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What makes Edward Scissorhands a modern tragedy?

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doglove | Student | Honors

Posted January 27, 2011 at 6:31 AM via web

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What makes Edward Scissorhands a modern tragedy?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 27, 2011 at 7:14 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that one of the reasons that the film is a modern tragedy is that it shows how the community terrorizes the individual.  In the end, Kim and Edward cannot be together.  Even though that there is obvious love between them, they cannot be with one another because the community repels difference.  The community has nothing but disdain towards Edward when they recognize that they cannot use him for their own ends.  Since Edward will not succumb to Romantic trysts and embrace self serving ends, he is repelled by the community.  Edward endures the false accusations of rape and causing harm to others and has no choice but the flee back to his castle, where Kim must tell others he is dead in order for the mob to disperse.  I sense this is modern for two particular reasons.  The first is that individual identity is sacrificed for collective notions of the good.  There is little in this vision that reflects how freedom and individual choice are validated by the social order.  The film does not reject these ideas, for Kim employs them in saving Edward.  Yet, it reflects how those who are different have to carry a different burden or weight than the cultural majority or the conformist voice.  Along these lines, it reflects that while freedom and choice are present in the modern setting, happiness might not be the full result of these ends.  We see this in Kim.

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