An interpretation of a scene from K.Brannagh’s Essay
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At the beginning of the scene when Elizabeth and Victor are talking, there is a massive contrast of colours through what they are wearing. Elizabeth is wearing a scarlet dress compared to Victors soiled white shirt. The red dress is there to symbolise love and also death. Elizabeth has a lot of love for Victor, which she has to leave behind because of Victor’s obsession. Elizabeth also gets killed later on in the film therefore the red also symbolises blood.
Situated behind Victor are sketches of skeletons and figures. There is a brain in a jar of fluid placed on the small table in the middle of the room. This shows that Victors obsession is very scientific but also he is making something from human form. When Victor begins to bring his creation to life he is wearing a long gold cloak. This cloak and his long hair makes Victor look very feminine. It is important that Victor looks feminine because he is doing what only a female can do, giving birth to a child. With the cloak being gold it also gives him a sense of importance, as he is doing something which only God can usually do.
The container that the monster is placed in has a shape similar to a cradle but also a coffin. This shows life and death; the cradle holding the new born and the coffin holding the dead. The monster inside is dead but it is soon going to be newly born. The fires that heat the cradle could be the fires of hell showing that what Victor is doing is wrong. The fires of hell also link with the sub-title “A Modern Day Prometheus” In this story “Prometheus” steals fire from the Gods so he can use it to create life. For this, he gets punished by the Gods. I think the main reason for showing the fire is to remind us of when Mary Shelley lost her child. Mary had a dream that she warmed her dead child by her fire and it came back to life. This dream is being brought into reality by Victor because the monster is made out of dead bodies which he sews together and then brought it to life.
The machinery used directly with the birth of the monster look like human parts. The parts representing the penis and testicles looks realistic. The phallic images involved at this point in the scene is to show the male input of child birth. When Victor looks at himself in the mirror, he is confronting himself. This means he has to judge himself. He can see that the good side of him has been tainted by what he has done for the past two years. Where Victors bed is, there are black curtains hanging. When Victor closes them it suggests mourning for the dead. Victor believes that he has killed the monster when he hung him in the chains. He has lost everything for the monster and now he has nothing.
Colour and Lighting Both Victor and Elizabeth are in high key lighting. Around them both is low key lighting. This makes the room seem even more dirty and awful than it already is. The windows in the room are very bright but this light is not dispersed. This shows that the light isn’t welcome in there. When Victor opens the door to where the monster is the light is cast on a white sheet that is covering something. Because of the light it makes us assume the body of the monster is under here because there is a rough outline of a figure by shadows.
Victor’s shadow enters the room of the monster before he actually does. This shows that the dark side of him is in control now and leading the way. The electricity is a strong vibrant blue. This stands out because of the low key lighting that is used. The magnificent glow makes it seem powerful. When the monster is hanging from the chains one can only see his silhouette. The monsters’ face is hidden by the shadow. This is eerie because we don’t know whether the monster is dead or alive. When Victor is writing into his journal there is high key lighting around Victor but in the background where the monster is hanging there is very low key lighting. This shows that Victor has become more important than the monster.