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A Time To Kill And To Kill A Mockingbird
The movie based on John Grishams A Time to Kill is a Hollywoodized, modern-day version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Both movies employ many of the same themes and plot elements; but the former movie is one-dimensional and predictable while the latter is innovative and purposeful. The movie version of Harper Lees novel To Kill a Mockingbird is considered a classic film, whereas John Grishams adapted novel is merely another example of the money making efforts of Hollywood.
Some of the movies more prominent themes are the same. Both focus on the family, particularly the role of the father. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Attacus, who is based on the father of author Harper Lee, is an upstanding parent. Not only is he an excellent role model for his children, but he takes time to talk to his children. He respects them as growing individuals, allowing them to call him Attacus, and explains important issues rather than discounting them. Jake cherishes his daughter more than ever when he compares her hypothetically to his clients victimized daughter Tonya. The power of the family institution is reiterated when Carl takes revenge upon the offenders who raped Tonya. These ties drive an otherwise socially conforming man into violating the sanctity of human life in cold blood without regret.
Another motivation that inspires his action is the personal degradation he must have experienced as a black man in a racist community that includes backwoods deviants, who look down upon the blacks in the community. Hate crimes appear in both movies, including hate-fueled riots, attempted lynchings, and the reappearance of the Ku Klux Klan. Other manifestations of racism were realized as well, such as injustice in the court system and the school system, where, in both movies, the protagonists children are continually taunted for being the progeny of a nigger lover.
The classic figure of the hero is at the forefront of the plot in each movie. Both lawyers put their lives on the line for the liberty of a client without expecting compensation. Attacus does so because he believes in justice and knows its the right thing to do, whereas Jake simply empathizes with his client, especially by projecting his daughter into Tonyas experience. Either way, these men sacrifice themselves for the sake of others, a defining characteristic of heroes. Attacus especially is elevated in the mind of the narrator to a state of untouchable selflessness and courage. A few other characters with very heroic traits emerge. Boo Radley saves the children by fighting their attacker to the death at great personal risk even though these same children had feared him. He is a very mysterious character until this incident, which unexpectedly defines him as a hero. In one of the most striking scenes in A Time to Kill, a soldier jumps in the path of a bullet to protect Jake. When Jake learns this total stranger is permanently paralyzed, he is dumbfounded.
The basic plots of the two movies are identical: a white man commits rape but a black man ends up being prosecuted in a racially charged trial. The focus is on the defense lawyers struggle, and the movies climax during the closing statement. The essential difference of plot is a juxtaposition: in To Kill a Mockingbird, an innocent man is convicted, while in the other, a guilty man walks. This reflects that more was at stake than simply one mans life in both cases. The formers result is much more powerful. This unrevenged injustice has potential to hold audiences in indignant shock and open their eyes to the harsh reality of racism. This is the first of several discrepancies I will point out that favor To Kill a Mockingbird as the better film.
These juxtaposed outcomes of the trials can be attributed to two factors unrelated to the plot. First, it reflects our nations growing sensitivity toward stamping out racism. A black man prosecuted for a crime against a white person had terrible odds in the in the first half of the twentieth century. I understand Lees novel was accurately portrayed, but A Time to Kill, the movie, strays from John Grishams original at least with respect to the ... more
Find essay on Not Guilty
In Shakespeare's tragedy, Macbeth, the characters and the roles they play are
critical to its plot and theme, and therefore many of Shakespeare's characters
are well developed and complex. Two of these characters are the protagonist,
Macbeth, and his wife, Lady Macbeth. They play interesting roles in the tragedy,
and over the course of the play, their relationship changes and their roles are
essentially switched. At the beginning of the play, they treat each other as
equals. They have great concern for each other, as illustrated when Macbeth
races to tell Lady Macbeth the news about the witches and she immediately begins
plotting how to gain for her husband his desire to be king. At this point, Lady
Macbeth is the resolute, strong woman, while Macbeth is portrayed as her
indecisive, cowardly husband. He does have ambition, but at this point, his
conscience is stronger than that ambition. Lady Macbeth explains this
characteristic of her husband in Act I, Scene v, when she says, "Yet do I
fear thy nature; it is too full o' th' milk of human kindness to catch the
nearest way." The next stage of change developing in the characters of
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is in Act II. This is the act in which Macbeth kills
King Duncan. Macbeth's character change is apparent because it is obvious that
he has given in to his ambition and has murdered the king. He is not entirely
changed, though, because he is almost delirious after he has committed the
crime. He exclaims, "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean
from my hand? No; this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine,
making the green one red." He believes that instead of the ocean cleaning
his hands, his hands would turn the ocean red. Macbeth's role has changed
somewhat but not entirely, since he has committed the crime but his conscience
is still apparent after the murder. Lady Macbeth's role similarly changes
somewhat in Act II. The reader sees a crack in her strong character when she
tells Macbeth in Scene ii of Act II that she would have murdered Duncan herself
if he had not resembled her father as he slept. Her boldness is still evident,
though, when she calms Macbeth after the murder and believes "a little
water clears us of this deed." Unlike the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth,
their relationship remains unchanged from Act I to II. Their relationship is
still very close as seen through Duncan's murder - a product of teamwork. At the
end of Act III, both the roles and the relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
have reached the final stage of their change. Now that Duncan is dead and
Macbeth is hopelessly headed toward a life of immorality, Lady Macbeth fades
into the background. Macbeth takes it upon himself in Act III to plot Banquo's
murder without consulting his wife because he wants to protect her from the
corruption that he has involved himself with. His role is now completely changed
and there is no turning back for him. As Macbeth goes off on his own course
during this time, Lady Macbeth's guilt is overwhelming and, cut off from him,
she descends into madness. Her guilt emerges in Act III, Scene ii when she says
she would rather be dead, and it grows from then on until her death. Lady
Macbeth's character change is also evident in Act III, Scene ii when she backs
out of Macbeth's mysterious murder plan and tells him, "You must leave
this." The relationship between the couple is being torn apart by this time
in Macbeth. They are headed in separate directions - Macbeth towards a life of
evil and Lady Macbeth towards insanity and grief. As Shakespeare developed the
characters of Macbeth and his wife, their changing roles ironically ended up
resembling the other one's role. At the beginning of the tragedy, Macbeth was
the hesitant character with a strong conscience, while Lady Macbeth was powerful
and firm. However, by the time these two characters were completely changed,
Macbeth ended up being decisive and greedy, as Lady Macbeth turned out to be
weak since her guilty conscience drove her insane. Shakespeare's exchange of
roles in Macbeth is clever yet unusual, but after all, "things aren't
always what they seem."
Shakespeare ... more
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