Analysis of the Themes of Grief, Guilt, Insanity and Fantasy: Inception and Shutter Island

Pages: 4 (1096 words) Published: January 14, 2015

Inception and Shutter Island; Grief, Guilt, Insanity and Fantasy

Roughly one hundred and fifty thousand people die every day across the globe. The loss of a loved one can cause any man to lose his mind and act irrationally, especially if he had a hand in his loved ones death. In dealing with the aftermath of losing family, Christopher Nolan’s Inception and Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, both examine the effects of grief, guilt and the dangers of delving into insanity and fantasy to ease the pain. Inception and Shutter Island both depict the main character as someone who has lost his wife, due to his own mistakes, in the past. In Inception, Cobb plays a hand in his wife, Mal’s, death. When he and Mal were trapped in Limbo, a level in shared dreaming, he had known that death would be the only way to escape, but Mal had refused to accept that, and denied leaving. So in order to become free from Limbo, Cobb planted the idea in his wife’s mind that her world wasn’t real. We were lost in here (limbo). I knew we needed to escape, but she wouldn’t accept it. She had locked something away… a truth that she had once known, but chose to forget. She couldn’t break free… So I planted an idea. A simple little idea that would change everything. That her world isn’t real. (Cobb, Inception) But while this planted idea allowed Mal to accept that they needed to leave, it continued to make her doubt the validity of her reality even after she woke. “I never knew that, that idea would grow in her mind like a cancer, that even after she woke, that even after you came back to reality, that you’d continue to believe that your world wasn’t real. That death was the only escape.” Similarly, in Shutter Island, Andrew Laeddis shoots his wife, Dolores, and kills her after she drowns their children in the lake behind their house. Dolores was mentally unstable, and Andrew had ignored that until he came home from work and discovered their children floating face down in the lake. Dolores...
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