Lighthouse – Ending Explained & Plot Summary

Lighthouse is a surreal 35mm black and white horror film directed by Robert Eggers; a wild, confusing and sometimes hypnotizing movie about the adventures of two disagreeing lighthouse keepers.

Most of the events taking place in the picture defy any logical explanation. It should also be noted that there is no single “correct” interpretation of the “Mayak”. But we will do our best to be the beacon of light that guides you through the dark nooks and crannies of this film.

The plot of the film “Lighthouse”

Lighthouse (2019)

In the late 19th century, Ephraim Winslow / Tom Howard (Robert Pattinson) is sent to do contract work as a lighthouse keeper on an isolated island off the coast of New England, already under the supervision of a summer man named Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe). The relationship between the caretakers does not go well, Wake treats Howard like a slave, overwhelms him with work and forbids him to climb the lighthouse.

The meaning of the film “Lighthouse”

Lighthouse(2019)

Howard’s stay at the lighthouse is a trap. Like Prometheus with an eagle or Sisyphus with a boulder, who is doomed to pointlessly pushing a stone up, Howard is also forced to drag a barrel of kerosene up and down the lighthouse.

It is interesting to assume that Ephraim Winslow / Tom Howard was never a lighthouse keeper, and this hard, dull work is the punishment for killing the real Winslow, a kind of cyclical hell to relive this experience again and again.

For this reason, the question is brewing: how long has Howard stayed at the lighthouse? Five weeks? Two days? The truth is, Pattinson’s character can’t remember the exact time he was on the island. At least until the moment when he looks at the light of the lighthouse, and, like the hero of Howard Lovecraft’s stories (they even have the same names), does not see the horrifying truth about the crimes he committed.

To the series of references to the writer’s works, you can also add creatures with tentacles, the presence of which indicates that the island could be the home of Deep, intelligent amphibians, who first appeared in the story “Dagon” (1919), which mate with people to create whole hybrid views.

But by far the simplest explanation for what is happening in Lighthouse is that Pattinson’s character, trapped in an eternal storm with old Defoe, just went crazy. Or was crazy long before arriving at the lighthouse, as evidenced by the premeditated murder of the real Winslow.

Explanation of the ending of the movie “Lighthouse”

Lighthouse (2019)

At the end of the film, we see the hero of Robert Pattinson lying on his back, admiring the unimaginable secrets that he saw when he looked at the forbidden light from the lamp. At this, the delight leaves him. Now he, completely naked, is spread out along the barren seashore, and gulls and other birds of prey are slowly eating his flesh. One of the birds presumably made it to the liver. The further fate of the young man is unknown.

Perhaps death awaits him. Perhaps – eternal torment, description in the myth of Prometheus. The ancient Greek immortal titan stole fire from the Gods and was doomed to eternal suffering. Chained to a rock, he was forced to relive the arrival of the eagle, which pecked at his liver.

In turn, Thomas Wake is the human incarnation of Proteus – an ancient Greek sea deity who knows how to predict the future, who serves Poseidon, and whom Homer called the “Old Man of the Sea.” Thomas is not just the perfect old sailor archetype; he also makes an incredibly accurate prediction of how Howard will die at the end of the film.

“Lighthouse (2019)

But there is another, more “modern” explanation for the birds’ hatred of Pattinson’s character.

The general situation at the lighthouse is sharpened after the brutal killing of a seagull. By the way, instead of a real bird, Pattinson “killed” a scarecrow. Although old man Wake had warned him of the bad luck this murder might bring.

The idea that killing a sea bird can cause trouble is a long-standing maritime superstition that goes back to ST Coleridge’s poem The Tale of the Old Mariner (1797-1799).

It tells of a ship besieged by misfortune after a sailor killed an albatross. He is forced to wear a dead bird around his neck as a token of his guilt.

Rejecting Wake’s supernatural thinking, Winslow compares him to Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, a man driven mad by his obsessive attempt to conquer nature.

The lighthouse itself is a man-made structure that stands where nothing should be, and allows humanity to ignore the tides and travel the seas the way they like.

Thus, Wake’s goal is not too different from Ahab’s, and he meets the same fate.

The Essence Of The Idea – In the end, all mythological and literary illusions boil down to the theme of man’s eternal battle with the forces of nature, much more powerful than he. Faced with a possible existential threat, we strive to regain power over the unpredictability of nature in any, albeit not very humane, ways.

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