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The Role of Music in the Film “Titanic” Essay



In many films, music is used to improve the cinematic experience of viewers. On the other hand, it is used to enhance the delivery of certain messages through the various themes that movie producers explore. The choice of music used in a film depends on the message and theme that form the foundation of the movie’s script. Music determines how well a movie or a specific scene in the movie is received by viewers. The theme is vital a factor that determines how viewers receive a movie. This paper will discuss the role played by music in developing various themes in the movie Titanic. Also, it will discuss the content and themes of the movie and explain the role played by music in the movie.

Content and themes

The movie Titanic was produced in 1997 by James Cameron. It was described as one of the greatest films produced in the 20th century. The story is a fictional presentation of the events that took place during the tragedy of the RMS Titanic ship. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet who belong to different social classes. However, their differences do not stop love from blossoming between them. They fall in love aboard the ship and form a strong, romantic relationship. The film explores two main themes that include romance and disaster. The producer of the film made the film because of his interest in shipwrecks. Cameron wanted to convey an emotional message by showing the events of the ill-fated Titanic voyage. The incorporation of a love story into the film helps to convey the message effectively because love and sadness are strong emotions.

The movie begins with a treasure hunter searching the wreck of the Titanic for a treasured necklace. After retrieving a safe from the wreckage, Lovett hopes to find the necklace inside. However, he does not find the necklace. Instead, he retrieves several bank statements and a sketch of a nude woman adorning the necklace that he was looking for. He at once concludes that his search is futile. A few days later, a woman contacts Lovett claiming that she is the one in the sketch that was in the safe. In another scene, the lead character is seen as gambling. After winning tickets in a poker game, Dawson (played by DiCaprio) boards the ship together with his friend. The film also shows Rose, the woman that falls in love with Dawson, in the ship. She is in the first-class section while Dawson is in the third class section.

Rose tries to commit suicide because she dislikes her mother’s decision to marry her to Hockley. Fortunately, Dawson confronts her before she throws herself into the sea. Rose descends from the railings and spends the night dancing with Dawson. She asks him to draw a sketch of her naked body wearing the treasured Heart of the Ocean necklace. They then move to the cargo hold area and make love in a car parked within the area. After they finish, the worst happens as the ship hits an iceberg. The accident creates commotion in the ship and passengers begin to board lifeboats. While this happens, Jack is arrested and in an expression of love, Rose goes back to save him instead of saving herself. Her fiancé convinces her to leave and claims that he had a plan to get out of the ship. However, Cal tricks Jack and leaves without helping him. Rose is annoyed by Cal’s actions and goes back to save Jack. A confrontation ensues between the three of them with Cal chasing them with a gun. He fails to capture them and boards a lifeboat.

Rose and Jack sink together with the ship but Jack helps her and she survives the ordeal. They both exchange loving words as an expression of the love that had blossomed between them. Unfortunately, Jack does not survive and dies of hypothermia. After boarding the Carpathia, Rose avoids Cal by covering her face with a blanket. When asked about her name, she gives it to Rose Dawson. Before his death, Jack and Rose had made great plans and promises about what they intended to do together in life. However, tragedy makes it impossible for them to be together to fulfill their promises to each other. In his honor, Rose executes all the plans they had with Jack. The movie ends with a scene that shows a meeting between them. They meet on the ship’s staircase and kiss romantically. The victims of the tragedy applaud them. The viewer is left to figure out whether Rose was dreaming or dead. The movie ends in suspense because of the last scene’s obscurity. The themes of love and tragedy are well explored in the film. The incorporation of love in the film makes the tragedy bearable to the viewer but very painful to Rose.

The role of music

The music in the movie pacifies viewers by neutralizing the horror of the tragedy. The scene where the ship is sinking is very sad and horrifying. People are crying and families become separated. People clamor for help amidst their helplessness. However, the music that plays in the background during that scene intensifies the emotions of the viewer (Sandler and Studlar 53). It expresses the sadness and horrific tragedy calmly and serenely without using words. The role of the music in the movie is to make it more emotional and compelling. The use of romantic music increases the emotions experienced during love scenes between Rose and Jack. It shows the beauty of love despite the social or economic classes of lovers. For example, the hit song My Heart Will Go On shows the strength of the love between Rose and Jack (Sandler and Studlar 53). It signifies the intention of Rose to carry on with the love despite the demise of her lover. This is fulfilled in Rose’s decision to do all the things they had planned together with Jack. Music is also used to elicit sad emotions during death scenes. The music supports the director’s decision not to linger on death scenes. The music elicits some emotions but does not force them to sympathize with the victims.


The movie Titanic uses music to elicit different emotions in viewers. A mix of different music genres that elicit feelings of both happiness and sadness adds to the development of the movie’s themes of love and tragedy. Also, the humor contained in the movie adds to the pacifying nature of the music. Finally, the movie adds to the quality of the emotionally charged love scenes between jack and rose. The soft and soothing ballads create a mood of love in the mind of the viewer thus improving the viewing experience. On the other hand, slow music calms the viewer.

Works Cited

Sandler, Kevin, and Studlar Gaylyn. Titanic: Anatomy of a Blockbuster. New York: Rutgers University Press, 1999. Print.

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"The Role of Music in the Film "Titanic"." IvyPanda, 4 Apr. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/the-role-of-music-in-the-film-titanic/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Role of Music in the Film "Titanic"." April 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-role-of-music-in-the-film-titanic/.


IvyPanda. "The Role of Music in the Film "Titanic"." April 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-role-of-music-in-the-film-titanic/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "The Role of Music in the Film "Titanic"." April 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-role-of-music-in-the-film-titanic/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Role of Music in the Film "Titanic"'. 4 April.

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