Essay On Identity In Twelve Monkeys And David Cronenberg's Spider

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Through the use of identity, time and space Terry Giliams’s Twelve Monkeys and David Cronenberg’s Spider create a web of subjective reality. In Gilliam’s film, James Cole struggles to keep hold of his reality while traversing time and space. Alternatively, Dennis Cleg in Spider also finds himself internally time traveling, which consumes him so much that he is scarcely a part of his present world. Both directors assess the minds of their “heroes” through the juxtaposition of past and present selves, spaces and ultimately realities. Each film uses non-linear timelines which create a split in the psyche of Cole and Cleg. This personality split is the start of the psychological breakdown of everything surrounding the respective character. There is evidence within both works that the mind cannot endure living in multiple realities without a split in its psyche. A divide occurs in the minds of both Cole and Cleg which is not revealed until the last half of each film. There are two versions of Cleg and Cole. In Twelve Monkeys, there isn’t just past and present Cole but alternatively the Cole who believes he is sane and the Cole who admits he is not and wants help. For Cleg, there is not just the apparent adult and child self but also a fabricated memory and the real one. These separate yet attached personalities within…show more content…
As Gerry Canavan points out, Cole has a series of moments within the film that verify his sense of self. For example, the scene when he loses himself in the music or when he writes a love letter to Reilly. These characteristics however, are not found in Cleg. He does demonstrate a profound and deep seeded love for his mother but in perverse way. Cronenberg gives Cleg the nickname of “Spider” to obscure his humanity further. Seeing the rope webs that Spider creates and his detached demeanor makes it easier to think of Cleg more as a Kafkaesque

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