‘Ransom’ Versus ‘Invictus’: Comparative Analysis

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Many characters in the historical fiction ‘Ransom’ by David Malouf and the 2009 film ‘Invictus’ directed by Clint Eastwood portray forgiveness and reconciliation through their actions and attitude. ‘Invictus’ highlights the determination of wanting to unite a “rainbow nation” whereas, ‘Ransom’ shows how the act of reconciliation unites two long-time enemies. Through these acts of reconciliation both writer and director demonstrate the impact of forgiveness in bringing people closer together. Additionally, both texts illustrate the impact division has on an individual and on their relationships, with misery and sorrow being a common denominator in the emotions reflecting the actions of characters such as Zindzi and Achilles. ‘Invictus’ depicts that a failure to reconcile results in the ruin of relationships. Whereas, ‘Ransom’ differentiates, showing the comfort and love a relationship can give when forgiveness takes place instead of resentment. Overall, Malouf and Eastwood, demonstrate the idea of reconciliation as a gradual process, and yet highly rewarding. The act of reconciliation, in both texts, varies amongst individuals and the way the author has portrayed it.

Malouf’s, ‘Ransom’ and Eastwood’s, ‘Invictus’ both capture the act of reconciliation, through the protagonists displaying acts of compassion which ultimately overcomes the vengeful atmosphere that exists in both texts, thereby, exhibiting the capability forgiveness has to unite people. Clint Eastwood reveals the power of forgiveness through the ambitious black South African leader, Nelson Mandela, who forgave his oppressors to move forward in the spirit of “reconciliation”, in order to achieve a “rainbow nation”. The opening scenes of ‘Invictus’ contrasts the government’s legal segregation system of apartheid and the racism that exists in the country against Mandela’s public release from prison and subsequent journey to presidency. By incorporating it in a stylized montage, and including documentary footage that highlights the violence and hatred towards Mandela, viewers are provided with a personal context of Mandela, allowing his stance of reconciliation to have a greater impact as it depicts his merciful and kind-hearted nature.

Mandela uses Rugby, a common love for both races, as the catalyst to reform relationships between the white and black South African community, to achieve reconciliation for the hurt the apartheid brought as he believes it will ‘liberate the soul’.

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On the other hand, Somax’s storying telling, a technique used by both Eastwood and Malouf to share messages, enables Priam to understand reconciliation and the power that it holds, thereby being influenced to forgive Achilles.

Being a novel, Malouf uses a lyrical choice of expression to depict Priam stripping himself of his “ceremonial figurehead” to become “at last what is merely human” with the help of a “common man” named Somax. This provides Priam the ability to level with Achilles ‘father to father’ and beg, on ‘his knees’ for his son’s body. Like in Invictus, the words ‘I forgive you are never stated in ‘Ransom’, demonstrating that both Eastwood and Malouf, as reflected in their works, heavily believe in forgiveness and reconciliation as an action rather than a statement said, therefore, they use actions to intertwine the conflicting parties in each text.

In both texts, ‘Invictus’ and ‘Ransom’, reconciliation is demonstrated as a gradual process that is influenced by a higher authoritative power. To that effect, the act of forgiving someone takes time in both texts. Through Mandela’s influence, Jason is able to forgive the white Special Branch officers for their acts of violence against them during the anti-apartheid movement. Jason and his team “represent [Mandela] directly”. Therefore, they need to forgive and accept the Special Branch officers so that a “rainbow nation” is able to develop to achieve Mandela’s goal, unity. Like the character of Jason, Achilles also struggles to forgive and let go of the pain and grief caused by the death of his adopted brother, who he had “deep affection for”. Not wanting to forgive Hector and his family, leads to Achilles trailing Hector's body in the “dust” for eleven days. His actions of vengeance do not bring satisfaction to Achilles' desires, it leaves him feeling “torment[ed]” and empty as he believes he is partially responsible for Patroclus’ death. Malouf symbolically illustrates Achilles' feelings of despair demonstrating the impact not reconciling with others and oneself has on an individual. Priam being imagery of Achilles’ father, Peleus, represents the effect a highly respected individual can have on another, resulting in Priam’s journey to the Greek camp in search of reconciliation. Reconciliation is portrayed by Achilles symbolically as “something inside him [frees] itself”. Peace is symbolized by offering Priam to “eat something together” and to “call on [him]” when in need. Malouf’s clearest expression of forgiveness is shown as Achilles regards Hector’s body for the last time where he acknowledges that “their part in the long war is at an end”. This underlines his forgiveness for the murder of his adopted brother, leading to the two cities becoming allies. Their forgiveness brings reconciliation and allows each other’s city to be safer. Likewise, reconciliation brings a smile to his face of Jason in ‘Invictus’ when in the presence of the special branch officers who he has befriended. This allows both teams to work together effectively and in unity, and like in ‘Ransom’, protect other lives and their own legacy.

The film ‘Invictus’ and the novel ‘Ransom’ demonstrate the power forgiveness has to bring together citizens of conflicting races, nations, and ideologies. This was demonstrated by the two characters in the texts, Nelson Mandela and Priam, who have the authoritative title to influence their nation. Being great influences, Mandela and Priam motivated others to forgive through their words and actions. As reconciliation is a gradual process for some, Jason progressively learned to forgive the special branched officers through the constant interaction of Mandela’s bodyguards. Due to Priam’s resemblance to Achilles’ father, Achilles too learned to forgive Priam, not only by this perception but also by Priam’s actions and determination to ransom his son’s body. The idea of reconciliation was not always demonstrated in ‘Invictus’, thereby relationships were ruined. Zindzi and her mother’s refusal to reconcile with the Afrikaners lead to a family being broken and melancholy to be experienced. Ultimately, the idea of reconciliation is demonstrated by David Malouf and Clint Eastwood in a similar way, through actions. Although the act itself is applied and performed in various ways.

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‘Ransom’ Versus ‘Invictus’: Comparative Analysis. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/ransom-versus-invictus-comparative-analysis/
“‘Ransom’ Versus ‘Invictus’: Comparative Analysis.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/ransom-versus-invictus-comparative-analysis/
‘Ransom’ Versus ‘Invictus’: Comparative Analysis. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/ransom-versus-invictus-comparative-analysis/> [Accessed 18 Apr. 2024].
‘Ransom’ Versus ‘Invictus’: Comparative Analysis [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 27 [cited 2024 Apr 18]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/ransom-versus-invictus-comparative-analysis/
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