Stories with a Judgment of Bad

STORIES that have Judgment of Bad:

The Age of Innocence: Newland never realizes his full potential as an enlightened man hoping to share his true self with a lifelong partner, his wife. He is trapped in a stifling existence for the best years of his life. He only becomes free when he’s an old man who believes that it’s too late for personal happiness.

Amadeus: Salieri’s defeat is total, and he is both forgotten as a composer, and thought by the public to be insane. He never resolves his conflict of faith. It is his destruction.

Body Heat: Ned feels terrible that his decision has led to Mattie’s apparent death–she “obviously” couldn’t have known about the booby trap or she wouldn’t have walked into it (or so he thought). This judgment of “Bad” is mitigated in the author’s proof by having Ned figure out that he has been duped and that he strongly suspects the real truth: Mattie is alive and living exceedingly well off of the inheritance money.

Chinatown: Jake remains clueless as to why events turned out so badly for him–“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

The Glass Menagerie: Laura retreats into her fantasy world — a glass menagerie that is like “bits of a shattered rainbow.” And though is seen being comforted by Amanda at the end, it is the memory of his sister that haunts Tom for the rest of his life.

The Godfather: For Michael to have been left the only one capable of preserving his family’s power is bad for him personally. He continues to be in love with Kaye, maintaining the lie he is not a murderer. Kaye represents his original desire to remain outside of his family’s dirty business. When he changes by becoming willingly committed and involved as the new Don, his need to prevent Kaye from discovering this indicates he is still plagued by his personal problems.

Hamlet: Hamlet finally perceives that “if it be not now, yet it will come,” and that “The readiness is all” (5.2.219-220). This discovery, this revelation of necessity and meaning in Hamlet’s great reversal of fortune, enables him to confront the tragic circumstance of his life with understanding and heroism, and to demonstrate the triumph of the human spirit even in the moment of his catastrophe. Such an assertion of the individual will does not lessen the tragic waste with which “Hamlet” ends. Hamlet is dead, the great promise of his life forever lost. (Bevington xxxi)

Heavenly Creatures: An adolescent rebelling against the confining nature of adult authority figures, Pauline is detained in prison for her crime. She is forever separated from her beloved Juliet, who “was released in November 1959 and immediately left New Zealand to join her mother overseas.”

(Walsh & Jackson, p. 216)

Lawrence of Arabia: Lawrence finds that while he is fully capable of fulfilling the role of God-like leader, it comes at great cost to his own personality: his sado-masochistic tendencies have been brought to the fore, and he finds he both enjoys inflicting suffering on others and experiences pleasure in his own degradation and torture.

Othello: Othello’s fall from grace is stunning. At first he’s a happy newlywed; successful as a warrior and well respected in the community. When Brabantio accuses him of witchcraft in front of the Venetian senate, the members disbelieve the charges because of his stellar reputation. He faces them with calm and confidence. But Othello is corrupted and quickly becomes an irrational, despondent madman, an abusive husband, a murderer, and after realizing his colossal mistake, he kills himself.

Platoon: Chris’ experiences in the war do not lead him to find something to be proud of, instead, he has become a cold-blooded murderer, and kills his nemesis, Sgt. Barnes in merciless revenge. The physical and, especially, emotional wounds he has sustained in Vietnam will forever serve to remind him of the shameful dehumanization he endured in the war.

Quills: The Abbe de Coulmier unwittingly and unhappily ends up an inmate of the asylum.

Reservoir Dogs: Mr. White defends Mr. Orange’s honor and his life in a three-way shoot-out with his colleagues. He suffers intense anguish when he learns Mr. Orange betrayed him; in killing Mr. Orange, he seals his own fate.

Romeo and Juliet: Romeo ultimately fails in his efforts to live happily ever after with his “heart’s dear love” (2.3.61)–“For never was a story of more woe/Than this of Juliet and her Romeo” (5.3.320-21).

The Silence of the Lambs: At the story’s end, Clarice has not put her personal demons to rest. She has no answer to Lecter’s final phone call:

LECTER (V.O.): Well, Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming… ?

Unforgiven: While Munny succeeds in getting the money he needs to help raise his two children, it’s at great personal cost: the dark side of his nature that he’s suppressed for years has resurfaced. He’s become a mean killer again, drinks hard liquor, and will surely be haunted by the faces of his new victims.

The Wild Bunch: Pike never gets the chance to put right the personal wrongs he’s experienced in the past: he doesn’t get revenge on the man who killed his woman, and for abandoning Thornton there’s no forgiveness–only death for another’s (Angel’s) cause offers any kind of redemption at all.

Witness: By staying on the farm, Rachel doesn’t get the man she obviously desires, John Book, and she’s about to be saddled with Daniel–the Lapp family may be buying a horse with only one good ball again.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software

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