Natalie Portman won the Golden Globe for her performance in the Black Swan. It’s a riveting tale about a ballerina who wins the coveted role in Swan Lake, but she slowly lose her mind and becomes the Black Swan, the White Swan’s evil twin. Is this movie based on an archetype called the Black Swan? It could be.
Carolyn Myss talked about the Black Swan archetype on her weekly radio program on HayHouse Radio.
The Black Swan Archetype
The Black Swan archetype refers to a particular type of synchronistic experience; specifically, the type that completely shifts the direction of your life. Black Swan experiences are those that are unplanned and never anticipated. Why? Because Black Swans, for the most part, fall into the category of the unimaginable. Winning the lottery, for example, is a Black Swan experience. You can buy lotto tickets but you really are not prepared to actually WIN. Not every surprise qualifies for a Black Swan type of experience. Why is that? The Black Swan is an archetype with a specific pattern to it. Some people, therefore, are more likely to attract Black Swan events. Is that you?
Carolyn mentioned that Nassim Nicholas Taleb introduced The Black Swan in his book. It’s believed that a Black Swan event is rare and the impact is underrated. How is this applied to the movie Black Swan? Nina, the main character, was perfect to play the White Swan in Swan Lake but didn’t anticipate how much the darker side of the role, the Black Swan, would impact and change her. She didn’t anticipate that the role would or could destroy her.
The Black Swan is an interesting concept and movie. Both explore the depths of the human psyche on a deep level. They explore how one rare event can change your life forever but not in a way you may not have expected. You may think the event will be positive but it could turn out to be the opposite.
Writers, the next time you’re writing a screenplay, think about how psychology can play a role. How far can you push your characters? How can you develop them to their fullest potential? Give them a strong psyche and emotions. Remember, you want your audience to connect with your characters. If you can do that, you’ll produce an award winning screenplay.
How many movies can you think of that borrowed from psychology? Share.