Monday, August 19, 2019

Love and Death in Cocteaus Film Orpheus Essay -- Movie Film Essays

Love and Death in Cocteau's Film Orpheus In Jean Cocteau's Orpheus, death is personified through the character of the Princess. The Princess is an extremely powerful figure, although she ultimately succumbs to the power of love. Cocteau uses her actions, clothing, and dialogue to show her as a contradictory mix of being both very powerful, yet still very vulnerable to the power of love. The main tool used by Cocteau to demonstrate this are her actions. Although she claims that she is not allowed to love, she is in fact in love with Orpheus. Through her actions she attempts to bring Orpheus closer to her and hopefully have him fall in love with her too. At the beginning of the movie, they are gathered at the Cafe de Poets. Cegeste is killed, and the Princess demands that Orpheus help get him into the car and to her place. While in the car, he insists on knowing what is going on and where they are going. The Princess is very controlling and forces him to be quiet and listen to the messages being broadcast over the radio. She knows that this is something that Orpheus will be very interested in and can help lure him to her. They arrive at her castle and she is very mysterious. She does not let Orpheus know what is going on, she only lets him see just enough to get him more curious and interested in her. The next morning Orpheus awakes on the side of the road and returns home with the Princess's chauffeur Heurtebise. Here he spends most of his time in the garage listening to more mysterious messages on the car radio. In fact, he is so obsessed with the messages that he completely ignores his wife, and is now more preoccupied with findin g out about the Princess. Orpheus is then summoned by the detective, who wants to interrogat... ...e that give death's orders. Here she is very vulnerable. She cannot lie and must admit that she killed Eurydice and is in love with Orpheus, two punishable offenses. She is a very harsh figure, but love changes her to a more tender tone. She talks with Orpheus telling him that she loves him, and she will do anything to get them back together. Throughout the movie, the Princess's clothes change color. Usually she is wearing black, a sign of death, but sometimes her clothes change to white, a sign of love. This shows how she is vulnerable to love, since death should always be in black. In this film, Cocteau is making the claim that love is more powerful than death. The princess, who represents death, is vulnerable to the power of love. She even ends up breaking the rules of the underworld and getting herself in trouble because she succumbs to the power of love.

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