Dangerous Beauty (Movie Essay

Your essay should address:

  • Main themes: What are the most important ideas that the film engages?
  • Thesis: Since this is a critical essay, you do not have to frame your thesis as an argument. Instead, your thesis will be a statement of purpose: “This paper will analyze the use of gender in the film Dangerous Beauty.” Or, “This paper will analyze the relationship between church and state as depicted in the film Dangerous Beauty.” Or, “This paper will analyze the nature of intimate relationships in the film Dangerous Beauty.” Or, if you want to frame your thesis as an argument: “In this paper, I will argue that the conflict between classical conservativism and liberalism lies at the heart of the film Dangerous Beauty.” Or, “In this paper, I will argue that the conflict between Renaissance ideals of gender and social status lies at the heart of the film Dangerous Beauty.
  • Plot: Provide a brief summary of the film’s storyline. (Be succinct, this should not be the bulk of you paper.)
  • Main characters: Identify who the main characters are. Who is the hero? Who is the villain? (This does not need to be a separate section, but can be a part of your plot description.)
  • Setting: Why do you think this film is set where it is? Is there anything special, or unique in this choice that somehow supports the film dramatically, or thematically?
  • Conflict: What is the nature of the film’s conflict? Is it a conflict between just two people? Between a group of people(s)? Between Person/People and the larger society? Person/People and the environment? Or, a combination of some, or all of these possibilities.
  • Your essay MUST demonstrate a thorough and dynamic understanding of Renaissance society. Your essay must be situated/rooted in this context.

Questions to consider:

  • How are women portrayed in the film? Are they portrayed in more than one way? If so, what’s the difference/contrast in the portrayals?
  • How are men portrayed? Are they portrayed in more than one way? If so, what’s the difference/contrast in the portrayals?
  • How is the Church portrayed? Is it portrayed in more than one way? If so, what’s the difference/contrast in the portrayals?
  • How is society portrayed? Do different groups hold different values? Are they in conflict with each other? Are they resolved? If so, how?
  • What’s the role of education in the film?
  • What’s the role of love and marriage?
  • What’s the role of class, and gender?
  • What’s the role of religion?
  • What’s the role of commerce/trade?
  • What qualities, abilities, talent, was a person of quality/class expected to have?
  • What’s the role of the plague in the movie? Character’s reactions to it? Societal reaction(s)?
  • Are there any universal themes? Are there any statements about people, society, or institutions that are just as relevant today, as they were in the setting of the movie? If so, what are they, and what point of view does the film take on them? Do you agree, or disagree with the film’s position(s)?
  • The tension between liberalism and conservatism (think about the conflict set in motion when there is an outbreak of plague—on the one side: what some think caused it, and hence, the role of the Inquisition [conservatism]; and on the other: life without complete, true, love [liberalism]).
  • Humanism
  • Courtier/chivalric values
  • Regard for education
  • Commerce/trade
  • Religion
  • Government
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