“Is that Normal?” in Jabberwocky
Terrifying monsters and haunting creatures have plagued the world since the invention of myth. To explain the unexplainable with inaccessibility to modern reason and knowledge, ancient humans used fables to describe how mysterious events occurred. However, because of the discovery of scientific logic in recent centuries, monsters have been abolished from literal existence and are now frequently used to convey metaphorical beasts in modern day society or its ideals. In his work Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll writes about a giant terror in the nonsensical poem “Jabberwocky.” Terry Gilliam, an American-born British director and member of the English comedy group Monty Python, appreciated this children’s poem in a different approach- Jabberwocky was his solo directorial début in 1977. It tells the story of a cooper’s young and naïve apprentice who, after many comical circumstances, comes face to face with a giant menace that has been terrorizing the lands. In Jabberwocky, Gilliam incorporates the theme of reversing traditional beliefs and abolishing archetypal ideas through his portrayal of the deranged loyal family, the apprehensive and accidental “hero,” and anti-consumerism.
Conventionally in Arthurian literature, there is a tyrannical king whose eventual downfall is perpetrated by the hero or a great king who all of the people adored for his chivalrous rule. In the case of Jabberwocky, neither proves to be the prevailing case. The viewer gets a first look at the king’s abode just sixteen minutes into the movie; the castle is a dark and gloomy home that looks more like a dungeon than the domicile of a king. Though the king is named Bruno the Questionable for comedic value, the name also symbolizes the king’s reign and state of mind. Bruno is so hoary and senile that he is more concerned of marrying off his equally disturbed daughter than for the safety of his empire and people, who are being terrorized by the...
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