¶ … Episode
Description of the Episode
The movie chosen is the Pirates of the Caribbean-4. The writer is aware that it is a very poor choice while there are other movies that would have suited better. But on analyzing the entire movie from the communication point-of-view, one can discern a stream of verbal and non-verbal communication between the characters that is difficult to separate from the mindless and unbelievable actions that go with it. The lengthy story is told in a nutshell and then the episode in detail. (Collider, 2011)
The story in a nut shell is that Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) comes to London to rescue his friend Mr. Gibbs (Kevin McNally), and the attempt fails, wherein he meets with Angelica (Penelope Cruz) and is forced onto the ship of Blackbeard (Ian McShane). It has been prophesized that Blackbeard will be killed by a one-legged man and he's hoping to get to the Fountain of Youth so he can avoid that fate. The English and the Spanish also rush to get to the Fountain. The one-legged Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) has gone from pirate to privateer in the King's navy and is leading the British expedition. Barbossa has taken Gibbs along for the ride since Gibbs memorized the map before destroying it. (Collider, 2011)
The scene that is being analyzed is where the trio Jack, Angelica, and Blackbeard have reached the island where the Fountain of Youth is located. While the bridge that connects the places where there is fountain is destroyed, Blackbeard tells Jack to jump below and reach the other side so he can obtain a pair of silver chalices needed to complete the extended-life ritual. Jack is under compulsion to obey the Pirate because of a voodoo doll that can create pain. In the scene Jack refuses to jump. There is emotion of fear, desperation and passing incredulity in Jack's face. (Collider, 2011)
However the voodoo doll is not invoked, but the scene takes a terrible turn with the Pirate insisting that he play a game with the daughter's life. There is eye contact with the daughter and no verbal exchanges occur. Yet the viewer can easily see that Angelica is being use as bait. Not only the viewers but the rest of the characters other than Jack seem to realize this. There is the choice of the daughter -- Angelica falling or Jack Falling. Now Jack uses direct information from the party's clairvoyant zombie pirate asking him if he can survive if the voodoo doll survives. So the zombie pirate chucks the voodoo doll over the cliff, it survives, and so Jack jumps. (Collider, 2011) The scene thus lasts for about a minute with all the characters moving forth and back, and giving opinions. There are a lot of meaningful and irrelevant statements and at the same time a lot of non-verbal communication expressed through the faces and body language of the characters.
Part 2: The Situational Perspective
The situational perspective dictates that there be a group of communicators, all in close proximity, with maximum sensory inputs, no intermediaries, and immediate feedback. Well the scene does have these requirements: There are at least four or more active communicators, Jack, Black Beard, Angelica and the Zombie pirate. While the other characters do take sides and offer opinions, they are invalid because they are all under the control of the Pirate Black Beard. Communication based on the situation occurs between the Black Beard and Jack, and Jack and the Zombie Pirate with Jack asking him if he can survive if the voodoo doll survives. Thus there is communication between these three persons as defined by the situational perspective.
The expressions of the face also form the part of interpersonal communication and it draws the attention of the onlooker to the subtler and hidden semantic subtleties. Thus the slightest twitch or contraction of facial muscle unaccompanied or accompanied by verbalization can produce a different set of communication, more...
(Parkinson; Fisher; Manstead, 2005) However in the situational perspective taking into consideration only the transactions that occur and the characters reactions and statements to them, it can be clearly seen that:
a) That Black Beard makes it clear in a direct statement that Jack must jump (first without any alternative to which he refuses)
b) Then Black Beard purportedly puts his daughter in danger by playing to see who will jump.
c) The daughter in so many words agrees to jump.
d) Jack now feels shame and seeks an outlet and communicates with the Zombie.
e) Zombie shows by an action the reply. (Kitao, 2004)
These are direct and personal communication between the actors in the settings of the situational approach. It has to be added that the situational approach may fail where interpersonal situations that cannot be defined by this approach exist. Thus persons writing letters may not be considered to have engaged in this type of communication that is interpersonal communication, primarily being far apart. On the other hand if a stranger is asked the way to a place will be interpersonal communication, as per the definition. (Kitao, 2004) The point is that since there are only two people involved, they are close together, they have many channels of feedback, and the feedback is immediate. In addition, the situational view does not take into account degrees of closeness in an interpersonal relationship or changes in a relationship over time. Therefore, the situational view of interpersonal communication is now considered by many scholars to be inadequate.
There is still difference of opinion as to how communicative contexts should be described and studied. It is assumed that the background knowledge plays a role in interpreting utterances, there is a great insistence on interpersonal relationships and these relationships provide a personal identity; and help in collaborative activities with others. (Haslett, 1987) The interaction is possible only where the participants are reciprocally responsive to one another. Thus in the developmental perspective of interpersonal communication we have to note that the expressions of the face also form the part of interpersonal communication and it draws the attention of the onlooker to the subtler and hidden semantic subtleties. Thus the slightest twitch or contraction of facial muscle unaccompanied or accompanied by verbalization can produce a different set of communication, more than what the words or actions mean. (Parkinson; Fisher; Manstead, 2005)
The developmental view takes the stand that relationships are 'non-interpersonal' and then these relationships if developed over a longer period of time may become an interpersonal relationship. There are many stages, like the initial communication, the progress being made with the explorational communication where further possibilities of the relationship are explored by parties. After this the communication gets intensified and leads to a permanent commitment to the relationship. There could also be a revision of the communication later on. (Kitao, 2004) The reason why information is sought for from the face is for finding hidden information and coordinate the perspectives and base the performance of interpersonal action on the message received. (Parkinson; Fisher; Manstead, 2005) The development view of the situation can be taken only if the whole story is analyzed, with the following facts considered:
Jack, Angelica, and Blackbeard have reached the island where the Fountain of Youth is located. Before that it is shown that a mermaid has been captured, and further that Angelica obeys her father and that Jack is the one who can get the required silver chalice. Now there seems to have been some earlier love between Angelica and Jack and this plays a subtle role in the choices of Jack. Jack is off and on with Angelica while she appears cold and skeptical. Seen in that background we can clearly understand the communication between Jack and Black…
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