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  •  Tunneling Through Various Interpretations (15+ / 0-)

    From TV Tropes: Alternate Character Interpretation

    • In The Iliad, Odysseus' character floats on the Manipulative Bastard line; sometimes it's good (with Thersites) and sometimes it's bad (with Achilles). Later Greeks (and Romans) were much less kind to the character. The Athenian tragedians tended to portray Odysseus as an amoral sneak. Euripides even blames him for throwing Hector's young son Astyanax off the walls of Troy, an atrocity more traditionally attributed to Achilles' son Neoptolemus. Both Sophocles (and Ovid later in poetry) rake him over the coals for destroying Ajax, though it's possible that Homer would have as well.
    • Frankenstein: There are two ways to see Victor Frankenstein — either he is a tragic and naive scientist who - in his enthusiasm - bit off more than he could chew and paid a horrible price and suffered too much for it and has every right to be emo... OR a selfish asshole who tried to keep his PR clean by abandoning the monster and got what was coming to him and he's being whiny about it.
    • With John Hughes' 'The Breakfast Club,' some consider the actual moral to be "no one actually learned anything."
    • Is Christine attracted to The Phantom of the Opera, or is she motivated by pity and a desperate need to keep her Stalker with a Crush from going even more Ax Crazy than he already is? The original novel (while somewhat ambiguous) skews towards the latter, fanfic overwhelmingly prefers the former, and in the musical it depends on which actress you see. And that doesn't even get into the various interpretations of Erik himself... several decades of adaptations does that to a guy.
    • The Catcher in the Rye: Holden Caulfield is either a tortured intellectual who is driven insane by the general falseness of people and his increasing isolation from them, or a spoiled, racist, misogynistic, prudish, hypocrite, who doesn't know how to act properly in public. Or both? Or just, you know, a teenager?
    • If you haven't watched "Lost" yet & don't want to be spoiled, you might want to skip this one, but many have argued the "Man In Black" (aka the smoke monster who's the principal antagonist at the end of the series) has a point & is somewhat sympathetic compared to what he's fighting against. The character was kidnapped as a child by the guardian of the island, his mother murdered, betrayed by the woman who kidnapped him, and all of his actions spur from just wanting to leave an island he was forced to inhabit.
    • In Pride and Prejudice, Caroline Bingley can be read as the most sympathetic character - she's clearly in love with Darcy, and then Deadpan Snarker Lizzie strolls in and steals him from her. Most people see her differently as a sort of Regency Alpha Bitch, but maybe she was just meant to be the kind of clingy flirty girl that Darcy wasn't into just to contrast with Elizabeth.
    •  oh, wow! Wonderful, as always!! (11+ / 0-)

      I have an opinion about almost all of these. I will be interested in what others here think!

      In The Iliad, Odysseus' character floats on the Manipulative Bastard line
      Yes, I have heard much about this, too.  He is one scary dude.  And yet, in the Odyssey, his time with his son, his old servant, nurse and finally Penelope seem to soften my thoughts.
      Frankenstein: OR a selfish asshole who tried to keep his PR clean by abandoning the monster and got what was coming to him and he's being whiny about it.
      I go with this one.  I am probably wrong.  :)
      Is Christine attracted to The Phantom of the Opera, or is she motivated by pity and a desperate need to keep her Stalker with a Crush from going even more Ax Crazy than he already is? The original novel (while somewhat ambiguous) skews towards the latter, fanfic overwhelmingly prefers the former, and in the musical it depends on which actress you see. And that doesn't even get into the various interpretations of Erik himself... several decades of adaptations does that to a guy.
      This is a hard one.  I agree that there are so many different ways of looking at her actions.  I have seen another big movie with Burt Lancaster which made Erik more sympathetic, too.  But I think he is manipulative and uses her love for her father to bad advantage.  I do think she pities him and that she has a hard time leaving him behind.  That scares me...
      The Catcher in the Rye: Or just, you know, a teenager?
      I go with this one.  I didn't really like him until he showed how he loved his sister.
      In Pride and Prejudice, Caroline Bingley can be read as the most sympathetic character - she's clearly in love with Darcy, and then Deadpan Snarker Lizzie strolls in and steals him from her. Most people see her differently as a sort of Regency Alpha Bitch, but maybe she was just meant to be the kind of clingy flirty girl that Darcy wasn't into just to contrast with Elizabeth.
      I think Darcy was onto her.  =:0  She did seem to represent the kind of person one would expect to chase him.  His poor cousin Anne was fragile and unwilling to play the part intended by her mother, and his sister was a sweetheart.  Darcy was lucky to meet Lizzie.  :)

      Thank you for a great post!!!!!

      Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

      by cfk on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:53:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My 2 cents on a few of them ... (6+ / 0-)

      I didn't like Odysseus. My interpretation was that he made up all the crazy stuff that supposedly happened on his odyssey so he could drag his feet about getting home to his wife and other responsibilities. He is shown making up stories, so it seemed obvious to me.

      Victor Frankenstein, I think, represents God, and God's abandonment of his creatures. Like the monster, we're left without guidance, to be hurt, misunderstood, and desperately searching for meaning. I can't remember the details, but I think there is also a parent/child theme in the book? (I'm bad at book or movie recall.) Yes, Victor should have been there for his creature.

      Holden Caulfield -- yes, a teenager with all of the implications. But at least he's not phony. :)

      It's been a while since I've read P&P, though I have read it multiple times, and my impression was that Caroline Bingley was just conniving, boring and nasty. Hard for me to imagine that I might re-read and think she's benign.

      More noticeable to me is how in Mansfield Park, the Crawfords are so much more interesting and even likable than Austen's hero and heroine, who just seem so stuffy and boring. It's hard in this day and age to relate to someone getting so bent out of shape over young people staging a play among friends.

      Reminds me of a class in college on antiheros, which was really interesting: Satan in Paradise Lost, Defoe's Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress -- can't think of others offhand. I think we read The Beggar's Opera.

      cfk, have you ever done an antihero bookflurries? :) or one on supposed heros that are unlikable? There are so many in both categories!

      •  I have, but it was quite a while ago (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melpomene1, Monsieur Georges, Brecht

        and it is always interesting.

        cfk, have you ever done an antihero bookflurries? :) or one on supposed heros that are unlikable?
        I will do so for you...thanks!

        I agree about Mansfield Park.  The earlier of two movies was awful, too.  A later one was much better.

        I think this is the one I liked better:

         Mansfield Park

            Director:
            Patricia Rozema

            Cast:
            Frances O'Connor,
            Jonny Lee Miller,
            Alessandro Nivola,
            Embeth Davidtz

        http://www.barnesandnoble.com/...

        Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

        by cfk on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:23:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I saw the MP movie you liked and liked it, too. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cfk, Monsieur Georges, Limelite

          In fact, I do like the book. I just am not crazy about Fanny and Edward! I'd like to see Mary Crawford end up with someone interesting who could bring out both the good in her (as, I guess, Edward was sort of doing) and also let her wit sparkle -- or something like that! It's a book I think I should write myself, but probably never will. :)

          I'll keep an eye open for your antihero and/or antivillain bookflurries. It's very sweet of you to say you'll do one for me! Pshaw!

          •  I think you should write it. :) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Monsieur Georges

            Jane Austen's father was a minister, of course, and so I often see something in the stories about how wonderful it is to be one...Sense and Sensibility, for example.

            I think Mary should have been allowed to save Edward from his stuffiness for sure.

            It is pathetic in the one film I didn't like when Fanny says drearily at the end,  "You will always have me, Edward," and he says, "Yes." or something equally dreary and they sit side by side not touching...yikes!!!  

            I always thought Jane would like the second movie better, too.  :)

            Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

            by cfk on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:42:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I found "Catcher in the Rye" (5+ / 0-)

      one of the dreariest coming of age books ever written, one that did little to balance the hormonal misfortunes of growing up with the adventure of it.  And I didn't like Holden, which greatly mitigated my empathy for him.

      There is a book that imo, is everything "Catcher in the Rye" should have been.  It captures the vulnerability of coming of age, the awkwardness and discomfort, but also, the great humor and stunning friendships that develop under the onslaught of approaching adulthood.

      "Temple of Gold" by William Goldman. A brilliantly funny and poignant tale of growing up and the friendships we form as we make that passage.  To this day, if I need a good cry, I reread the last few pages of that book.  Works every time.

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:35:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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