'Unforgiven' please give me feedback on my essay, thankyou!

Essay on ‘Unforgiven’
Question/statement: The most successful texts influence us through a skilful combination of techniques.

Clint Eastwood makes the audience aware of the consequences of violence in his 1992 Masterpiece ‘Unforgiven’ by using a combination of skilful techniques. The opening scene where the Attack on Deliah takes place uses techniques such as lighting, sound effects, weather motif, and camera work to show the audience how women were treated in the late 1800s. They were treated as property rather than actual human beings. The film begins in a brothel in the town of Bordello and is set in Big Whiskey, Wyoming.

This scene (the attack on Delilah) highlights the consequences of violence, which is Eastwood’s primary purpose in this film. Although the scene begins in a dark bedroom, the darkness is symbolic of the upcoming conflict, which becomes evident as the scene continues. The use of low-key lighting emphasises the anticipation of what will happen to Delilah (A female prostitute). The fact that this scene is mainly shot within a dark room is symbolic of evil and Quick Mike’s (a cowboy) hatred towards Delilah because he feels humiliated by her because of how she ridiculed and made fun of him. His actions represent the violence within society that is hidden in the shadows. This text is successful because it shows how terrible real violence is. Through his characters, such as Quick mike, Eastwood shows that violence should not be glorified because good people don’t solve their problems using violence. This is why most of the characters in ‘Unforgiven’ resort to violence because they are not good people.

The attack on Delilah occurs at the beginning of the film; it shocks the audience because of how violent Quick Mike is, slicing up Delilah’s face. The purpose of diegetic sound in this scene is to exaggerate the sound of Delilah’s face being cut up. This gives the audience a sense of horror and shock because of how unforgivingly violent men can be towards others, especially women like Delilah, who are prostitutes. Throughout Clint Eastwood’s film, men in this time and place treated women as second-class citizens. This can somewhat relate to today’s world because often, women are treated as inferior because of their gender and face problems such as being paid less money than a man who is in the same position or not being seen as capable as a man. This is gender inequality and is shown throughout Eastwood’s film as well.

Eastwood also uses the camera techniques cross-cutting to emphasise the distress of Delilah as Quick Mike cuts at her face out of spite for her laughing at his appearance. The use of the film technique creates fear and makes it difficult to watch for the audience because there is an expectation of gore, which is not the case. Eastwood uses this technique to create a sense of uneasiness and panic within his viewers without actually showing anything gruesome. Eastwood does this because he shows his audience that violence and gore should not be glorified in films; this only leads to people becoming unaffected by seeing excruciatingly violent things. This would lead to a society of people desensitised to violence, which consequently only leads to bad things. This is how Clint Eastwood’s film is successful because he shows how we can create anticipation and fear among us viewers by using other techniques. This can be related to the shower scene in Alfread Hitchcock’s film ‘Psycho,’ which creates fear throughout the viewers by using sound, lighting, camera shots, etc., rather than showing gore.

The storm occurring in the background of this scene is a weather motif that is recurring throughout the film. This motif symbolizes internal and external conflict within characters. During this scene, the conflict is between Quick Mike, Delilah, and Skinny (the owner of the bar and the prostitute’s pimp). The diegetic sound of the thunder and rain is frightening, representing the mood. The storm also signifies significant change, and not for the better. The violent act that Quick Mike is responsible for leads to a chain of violent acts. The violent acts that follow can be directly correlated with this incident. Eastwood directs the movie so that it doesn’t make the audience favour any of the characters because they all have their faults and are not particularly good people. The consequences of violence, Eastwood’s main purpose, show that all characters lose themselves to violence, whether mentally or physically killed, because of brutal violence. The use of these techniques, symbols, and motifs proves that Unforgiven is a successful text, teaching viewers about the consequences of violence and what it can lead to.

The violence in the Attack On Delilah scene leads to reoccurring shootings and violent acts throughout the film such as, by William Munny (the protagonist and anti-villain). Delilah and the other prostitutes, furious because of Quick Mike’s attack, decide to give out a $1,000 reward to anyone who will kill Quick Mike and his accomplice, Davey Bunting. Munny decides to take up this offer, leading him back into his life of crime (he was a criminal in the past). Will ends up killing Davey, Skinny Dubois, the saloon owner and pimp, and other innocent men and helping the Schofield Kid (his partner in crime) kill Quick Mike. Munny does this because, at heart, he is not a good person; he is a drunk and a criminal.

In conclusion, Clint Eastwood’s film ‘Unforgiven’ uses a range of different techniques, symbols, and motifs to show why violence should not be glorified, and this is why his text is successful. Eastwood shows the consequences of violence in the Attack On Delilah scene at the beginning of the film and shows what happens when men feel they have power over women and don’t care for the consequences.

Kia ora

Nice sense of what techniques you want to talk about in your intro - you might want to dig a bit more into the part of the statement “successful” - is it successful BECAUSE it shows us how women were treated? or because it makes us aware of the consequences of violence? Does it impact our emotions in an unusual way? Try to unpack all key words - you start to do this in your paragraphs but set it up from start.

Some pretty convincing bits in here and a strong understanding of the techniques in this film. Some tips to improve below.

  • Try to be explicit about the COMBINATION of the techniques if you can - it is implied since these are all from the same scene, but ensure explicit - and emphasize it again in conclusion.

  • When discussing techniques - you need to actually describe the technique being used as though the marker has not seen the film - EG in “diegetic sound” WHAT is the sound being used? What specifically is it being cross cut BETWEEN when they use cross cutting?

  • That last paragraph about how it affects the rest of essay is plot summary - how does it tie into the combination of techniques and the success? Does he use those same techniques later?

  • When you make links to other things - eg to Psycho, it needs to be a bit more explicit than what you have here - you might say - “Eastwood may have modelled this off the likes of Hitchcock who is known for using…” or “this is reminiscent of… because they both use (technique) to…”

Keep at it - aim to incorporate some of these next time :slight_smile:

Thank you for your feedback, I will take this into account in the next essay I write!