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    Mythical Beauties: Varying Representations of Mermaids in Film

    In the field of mythology, mermaids draw constant speculation. Their elusive nature adds to this element of mystery. However, film tends to polarize these mythical creatures into one of two categories: dangerous temptress or charming innocent. Identify specific films that assign mermaids to either of these two categories, and describe how this characterization helps to develop the film’s plot line.

    • An example of the innocent lies in the Disney Classic The Little Mermaid, as an example of the temptress is in the fourth Harry Potter movie. – tombaumser 8 years ago
    • Its amazing how we make something so scary absolutely innocent, to entertain kids. The question is whether this is destroying the old myths, creating new, or some weird mutant baby in between. – thesoaringmarlet 8 years ago
    • The movie Mermaids is a good example of the innocence that mermaids evoke in popular media as all three of the main female characters in the film are representative of feminine innocence in one way or another. Although the characters never become mermaids for anything more than a Halloween costume, the idea and all of the literary and historical baggage is attached to them because of the titling. All three women have their own struggles, yet they are resilient, independent, and own their gender and/or sexuality in powerful ways. For an 'actual' mermaid--for whatever that term is worth--I would not overlook Daryl Hannah's mermaid character in "Splash." This character epitomizes innocence, ignorance and nativity in a very saccharine, painful and unrealistic way. This is an unintentionally loaded film, with many problematic characters and gendered themes. It is also interesting to note that this film was the first live action release of Walt Disney Studios' Touchstone Pictures label, from the same Walt Disney that released the animated classic, "The Little Mermaid," in 1989. "Splash" became such a hit that it even popularized the female name of Madison, being the self given name of Hannah's character, after it's release. In a nutshell, this film had a great influence on pop culture. – HeatherStratton 8 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Interesting article, and very thorough research! This article definitely sparked my interest in learning more about the political and social connotations associated with vampire literature. In particular, The Vampyre seems to be abundant in this respect. As Emily noted in reference to Polidori’s text, “a vampire as not only a villain, but an aristocrat who utilizes his supernatural and economic power to harm those with less means than himself.”

    Also, didn’t realize that The Vampyre’s inception occurred at the same gathering as Shelley’s Frankenstein. That must have been one inspirational night for these literary figures!

    Vampires in Literature: Opera Cloaks, Sparkles, and Prevailing Themes

    Baz is definitely one of my favorite filmmakers. I’m also a huge fan of his film Australia, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. While Australia doesn’t contain a writer-hero like the films named in this article, it does feature a main character (Nicole Kidman) who finds herself in an unfamiliar environment and culture. In the film, Kidman’s friendship with Jackman enables her to acclimate to the culture through his extensive knowledge of the Aboriginal culture. Just wanted to point out this similarity between Australia and this article’s comments on the friendships featured in Get Down and Gatsby.

    From The Get Down to Moulin Rouge: A Look at Baz Luhrmann's Writer-Heroes

    I find the author’s argument in this article interesting. What stuck with me as significant is the author’s mention of the Christian undertones in many of Andersen’s stories, and in The Little Mermaid. With these Christian themes in mind, it’s interesting that the mermaid essentially sacrifices her earthly life and happiness to gain eternal life. Tying this along to the Christian theme that the author presents, the mermaid’s sacrifice mirrors Christ’s own sacrifice on the cross, in that both sacrifices merit eternal life through the price paid in earthly suffering.

    In Defense of the Conclusion to "The Little Mermaid"