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Introduction

This essay explores the concept of therianthropy in popular narrative and examines the effect of metamorphosis on both characterisation and audience. Case studies for investigation are David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986), which examines the degradation of the human form and Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête (1946), which questions similarly the boundary between mankind and monsters. In addition, the significance of metamorphosis in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009) and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) will be investigated. The assignment begins by defining the key ideas of therianthrophy and physiognomy, then examines ways in which themes of metamorphosis are used in each of the selected case-studies. In conclusion, the discussion will seek to summarise the thematic purpose of metamorphosis and how it shapes interpretation....  Therianthropy is the study of changing from one being to another but can also be ‘associated with altered states of consciousness.’ (Haarmann and Marler, 2008:123) Physiognomy looks at the ‘art of judging human character from facial features’ (The Free Dictionary, 2009) however, it can look at the actual change in features too. ‘Not only on the real bent of their character, but to what employment they were adapted.’ (Disraeli, 1843:53)

Main Essay
Popular narrative explores the concept of human to animal therianthropy in many different ways. Ways in which this concept is interpreted can depend on ideas of those times whether it is historical or contemporary. One example of metamorphosis in quite historical narrative is Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête which visually interprets the classic story of Beauty and the Beast and considers metamorphosis through judgement and personality. La Belle et la Bête explores the idea of metamorphosis through a fairy tale and dreamlike state with its smoke and gliding camera visuals suggesting elegance to the beast’s metamorphosis. The beast speaks silkily and has an air of class about him implying that his metamorphosis especially his physiognomy is not what should be judged. However, that is just what is judged with the beast seemingly shunned from the village as his physiognomy is cast on as an outcast with an on look of fear towards him. This is not the ideology that an audience is injected with through the beast’s metamorphosis though. A narrative from the beast’s home setting exploring his developing relationship with Belle opens the audience’s eyes to his true personality buried beneath the judgement and reactions he receives from other characters due to his physical state. We are made to view the beast as one who has a disability rather than a monster as all else see him, as those who are disabled are still mankind whereas, monsters are ugly and selfish on the inside. Belle makes this clear when she states ‘I’m the monster, Beast. You shall live, you shall live!’ (La Belle et la Bête, 1946) referring to her naïve judgement of the beast before she learnt to know him. This moral of metamorphosis affects both the audience and characters through the idea of judgment and we are all made to believe that the disappearance of naïve belief against others will be rewarding when the metamorphosis of Bête is reversed due to his characterisation. Inversely, The Fly reflects on the human to animal metamorphosis as much more monstrous and controlling. The use body horror imagery in the way of Brundle’s grotesque transformation explores the ideology of therianthropy as some sort of disease eating away at humanity. The Fly focuses on the gradual change of Brundle’s physiognomy throughout and how it’s effects. This popular narrative explores the loss of control through metamorphosis with Brundle becoming less and

