Black Swan

Topics: Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Sociology Pages: 5 (1684 words) Published: February 23, 2013
The Evil Twin|
Sociology of occupations|
Amy Le|


Overtime, many individuals will bring out their “dark side”. Some are pushed to their limits and in order to perfect themselves and to please others, they would do things that is benefit to them. In this essay, I will be discussing Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective and analyze it to the movie Black Swan. Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective of social interaction suggests that a person’s identity will change overtime based on interaction with others. It proposes that a person’s identity is not a stable and independent psychological entity. Goffman sees human interaction as a grand play. He forms a theatrical metaphor in defining the method in which one human being presents itself to another based on cultural values, norms, and expectations. Performances can have disruptions but most are successful. The goal of this presentation of self is acceptance from the audience through manipulation. If the actor succeeds, the audience will view the actor as he or she wants to be viewed. People use others for gratification and success. Although Cooley and Goffman may agree that human beings are performers, they differ on the fact that Goffman sees the performers to be manipulative and untrustworthy. The dramaturgical approach makes us realize how when we act, we worry about our “audience and how they will judge our performance.

If life we have goals and “expectations” that we want to achieve and we do this by using a tool called impression management. Impression management was the main center of Goffman’s work of the dramaturgical perspective. What Erving Goffman argues is that the self is not an entity that is originated from its enactment but arises through performance. Impression management describes a central aspect of role theory. Its goal is to gain advantageous first impression. It is the way people influence how others think about something else, usually themselves. People usually do this either to get something they want from others or to establish an independent identity. Most of us will perform and act the way we think will work best for our expectations in a given situation. Be it at work, school, in front of friends or family, we are all putting on presentations of ourselves that can be best fitting for that particular environment. We all act differently in any given situation that we are in. Goffman believed that particular understand of various social scenes are accomplished by using tools of the theater. These tools are considered to be roles, scripts, costumes, and a stage.

Nina, the main character, is passionate about dancing; it consumes her every wake hour. She even dreams about dancing. She is a shy and fragile young woman is chosen to play the role of the Swan Queen and must therefore embody both the pure White Swan and the evil Black Swan. Her quest for perfection as a ballet dancer leads her to experience, in her everyday life, the transformation experienced by the White Swan in the ballet’s story. The events of Nina’s daily life therefore mirror the story of the character she takes on as a ballet dancer, ultimately leading to confusion and, as the line between reality and fiction blurs, to apparent insanity. But in the process, she will have to shed her "sweet girl" persona and embrace her darker side to fully embrace the role and to please her demanding and sexually aggressive director, Thomas. Her metamorphosis is so complete, that Nina eventually develops webbed feet, bird-like legs and sprouts feathers and wings to actually become the black swan. She sees herself actually turning into the black swan and emerging to a totally different persona. Nina's quest for perfection is entirely focused on technique in terms of body positioning and movement; she doesn't yet truly relate to the emotional experience of dancing and dancing as a sexual being.  In order to do that, she must find the dark side of...
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