05-12-2007 06:22 PM
Audiences connect to characters through two primary emotions.
Audiences relate to characters who do what they feel they themselves would do in the situation.
When a character is faced with a circumstance that is common to the audience’s lives, if the character doesn’t respond as the audience would (or has), the audience disengages from that character. It’s like that moment in the dumb horror movie where the teenage girl wanders into a house full of bloody corpses. Since you yourself would turn around and run for dear life, you almost want her to be killed for being so stupid. (And, in fact, she usually is.)
On the flip side, in When Harry Met Sally…, we see ourselves in the way that Harry and Sally miss each other after breaking up. It’s an experience we’ve all had, and their reaction to it reflects our own. When Harry watches old movies in bed and wishes he could call Sally like he used to do, our hearts go out to him because this is how we would feel, too. At some point, most of us have probably had a similar experience, and behaved in just the same way. Through our sympathy, we relate.
Audiences relate to characters who do what they wish they themselves would do in the situation.
In life, most of us barely do a fraction of the things we want to. The vast majority of our desires go unfulfilled. So when characters in movies take the actions we wish we could take, we’re deeply gratified. We invest in these characters because these characters are giving us so much in return – fulfilling our wishes on our behalf.
For example, who among us wouldn’t like to think of ourselves as brave? But would you single-handedly take on a high rise full of highly skilled and equipped terrorists to save your loved one? I’m sure you’d like to think you would. But the reality of the situation might paralyze you from taking the actions that John McClane takes in Die Hard. That’s why we root for him – he’s doing the things we wish we would do if we were in his position. Through admiration, we relate.
But characters who make bad decisions, acting neither as the audience feels they would act, nor as they wish they could, will fail to connect entirely. They invoke neither sympathy nor admiration. They invoke pity. And pity will get you nowhere.
A protagonist’s trajectory must ultimately be positive. A hero should never descend, but rather ascend to a greater truth. The rule of ascension applies to any story, regardless of the tone, the genre or the content.
08-21-2007 01:21 PM
08-21-2007 01:27 PM
08-21-2007 01:38 PM
Elizabeth is stumbled by prejudice. She sees Darcy in role of Villan. And supports all notions that supports her original claim.
If you are not a fan of P&P try Bridget Jones Diary. Same thing but modern.