Warning! This article contains SPOILERS for Netflix’s Tthe School for Good and Evil
Netflix’s The school for good and evil has a critical turn regarding its villain in its third act, but the film sets this shift in motion through the film’s fairy tales. The film’s premise itself is ripe for subversion and inversions, as it sets up two houses of a diametrically opposed school and places the film’s two heroines, Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie) on opposite sides. The two main characters not only oppose black-and-white worldviews of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, but are also the ones who discover that a much darker conspiracy is going on at the school that inspires the fairy tales of the human realm. .
The core of the main turn for The school for good and evil is that the villain of the movie responsible for the darkness at the heart of the school is none other than the headmaster (Laurence Fishburne), who claimed to be Rhian but in reality is his identical twin brother, The school for good and evil‘s Rafal (Kit Young), the source of all evil in fairy tales. The film carefully sets up this twist from the start by showing the corrupting influence of the stories that Rafal cultivates from the school of heroes and villains, and this influence is evident through the impact on Sophie. With Rafal shaping the human world through his stories, it makes sense that those who read them unknowingly embody and imitate his evil. As such, Sophie’s placement in the School for Evil isn’t deliberate manipulation by Rafal (although he does that a lot), but rather sets his reveal as the ultimate villain.
Sophie is defined by fairy tales, and yet she is evil
In The school for good and evil, evil has probably not triumphed in 200 years. As such, the stories coming out of the school are, on the face of it, meant to inspire readers like Sophie to goodness. Sophie is in the school for evil, but Sophie feels that the stories should have made her right if she remembers and internalizes the stories she reads so that they can inform her worldview. Sophie demonstrates this inherent assumption several times in the film with her view of her stepmother as an “evil stepmother,” her attempts to make friends with animals like the princesses in her books, and how she uses a saucepan as a weapon like the heroine of confused. While Sophie wants to be like the “good” protagonists of her stories and mimics them perfectly, she goes straight to the school for evil. This shows how the headmaster’s stories and their insidious influence encourage malicious behavior even from those who are meant to be “good.” From the beginning of the film, this suggests something is amiss with the headmaster’s leadership, which explains how one of his followers ended up in the school of evil.
The stories of the school have been changing the world for centuries
In The school for good and evilSophie isn’t alone in showing evidence of the corrupting influence of Director Rafal’s stories before the twist is revealed. Later in the film, it is revealed that Lady Lesso (Charlize Theron), the dean of the school of evil, was also a reader recruited from the mortal realm. Like Sophie, Lady Lesso loved the stories produced by the school, and her redemption to the school from evil long before Sophie arrived shows the generational impact of Rafal’s influence. With Sophie following in Lady Lesso’s footsteps, both going to the school for evil and then outdoing her, Lady Lesso foretells Sophie’s further corruption and shows that the headmaster’s stories have been evil among his readers for years. cheer on. Moreover, Lady Lesso’s infatuation with Rafal shows that her love for evil is not only institutional, but also personal. As the first member of The school for good and evil‘s cast, she falls in love with the source of all evil, and while this could be read as Lady Lesso embracing her placement, it’s still very telling that someone from the mortal realm is tempted by evil incarnate.
Sophie’s “evil” was the result of the headmaster’s plans
Finally, not only The school for good and evil use Sophie to show the subtler influence of the headmaster’s stories encouraging villainous behavior in both past and present readers, but it also shows how the headmaster has actively cultivated Sophie’s fall by giving her a sense of entitlement. In The school for good and evilSophie’s sense of certainty that she is good comes from these stories, as she tries to emulate the heroes in them. But this right comes with a major weakness, as it makes her easy to target and manipulate once she’s inside the school itself, especially with Agatha at the school for good.
Her sense of being wronged by going into the school of evil makes her easy to manipulate, while her dogmatic assurance of knowing where she stands on the scale of “good” and “evil” is also very mean. One of the real attributes of heroes is the ability to adapt and evolve, and most importantly, the ability to admit when they are wrong. But Sophie, and many of the school professors, can’t do this when faced with the inherent darkness of a school that punishes students by turning them into creatures like the wishing fish. When Sophie’s hopes, cultivated throughout her life by the Headmaster’s stories, were crushed by her placement in evil, she became easy for Rafal to manipulate directly by directing her studies and offering her dark skills. This made her transformation into a “bad” witch in The school for good and evil both a direct and indirect consequence of the rector’s plans.
Due to the various indications that Sophie and Lady Lesso’s evil was cultivated by the stories they read, The school for good and evil predicts that the school itself is a source of rogue, even if it doesn’t appear to be. Likewise, it suggests that the ultimate villain of the film is the school itself, and by extension the one who runs and creates the school: the school principal. The revelation of the headmaster as Rafal, the source of all evil in stories, is therefore well conceived, not only in the inherent darkness of the original fairy tales the school creates, but also in the school’s impact on those who read them. This also makes it possible The school for good and evil‘s twist to examine the impact on black-and-white worldviews and the power of the fairy tales they refer to, and whether they prompt those who read them to heed their inner demons or their better angels.
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