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Conventionally, movies underscore common issues that touch on the society and thus they share common themes because they present issues that affect people in society. For instance, romance movies integrate several other themes into the romantic scenes, which allow them to focus on other pertinent societal issues such as wealth, violence, and politics among others.
In essence, movies do not only have a major theme, which makes them unique, but they also have minor themes that are essential in reflecting the state of society under which the actors operate. Minor themes are important because they provide background information about the movie and its characters. The popular themes in movies are social class, gender roles, hedonism, politics, romance, and warfare among others.
In the aspect of romance, movies examine themes such obsessive love, passionate love, and destructive love amongst other themes that fascinate viewers. In spite of generational changes, movies focus on same themes, which make them similar to past movies of about a half a century ago. Thus, this essay compares the two movies, viz. Gone with the Wind (1939) and Dr. Zhivago (2002). The movies share similar themes like romance, revolution, and slavery in their setting and plot.
Romance is a common theme in both movies. The movie Gone with the Wind (1939) depicts romantic experiences of Scarlett O’Hara, the protagonist. Scarlett is a daughter of a plantation owner in the Clayton County, Georgia, and since she has a poor background, she uses all means at her disposal to loosen the chains of poverty that have entangled her lie for a decidedly long time.
In the process of searching for a lover, she realizes that Ashley Wilkes is wooing her cousin, Melanie Hamilton, and wants to marry soon. This realization prompts Scarlett to devise ways of winning Wilkes to her side. Hence, Scarlett makes advances and convinces Wilkes that she loves him very much.
Moreover, Scarlett begins to date Rhett Butler, but he realizes that she is also dating Wilkes. When Scarlett sees that both Wilkes and Butler do not like her anymore, she acts desperately by deciding to date Charles Hamilton, brother to Melanie Hamilton. Unfortunately, Charles Hamilton dies after impregnating her and she becomes a widow at an early age of 16 years. Hence, it is evident that the movie Gone with the Wind (1939) is a romantic movie.
Likewise, Dr. Zhivago (2002) is a romantic movie that portrays life and love experiences of Yury Zhivago. He is a young man living with his aunt and uncle because his father committed suicide following corrupt business deals. As Zhivago grows up, he undergoes a series of relationships in search of a true lover. Eventually, he finds Lara Guishar, whom he loves passionately courtesy of overwhelming infatuations. Incidentally, Lara Guishar’s mother is the lover of Komarosky, the man who made his father die.
When Zhivago realizes this, he opts to marry his cousin, Tonya. Although Zhivago marries Tonya, he later changes his mind after meeting Lara; unfortunately, when Lara’s husband returns from combat and becomes a powerful leader in the Soviet regime, he reunites with Lara, his former wife. Therefore, it suffices to say that both movies deal with romantic experiences of the protagonists.
Nature of Relationships
Both movies show the same nature of relationships surrounding the protagonists. In Gone with the Wind (1939), Wilkes is dating his cousin, Melanie Hamilton. When Scarlett realizes this, she attempts to prevent them from wedding by dating Charles Hamilton, brother to Melanie Hamilton.
Eventually, Wilkes is unable to marry his cousin because Scarlett manages to break their relationship. Hence, the movie Gone with the Wind (1939) illustrates how relatives can influence the development of relationships in the society. Comparatively, the movie of Doctor Zhivago also illustrates how relatives influence relationships.
Like Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939), Zhivago falls in love with his cousin, Tonya, and is ready to marry her. When he realizes that Tonya’s mother is the lover of the man behind his father’s unfortunate death, Zhivago retreats from the relationship. However, Zhivago later reunites with Tonya after bumping into each other in a hospital. Thus, both movies show intrigues of relationships as Wilkes and Zhivago try to marry their cousins.
Moreover, the two movies are similar in the way characters make and break their relationships. What is common in the movies is that Wilkes and Zhivago, the two protagonists in both movies start dating their cousins. In the case of Wilkes, he starts dating his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, but Scarlett manages to break their relationships by dating Charles Hamilton and conceiving his child.
