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Apocalypto

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Summary

Several members of a tribe are hunting in the woods. They manage to kill an animal. Then, they sit beside it, and one of the members tears organs out of the animal and gives them to other members. One of them receives testicles and tries them reluctantly. The others tell him that eating testicles has helped them to have children. Other tribesmen laugh at him because he does not have any children. Then, they hear some noise. Another tribe comes out. Each tribe is not sure whether the other one is hostile or not. It appears that another tribe just wants to pass by their territory, and they let them do it. The newcomers say that someone attacked their tribe. While these newcomers are passing by, the tribesmen mentioned first notice that they are very scared.

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Tribesmen return to their tribe where their women, children, and the old are waiting for food. The tribesman who ate testicles faces the attacks of his mother-in-law who accuses him of being useless because he cannot make her daughter become pregnant. After one more joke, the whole tribe is laughing at him and his wife. In the evening, they gather about the fire and listen to the wise stories told by the tribal chief. His son has a small son and a wife who is pregnant. After listening to these stories, they are dancing.

Early in the morning, when everyone is still asleep, another tribe attacks them. The tribal chief’s son, Jaguar Paw, hears that someone approaches, and he manages to wake up his wife and son and take them to a pit that is situated near their settlement. It is very deep, so they get to the bottom with the help of the rope. He ties it so that if he dies, they could get out of the pit. His wife asks him to stay, but he promises that he will come back and goes to fight against another tribe. They tie up the men they catch, rpe their women, and murder the men who fight back strongly. These raiders kill many tribesmen, including the tribal chief whom they murder in front of his son. During the fight, one of the raiders notices the rope beside the pit and tears it apart. Then, the raiders tie their prisoners to several long beams and make them go fast, even though they are frightened and exhausted. The raiders do not enslave children, who follow their parents for some time, and when they reach a river, children stop going after them. Jaguar Paw helps his tribesman who is not able to go anymore. However, when they pass the mountain, that man falls down and almost takes the whole beam with people with him. They manage to stay on the ground, but one of the raiders cuts him off.

When they almost reach their destination, they meet a girl. She is ill, and they are afraid to touch her. She warns them of the end of times. She says that it will happen when they see a man chased by a jaguar. When they come to their settlement, people meet them with joy. They pass by slaves who are building pyramids. In the square, the raiders sell their slaves. Jaguar Paw and several of his tribesmen get into a ritual. To please the gods, the raiders want to kill them one by one in front of the public. The ritual stops right before Jaguar Paw’s turn because of the eclipse. They still want to kill them, but Jaguar Paw manages to escape and kill one of the heads of the raiders. To take revenge, they chase him in the woods. They see how a jaguar is going after him, and they start being afraid due to the prophecy. One by one, the raiders die. Jaguar Paw manages to get back home and save his wife, son, and a newborn child. The two raiders who are left are distracted by a huge ship (“Apocalypto”).

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Apocalypto: evolution, natural selection, culture

The movie depicts the suurvival of the strongest, which is common for the natural selection theory. It is possible to notice several stages of natural selection in the movie. The first stage occurs when the raiders attack the peaceful tribespeople. The difference between their cultures is huge: tribespeople hunt in the woods, and care for their wives and children. It is possible to conclude that they respect women because when one of them has to listen to his mother-in-law’s accusations, he does not react in a rude way. She pushes him, says offensive words in front of the whole tribe, but he does not do the same in return. The members of this tribe also respect each other. It is possible to observe it when this same man, who does not have children, suffers from the constant mockery. He hates it, but he forgives them quite soon every time. He never takes revenge even when their jokes become more offensive. This tribe also has family values – children are very important to all of them. As for the raiders, their culture is cruel: killing people is a kind of entertainment for them. Considering the fact that they rape women, they have no respect towards them. They also think that they are superior – they do not consider other tribespeople to be humans.

The second stage takes place when Jaguar Paw appears to be stronger, smarter, and sturdier than the raiders who chase him in the forest. He manages to survive, even though it seems impossible in such conditions – being a slave and having no weapon. Almost all of his chasers die, which is also an example of natural selection.

The last stage of natural selection depicted in the movie happens when the Spanish ship approaches an American shore. This stage is not explicit, but the viewer, knowing the history, realizes that the whole movie with that drama when different tribespeople were competing to survive was like a play.

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