Summary Of The Film 'Black Swan'

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2.2 The Gothic Monster As my main focus of this paper is the motif of the double and transformation in the film Black Swan, Fin de Siècle Gothic is of most interest here. In these turn of the century Gothic works, the monster is a recurring and very integral theme. Gothic monster as such are Doubles, Vampires, and Shape Shifters or other forms of transformed part humans. These creatures can have their origin in the supernatural realm or come about through ominous scientific experiments, often times the two are very hard to differentiate(cf. Hurley 192). A popular reading of this trope is the notion of repressed anxieties and desires manifesting themselves in the form of monsters (cf. Dryden 20, cf. Halberstam 9). Consequently, monsters are …show more content…

On the one hand, his theories created a link between human and animal, a fact that is reflected in some varieties of Gothic monsters (cf. Hurley 195f). Doctor Moreau's gruesomely pieced together half human beasts or shape shifters that turn from human to animal the likes of Richard Marsh's 'The Beetle'(1897) come to mind. On the other hand Darwin's theory of evolution brings with it the idea that if creatures could evolve into humans then it should also be possible for humans to devolve as well. This lay the seed for degeneration theory (cf. Byron 134f). In this context, one has to mention criminal anthropology and sexology as two pseudo scientific fields that worked to understand human behaviours that were considered abnormal.(cf. Hurley 196f) Criminal anthology used scientific ideas to explain how criminals are a lower form of evolution or more precisely some form of subhuman that can be recognized by certain physical attributes. Sexology used similar ideas to explain why homosexuals and so called inverts and New Woman were also subhuman. This fear of degeneration of the self and society was omnipresent and the notion that not only could degeneration be passed down to your children but also could be caught through social …show more content…

The previously mentioned transformed part humans called abhumans by Hurley (cf. 190), and the Double can also fall into this category. The Double holds up a mirror to oneself and exposes the degenerative tendencies already present in oneself. At the same time, the double illustrates the unsettling thought that identity is multifaceted and fluid. The integrity and stability of the human subject is challenged. (cf. Byron138, cf. Dryden 19) The shape shifter is also a visual representation of this anxiety, the metaphorical body refuses to be put into one category (cf. Byron 140f). The skin is seen as the barrier that separates the outside from the inside and keeps the soul inside the body (cf. Halberstam 2,7) By this logic, changing of the outer appearance must go hand in hand with some change on the inside. While doubles, vampires and abhumans are often male (cf. Davison 136), the New Woman as a character is also expressed a as monster since she is seen as a threat to families and gender norms. Gothic works often see pure respectable women morph into evil aggressive females. (cf. Byron 139) These characters often show a sexually provoked reversion to a beast which is testament to the fact that New Woman were also considered degenerations. Monsters are often a product and symbol of a transformation from identity to sexual identity through failed repression as well as attempting to escape the human condition

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