After Charles Hamilton dies, he leaves Scarlett to struggle alone to feed the family. As Scarlett is busy going rounds in a hospital and helping wounded Confederate Army combatants, she meets Butler, the man he had dated earlier before marrying Charles Hamilton.
The two start dating again and they fall in love immediately. Similarly, in the movie of Doctor Zhivago (2002), Zhivago finds himself in the world of love when he meets Tonya, his cousin. During World War I, Zhivago meets Lara, a young woman whose husband has gone to war, but has never come back. As Lara decides to look for his husband by working as a combat nurse in the Russian army, Zhivago starts making advances to her. The two fall in love and begin dating for a while after which Lara’s husband returns from war.
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Revolution is also common in both movies. In Gone with the Wind (1939), the scene occurs amidst the America Civil War. In the movie, the Civil War occurs in Tara plantation where people fight for the confederacy. The characters in the movie are caught in the upheavals that rock the plantation and thus start fleeing for safety in the neighboring states. As Scarlett is nursing wounds of the wounded confederate soldiers, the Yankees’ attacks force her to flee home and take care of her mother.
Comparatively, the movie Doctor Zhivago (2002) happens during the Soviet revolution and the Russian civil war. During the revolution, Zhivago does not only battle with his two lovers, Lara and Tonya, but he also struggles to protect them from the armies leading the revolution in Russia. Although he manages to move his family into the Ural Mountains to protect them, the army captures and compels him to be their doctor. Hence, revolutions are common scenes in the two movies.
The theme of slavery is present in both movies; for instance, in the Tara plantations, Yankees are enslaving Americans, but the latter become rebellious. The revolution provides means through which Americans manage to free themselves from the bondage of slavery. The struggles of the plantation workers lead to the revolution that changes their posterity in the United States.
Similarly, the revolution in the Doctor Zhivago (2002) movie indicates some forms of slavery as Soviet soldiers capture individuals and compel them to join the war. For instance, while Zhivago is trying to escape with his family, the soldiers capture and force him to be their medic during war. Thus, slavery is a common theme in the two movies.
Despite the fact that the two movies, Gone with the Wind (1939) and Doctor Zhivago (2002) are over 60 years apart with regard to the time of their production, they seem to focus on similar themes under same scenes. The two movies explore romantic themes coupled with relationship intrigues and revolutions.
Scarlett and Zhivago are the two main characters in their respective movies and they advance the theme of romance and relationship intrigues. Although Gone with the Wind (1939) happens in United States and Doctor Zhivago occurs in Russian, these scenes are very similar such that viewers can confuse them. Therefore, the two movies have major similarities that range from the plot and characters to scenes.
Alessandra, Stanley. “Television Review: ‘Zhivago’ without Hollywood.” New York Times, Nov. 1, 2003.
Mitchell, Margaret. Gone with the wind. London: Simon and Schuster Publisher, 2007.
Paludi, Michele. The psychology of love. New York: ABC-CLIO, 2012.
Pasternak, Boris, Richard Pevear, and Larissa Volokhonsky. Doctor Zhivago. London: Randon House Incorporated, 2011.
- Michele Paludi, The psychology of love (New York: ABC-CLIO, 2012), 9
- Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the wind (London: Simon and Schuster Publisher, 2007), 22.
- Boris Pasternak, Boris, Richard Pevear, and Larissa Volokhonsky, Doctor Zhivago (London: Randon House Incorporated, 2011), 31.
- Pasternak, Pevear, and Volokhonsky, 45.
- Mitchell, 34.
- Pasternak, Pevear, and Volokhonsky, 111.
- Stanley Alessandra, “Television Review: ‘Zhivago’ without Hollywood,” New York Times, Nov. 1, 2003.
- Mitchell, 28.
- Pasternak, Pevear, and Volokhonsky, 123.