Going Through the Wardrobe

The land of Narnia shows readers how an alternate universe looks like. The wardrobe symbolizes one of the locations or points that serve as an intermediate between the two worlds (that is, Narnia and Calormen). Lewis uses the wardrobe to portray the coming-of-age of his characters: when the children move past the boundaries of Narnia, they awaken to the alertness of the difference between good and evil. The children’s (Edmund, Peter, Susan, and Lucy) experiences in Narnia demonstrates another method for communicating strong moral teachings on courage, honesty, kindness, reconciliation, forgiveness, and friendship.

 

This is illustrated in the characters of Aslan the lion and the white witch. When the little four children enter Narnia, Edmund’s mind is kept wondering whom to trust. It is evident that the white witch is evil through her behaviours of turning people who go against her wants into stone, the witch seems to be controlling people too much and the act of kidnapping Edmund through a trap of a Turkish delight shows the evil in the character. The white witch took control of Narnia for a long time until Aslan the lion which portrays goodness comes back to fight against her and gain the authority of Narnia back.

 

When the witch went to claim Edmund, Aslan offers himself instead of Edmund. In the film, the people of Calormen are shown as evil, whereas the people of Narnia are showed as good. In other words, Lewis was trying to depict other countries as evil whereas Germany as good. This seems ironic based on facts of how Germany committed crimes against humanity during World War II. The key point of the book not only focuses on whether the Narnians were good or whether the Calormenes or the Telmarines were good, but the main focus is on the goodness of Aslan, and how he made the people Narnians and the people Calormenes become good. In a contemporary world, some people believe that Aslan stands for Jesus Christ. Anyways, whether you believe in Jesus Christ or not is a matter for another day.

 

Betrayal is demonstrated when Edmund decides to corporate with the white witch over Aslan. Edmund is deceived by the Turkish delight and the white witch charms. He is ready to betray his family because the white witch promised him power and authority, which are all lies. On the other hand, Peter, Susan, and Lucy demonstrate forgiveness by loving Edmund despite his weird behaviours. Aslan crowns this theme by requesting the children not to ever speak on Edmund’s betrayal again, and the three children keep this promise of a good act by not telling Edmund of the sacrifice Aslan did on his behalf, this showed the true act of forgiveness in the film.

 

The theme of courage is portrayed in Lucy. When they were still hosted by professor Digory, she plays hide and seek and enters the wardrobe bravely on several occasions, which showed the genesis of the fantasy of Narnia. Peter also demonstrated courage when he was required to deal with the wolf that came after his sister. Aslan left him alone to fight the wolf; this showed the element of great courage in him.

 

When a person commits a big crime, the way that Edmund does in the story when he betrays his family members, then the person should be ready to face the moral consequences of that crime. In a religious context, they have to atone for their sins. At this point, the Witch acts as a mechanical function built into the world to fulfil this moral law, the way that Satan is also supposed to punish sinners after the judgment day, or in the current world, the way karma is supposed to pay you back for your bad deeds.

 

Aslan’s sacrifice for Edmund’s sins symbolizes Christ’s crucifixion: the significant act of sacrifice whereby Jesus is supposed to take on the sins of the world by himself. We can internalize the Deeper Magic as symbolic of the grace, mercy, and sacrifice demonstrated in the Christian New Testament. Like Jesus, Aslan knows that whether or not he is willing he has to perform the task. In addition, he is tormented and humiliated by people before being killed. Furthermore, like Jesus Christ, Aslan shows up himself after his resurrection to some of his faithful female followers.

 

Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan enter Narnia through an imaginary wardrobe. Lucy is first drawn into the wardrobe by her curiosity, leading her to try and feel the touch of the fur coats hanging in the wardrobe. Instead of the wardrobe having a wall in the back, it leads into the woods in the west of Narnia and she can see some light in front of her.

 

She later realized that she was standing in the woods full of snow all over. To find her adventure, treasures, and destiny, Lucy and her siblings go deeper and deeper into the woods. However, this wardrobe keeps changing; it does not work the same all the time. After Lucy’s initial trip to the land of Narnia, she tries to show her siblings, only to realize that now the wardrobe has a normal wooden back contrary to the initial sight. The next time she tries to enter it, it changes into a magical gateway, and at that time, Edmund gets through the wardrobe too. When Susan and Peter want to get in too, the wardrobe changes into a cupboard. Peter and Susan are amazed if something is real, but the Professor convinces them that reality might be more complicated than what they think.

 

The lamppost that Lucy sees in front of her is signified as a beacon, showing the little children the way to Narnia when they come into it from the “outside world”, and also showing them their way back when they need to leave Narnia. At the end of the children’s adventure into the land of Narnia, it is the lamppost that leads them to find their way home, triggering their old memories of their lives in England before evacuation. It is the same lamppost that proves to Peter and Susan that Edmund lied on his first route to Narnia. In the story, the narrator makes good use of the third person. Sometimes the story focuses exclusively on Lucy, for instance, when she makes the first trip alone into the wardrobe. Sometimes the focus is entirely on Edmund, for instance, when he first encounters the White Witch. At times, the story focuses on the conversations between Peter, Susan, and Professor Digory.

 

In addition, throughout the film, we skip back and forth on Edmund’s deceitful journey to the White Witch and his siblings’ trip with the Beavers to see Aslan the lion. Even though the narration focuses on the third person, sometimes along with the story, the first person singular ‘I’ creeps in. For instance, when the narrator is describing the part whereby Lucy and Susan are pleading over Aslan.

 

Upon closer analysis of the tone used in the movie, it can be said that Lewis used a didactic, lighthearted tone. This can be pointed out as the main reason for the success of this film in the year 2005. Lewis’ ability to use a didactic message concerning the Christian faith with a lighthearted tone is evident. Even though the film has clear moral information to convey — and Lewis is not about to let anybody reading or watching it miss the main message. The description of some things (for instance, tasty meals or beautiful natural scenes) takes on a life of its own by boosting the urge of the reader higher while focusing on the morals and ethics that Lewis is trying to pass.

 

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, in the end, are crowned as Kings and Queens of Narnia. They reign for many years before they get transported back to England (United Kingdom). Amazingly, after their reign, they become children once again. However, one of the head-scratching points in this film can be seen in Lewis’s work on the script. Was he correct in his stand of not allowing “Susan” to reach Heaven in “The Last Battle”? Was he correct in, “putting the blame” on Calormen for the unending troubles of the Narnian world? And also what about writing all of these great ideas for children to read? I think that these issues need to be thoroughly internalized to get great context out of the analysis.

 

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