Self loathing in the face of adversity.
The most iconic quote and memorable scene from the Martin Scorsese classic “Raging Bull” leaves a lot for a generation to learn from; remaining relevant to this day.
Laughing in the face of adversity, failure to reconcile with our vices, deserving and choosing the pain which life delivers us — convinced that this is the price we must pay for our sins.
The scene isn’t just a brutal demise of Jake’s career, it signifies his paranoid rage which keeps him convinced he’s not going to lose; surely convinced that he deserves every single punch being delivery by Sugar Ray Robinson as he seeks penance for his sins.
“You never got me down, Ray!”, with his face beaten to a pulp as he’s barely able to compose himself; he resorts to the one thing he knows has blinded him, deceiving every notion he holds about himself.
Throughout the film we see Jake LaMotta’s character proclaims, “I don’t go down for nobody”, resorting to violence as his only means of communication.
It’s not a victory that he doesn’t go down, it’s the irony that this very notion will be his undoing.
Everybody hopes to achieve an outlook on life, a little rough around the edges; masking the insecurities we hold within.
It’s not the failure of admitting we’re wrong, it’s our failure to ever acknowledge it.
Jake’s character would rather receive a brutal bludgeoning at the hands of his opponents rather than admit defeat.
Falling is not an option, for what is once built up to be the film’s protagonist as he evolves into becoming the villainous traits that he comes to endure; failing to acknowledge this very outlook to life would be his downfall.
His rage, and pursuit of dominance forces him into a position to be convinced that this is the price he must pay for his ‘sins’, against his brother and wife.
The need for validation, becoming an arrogant and a blindly proud man’s only source of comfort is the worst of defeats that doesn’t garner a moment of ‘bravery’ but rather a feeling of ‘pity’ for the hero we once rooted for.
It’s this notion that seems to prevail in the megalomaniac behaviour portrayed in today’s society; we’d rather continue believing we’re absolutely correct in our pursuit rather than admit defeat.
Much like Jake, society has driven the skewed perception of power and bravery to a point that admitting we’re ‘wrong’ is a sign of defeat rather than a moment of clarify and conviction.
Admittance of wrong-doing is not a failure, but a moment of realisation that there may be catharsis; rather than a pitiful maintenance of ‘heroism’ which only destroys and disappoints.
Jake is in essence, the Raging Bull banging his head against an impenetrable wall of everything that symbolises his misguided sense of “Pride”.
I’ve done a lot of bad things, Joey. Maybe it’s comin’ back to me.
What’s necessary to acknowledge for a soul to grow is that we are not in-fact perfect creatures, but refusing to correct our behaviour is what will be out undoing.
As I witness men falling at the notion of failing to acknowledge their shortcomings, I can only hope that there is penance and a catharsis to be reached if we truly are to come outside the other end rehabilitated.
Change is necessary, but blindly misguided sense of always being ‘Right’ is a downfall into a pit from which we can’t climb out of.
Whilst, many may chant and hail Jake’s behaviour as victorious; All I see is a man defeated failing to come to terms with his own actions and arrogance that have led him to a point of being completely unrecognisable — aesthetically and skilfully.
For the downfall of Jake is also the downfall of men within society who simply cannot acknowledge that #WeToo have a price to pay for our sins.