Posted by Gayle on August 29, 2000 at 19:55:53:
In Reply to: Re: Magua's Villainy posted by Jeri on August 29, 2000 at 11:52:45:
: : Jeri writes:
: : : Not a peep out of them. With regard to Magua, I know that he's the ultimate bad guy of the film, but I sometimes wonder if, given everything the Mohawks and the English did to him and his family, that he wasn't justified in how he feels. Even Hawkeye at the River Walk asked Duncan if there was an insult or blood vengence done to the 'Huron Captain', explaining why he tried to kill Cora. The Native people took such things very seriously and I'd say being taken captive and having your children killed would twist the best of us. The first couple of times I watched the movie, I thought Magua was the WORST. Now, however, after ?? times watching it and having learned so much from this board, I have a bit better understanding for what went on and what made him the man he was. Just some thoughts....
: : ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
: : And good ones, Jeri. We have discussed Magua's merits before, and there are at least a few who support him as a true hero (hey, that's what they SAID!). I, for one, still see him as a villain through and through, albeit a villain with a REASON (excuse?) for his villainy. Yes, he was done badly by, but that doesn't make him any the less wicked & deadly. His heart was twisted. Perhaps by what happened to him...perhaps right from the get-go. Don't forget that the Sachem says that Magua's path was NEVER a Huron one, or words to that effect, leaving me to think he had always had an "agenda," even before the loss of his family. No doubt, the events that destroyed his children & cost him his wife made him feel justified in his hatred of the Gray Hair, but to me, it just gave him the excuse he wanted to go on a murdering rampage. I think he would have found that excuse, even if things had gone differently for his family.
: : Any thoughts? Anyone?
: : MMMMarcia
: Hi Marica,
: Well, I certainly wouldn't condone Magua's actions. Then again, I wouldn't have condoned the actions of the British and French. What seems barbaric to us would have been acceptable, maybe even normal, to other cultures. Magua's path may not have been the 'Huron' way, but more than likely it was understandable to other Native people. The great thing about this movie is that we can all watch it, but come away with different impressions, likes and dislikes, favourite and not-so-favourite characters. While I wouldn't describe Magua as anywhere close to a Hero, I still see him as a man driven to hate by outside circumstances. If he hadn't been taken as a slave by the Mohawk and his children killed, perhaps he would've been different. Still tough, mean as a rattler, just not as filled with hate. Then again, maybe I'm just a pushover for the strong silent type (although Magua could be very vocal when he wanted to be..LOL).
Have to jump in on this one, since Magua is one of my favorite characters, and Wes Studi is right up there with my most admired actors.
Everybody's got great observations here. Of course, here's where I laud Wes Studi for bringing the book character to life with absolute authenticity. Even in the book, Magua DID have an agenda - two of them, really. He wanted to reinstate himself with the Delawares who had kicked him out as a turncoat and a drunk, and as a consequence, he played one tribe against another. He was very clever about playing both ends against the middle - stayed just enough within the traditional native laws to make himself untouchable, but took money and favors from both the British and the French to work against all the involved tribes.
As for his agenda against Colonel Munro, it was just a little different in the book, but served the same purpose. Colonel Munro had had him flogged severely in front of the whole garrison for drunkeness - left him scarred and humiliated. So Magua set out to strike Munro "to the heart". In the book this meant kidnapping his daughters and trying to force Cora to become his wife. Magua did not kill Munro directly, but Munro died a few months later of grief after Cora's death. Of course, in the movie, it was reversed, and Magua took Alice prisonner and actually did strike Munro "to the heart". However, Magua evinced the same lack of interest in the death of Cora in the book and Alice in the movie, and Wes Studi captured the attitude magnificently. He swears he didn't read the book, but he was a perfect Magua in every way.
And yes, you do have to have some sympathy with Magua in either plot - he was an outcast and a traitor, but he was driven deeper and deeper into his bitterness with the years as the white race added insult to injury to himself as well as every Indian Nation.
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