Paradoxes of human will in the time travel film
This study discusses how the literary device of time travel can limit or empower protagonists. The main focus is on H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and the two films of the same name inspired by the novel. The popularity of time travel in film springs from the myriad storytelling possibilities the device provides, and the writer’s agenda determines what place, if any, logic and causality have in the story. Some narratives endorse the theory of eternalism, where time is fixed and the time traveller’s actions are fated to be consistent with the history the traveller knows. But many films rely on theories of multiple timelines and many worlds, giving the traveller a much greater range of agency. Paradoxes of causality can inhibit the traveller’s actions as well. This essay discusses the broad spectrum in time travel narrative, where at one end travellers are imprisoned in history, and at the other they enjoy a great deal of freedom.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
Copyright DateDecember 2009
H. G. Wells
The Time Machine