La Traviata is Verdi’s famous opera, based on a book ‘’La Dame aux Camelias’’. Pretty Woman is a movie that has similar subject as La Traviata. The subject is based on a prostitute that falls in love. If we compare La Traviata and Pretty Woman, we will see there are some clichés that is used in both, and there are differences makes them successful.
Both start with the scene of ordinary lives. The first things that we understand are Violetta lives through a luxury life and Vivian doesn’t have enough money. However, in my opinion, the differences between Pretty Woman and La Traviata starts from beginning, we suddenly apprehend that Vivian is a prostitute, because we know all the cliches that cues us, the boots, pennilessness, the wig, the make-up etc. In La Traviata, if I wouldn’t read ‘’La Dame aux Camelias’’, I may not understand that Violetta is a courtesan. The reason is that I expact today’s clues to understand but in that era the luxury life, the ball, flirting with man were the clues. So both start with clues to understand our main character’s life styles.
In La Traviata we witness the change Violetta goes through. At first scene, she describes joy as drinking, flirting; in the end, she describes death as a joy and I think, in the last scene, seeing Alfredo didn’t satisfy her, because he disappoint her, the society disappoint her and only death can save her now. In the other hand Vivian didn’t change at all, we already sense her innocence from beginning since we have a bad example, Kit.
The other point is, Violetta such a strong character that she never ashamed who she is, she knows what she walks into and she accept that. She said to Alfredo’s father that if she told Alfredo that she doesn’t love him anymore, he wouldn’t believe; however, Alfredo never question her behavior and get angry immediately. That reaction, I think, a little bit cliché, even in the book, I understand immediately that Violetta will get harm and Alfredo can’t find the truth since he’s not looking for it. However, when Alfredo explain guests what she done and throw money to Violetta’s face, I expect that the crowd will condemn but they stand up for her and that surprises me. It is very nice to have that because exaggerate Violetta’s pain is overwhelming and less realistic. There is probably a moral concern here, but I prefer to think they are not trying to give a message but rather blame Alfredo about even give her up so easily. Thinking Pretty Woman, although there is a common assumption is the money scene is similar in both, I disagree with that. Vivian confronts one problem and immediately get angry with him and ask for her money, reminding him that it is all nothing but a deal. And then, they cool down and everything goes back to normal, contrasting with Alfredo’s allowance to let his anger become hatred.
Another cliché is in both main female characters associate themselves with a similar story’s character. Violetta read Manon Lescaut and Vivian watch La Traviata. In both we are remanded that these stories have a predictable ends. That’s where Violetta find her courage, and that’s why Vivian doesn’t accept Edward’s final offer, I think, when Edward arrive in the last time in the car, we hear ‘’Amami Alfredo’’, it can’t be a coincidence, it is like Edward saying that she doesn’t have to make a sacrifice.
The big difference between two is that in La Traviata we have the father figure. It means we have a public opinion figure, that states what society expects, what God expects etc. However in Pretty Woman Vivian, in the end, says that she wants more. In the movie we expect them to avoid the public opinion; however, in the opera we know that Violetta has no other choice but to leave, the facts are unavoidable.
Both focus on the concept of prostitute, La Traviata emphasize that a prostitute can’t live a normal life, and avoid the consequences, but stating the fact that people can change; Pretty Woman emphasize that prostitutes are not one stereotype, you can’t label them, they can have a great potential. Both use some clichés to make us pity, to make us feel guilty. However, La Traviata is such a masterpiece that I didn’t pity Violetta, I even envy her due to her sacrifice, her great emotions; and in the end I expect to get angry with Alfredo, and I feel pity for him, it’s like I mature throughout the opera.