The Revenant (2015)

Brief Intro

🎬 “The Revenant,” directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, is a gripping tale of survival and revenge set in the 1820s American frontier. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, the film showcases his struggle for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by his comrades. The visually stunning and emotionally intense journey is complemented by rich literary and cinematic devices that enhance the storytelling.

Literary Devices Used in The Revenant

  1. SymbolismMovie SceneDevice ExampleBear attackThe bear represents the brutal and indifferent nature of the wilderness.Glass’s visionsSymbolize his inner struggles and connection to his deceased family.
  2. ForeshadowingMovie SceneDevice ExampleGlass’s dreamsHis dreams of his wife and son foreshadow his drive for survival.Fitzgerald’s dialogueHints at his betrayal and self-serving nature.
  3. ImageryMovie SceneDevice ExampleSnow-covered landscapesCreates a stark, harsh setting reflecting the film’s tone.River scenesSymbolize life’s flow and Glass’s journey.
  4. MotifMovie SceneDevice ExampleFireRepresents life, hope, and destruction throughout the film.ScarsPhysical and emotional scars signify characters’ past traumas.
  5. IronyMovie SceneDevice ExampleGlass being saved by Native AmericansIronic twist as they are often portrayed as enemies in other parts of the film.Fitzgerald’s fateHis ultimate end contrasts with his actions throughout the movie.
  6. MetaphorMovie SceneDevice ExampleGlass’s struggleMetaphor for the human condition and will to survive.The revenantRepresents Glass’s return from the brink of death.
  7. JuxtapositionMovie SceneDevice ExampleTranquil nature scenes vs. violent encountersHighlights the contrast between beauty and brutality.Glass’s memories vs. present strugglesEmphasizes his inner conflict.
  8. AllusionMovie SceneDevice ExampleGlass’s nameAlludes to the fragility and resilience of glass.Biblical referencesFitzgerald’s “murder of the innocent” speech.
  9. PersonificationMovie SceneDevice ExampleNature as an antagonistThe wilderness is depicted as a character with its own will.The bearAlmost human-like in its ferocity and determination.
  10. Hyperbole | Movie Scene | Device Example | |————-|—————-| | Bear attack scene | Intensely exaggerated to emphasize Glass’s struggle. | | Glass’s survival feats | Extreme portrayal of human endurance. |

Character Analysis Through Literary Devices

  1. Hugh GlassDeviceExplanationSymbolismGlass’s character symbolizes resilience and the human spirit’s will to survive.ImageryHis journey is often portrayed through vivid imagery of the harsh wilderness.
  2. John FitzgeraldDeviceExplanationIronyFitzgerald’s end is ironic given his ruthless pursuit of self-preservation.ForeshadowingHis early actions and words hint at his eventual betrayal of Glass.
  3. Captain Andrew HenryDeviceExplanationMetaphorRepresents authority and the moral struggle of leadership in dire circumstances.JuxtapositionHis compassionate nature is often contrasted with the harsh environment and brutal decisions he must make.

Character Dynamics

The relationships between characters are crucial to the narrative, driving the themes of betrayal, survival, and revenge. The tension between Glass and Fitzgerald highlights themes of morality and justice, while Glass’s bond with his son provides emotional depth and motivation for his journey.

Thematic Analysis

  1. SurvivalDeviceExplanationImageryThe harsh landscapes and brutal conditions emphasize the theme of survival.MetaphorGlass’s journey is a metaphor for the broader human struggle for life.
  2. RevengeDeviceExplanationSymbolismThe revenant (one who returns) symbolizes Glass’s drive for revenge.ForeshadowingEarly scenes foreshadow the lengths Glass will go to for revenge.
  3. Man vs. NatureDeviceExplanationPersonificationNature is depicted as an active force opposing the characters.JuxtapositionThe beauty and brutality of nature are contrasted to highlight this theme.

Cinematic Techniques That Enhance Literary Devices

  1. SymbolismLiterary DeviceTechniqueExplanationFireLighting and colorFire is often highlighted with warm lighting to symbolize hope or danger.
  2. ImageryLiterary DeviceTechniqueExplanationNature imageryCinematographyWide shots of landscapes create a vivid portrayal of the wilderness.
  3. IronyLiterary DeviceTechniqueExplanationFitzgerald’s endEditing and pacingThe buildup and sudden end to his character create a sense of irony.

Key Scene Analysis

Scene 1: Bear Attack

  • YouTube Link
  • Breakdown: This intense scene utilizes hyperbole and imagery to depict Glass’s brutal struggle, highlighting the raw power of nature and the character’s resilience.

Scene 2: Glass’s Vision of His Wife

  • YouTube Link
  • Breakdown: This dream sequence uses symbolism and allusion to explore Glass’s emotional and psychological state, providing insight into his motivations.

Scene 3: Final Confrontation with Fitzgerald

  • YouTube Link
  • Breakdown: The final showdown is rich with irony and metaphor, as Glass’s quest for revenge reaches its climax, illustrating the moral complexities of justice and retribution.


Quiz Time! 📝

  1. Which literary device is prominently used in the bear attack scene?
  2. What does the fire symbolize throughout the film?
    • A) Destruction
    • B) Life and hope
    • C) Revenge
    • D) Fear
  3. Which character’s fate is an example of irony?
    • A) Hugh Glass
    • B) John Fitzgerald
    • C) Captain Andrew Henry
    • D) Jim Bridger
  4. How is nature personified in the film?
    • A) As a benevolent force
    • B) As an indifferent and antagonistic character
    • C) As a nurturing mother
    • D) As a mystical entity
  5. What theme is highlighted by Glass’s visions of his family?
    • A) Revenge
    • B) Survival
    • C) Love and loss
    • D) Betrayal