How Far Will They Go?

I am almost positive I wrote my Fargo blog prompt last semester and titled it the same thing. I am original until I am not.

Fargo is a story, but in that story the two main characters, Jerry and Marge, struggle against the plot towards their own individual goals. The plot is like a cause and effect sequence of events that begins due to Jerry’s unlikable, undeserving attitude and idea. He hires some shady characters to kidnap his wife so that he may get some money from her father out of a return deal. Things go south because the people in the story are not perfect beings, but humans who make mistakes. His father-in-law demands to take charge of the situation, something Jerry had not planned and thus must overcome. While those conflicts are set up and running, our second main character, Marge, must sift through Jerry’s long line of mishaps to uncover her own truth and recognize her own flaws. Marge has to react to the killings that happened because Jerry wanted his wife kidnapped and Jerry has to try and fix his mess, or, run away like he ended up doing.

The entire film, the audience can sense that Jerry is not a good person. He is not inherently evil, but his own misgivings and inferior status in life develop into a complex that ultimately brings his mental demise. Also physical, if you count going to jail as one. He cannot keep up with the horrible cause of accidents that started with his poorly thought out plan at the beginning and fumbles any chance he has, through work with his deal or at home with his wife and child. Marge, on the other hand, starts out as a likable and charismatic police chief. What we start to learn though, is that she may be unhappy with her unexciting marriage to a man named “Norm.” He is the norm, a regular man that Marge married. She meets up with an old friend and takes everything he says at face value, which is the same thing she did to Jerry when she first meets and questions him. It is not until one of her friends rattles her simplistic understanding of the world and it’s people does she begin to look under the surface level. Her old friend had lied to her face and she believed it, as did Jerry. After realizing her mistake, she goes back to our first main character and calls him out on the string of lies he keeps weaving.

On page 25 of Aristotle’s Poetics, he states that “we must not demand of Tragedy any and every kind of pleasure, but only that which is proper to it.” What he means is that for a tragedy to work out, a story must not continually make every single plot or action end up in one. There is a fine line between tragedy and straight up devastation. That is why, in Fargo, we did not see Jerry get away with his crimes or why Marge did not end up dying. That is why Gaear was caught in the end, and while multiple died, there was a lesson to be taught from Jerry’s mistakes. Not everything must be tragic to the nth degree for a tragedy to move and teach an audience.

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