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Downton Abbey: Feminist, Psychoanalytical, and Marxist Perspective

In this Prezi, I summarize the first to seasons of Downton Abbey, talk about the women and their roles in the house, how the upstairs and downstairs reflect onto each other, the social hierarchy, and why Downton Abbey is more than just a T.V. show.

Allison Litke

on 26 August 2014

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Transcript of Downton Abbey: Feminist, Psychoanalytical, and Marxist Perspective

Feminist Perspective
Lady Mary Crawley
Lady Edith Crawley
The Middle Child
Does not want to change the "rules"
Symbolizes old values of the 1800s
Docile: Does not want to change society or her household.
Lady Sybil Crawley
The Rebel
Works individually/selfishly
Resents her father for accepting Matthew as the heir
She gains power within the house by lying to her father, and doing things behind his back.
This actually works!
How do the ladies of the household view their position in life?
The Conformist
She wants a complete change in society
Breaks free from the Old English mold
Misses no opportunity to openly defy her father.
August, 1914
April, 1912
Mary vs. Matthew
Matthew does not want to marry anyone
Hates learning about how to control Downton
Mary all of a sudden just wants to get married
Invites all sorts of men over to the house
Matthew Proposes
Mary does not answer
Says she will give him answer when she comes back from London
Talks with her aunt about it.
Lady Cora is Pregnant!
World War I
Lord Grantham announces World War I
Downton will not be the same
Where it all begins...
Who will be the next heir?
Patrick dies on the Titanic...
Mary cannot inherit
Earl of Grantham conntacts Matthew
Matthew Crawley comes to Downton
The new heir is a LAWYER?!
Knows nothing about running an estate
Reluctant to even go
Continues to work as a lawyer
Mary wants to inherit Downton...
What does this mean for Matthew?
He finally admits it....
Mary still does not answer Matthew....
Boy or girl?
Everything changes.
Series 1 - Summary
Christmas 1919
November 1916
Matthew, William, and Thomas are off to war
Thomas, one of the servants, goes off to war and purposely gets shot to escape the war.
William, another servant, dies
Matthew, the heir, becomes paralyzed
End of the War
Matthew Proposes... and Mary says 'Yes!'
Downton as a Convalescent Home
Even the house changes...
Series 2 - Summary
Edward Courtenay Commits Suicide
Trying to go back to 'normal'
Reason #1
Relates to values pertinent in pre-World War I, England, and how the war caused changes in these values to occur. By it being in television show format, it relates that time in history to the modern way of life (example: the introduction of cars and telephones). The turn of a century.
Reason #2
Reason #3
Everyone has a perspective, even the servants. This show delves down into the servants life as well, showing the hardships they faced with wartime instead of solely focusing on the Earl and his family.

There are direct comparisons within the show itself between the “old money” and the “new money” landowners. The older generations that wish to keep the old values viable, while the newer generation wishes to change. (Much the same theme in the Great Gatsby.)

Why should YOU watch Downton Abbey?
What is it's "Literary Merit"?
Downstairs: Top Authority
Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes
The Butler
Mr. Bates
Head Lady's Maid
Miss O'Brien
Lady's Maid
First Footman
Thomas Barrow
Hall Boys
Gwen and Ethel
Mrs. Patmore
Scullery Maid
November 1918
“...our characters face the ultimate test of war. Some are strengthened by the ordeal, a couple are defeated, but all of them are changed.”- Julian Fellowes, screenwriter
What can we learn from it?
Evil vs. Good
No one is entirely evil or completely good
Everyone has internal fights between their ID and their superego
The idea of the "Outsiders"- the people that are undesired in society
The "Insiders"- the people that are generally accepted
If a person performs an evil act, usually for some reason
Oftentimes, change makes us into better people
Change is not always a bad thing, nor is it always good
People have to change with the times
Money Can't Buy Happiness
Though Lord Grantham looks to be living in the lap of luxury, does not mean that he has "everything"
Many of the servants are happy, even though they work for others
This occurs mostly in the first season.
By the second season, most characters are more open to the truth.
Don't even know what it is like to "work"
It is just a British T.V show... Entertainment.
Socially- They are idolized
Everyone views the Crawley family as the perfect depiction of English society.
Everyone wants to be them…
Refined--- They are limited on their mistakes

The downstairs area is much more vulgar/there are plots forming
Servants are often side-lit, conveying suspicious feelings
Underground--- The hidden side of Downton Abbey
The servants are usually in the background
Consumerism and Classist Values
Comodification- Mary Crawley
Everyone envies them
Rift between upstairs and downstairs
The American Dream
Some servants believe they have a better shot in America
Lady Grantham is American
Rugged Individualism
Gwen becomes a secretary
Sybil helped
Thomas starts his own business
It fails. He loses all his money
Show vs. Script
Sybil becomes a nurse. Thomas helps out in the hospital near Downton.
One of their charges commits suicide.
They realize that Downton cannot go untouched by the war.
Thomas becomes an acting seargeant in the house. Power change!
Edith helps out, and Sybil is still a nurse.
Once the war ends, everyone expects everything to return to normal.
Downton Abbey is no longer a convalescent home
Sybil admits her love for the driver.
Matthew and his fiance are planning their wedding after he can miraculously walk
Mary is engaged to another man
Matthew's fiance dies, and Mary calls off her wedding
Full transcript