The English author, Jane Austen, once said, In every power, of which taste is the foundation, excellence is pretty fairly divided between the sexes. Throughout history, certain roles have been assigned to men and women based on what society deems acceptable. Since the beginning of human existence, women have assumed the role of nurturer; sacrificing themselves for the sake of their family, and guiding their loved ones through obstacles. However, men have been cast in the roles of provider and protector; therefore, men generally possess a more aggressive personality, and they often lack the ability to truly empathize with those around them because they learned to suppress their emotions. Nonetheless, throughout the movie, The Horseman on the Roof, the main characters Pauline and Angelo, battle with, and often times break through, gender barriers, showing that the restraints put on the behavior of men and women are unfair to both sexes in that they do not allow either gender to develop a full array of emotions.
[...] The ideas of society that have so long pervaded his every decision evaporate, and he follows what his heart tells him to do. After the exhausting night spent reviving Pauline, Angelo collapses. Pauline, though very weak, covers him up. This action shows the selflessness of both characters: Angelo saves Pauline and respects her sense of modesty; while Pauline, although barely avoiding death, covers Angelo. The Horseman on the Roof shows the progression of the two main characters from being nearly opposite of what society dictates, to fitting the roles, to creating [...]
[...] Pauline is not sure that everything will work out; she fears that, after the plague, her life will be empty due to the loss of so many; whereas Angelo's future lies with the revolution, and his fear is that he will not have the courage to act. In this scene, Pauline and Angelo derive strength from one another-Angelo sees her as a strong and independent woman, not unlike his mother, and Pauline recognizes his noble decisions and comes to terms with her own fears. [...]
[...] In a letter to his mother he admonishes himself saying, “Fleeing, always fleeing.” Angelo wants to be able to fight for Italy in the revolution, but instead he has to run from his home. He says he wants to liberate Italy single-handedly for his mother, and yet he is afraid to take the necessary risks. Pauline, on the other hand, is much more impetuous. Pauline agrees to go with Angelo, a man she does not know, in hopes of reuniting with her husband. [...]
[...] Pauline wonders through the house and puts on a beautiful dress, but when Angelo sees her in it, he fears that it could be contaminated. Despite his warnings, Pauline refuses to remove the dress, showing her lack of regard for his authority. Also, after Pauline finishes her first glass of hot wine she asks for more, but Angelo, being more sensible, says right and once again, Pauline ignores him and demands more wine. These willful displays of disobedience illustrate Pauline's need to feel independent and in control of her life. [...]
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