In the Universe of Cassandra: The Ancient Topos of Clairvoyance in the Futuristic World of Minority Report (2002)

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.10.09

Keywords:

Cassandra, free will, determinism, Minority Report

Abstract

The figure of Cassandra is well-known from numerous representations in ancient and modern literature as an archetype of a woman who has the power to see the future, but whose visions are not believed. In ancient Greek literature, Cassandra was an important character serving as a prophet of an approaching catastrophe. In her modern adaptations, this figure became a metaphor in psychoanalytical research on human moral behaviour (Melanie Klein and the Cassandra complex) developed in feminist writing. Cassandra has also been of interest to filmmakers, with perhaps the best adaptation of the subject of Cassandra’s clairvoyance being Steven Spielberg’s film Minority Report. Loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s 1956 short story The Minority Report, the plot presents a version of the Cassandra myth, in which a woman together with male twins operate as a group mind to predict future crimes. Their visions are used by the state to prevent the crimes and imprison the would-be criminals. This article offers a thorough analysis of all the ancient and modern features of the metaphor of Cassandra employed in this movie within the overarching framework of the central theme of free will vs. determinism. According to this approach, the central theme is examined with reference to ancient Aristotelian and Stoic moral philosophy, the modern feminist psychoanalysis of Melanie Klein, and the political philosophy and legal issues in the post-9/11 world.

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Author Biography

Małgorzata Budzowska, University of Lodz

Małgorzata Budzowska, PhD in Classics, MA in Drama and Theatre Theory, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Drama and Theatre at the University of Lodz. She is Early Career Associate at APGRD, University of Oxford. She is the author of two books: Phaedra. Ethics of Emotions in Euripides, Seneca, and Racine (Peter Lang, 2012) and Sceniczne metamorfozy mitu. Teatr polski XXI wieku w perspektywie kulturowej [Metamorphoses of Myth on Stage. Polish Theatre of the Twenty-First Century from Cultural Perspectives] (WUŁ, 2018), as well as the co-editor of three volumes: Ancient Myths in the Making of Culture (Peter Lang, 2015), Metamorphoses of Ancient Myths (Peter Lang, 2017) and Metateksty i parateksty teatru i dramatu. Od antyku do współczesności [Metatexts and Paratexts of Theatre and Drama. From Antiquity to the Present Day] (WUŁ, 2017).

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Published

2020-11-24

How to Cite

Budzowska, M. (2020). In the Universe of Cassandra: The Ancient Topos of Clairvoyance in the Futuristic World of Minority Report (2002). Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture, (10), 151-165. https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.10.09