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28March 2017

RhetoricalAnalysis of Melancholia

Intimes of an apocalyptic scenario, an individual develops a sense ofdetachment towards everything the individual cared about. Denial ofcrisis is evident within organizations and society in the book TheAlready Dead, and it is mainly influenced by shortsightedness and theeffect of ignorance.The modern politics, medicine, globalization as well as cultureinterconnect to come up with temporary solutions to crisis ratherthan permanent ones. They continue to preserve the evils of thestatus quo. This is evident through the use of biotechnology andtargeted drug therapies to manage diseases rather than cure, whileglobal capitalism ensures the crisis management systems preserves theinjustices of the status quo rather than aim for resolutions to theseproblems.Accordingto Cazdyn, the right remedy for a crisis is a firm action to “lookaway from what seems to be a crisis.” It continues to show howemphasis is put on overlooking a problem rather than finding asolution by looking away from the crisis is perceived as the rightremedy (1). Cazdyn further continues to justify denial of crisis byclaiming that people continue to influence crisis by doing the wrongthings while they clearly understand that the right deeds would helpavert problems.

InMelancholia, Justine tells her sister that the “the Earth is evil,we don’t need to grieve for it. Nobody will miss it.” In thisshot, Justine who appears to suffer from severe depressiontrivializes existence to the point that it does not deserve mourning.Most organizations fall into crisis situations whether out of theright or wrong practices. In politics especially in the UnitedStates, promises are made during the electioneering period withoutnecessarily making considering their impacts and the taxpayer ingeneral. The shortsightedness effect plays a role in crisis denial.It is quite sad that today’s leaders define crisis as a thingrequiring an immediate action (Cazdyn 3). This situation creates anenvironment of doubt on the future. It is quite sad that one of theuncommon ways of addressing the crisis is through crisis denial. Forinstance, the problem of climate change is widely ignored by theAmerican people because of ignorance within the population (Stein18). Stein further states that the crisis is refused to be acceptedeven with adverse effects felt in cities (18). Lars von Trier`sexplanation of depressed people remaining calm in the face ofcatastrophic events is also explained in the book &quotThe Masteryof Non-Mastery&quot by Michael Taussig where the author argues thatviolence and tragedy take revenge on humanity through“routinization”(Taussig I). The author argues that the result ofthe routinization is that humans become immune to the violence andtragedy, just like a depressed person becomes immune to catastrophicevents at is happens to Justine. It is the many events which Justinesuffered which made her be depressed, and she does not see any dangerof the world ending through a collision with planet Melancholia.MichaelTaussig uses the theme to explain the condition of conflicts in theMiddle East including a devastating attack on Kobane by the Islamicstate of Syria and Iraq militants. A look at the film Melancholiashows that Justine was depressed and that is why she was actingaggressively telling off her manager, resigning from her job,sleeping with a stranger and at the end, she seems to have given up

Thedirector of the movie Melancholia, Lars von Trier pointed out in hisinterview that the motivation for the movie came from a distressingperiod he suffered and an understanding that depressed people have atendency to remain calm during catastrophic events. As the planetappears, it torments people at the wedding scene with prospects ofdistant doppelgangers, second chances, and redemption. The title ofthe film &quotMelancholia&quot means a psychological conditionwhich is marked by persistent depression and ill-founded fears of thepast or future.(American Psychological Association, 420). The filmuses art and decorative features to show demolishing effects ofdepression and how they can affect a person. As the news of theplanet coming to collide with the earth spread, all character in themovie begins to get agitated, in particular, Claire who is fearfulthat the world draws to an end.(Pahl, 2). Claire seems to beexcessively upset by the events, and such agitation by the charactersbrings out the question of survival where they wondered whether theywould survive such a collision. During all this commotion, Justinemanages to stay calm as she becomes philosophical and accepting, evenas the sky changes due to precipitation and everyone gets scared.Justine`s reaction to the stressful moments is in line with what Larsvon Trier described as the period of a profoundly depressed personremaining calm in the face of danger (Grodal, 50).

Inconclusion, lack of adequate knowledge on issues as well asaddressing issues in a narrow minded way is one of the leading causesof denial of crisis in many situations as observed in the movie.Ignorance makes one disregard the real problem at hand and decides towork on other important issues. On the other hand, theshortsightedness limits the ability of people to predict thepossibility of crises happening in future. Together, they create amelancholic situation that can turn tragic. Nevertheless, crisesoccur within systems so that they can replicate and grow by helpingus understand and see the faults in the system hence providing anopportunity for change. As mentioned above, melancholia is thecondition where an individual is severy distressed and depressed dueto fears of the past or future. Justine suffers from melancholia inthe film by being afraid of the future as the planet Melancholianeared its collision with planet earth.


Cazdyn,Eric M. TheAlready Dead: the new time of politics, culture, and illness.Durham: Duke U Press, 2012. Print.

Taussig,Michael. &quotThe Mastery of Non-Mastery A report and reflectionsfrom Kobane.&quot Public Seminar (2015).

Pahl,Jon. &quotMelancholia.&quot Journalof Religion &amp Film16.1 (2012): 10.

Stein,Eleanor. &quotIgnorance/Denial-Fear/Paralysis/Engagement/Commitment:Reflections on a

DecadeTeaching Climate Change Law.&quot RadicalTeacher102. (2015). ProfessionalDevelopment Collection.Web. 11 Feb. 2017.

AmericanPsychological Association. Diagnosticand Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

4thEd. Text Revision. Washington: American Psychological Association,2000

Grodal,Torben. &quotFrozen style and strong emotions of panic andseparation: Trier`s prologues to

Antichristand Melancholia.&quot Journalof Scandinavian Cinema2.1 (2012)

Moondarksound.“Lars Von Trier – Melancholia Interview”. YouTube.18Sept. 2011. Web.

12Feb. 2017

Tier,Lars, Meta L. Foldager, Louise Vesth, Kirsten Dunst. Melancholia, Alexander Skarsgård,

KieferSutherland, John Hurt, and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

ON:Entertainment One Films Canada, 2012.