Penny Dreadful – The Two Sides of Vanessa Ives

Vanessa Ives – Showtime

The new summer TV shows have started so I thought I would begin writing some short reviews.  Here I explore the themes of Penny Dreadful’s main female character.

Vanessa Ives:

Major Themes:

  • Invitations to unexplored worlds – In an early scene, Vanessa invites a new acquaintance to experience a world beyond this one.  Here is the clip where that happens.

  • The border between what is known and unknown – Vanessa walks along the beach with Mina and asks her if she wants to go into the ocean.  Vanessa wants to go in.  The beach itself is the border between the safe known land and as the ancients called it, “the evil unknown sea”.

Vanessa and Mina - Showtime

Vanessa and Mina – Showtime

  • The Eye is the Window to the Soul – Vanessa stares into the lifeless creature she made.  It’s a bird of prey.  She puts a mirror behind the dead eyes to give them life.  When she stares at you she wants to see the part of you behind the physical shape.  The world of the ephemeral held still and studied.

Vanessa's Taxidermy - Showtime

Vanessa’s Taxidermy – Showtime

  • In Penny Dreadful, Vanessa is a our spirit guide between the worlds.


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