Dancer In The Dark Analysis

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Anito, Claire Janszen A.

LIT207 Literary Criticism
Prof. Edward John Padilla, M.A.


Dancer in the Dark is a musical drama film. The film was set in 1964 and focuses on Selma (Bjork), an immigrant from Central Europe to America with her son, Gene. Selma has a hereditary degenerative disease, which in effect, she loses here eyesight. She works in factory, and saving up every penny she gets in preparation of her son’s operation, which will prevent her young son, Gene, from suffering the same misfortune. Selma has a passion for music and tends to daydream in the world of musicals especially when life gets tough on her. Bill, Selma’s neighbor, is desperate for money because his wife, Linda spends more than his salary.
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But Selma found out that Bill stole her money and ended the struggle by killing bill. She was caught and eventually put on a trial. After every truth Selma stated, her life escalates to a tragic finale of having been sentenced to death.

This film is in the form of tragedy in which a genuinely good person (Selma) ended up accused with seducing and killing Bill and was given a death penalty which she don’t deserve. In Aristotle’s Poetics, Tragedy is defined as an imitation of an action that is complete, and whole, and of a certain magnitude; for there may be a whole that is wanting in magnitude. It is an imitation not only of a complete action, but also of events inspiring fear or pity. Selma, the main character, was a good person and has good intentions from the beginning of the film until the end. She makes the audience feel pity of her in the idea of being the good one in the film. Not only will he audience feel pity but also they will fear the fact that they might end up like Selma. In reality, Selma’s fate is inevitable. Even if you have done every good in our chaotic world, you still have to accept the fact that there are misfortunes in life. This film is a Complex action because according to Aristotle’s Poetics, a complex action is always accompanied by
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