I’ve been thinking a lot about fate for my story of Cassandra. We’re meant to change critical actions in the story to see how they effect the narrative, but the idea of Cassandra is so tied up with the idea of ‘fate’ that it can be hard to find an action to change. To me, these are the key components of the Cassandra myth:
1) A curse to always tell the truth, but not be believed in some capacity. 2) Repeated attempts to tell the truth despite the curse. Every attempt still results in not being believed.
The latter is what makes Cassandra a hero to me: knowing her curse, she still attempts to warn people. But still, fate and the Gods will have her never be believed. If we change this aspect, and let someone believe her, it hardly seems like the story of Cassandra anymore– unless, perhaps, it still ultimately results in nobody believing that person either. Perhaps no authority figure believes them? Fate must be inescapable for the story to still be “Cassandra”.
I conceived of my retelling of Cassandra as an interactive narrative, a story that will take place in a fictional secure phone application that Cassandra has just installed for her job at the oil company. The player steps into the role of Cassandra, and should feel the despair of her. I considered making the story a VR experience, but thought that a phone application that takes place over an extended period of time would be the sort of ‘immersion’ that I would prefer for the story. The story’s impact is in the repeated failures to be believed, and in wearing you down. If you’re using VR, very few people would use the application for more than ten minutes, so the repetition and wearing down is minimized. I wanted the tension to take place over days, and for the player to feel anxious.
Potential changes to the narrative:
Making someone believe her: as mentioned before, this changes the narrative substantially.
Giving Cassandra a brother who also tells the truth: this is actually an aspect of the original story as told by Homer. Cassandra has a twin brother, Helenus, who she teaches the art of prophecy. Contrary to her, his prophecies are believed (he does not stop the Greeks from winning the war as he is captured before the Trojan horse is created.) Giving her a brother, or other comrade, who is believed, might emphasize her plight, but since my narrative involves a singular company secret, letting him be believed would still fulfill Cassandra’s goals of whistleblowing. It’s an interesting twist on the original myth, however.
Changing the context to something besides whistleblowing: I considered for a second changing the context to a woman trying to report her sexual assault, but decided that was too bleak a subject for even me. One of my goals is to have a game that all genders will play, and I think men will shy away from a game that is so alien to them.
This week’s reading was far more tolerable than last week’s for me, despite also giving fairy tales a Freudian treatment. The difference, to me, was substantial: instead of applying a Freudian reading to actual children who are in therapy, the reading is applied to cartoons and works of art. To imply a fictional cat is doing a phallic action is far more understandable than claiming a small girl has penis envy. Even unjustified claims about Walt Disney’s character seems fine to me, as he’s well documented as a megalomaniac and control freak by his employees, and his actions– after all, he did manipulate local Floridian governments to create Disneyworld. Plus, it is no exaggeration to claim he’s had far reaching effects on the idea of fairy tales in the public– you can simply look at how many treatments of fairy tales in our class are updates on the Disney version, and not any other version.
Additionally, you can look at what the public considers a fairy tale for further proof of Disney’s influence: ask a little girl what their favourite fairy tale is, and they might respond with “Pocahontas” or “Mulan”. Neither were fairy tales before Disney rewrote their stories.
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