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Black Swan (2010) is a psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky that tells a story of Nina Sayers, a beautiful young girl who is completely obsessed with her career as a successful ballet dancer. 

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At the start of the movie, Aronofsky (2010) shows that with the beginning of the new season in the ballet company Nina is performing in, she gets the main role in the new interpretation of the famous Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” ballet. During the show the girl is expected to perform the roles of both the pure and innocent White Swan and the dark and seductive Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010). It is clearly visible that the girl is ecstatic to achieve such a success she has been literally dreaming about. ‘I had the craziest dream last night. I was dancing the White Swan’, said Nina (Aronofsky, 2010, 3:55). Nevertheless, immediately after she gets the role, she starts to experience changes in her psyche that lead to her character’s substantial transformation. Nina along with other characters of the movie distinctively represent all three components of the theory of personality developed by Sigmund Freud.

First of all, in the beginning of the movie, Nina is shown as a completely innocent girl, described as ‘beautiful, fearful and fragile’ (Aronofsky, 2010, 20:41). All of these means that she is a perfect embodiment of the White Swan. It is directly stated in the movie by her ballet teacher, Leroy, who tells her that she is ‘an ideal Odette’ (Aronofsky, 2010, 20:44). Moreover, she ‘is obsessed with getting each and every move perfectly right’ (Aronofsky, 2010, 20:58), trying to avoid any mistakes in everything from dance movements to conversations with other people, but never loses herself (Aronofsky, 2010). Therefore, the White Swan can be regarded as a representation of the Super-ego that, as it was already mentioned, is the element incorporating high moral values and social restrictions that always strives for perfection (Freud, 1923), just like the main character. Furthermore, in the movie the Super-ego is depicted in Nina’s overbearing mother, whose attitude towards her adult daughter has not changed since she was a twelve-year-old child (Yaman, 2016).

Thus, the mother, just like the Super-ego, wants to control her daughter’s actions in every sphere and area of life and activity. At the same time, Nina is driven by the desire to satisfy her mother or, in other words, the Super-ego, and tries as hard as possible to live according to established rules. She has basically become stuck in her cutesy rose room with life revolving solely around her dancing career and the craving to please to mother.  

29 April 2022

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