Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Graduate – What Benjamin Braddock Wants

At the beginning of the script, Benjamin Braddock doesn’t know what he wants except to be left alone. He finds himself lazily lying around the pool with no future goals in mind.  At the pressure of his parents and other adults, Ben begins to worry about his future, as he figuratively and literally drowns out everyone around him by wearing a mask and going underwater in several scenes in order to avoid reality.

At the beginning of the script, Benjamin, although unwilling at first, is passive and tries to please everyone in his own way. It’s not until after the affair with Mrs. Robinson that he begins to change. He sees that Mrs. Robinson is a skillfully crafted, cold-hearted bitch to everyone around her. When he begins to question Mrs. Robinson about her daughter, the woman shows him a side he no longer cares to be a part of. This Ben’s turning point – one of which he begins to realize that he does not want a woman like Mrs. Robinson – instead, he wants someone more innocent like her daughter, Elaine. Once he realizes this, he becomes more aggressive, on the verge of being stalker-like by showing up at Elaine’s school and following her around.

By the end of the script, Ben wants a normal life, which means getting married to a girl that his parents originally tried to force him to date. Like the animal in the cage at the zoo, he is dying to get out, and at the same time, replays imagined things in his head. Once he is out of his cage, Ben is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. In this case, he wants Elaine. He thinks that marrying her will solve all of his problems. Ben even shows up at Elaine’s wedding ceremony, interrupts it, and runs away with her. At the end, Ben is still trying to avoid his problems by running away.