The Lighthouse Analysis: V. Nature

15 Oct

I wanted to give my readers a chance to digest my best guesses at what’s going on in The Lighthouse film. The master post is long, so I have also published each section (exact same) on it’s own.

All the Disclaimers:

*Spoilers ahead

*To lesson confusion, I will be referring to the older lighthouse keeper as “Older” and the younger as “Younger” bc the names change throughout the film.

*The clues are offered in a non-linear way

The clues are more disjointed in the film, not presented in a linear way. Which is both why it’s difficult for the audience to grasp the true timeline, to tell who is who, and also for me to write a post without skipping around. I apologize, blame the author/director.

*The movie NEVER indicates the timeline is off. It is intentionally disjointed to confuse the viewer and have us question what is real.

Impossible desire to overcome nature, gain enlightenment

Aside from telling the viewer that these are not two separate people, this Ahab-like character, of Older, shows the struggle between man and nature, power, and knowledge.

The light is a symbol of forbidden knowledge, enlightenment and pleasure. Older has sole access to it, which peeves Younger. Younger is not a fan of authority. Younger wants his turn, sneaks in to see masturbatory light/sea creature action, considers killing Older to gain entry, and eventually begs for access.

The mermaid figurine and the human-like mermaid show Younger’s desire to “conquer” nature and achieve the pleasure of that knowledge and power. He uses the figure to masturbate, but toward the end of the movie it doesn’t work–he’s left frustrated. He has sexual fantasies of the woman-like mermaid also. But again, he is unable to copulate because her anatomy is fishy. He’s trying to dominate nature, and his failure symbolizes that man can never truly conquer nature.

The waves and the weather of course symbolize the struggle of man vs. nature and a power dynamic man must submit to. Notice just as soon as Younger kills the bird, the weather vain points North. Everything goes awry after this (to the audience).

Escape or rescue from the isolated lighthouse island is also thwarted by nature. The waves are unruly.

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