Publication details

A Self-Inflicted Wound : Isolation in The Lighthouse (2019)



Year of publication 2020
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Robert Eggers’ 2019 film The Lighthouse tells the story of two men working as lighthouse keepers on an island in the middle of the sea. However, instead of establishing cooperation, a sense of togetherness, or even camaraderie, the two men are faced with tension, frustration, anger, desperation, and suffering. A cursory inspection of their working and living conditions could suggest that they suffer from cabin fever, caused by the isolated nature of the lighthouse. But, as I will propose in my reading of the film, the unravelling of the two “wickies”, the Young played by Robert Pattinson and the Old played by Willem Dafoe, does not happen due to their isolation from the outside world as much as due to their isolation from each other. In my talk, I will focus especially on the Young, a troubled figure haunted by a sense of guilt and unconsciously keeping himself in a vicious circle of resentment, frustration, and violence. And I will discuss how all the suffering unfolding in the course of the plot starts with one simple refusal of a drink.
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