Gothic Elements In The Film Black Swan

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1 Introduction When the film Black Swan came out in 2010, it was received very positively, being nominated for five Oscars the next year and even winning the award for best leading actress. Today, seven years later, it is still known for Natalie Portman's portrayal of an unstable ballerina. Mostly categorized as a Horror film, Black Swan can also be argued to be a Gothic story realized on film. When watching the film, I was especially interested to see it's Gothic elements and more precisely how tropes like the Gothic monster and the double are handled both when it comes to the writing and the visuals. In the following pages I will give an overview on the development of Gothic literature and different categories within the genre. In this, my…show more content…
These findings can be applied to the film in order to work out what makes it a Gothic work. As an example of how the film uses visuals to further narrative and themes, I will take a closer look at how mirrors are utilized. When it comes to sources, Gothic as a literary genre is well researched and prevalent in literary discourse and there is also material on Gothic on film to be found. On Black Swan as a Gothic film however, there isn't much literature to be found but nearly all of it addresses the mirror motif in the film in some capacity. This is why I think it can be analysed in a way that is exemplary for the film. With this paper, I hope to gain a better understanding of Black Swan's Gothic characteristics and get to the heart of what makes the film a Gothic work and how Gothic tropes are used and…show more content…
Supernatural elements were integral to the plot (cf. Davison 1269 Anxieties that were processed in these works include the fear of degeneration from homosexuals, so called inverts and New Woman (cf. Byron 134f). The trope of the Gothic monster was integral, be it the Double, the Vampire,or the Shape shifter and part human that challenge the notion of a natural gender identity as well as a fixed identity and self. These later Gothic works often move the plot from rural areas into the city (cf. Dryden 30). London became a reoccurring setting (cf. Byron 134) This is exemplary for the fear of the monsters and what they represent invading public spaces (cf. Davison 127). These fin de siècle works are probably most popular today when it comes to modern adaptation and thus most interesting for this paper. Stevenson's 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'(1886), Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' (1890-1891) and Stoker's 'Dracula'(1897) are just a few works that are representative of this era and whose popularity remains unbroken until today. The 1860s show a mixture of these two manifestations, sometimes utilizing the supernatural and sometimes sticking to more realistic plot points. The anxieties driving these works include class mobility, marital law and gender roles. Similarly to earlier works, the stories focus
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