The Role of the Oracle in Midsommar
By Jordan Gerdes
MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW!
In my previous essay, I delved into the themes of gaslighting and manipulation, particularly in the character of Dani (Florence Pugh). After thinking about it more, I decided to jump further into the theme of manipulation, particularly entertaining the idea that Dani’s arc wasn’t just a series of random manipulations, but a purposeful one. We are introduced to Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) at the start of the film, and he seems a fairly innocuous character, just a friend of Christian’s that is the tying factor to this Midsommar festival. He is kind, attentive and empathetic toward Dani, actually seeming excited that she is going to the festival. But that isn’t where his brand of manipulation starts. I believe that Pelle orchestrated Dani’s sister’s suicide and her parent’s death in order to make her more co dependent to Christian, and to drive her into coming on the trip to the festival. And I think I can prove it.
At the beginning of the film, Dani’s parents and sister die by asphyxiation, as her sister commits murder-suicide. There is a brief shot showing the nightstand in her parent’s bedroom, where a wreath of spring like flowers is seen. So what, right? Big coincidence? Possibly. Dani’s sister is found with a hose in her mouth that is attached to one of the running cars in the garage. The hose is duct taped to her mouth, around her head. Perhaps this is just a very brutal depiction of suicide, but I think it may be something more. I think it was placed in her mouth, then taped in place to prevent her from getting it off. The parent’s room is also piped with a hose, and has been duct taped shut to prevent anything from getting out, and they died in their sleep. If these were murders made to look like a suicide, who else would stand to benefit other than Pelle and the commune? But more importantly, why do they want Dani so bad
Here is the second part of this theory. Later in the film, at the commune, Josh is talking to one of the elders, who is telling him about Ruben, the village oracle. He tells him that each generation has their own oracle, who is often inbred to preserve their “unclouded intuition.” Ruben finger paints pictures, in which the Elders translate into their doctrine. At the end of the film, as the ritual sacrifices are taking place, the Elder thanks Pelle for his gifts for the festival, namely bringing three sacrifices and Dani, who has been crowned the May Queen. He blesses Pelle for his “unclouded intuition.” If unclouded intuition is something that the Oracles must possess, then Pelle meets one of the requirements. Furthermore, people born of incest and inbreeding don’t always showcase physical deformities, like Ruben. The second requirement is that they draw their vision and doctrine. Pelle spends much of the film doodling different aspects of the film before they happen. He draws the runic symbol that is the table they feast around. He is sent to bring sacrifices to the commune for the festival, and knows that the way to get Dani to come along is through utilizing her weakness to manipulation to guide her to come.
In a tapestry seen in the film, we see all the events of the film laid out, from the deaths in the beginning, to Dani and Christian’s issues, to Pelle leading all the friends through the woods with a flute (like the pied piper), to the Midsommar festival itself. Above it all, is Pelle in a tree, drawing. It seems as though Pelle is the new Oracle, who has spent the entire course of the film pulling strings in order to assimilate Dani into the commune and give them a new May Queen. I could be completely wrong, but take a look and see for yourself. I am excited to see this again and again and try to surmise more in this incredible film.