CHRIST-FOOL THEME

   This term, evidently coined by Richard Slotkin, refers to hero figures who, though superior to others in prowess, humble themselves to save others. In A Fistful of Dollars (1967), the Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood) enters town on a donkey, wearing a serape. He is a Christ figure who temporarily plays the fool yet redeems the town and takes the sins upon himself. In Shane (1953), the hero rides into the valley out of nowhere, puts away his guns, dresses humbly, and plays the fool in order to appease the family he stays with and be an example to their young son who looks to Shane for his values. Shane deflects a saloon fight, but in the end he brings his guns to town and redeems the settlers. Then he rides back into the unknown from whence he came.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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