Friday, October 1, 2010

Mad Men's tragic hero.

Don Draper was a cheating scumbag the entire time he was married to Betty. At first, I loved Betty because she was so stylish and she had this life for herself but didn't actually know who she was. She was trying to figure out who she wanted to be and Don was holding her back. She didn't really even know anything about her own husband. He oppressed her and held himself back from her so she held herself back from him as well. The show cast her in a good light by showing Don doing horrible things, such as sending her to a psychiatrist who he would make phone calls to in the middle of the night to get the report of all the private things she was telling him. Don was constantly sleeping with other women at all hours of the day while he was supposed to be working, not to mention he was also getting rip roaring drunk which also led to his tragic downfall, and then he returned home to his beautiful wife and children at night like he was living a double life - which is ironic because he was in fact leading a double life by stealing the identity of his army commander after he was killed in the Korean war (? if I remember correctly). This further gives us reason to believe he is a deceiving man and a coward as well.

I always sided with Betty, especially after Don started going after his son Bobby's kindergarten(?) teacher, who he was willing to leave his wife for. However, he stayed with Betty and Betty was the one who ended up leaving him. This could have been an empowering move for her, if not for the fact that she left him for another man, who moved into Don's home, kicking him out on the street. This made me lose my respect for Betty and instead of feeling bad for her, I feel like she became just as bad as Don, if not worse, for having no shame and bringing this other man into her home to live with her children and replace their father. I think that it was necessary for Don to hit rock bottom with his drinking in order to realize that he is hiding behind a wall. Although it seems like Betty took everything worth living for away from him, he contributed to that himself and now that he is left with nothing, he beings to realize how far he has fallen. His children, his wife, and his house, all of which he took for granted, were ripped out from underneath him, another man has replaced him as a father figure, and his newborn might not even know who he is.

We begin to get the impression that Don is allowing himself to open up and create an identity of his own when he attempts to become sober. Perhaps he is not allowing himself to do this but after his closest friend passes away, he just cannot keep up his bulletproof walls that were always impassible. His struggle with attempting to sober up allows him to see the world in a new light, opening up his senses in a way that he never noticed before because his life was passing him by like a big blur. He also begins to write in a journal, inviting us into his life in a more intimate way and allowing us to get a deeper glimse into the inner workings of his mind and personality rather than the facade he puts up through the false identity he has assumed. After watching the episode "The Summer Man," I was inspired to write down my thoughts about Don because it was the first time that I really found Don to be likable throughout the entire episode while Betty - who I once thought was fabulous - came off to be a complete bitch (and not in a good way). Maybe this is a turning point for him. I'm excited to keep watching.

1 comment:

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