I know there is LOTS of talk going on about those too and I’m not even reading in any kind of forum. There is talk about whether Cadence makes any sence, being an alicorn and stuff and how dump the use of the changelings was (I LOVE changelings but they just ruined it…) and why and why not etc.
So no reason for you to read that up in my blog just getting another stupid opinion and this is NOT what this will be about
(though in short: it doesn’t work, Changelings should go into an open war especially if they feed on love! They should have done the same as the queen, the whole force shield also makes no sense since… well the queen managed to get it, why would she go in alone, if it was before the shield came up? MAKES NO SENSE!
This just as a side note ^^)
So let’s come to my initial topic I want to write about here: Doppelganger motif!
I did a lot of analysis on this topic in my studies (for „Supernatural’s“ „bloody Mary“ episode, for „Clueless“ for „Snow White“ movie adaptations“) so I really want to use the theory on Cadence and Chrysalis and see whether it works or not.
In literature and modern media the doppelganger is an often-used motif when the fight of a character with his self is portrayed. In her book „The Modern gothic and Literary Doubles“ Drydan calls the original person the “first self” and the double “second self”, for simplicity this paper will do it the same way.
Three things define the doppelganger. Usually the second self is a look-alike of the first self. Though in most cases the doppelganger can still be distinguished from
the first self, be it by looks, behaviour or the way they dress. This highlights the second aspect that defines the doppelganger: The personality. The second self incorporates the dark desires and wishes of the first self. This is also the part that makes the second self the monster. The dark side not only reflects the protagonist’s sense of otherness but of the culture the story originates in.
„Through his appearance, he brings to light the first self’s urge for something which is never c1early specified, which, however has been strong enough to inspire the First Self with a compensatory thirst for knowledge and power.“ (Drydan 2003 p. 29)
The first self has to fight the second self to truly become compatible with the society they live in. The third aspect that defines the doppelganger is the identity thread by invading the personal sphere of the first self. The doppelganger tries to steal the life of the first self which forces the them to find a new identity. As Drydan puts it:
„This inability of the First Self to get a firm grasp on his own identity will be seen to be a basic element of all the later double stories.“ (Drydan 2003 p. 33)
And this is what really defines the doppelganger, the role it has in the process of self-realization of the first self, fighting the dark desires and bad personality traits and
accepting that they are part of them.
„Identifiable as an allegorical agent, the Second Self is shown to as sume visible form exclusively in order to force the First Self to embark on the process of self-realization.“ (Drydan 2003 p. 49)
The doppelganger is the incorporation of the other and just as Faulstich explains the other can never be something totally unknown, but reflects a part of the self (Faulstich 96 S. 420). He explains the other as something that is immanent in the culture; something the culture or society is afraid of and thus has to cope with it. As the incorporation of the dark side the doppelganger is a primary example for the other inside.
Ok I know MLP is not a Horror story like „Jekyll and Hyde“ or „The picutre of Dorian grey“ but actually doppelganger can appear in other formats as well. For example in „Clueless“ (if you want the in depth thing on that post it in the comments and it will come ^^)
And clearly Chrysalis meets the aspects of a Doppelganger: She is a look-alike of Cadence, at least for the most time in the two episodes.
Also she is a threat to cadence, she does invade Cadences life and tries to steal it from her, even more important in the story she steels the love of the ’special somepony‘ from Cadence
Cadence has to fight Chrysalis. It can’t be anyone but her as we see Celesttia and even the magic of friendship fail. She has to do so to show she is worthy of being called a princess and that she indeed is an important part of society.
And lastly it’s a tool for identification and personal growth of the First Self, and yes we do see Cadence grow because of this. We can suspect that she never used such powers before (knowing she used to be a pegasus and all).
After seeing that indeed we have a doppelganger before us I want to stretch what makes a good analysis here a little difficult in contrast to the ones I deed before:
1. Cadence: We know too little about the Cadence before Chrysalis appears. It is hard to see what the identity problem used to be and what exactly the dark desired might have been, not seeing how Cadence used to be. Except for that little ‚best foal sitter evaaaar‘ scene and the infos we get from Twilight… I can just deduce from how Chrysalis behaves
2. Chrysalis: As little as we know about Cadence we know about Chrysalis. How did she meet Cadence? How did she take her place? That would be most interesting since usually in dppelganger stories the First self in one way or another summoned their second self (Jekyll took the position, Dorian wished for the picture to age in his stead, Sam calls Bloody Mary, The Queen uses the mirror,…).
So let’s take a look on what I do have.
Cadence and Chrysalis are, reduced to their core, two looks on love. Cadence is the warm and kind love that conquers everything as we know it from any Disney movie. Chrysalis on the other hand is an egoistic love. She just wants to use the people who love her, manipulating them to her hearts content.
When considering what a doppelganger represents: the dark wishes of the first self“ this gives a new look on Cadence. Has she actually thought about using the love others have for her to her advantage? Most certainly not to the extent Chrysalis does but maybe she had a fight with Shining Armor once and thought he should do as she said since he loves her.
We have a similar problem for the mane six, they are not the perfect embodiment of their elements and regularly have to overcome opposite feelings to what they represent. Apple Jack lies when she didn’t make first place, Pinky Pie stops laughing in „Party of One“, Rarity rather is awed upon by the Canterlot ponies than doing the dress for Twilight, etc.. So why shouldn’t Cadence have a trial like that too? Though it does destroy this perfect picture we have of Cadence it does make sense.
Before she can become the Princess of the Crystal Empire she needs to overcome any kind of selfishness, using her love purely for others and not her self.
Seeing how Chrysalis acts we actually can assume that Cadence used to always hide her true thought. When she didn’t like a dress she would smile and say it way beautiful and eat the stuff she actually doesn’t like. Her doppelganger (ok she does lie to apple Jack… which is kinda weird to me)does all this although she has no reason to. In the „Aria of the day“ she states how she doesn’t care about the dress and the ceremony. So why be so picky about it? It doesn’t make sense inside the story but if we assume that she is like this in her role of a doppelganger, showing the dark feelings of Cadence it does make sense.
Cadence is locked away by her other self. She probably was down there for a long time and had time to think about what Chrysalis would do, using her image.
Going with the doppelganger theory this would be the time span were she realizes her own faults in this matter and want to fight her alter Ego, Which she can’t until she is freed by Twilight. Than she comes in,ruining the wedding of her alter ego and battles her. Well and I already said my opinion on that at the beginning.
I know some of the stuff sounds like head cannon, like Cadence being selfish and using her love for manipulation and stuff and I don’t really have anything to prove it since I don’t have any information on what happened. Of course storyline speaking she could simply have been overpowered by Chrysalis being the nice, loving pony but
All Ponies, even princesses like Luna (not too sure yet about Celestia though) are shown to have flaws and being selfish and overpowered by that once in a while.
I wish they had shown Cadence before, making this aspect clearer. An episode where she an Shining Armor come to Ponyville to inform Twilight about the wedding for example. But we don’t have that… so I have to stick with assumptions.
Leave comments about your thoughts on this interpretation ^^
Oh and of course I will take a closer look at „too many Pinky Pies“ regarding doppelganger ^^ some time in the future ^^
Drydan, Linda. The Modern Gothic and Literary Doubles. Basingstoke: palgrave mac-millam, 2003
Faulstich, Werner: Zwischen Exotic, Heil und Horror, [Hrsg] Hess-Lüttich, Ernest W. B. Fremdverstehen in Sprache, Literatur und Medien, , Frankfurt am Main [u.a.], Lang, 1996