Symbolism in Theater and Cinema
June 8, 2015
What if I never saw the movie Jaws? Would I still feel the same way about sharks and the ocean? These are some of the questions I feel a lot of people can ask themselves after they have seen Jaws. What does this mean? Can the shark in Jaws represent or symbolize something more than just being a hungry shark?
I remember watching Jaws as a kid, as you can imagine I was pretty scared. I think I was about ten when I first saw Jaws. At this time I would go to the beach and always be in the water. But after watching the movie I was afraid every time I went to the beach that something was going to sneak up behind me or come up from the dark water below to attack me. I am not sure where this fear came from since a shark before never bit me.
So what does the shark represent or symbolize, if anything other than a shark? I believe that the shark in jaws symbolizes the shear element of fear. You can see how the director captures this element when in “monster mode” by looking at the fear on each victim's face from the sharks’ point of view. The ocean is so foreign to us. Dark water, animals that are bigger, stronger than us and can swim faster than us. Its just nature to be afraid of those things, and the shark plays on those fears. I also think that the shark can represent our culture or society through tenacity. Neither the shark nor other characters in the movie ever give up, unless they get eaten. The city refuses to close the beach, the men refuse to let the shark wreak havoc upon the beaches. The shark refuses to let anyone stop him.
If I were to stage a theatrical version of Jaws, i think I would lean more towards the comedic thriller genre. The story would be from the sharks’ point of view. The shark that has been separated from his family and friends very young is looking for a friend or companionship. And since there are no other sharks around he finds a beach with strange