Scapegoats and Redemption on Shutter Island

  • Author(s): Cari Myers
  • When: 2012-04
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • The themes of redemptive violence, scapegoating, and ritual in the films of Martin Scorsese have provided much grist for critical scholarship. While it is going too far to claim that Scorsese is intentionally interpreting Girardian themes (which are themselves borrowed from a rich mythological tradition), the comparisons between the theorist and the director are compelling. My goal here is to establish the primary themes of scapegoating, mimesis, the cycle of violence, and feuding identities that occur in both Girard’s works and Scorsese’s films and pull them forward into a more recent work of Scorsese, Shutter Island.

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