The Illusionist: Reality Versus His Illusions
“The Illusionist” is a short story by Steven Millhauser, which was adapted into a movie directed by Neil Burger in 2008 which both take place in Vienna. The short story’s plot revolves around Eisenheim and his relationship between himself and the state, which is still featured in the movie. Eisenheim’s illusions also cause him a bit of trouble; in the short story the cause of trouble is an illusion, which produces two spirits by the name of Rosa, Elis, and a boy who appears to be no older than eight. In the movie adaptation, the final straw that causes the Crown Prince to finally pursue persecution of Eisenheim is the illusion that again, produces a spirit, which turns out to be his dead fiancée. Because of Inspector Uhl’s growing obsession of Eisenheim, throughout the movie and the short story, it further ignites the blur between what is the reality and what is his illusion. Uhl’s obsession over Eisenheim and his illusions helps blur the reality around him.
In the short story, the narration appears to be as if a friend were telling you a story, as the narrator does not have any real affiliation with the story, while in the adaptation the narrator is very clearly Inspector Uhl, as the ending of the short story is the very beginning of the movie. In the adaptation Inspector Uhl is shortly after seen walking to the office of the Crown Prince and explaining the situation and the failure to formally get Eisenheim into custody. The Crown Prince, of course, is furious and accuses Inspector Uhl of being inadequate. Inspector Uhl, in turn, reverses the accusations as he now has enough evidence to arrest The Crown Prince of killing his fiancée, Sofie. Sofie, one of the new characters introduced by Neil Burger was not featured by Steven Millhauser – but adds to the plot through providing substance as a love interest for Eisenheim, a reason if not the reason Eisenheim returns to Vienna to perform his illusions. The audience of the adaption, which is recommended to be a PG-13 crowd has to remind themselves that Eisenheim, himself, is an illusionist, therefore knows how to deceit his audience. Through seemingly innocent conversation such as Eisenheim’s Assistant discussing with Eisenheim: “Well she [Sofie] better get used to it” “How’s that?” “Word is she’ll marry him soon” “Really?” “Taking her changes, if you ask me.” “Why?” “He likes to give his lady friends a good thrashing now, and again.” (29:17) While this demonstrates to audience and Eisenheim that Crown Prince isn’t that swell of a guy, it also demonstrates of the public perception surrounding the Crown Prince an important piece that Eisenheim uses to his advantage later on. In a way, this conversation also manipulates the audience themselves, as it gives the audience an excuse to root for Eisenheim, rather than The Crown Prince. Shortly after this conversation Eisenheim is seen making woodwork, revealed that it is some sort of present for Uhl, the two exchange letters, thus, deepening the...
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Essay/Term paper: Reality vs. illusion
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Reality vs. Illusion
A. Introduce topic
1. Reality and illusion
2. Confusion between the two
II. First Body
1.Othello is a great example
2. Iago gains revenge through this
III. Second Body
1. Out of revenge
2. Iago uses his plan
A. Reality vs. Illusion
1. Confusion between the two
2. Iago knows how to get his way
Reality and illusions are two words which may be confused among
people reading or learning about this sort of topic. Reality is what is real or
true and should not be misinterpreted with illusion, which is fake or something
a person believes is real. Often people can put an illusion in some ones head
and through words, can manipulate how they think, which affects the person's
judgment on what is reality and what is an illusion. Illusions can be mistaken
as being reality and very often there is a person making another believe in the
illusion through his/her actions and speech.
The play "Othello" has the greatest example of this and is
easily understood through this example. Iago is a very intelligent man who uses
peoples weaknesses to his advantage. Iago has got to be one of Shakespeare's
most evil characters and he is a character who stands out among all of the
Shakespeare characters. Iago uses his skill to gain revenge and take advantage
of people who he believes deserves this sort of punishment.
Iago uses this revenge in many occasions, one in particular he
talks to Othello about Casssio and makes Othello believe that Cassio is sleeping
with Othello's wife Desdemona. This is definitely not the truth but Iago talks
in such a way that Othello has no choice but to believe him. Iago also plants
Desdemona's handkerchief in Cassio's cabin knowing that Othello will eventually
find it. Iago uses persuasive words to make Othello believe these illusions and
as an extra plan Iago is making Othello trust in him because only a good friend
would break this kind of news to another friend.
Reality and illusion are often mixed up as in Othello. People
have to look out for the situations such as this. It is hard to believe such
opposite words with opposite meanings could be mixed up so easily if a person
actually puts some intelligent thinking behind a plan like this. To give credit
where credit is due, Iago is very intelligent and he knows how to get his way.
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