Mirror Image: A Study of the Power Politics of Mimetic Desire and Cinematic Confinement in Chloe (2009)

Usa Padgate


This study aims to analyze the power politics in the narrative of the film Chloe as addressed by the mirrored desire perceived in the film and to illustrate how this mimesis is communicated through the imagery of confinement that dominates the presence of the female protagonists. René Girard’s mimetic theory of triangular desire and scapegoat mechanism and Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s conceptual image of a mad woman in the mirror are employed as the frameworks on which the analyses are based. The results reveal four paradigms of triangular desire, the last of which confirms the male hegemony that underlies the film’s narrative and that, subsequently, undermines the message of women’s empowerment suggested by the film’s emphasis on the female characters and their supposed bonding. The feeling of entrapment of the female protagonists is revealed through the ways in which they are framed cinematically and metaphorically. The desire to break free from this inhibition is realized through the image of a mad double who rebels against such male constructs as family, work and sex, and whose presence entails such anarchical chaos that she must be dispensed with so that the patriarchal order can be restored. This affirms the stronghold that patriarchy has over both the female psyche and the general public conscience. The findings also support the adaptability of literary frameworks in a cinematic investigation.


Chole, Mimetic Theory, Mirror Image, Patriarchy, Power Politics, Scapegoat Mechanism, Triangular Desire

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.10n.6p.63


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