Misunderstandings are dangerous and have the ability to escalate mistakes. The mistake Yussef and his brother made to shoot at a bus was easily misconstrued to become an international terrorist incident when in reality, the boys were merely testing the range of the gun.
When heightened incidents begin to play out many people lose hold of their dignity. Richard, having undergone much turmoil due to his wife getting shot and the uncertainty of her condition, lost hold of his dignity when he punched his fellow tourist.
Chieko also lost her dignity due to anger over her father’s aloof attitude towards her and resentment over rejection of boys her age. Chieko unleashes her frustration in a series of provocative advances towards men such as her dentist and a detective.
Even though every component of the story had at least one character that violated their dignity in some respect, most found some aspect of redemption. Richard, though he lost touch with his dignity, also has a redeeming quality. His strong devotion to his wife in the face of adversity strengthened the spirit of the story. Chieko’s father in the end recognized the struggle that his daughter was undergoing and comforted her. Yussef saw how his irresponsible actions resulted in his brothers potentially fatal wound and finally confessed to his crime and begged that his brother receive medical attention.
The main theme of Babel is confusion due to lack of communication and flawed perceptions. An example is had Chieko’s father communicated to her emotionally that he was there for her after the death of her mother perhaps she would not have felt the need to act out in the way she did. Another example is if the United States had a better relationship with North African nations such as Morocco perhaps the shooting event would not have been elevated to a terrorist incident without first obtaining more facts. The movie was also confusing for the audience because the way...