less able to complete basic human tasks instead leaning towards more typically fly tasks as his characterisation and control switch. This switch is at first viewed as a gift and accepted however; as the Brundle changes so does the film’s narrative instead leading the audience to question Brundle’s humanity. Veronica Quaife’s dialogue ‘Something went wrong…When you went through, something went wrong.’ (The Fly, 1986) further shows the idea of metamorphosis being abnormal and inhumane as even after trying to deal with Brundle’s change in a loving way she learns that it is too late especially when he takes things too far with an attempt at experimenting on other humans. This is symbolic of being inhumane and monstrous because it is similar to humans testing on animals and the view on this is cruel. A more historical example of popular narrative that also takes the stance of metamorphosis as fearful and wrong but in a more psychological way is Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stevenson’s story explores therianthropy as well as physiognomy with the idea of multiple personalities. The physiognomy of Jekyll would morph to form the physiognomy of Hyde exploring multiple characterisations but also connote the idea of good versus evil as when characters would interact with Jekyll they felt comfortable and welcome however, when faced with Hyde they were overcome with uneasiness. ‘It was for one minute that I saw him, but the hair stood upon my head like quills.’ (Stevenson, 1886:8) A contemporary example that similarly looks at metamorphosis through multiple personalities is Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010). Both symbolise the change in therianthropy as a doppelganger and both use this doppelganger to connote the internal struggle in the main characters. As Nina struggles to find herself in Black Swan, Jekyll struggles to contain the effects of his experiment and in ways both characters lose their minds due to their change. This way of expressing metamorphosis clearly shows the audience the binary oppositions of before the therianthropy and after and allows them surveillance of the evolving change especially psychologically. This is also something The Fly allows but in a more physically imaged way. ‘He put the glass to his lips and drank at one gulp…his face became suddenly black and the features seemed to melt and alter.’ (Stevenson, 1886:9) Correspondingly to The Fly the physical alteration of Jekyll’s physiognomy is suggested as monstrous with words such as ‘melt’ and ‘suddenly black’ which are usually denotations of evil craft as well as the curious behaviour of characters who want to see who Hyde as if to treat him as something out of a zoo. Alternatively though the idea of metamorphosis through experimentation is treated differently in The Fly and Stevenson’s novel. Whereas, in The Fly Brundle’s enthusiastic behaviour is suggestive of playing God Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde looks at metamorphosis in a more magic driven way through potion making. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban also looks at the effects of metamorphosis in a magic driven way. ‘The potion that Professor Snape has been making for me is a very recent discovery. It makes me safe, you see. As long as I take it in the week preceding the full moon, I keep my mind when I transform.’ (Rowling, 1999:18) Unlike the stereotypical traditional ideology of werewolves Rowling uses the idea of magic to instigate the prevention of Lupin’s loss of control through his metamorphosis. If he takes this magic potion he is still his same character when transformed, the werewolf being cannot take over. Therefore, Rowling is also trying to convey the ideology of therianthropy as safe and belonging in her world. Even though she uses traditional conventions of werewolves such as with the biting of Lupin by Fenrir Greyback and the negative assumptions made by characters towards Lupin’s state (especially leading to his resigning) she brings in her own ideas to back up her belief of safe metamorphosis. One example of this is the fact that Dumbledore hires Lupin to teach at a school full of adolescents (stereotypically werewolves’ main targets). The fact that he teaches Defence against the Dark Arts is also symbolic of his safely hood. If his metamorphosis was represented as dangerous would he still be chosen to teach? Rowling uses metamorphic characters as comparison to show the belonging of Lupin such as Animagi. Animagi are seen as useful and welcome in the wizarding world so it is encouraging towards

Lupin’s metamorphosis when his friends learn to become Animagi just to be able to keep him company. ‘And they didn’t desert me at all. Instead they did something for me that would make my transformations not only bearable, but the best times of my life. They became Animagi.’ (Rowling, 1999:18) The audience are taught to empathise with Lupin because he is seen as an outcast judged by the traditional view of a werewolf but after he is kept company the audience know for sure he is trustworthy and see his therianthropy as the thing that led to lasting friendship. In some ways the audience start to aspire to be like Lupin because he is looked up to by his students but also he has something that every human craves for, true friendship. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves takes a completely different stance towards the idea of metamorphosis especially when it comes to physiognomy. The metamorphosed characters of the game reside around the hiding place of the mythological Chintamanni Stone killing anyone who tries to steal it. In that aspect they are represented as guardians however, their main guardian use is to scare off rather than kill. ‘Scarecrows. Guardians to frighten trespassers.’ (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, 2009) Naughty Dog has the ideology that physically ‘beast’ represented characters are seen as foreboding of harm and will stop misusers. Similarly to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone like the Mirror of Erised these guardians will only let those past who will use the stone rightfully. At first the audience is made to fear the guardians however, as events unfold and their metamorphosis is revealed as more human through the ripping off the head of a dead guardian the audience feel more inclined to trust them especially when they help Drake escape Lazarevic. In some ways these guardians link back to Greek mythology and the Minotaur with the heads of beasts and their job to protect something.

Conclusion
In conclusion, exploration of the portrayal of metamorphosis in popular narrative demonstrates a wide aspect of ideologies towards it however, all aim to create a response towards therianthropy from the audience whether it being a positive outlook towards it or a more wary and curious appeal. The broad time range of metamorphosis in popular narrative demonstrates the continuing popularity of the idea of therianthropy even through contemporary counter-typical views on it. It is arguable that the use of metamorphosis in popular narrative is to allow the audience a better insight of characters but could also suggest the availability of escapism from real life or the ability to see themselves metaphorically through unusual characters.