The movie 3:10 to Yuma uses complex characters to keep the audience involved and maintain a level of uncertainty towards the outcome of the movie. It takes a certain level of analysis to understand these characters; why they do what they do, the significance of the things that they do, and how the things they do effect the plot of the movie. One character, Ben Wade, is particularly deceiving. Often times, the persona that is normally exhibited by your typical villain is contradicted by the actions of Wade, thus, extensive analysis is required to understand him and his motives.
This paper will analyze the character Ben Wade in the movie “3:10 to Yuma”. The audience’s first impression of Ben Wade depicts him as a criminal because, in one of the first scenes he is shown robbing a band of Pinkerton’s transporting money from one town to another. If you watch his actions closely, however, you will see that his gang commits the robbery while he is seen perched on a hill watching. Also, while his gang kills several people each, Wade kills only one man, and that man happens to one of his own.
The reason he kills his own man is because he betrayed him and his gang, putting their lives at risk. Some may still see him as a criminal, but in reality, his actions in the first scene are neither criminal, nor unjust. Following the robbery, Wade and his gang convene in a saloon to recap the events, in the scene, Wade says, “Proverbs 13:3, he that keepith his mouth, keepith his life, he that opens his lips to wide will bring on his own destruction. ” This statement does two things for the character of Ben Wade.
First, by referencing this excerpt from the bible Wade justifies the act of killing the fellow member of the outlaw gang. Ben is saying that the man he killed deserved to die because he “…opened his mouth to wide” thus putting them all in danger, and “…bringing on his own destruction. ” The second thing that this does for Ben Wades character is that it shows he is a religious man. The director could have had him justify his act of killing someone in another way, the director, however, purposefully had Ben reference the bible to justify his act to show his belief in God.
This further develops the haracter of Ben Wade because piece by piece it is putting the idea in the audiences head that he is not all bad, there is some good in him. A little bit later in the movie, Wade’s evil persona is further eradicated when he has a conversation with a woman after being intimate with her. He is heard saying, “I’m not wanted in Mexico, we could jump out that back window and get out. ” With this, Ben is trying to convince a girl to run away with him to a place where they can live a normal life. This shows that he is not all bad because a true rebel, rambling man would never want to settle down with a woman and leave the life of crime.
Ben on the other hand, is secretly looking for a way out. It shows that he does not want to live this life forever, deep down he wants to live an honest life with someone that cares about him for who he is. It also shows a level of respect for women because he does not want to just leave the girl after sleeping with her, he has deeper feeling for her and wants to show that. His respect for women is also apparent later in the movie during a conversation with Dan, a man that is transporting him to the place where he will be hanged.
He says to Dan, “I know if I was lucky enough to have a wife like Alice I would treat her a whole lot better then you Dan, I would feed her better, buy her pretty dresses, wouldn’t make her work so hard. ” Once again, Wade’s evil person is further deteriorated because the audience sees that he has respect for women and knows how to treat them. An evil man could care less about feeding a woman and buying her things, Wade on the other hand not only knows how a woman should be treated, but has a desire to do those sorts of things for a woman. The final straw that proves that Wade is not an evil man takes place at the end of the movie.
After finally making it to the town where Wade will be hung, his gang shows up to free him and he has the opportunity to escape. If he were to escape, however, Dan would not receive the money for transporting him there and his family would most likely starve. Dan explains to Wade that if he does not get him to the noose, his family will die and his sons will see him as a coward. Wade then agrees to cooperate in order for Dan complete what he set out to do. With this, Wade shows sympathy for Dan and his family and the audience is finally convinces, without a doubt, that Wade has good in him.
Throughout the sequence of the movie the character of Ben Wade is developed. In the beginning he is seen as evil, but by the end of the movie the audience can see that he is actually good. If you look at things that Wade does in the movie and analyze what these actions represent, you will see that Wade’s actions are justified, he is religious, he shows respect for women, and he shows sympathy by making the ultimate sacrifice for Dan and his family. Through analyzing the character of Ben Wade and his actions you can see the actual character that the director has developed in the movie “3:10 to Yuma. ”
Courtney from Study Moose
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