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In order to answer the question on which stages or key moments we see Rick playing a Reactive rather than an Active Hero, we must first define the Central Dramatic Question of the story. In Casablanca, I believe the question that is predominant in the movie is what Rick’s choice would be when it comes to choosing between his own happiness or the good of the many. In other words, choosing to be with Ilsa or letting her go as she would remain an important part of Lazlo’s life as a successful revolutionary.

From my understanding being an Active Hero, one must take charge of the situation at hand, while playing a Reactive role would mean that one merely acts in response to a situation rather than controlling it.

Answering the initial question, I think that Rick played a Reactive role (in answering the Central Dramatic Question) when he wasn’t doing anything with the Letters of Transit, when he knew for a fact that the letters would be needed by Laslow and Ilsa in order to exit the country. Rick had the right cards in order to play the game, but he wasn’t using it. Instead, he let things unfold before taking a more proactive move. But I believe Rick was doing this because he was still confused, and he needed a little more in order to know what would be the rightful thing to do. I think his realization happened when Ilsa came to his room, asking him to give them the Letters of Transit. After this moment, and perhaps in addition to realizing that when it comes to love, people are willing to do anything-as with what happened with the Bulgarian couple-he bagan to understand Ilsa’s situation. He started playing a more Active role as the hero of the story, planning everything that was to happen henceforth.

As for the relation to the Journey’s Stages, I have to admit that it is quite hard to pinpoint which moment in the movie is which stage of the journey. Should the journey include the flashbacks? If so, Rick’s “Ordinary World” would be the world outside Casablanca. If the journey starts with the beginning of the movie, then Rick’s “Ordinary World” would be the setting before he meets Ilsa again. As to have a little bit of clarity with this confusion, I tried to start from the end: I think the “Return with the Elixir” would be Rick returning to his “normal life.” Although I didn’t get what he and Captain Renault was talking about in the end, if they were to live as revolutionaries, or they would stay in Casablanca to live their lives as when the movie started. Either way the answer to that, I think, would be the “Ordinary World.” Continuing with my reverse analysis of the stages in relation to the movie, “The Ressurection”, defined in the reading as “Other allies come to the last-minute rescue to lend assistance, but in the end the Hero must rise to the sacrifice at hand,” would perhaps be the scene where he kills the Major, and Captain Renault helps him get through it. “The Road Back” would probably start with his realization that Ilsa is more important to Laslo, in a sense that she, as an inspiration to Laslo, would bring good to a “Higher Cause rather than the personal journey of the heart”. The “Reward” would then be his reconcilliation with Ilsa. Then I’m still confused after this stage.

If my “analysis” on the stages in relation to the movie is in some way right, then prior to the “Reward” stage, Rick was playing a Reactive role, and after this, a more Active role as the hero of the story. Having said that, I don’t think there was any other Hero who took control of the situation during the stages prior to that. The circumstances simply played while our hero sat back and watched.

Moving on, what was revealed about Rick with these events is that he likes to decide when things have already played out, as evident in his line “the less time to think the easier for all of us.” Although I think he already knew what to do at this point, the line says so much about him. He likes to watch before he makes his final choice.

In sum, I think the movie was a challenge in understanding the Journey’s Stages. The story line posed as an obstacle for pinpointing the exact stage in which a certain scene of the movie could be related to. Nonetheless, in my opinion, this would only make the movie more interesting and would further my appreciation for the movie’s complex plot, which was impressively squeezed in a short amount of time!



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