Wednesday, September 26, 2012
CASTLE 5x01 - The darkest tale
Have you noticed how it is always the bad guys who do the best storytelling scenes? Or at least the marginally bad ones. On a side note, here is a favorite of mine from Breaking Bad.
Back on topic, I did not even have to reach to spot this time. Main Villain Season 5 provided a pretty straightforward family tragedy in the form of the age-old, gut-wrenchingly dark legend of the mother who killed her children.
These stories belong to the darkest corners of the human shadow, and they have been with us for quite a long time. They break taboos, take desperation to the farthest limit, and deal with unspeakable depths of emotion. They are also essentially feminine stories, showing both the strength and the vulnerability of women through the ages. They start heated discussions or long conversations, because they tap into something that goes beyond cultural norms.
The most famous version would probably be the Greek myth of Medea (also referenced in the Castle episode, as a woman 'about to be evicted'). If you have ever worked with that story as an actor or a storyteller, you know how emotionally exhausting it can be. This story is the main reason why I could never look at Jason as a real hero. Definitely not a good husband.
Another famous version of the same tale is known throughout the Americas as La Llorona, the Crying Woman, the mother who drowned her children and now walks the Earth as a ghost, searching for them. One of the most famous and the most terrifying ghost stories, this one has been known as far back as the Aztec empire. One of the signs of the approaching end of the Aztec rule was the cry of the 'ghostly woman'. It also showed up in the very first episode of Supernatural.
Here is a more extensive explanation on the background of La llorona. Even though the crying itself could make these legends similar to the Banshee (see below), the point is very different: banshee legends lack the image of the murderer mother.
Here is a collection of similar folk legends. Not a fun read, really. These stories mostly show the harsh realities of life that existed even before shining fairy tales.
I think that is quite enough of family tragedies. I promise to come up with something more cheerful next time!