Film Characters Analysis
Like the play, Joe and Ella, the film counterparts, abuse their power to gain social dominance in the high-class restaurant they work in. Their lust for power is driven by revenge and overriding ambition similar to the vaulting ambition motif presented in the play. The passion that Joe feels for his job leads him to commit dreadful deeds that result in his mental downfall. Likewise, Ella’s desire for power leads to her downfall and ultimately, suicide.
Joe’s abuse of power is sparked by revenge and jealousy over Duncan’s actions in making Malcolm the owner of the restaurant.
“if I make a mistake in the kitchen it hurts me, I mean actual physical pain”. This quote is said by Joe when he is talking about his passion for cooking. This demonstrates the start of showing that joe is very passionate about his job. This leads to his ambition to rise in the ranks which spill into him committing dreadful acts to gain prominence.
This quote also shows how Joe exaggerates to be larger in life than he is. This dominates his life, to be remembered. This passion is also extended when joe talks about the food he has eaten, and he remembers the dates. It shows his passion from an early age which drives him to abuse power. Similar to Macbeths vaulting ambition in the play joe is much more of a passionate character. This also is shown when joe and billy are kissing at the start of play.
Like the play, Joe’s actions lead to his downfall. He becomes obsessed with power to the point of megalomania whilst at the same time becoming apathetic and not caring about the outcome. This is shown through his reaction to lady Macbeths suicide. “Am I sorry? Do I still have that in me? What do I feel about the death of my wife? Nothing” this shows how he has become numb to death and emotion. This parallels Macbeths “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” soliloquy.
Like lady Macbeth, Ella is an extremely manipulative character, using the power in her relationship with joe to convince him to kill Duncan so they can take ownership of the restaurant. One of the first times we see Ella execute her power is when we see her putting on red lipstick. Symbolically this represents her as an assertive and confident character whilst also giving us warning signs of danger. Ella is also shown to dominate the relationship; she shows this through sexual actions. These sexual tensions are different from the play and have been added to suit the expectations of a modern audience.
Alike the play Ella tips joe over the edge and convinces him to kill Duncan. She uses their dissatisfaction with the situation to justify their actions. She uses high modality language “your too full of the milk of human kindness Joe” which parallels what she says in the play. In this scene the sibilance and whispering create a sinister atmosphere, she is the serpent in the garden of Eden tempting joe with the fruits of owning a restaurant and receiving the validation he needs.
This confidence in Ella’s actions when she is destructed by madness. Throughout the film, like the play, we see Ella’s mental downfall. This starts with the continuous hand washing as if she is trying to wash the blood and the guilt of her actions from her mind. The correlates with “out dammed spot” in the play. By the end of the film, Ella has resorted to trying to rub the “blood” off with a pumice stone that has rubbed her hands completely raw. Once on the rooftop, she drops the pumice stone to the ground, as it shatters it foreshadows that she will break too.
The examples given have demonstrated that the abuse of power in both the play and the film leads to mental corruption and downfall.
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