise” is to return to the world of living souls. Another motif is the hero Archetype of transformation and redemption. Most of the main characters bear the motif, starting with Barbossa, who is the hero, somewhat, seeking to break the curse from himself and his crew. Next is William Turner, who is the true hero, the one who’s blood will free the curse of the Black Pearl, as well as ensure Elizabeth’s safety through bargain. William goes through all three phases of the hero cycle to initiation as well as acting as the sacrificial scapegoat, who must “die” to free the curse of the Pearl. As an initiation, William finds out what his father was, and at the same time learns an important lesson “What a man can do and what a man can’t do” (Verbinski), quoted from Jack. And through that, William comes to change, becoming the person he could. At one point in the movie, after Elizabeth is captured by pirates and William has freed Captain Jack Sparrow, Jack asks William: “One question about your business, boy, or there’s no use going: This girl… how far are you willing to go to save her?” In which he replies fiercely and without hesitation, ” I would die for her” (Verbinski). The quote demonstrates William willingness to act as a sacrificial goat for Elizabeth. And Elizabeth, who hid the medallion, also ready to be sacrificed for William’s sake, going through many obstacles, such as the fact that she is a woman, as well as the Governor’s daughter, which strikes a barrier between her ability to help William, until she pleads to Norrington to save him at the end of the movie, as a wedding gift. The archetypal genre of the movie would be the mythos of summer, which is romance. Love has been a great incentive for the few characters in the movie to go through the hero cycle, in order to save one another. “Elizabeth, I should have told you every day from the moment I met you, I love you” (Verbinski). A quote by William to Elizabeth at the end, where he finally decides to admit his feelings after she was safe and ready to be married to Norrington. The quote is proof of the archetpe as genre of the movie, romance. And so through the archetypal motifs, patter and genre, the audience comes to understand the movie as well as the characters and their motives for doing what they do.

    Mythological criticism helps the audience interpret Gore Verbinski’s movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, because we understand the plot, characters. Through Imagery, color and archetypal motifs, we come to understand Pirates of the Caribbean as a mythos of summer. Therefore, Pirates of the Caribbean fits the mythological criticism, and the approach helps the reader view the movie in manners of symbolism, opening more knowledge and understanding of it.

  12. Pirates of the carribean: Works cited

    Verbinski, Gore, dir. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl . Writ. Ted Elliot, and Terry Rossio. Walt Disney Pictures, 2003. Film. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0325980/fullcredits

    Verbinski, Gore, dir. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl . Dir. Ted Elliot, and Terry Rossio. Walt Disney Pictures, 2003. Film.

  13. Anne Winger
    ENG 4U1
    Ms. Hancock
    June 15th, 2012
    Pirates and Mythological Criticism
    Myths have been told for thousands of years, passed down by word of mouth before the written word existed. They are complex stories, some fact, some fiction, that draw influence from the culture they come from. However, one of the most important elements of mythology is imagery, and this should be taken into account when analysing works such as Gore Verbinski’s movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Mythological criticism helps the audience interpret this movie, because we understand the imagery.
    Some of the most common images involve water, a universal element of life. Near the beginning of the film, Elizabeth, the daughter of the governor, falls from a high ledge into the sea, and nearly drowns (Verbinski). Water often represents birth-death resurrection, and her salvation from the depths is a sort of rebirth. Also, when the coin around her neck pulses, calling the Black Pearl to Port Royal, Elizabeth emerges into a new world, a world of pirates, danger, and adventure. The sea is also significant to the pirates themselves. It symbolizes timelessness and eternity, as the pirates escape from the shore into their timeless world, governed by no human law or time period. It is also significant that the pirates become cursed in a partly submerged cave, and are thereafter forced to wander the sea without dying, in a sort of timelessness of perpetual life until the curse is removed. The sun is also a common element in most mythology, as most cultures depended on it to nourish their crops. It is described as “the fire in the sky” (Guerin 150), and so when Elizabeth starts a signal fire that extends into the sky, it takes on the metaphor of the sun, here symbolizing creative energy, consciousness, thinking, and enlightenment, all aspects of Elizabeth’s plan to escape the island. The imagery of water and the sun take on new meaning through mythological criticism.
    Other images in Pirates of the Caribbean revolve around shapes. In mythological criticism, circles symbolize wholeness, or unity (151). Near the beginning of the movie, Elizabeth’s umbrella floats beside the ship, exposing its circular shape. It symbolizes Elizabeth’s wholeness, her innocence, before the loss of innocence because of the pirates. Also, when Elizabeth falls into the water, the pirate coin around her neck pulses in a huge circle, letting the crew of the Black Pearl know where it is so that it can once more be unified with the rest of the Aztec gold, and the pirates can be whole again. Another similar shape is the oval, which sometimes symbolizes the mystery of life. At the end of the movie, the somewhat ovular bullet which Jack has been saving for Barbossa for ten years finally hits its mark (Verbinski), ending his life and its every mystery. However, the most significant shape to the movie is the yin-yang symbol. During the first fight scene of the movie, Jack Sparrow and Will Turner end up facing each other, balancing on a plank. This balancing act represents their similarities, that they are two sides of the same coin. While Jack represents darkness, and Will, light, they are both pirates, though Jack’s side is representative of the consciousness of his pirate blood, and Will’s, the unconscious. Also, when Captain Jack’s crew are attempting to escape the Black Pearl, it is Elizabeth’s idea to lower the anchor and unbalance the ship to take their enemy by surprise; this unbalance gives the power to the feminine, as well as the darkness in Elizabeth. Finally, One of the most predominant images is that of the human pirates contrasted with the cursed undead; it takes the light of the moonlight to draw out the darkness of the curse, but both the light and dark reside in the pirates, waiting to take consciousness (Gore 151). The shapes portrayed in Pirates of the Caribbean take on new meaning through mythological criticism.
    There is much imagery portrayed in Verbinski’s film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. While it can be appreciated for its own sake, mythological criticism helps the audience to understand the imagery portrayed, and provide deeper meaning.

    Works Cited
    Verbinski, Gore, dir. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Walt Disney Pictures, 2003. Film.
    Guerin, W. [et al]. “Mythological and Archetypal Approaches.” A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. 3rd. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Print.

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