Symbolism in Theater and Cinema
What if I never saw the movie Jaws? Would I still feel the same way about sharks and the ocean? These are some of the questions I feel a lot of people can ask themselves after they have seen Jaws. What does this mean? Can the shark in Jaws represent or symbolize something more than just being a hungry shark?
I remember watching Jaws as a kid, as you can imagine I was pretty scared. I think I was eleven at the time, and was living in San Diego. So going to the beach looking for seashells and swimming in the water was a regular thing to me, not after that movie! It wasn't till I was an adult that I truly was able to enjoy or appreciate Jaws as a movie. I love the ocean and have been snorkeling, spearfishing, and even swimming with sharks. And there is always that feeling in the back of your mind that at any moment something is going to sneak up behind you or come up from the dark water below you and attack. So where did that fear come from? Ive never been bitten by a shark so why would I be afraid of them?
So what does the shark represent or symbolize, if anything other than a shark? I believe that the shark in jaws symbolizes the shear element of fear. You can see how the director captures this element when in “monster mode” by looking at the fear on each victim's face from the sharks point of view. The ocean is so foreign to us. Dark water, animals that are bigger, stronger than us and can swim faster than us. Its just nature to be afraid of those things, and the shark plays on those fears. I also think that the shark can represent our culture or society through tenacity. Neither the shark or other characters in the movie ever give up, unless they get eaten. The city refuses to close the beach, the men refuse to let the shark wreak havoc upon the beaches. The shark refuses to let anyone stop him.
If I were to stage a theatrical version of Jaws, i...