Ever Wonder What Made The Black Swan Darker? Here Is The Psychology The Movie Used

An analysis of the psychological underpinnings of the thriller.

black swan, natalie portman, darren aronofsky, psychology, schizophrenia, paranoid
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The shy, innocent and princess-like Nina must embrace the dark, evil and seductive counterpart of her personality to make it in the big league and be the Swan Queen. The movie that gave chills to many actually portrays the metamorphosis of a sweet personality into a dark,evil one. The psychological disorder Nina developes throughout the movie is paranoid schizophrenia.

Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized prominently with hallucination and delusion, both might remind you of Nina's scars and the obstacles she faces to give her 'perfect' performance. We break down the psychological symbolisms used in the movie :

Mirror, mirror on the wall:

As an aspiring ballerina, all that Nina wants is to get the lead role in the production of her ballet company, the role of the Swan Queen. White and innocent as the role is, her personality fits the bill and a docile Nina finally lands the spot, unaware of the doom that the role brings with itself. As Nina starts her journey, she realises that to play the Evil Black Swan she must change her personality and the director here plays the game of mirrors! The mirrors all around the practise hall act like a gateway to Nina's conscious, her changing personality is reflected in through the mirrors. Her 'reflections' reflect her change from the White to the Black.

The crack on Nina's face represents the fracturing of her personality to embrace another one which is evidently opposite to that of her's.

Source: vanishingpoint

The concept of Duality:

Source: taestfulreviews

The docile Nina lives in a small apartment, dreaming of her fairy-tale life with her dominating mother Erica. This is evident from the girly pink and soft-toys filled bedroom of Nina. The rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, the pink bedcovers all bring out the child-like personality of hers. 

However, the contrast is seen in the ballet practice. In order to attain perfection in her performance Nina must master and embrace both good and evil, light and darkness, and this task to open her to her own undiscovered grounds of 'evil' is taken up by her director Thomas. He teaches her not only to discover her dark side psychologically, but also sexually. He makes Nina become somebody she never thought she would ever become.

This brings out the concept of duality. A conscious that confused becomes a victim of the circumstances self-created.

The Magnum Opus or the Sad Sacrifice:

Source: wordpress

Nina at the day of the show gives a stellar performance, however it comes at the cost of her life. She ends her performance by killing herself as that remains her only escape. What religion refers to as possession of the soul by evil, science of behaviour calls consumption of the conscious. In the process of becoming the Black Swan, she loses the sense of reality and thus the only option to end this war with her self is by killing herself. 

That is exactly what she does, and her last words to Thomas are, "I was perfect," only to realise that she no more is herself!

Title image: desktopwalls


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kruttika agasty (WRITER)

Cognitive cannibal, an oscillation between logically coherent being to a high on Bollywood drama girl, theatre enthusiast, debater and certainly not the sort of person you put on speakerphone! A wacky parcel wrapped and packed in Reacho. Drop your hugs and bugs at: kruttika.agasty@gmail.com

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