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The Development of The Phil Connors' Character in a Movie

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After watching the film Groundhog Day, Phil Connors character went through a major revolution. Phil Connors is forced to relive the same day over and over. While on this philosophical journey the choices that he will make will represent the morals that are reflected in Plato Republic. More specifically when Plato talks about the soul. At the end of the movie, Phil finally reaches an upper level of philosophy.

Plato wrote in the Republic that the soul is divided into three parts: the rational, spirited, and appetitive. Rational soul is your thinking, planning, governing and calculating. Spirited soul is the part of you that deal more on the emotional side of it. This is truly how you sense your emotions that you are familiar with and the ones you are not familiar. Appetitive soul is the one that the main character Phil Connors relates to the most because is it the one goes with your lower pleasure desires. Early in the movie, Phil Connors did not only by his actions but also by the way people react to him. He materializes as a narcissistic, self- righteous man whose sole focus in life is himself. He is then captivated in the fulfillment of his various sensual appetites Plato would say that Phil did not tap into the upper pleasure region at all. With Phil’s occupation of being a weatherman he performs to be charming. Once Connors is off camera we know a dramatic change in his emotions. Off camera we can notice how scorn he has for the world around him. An example of this is when his coworkers asked how excited he is to cover the Groundhog Day festival in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Phil answers “They pull the rat out. They talk to him. The rat talks back to them. They tell us what’s going to happen”. The movie quotation proves that Phil in the beginning of the film was a very grumpy person and viewed the world around him in a negative manner.

Phil takes advantage of reliving Groundhog Day because in the film he stated, “We could do whatever we want”. Phil really shows his selfishness when he tricks a stranger named Nancy to sleep with him the next day by asking her personal questions. Phil’s character runs into deep problem with himself. He uses these moments to benefit himself and treating other people as objects around him. Eventually, being selfish bores him to death and he tried to kill himself but because of that he changes his behavior and tries to see the good in the situation. He possesses a deontological outlook on life and takes a few actions to change the outcome of reliving every day. He decided to alter this because having these lower pleasures were not giving him a long-term satisfaction which was not giving him what he wanted. After that he becomes infatuated with his producer Rita and attempts to focus on her affections and wants. After spending time with Rita and finding out her likes and dislikes he begins to recite French Poetry to her. A philosopher would say that this is wrong because Phil’s morals for this is wrong. He is only doing this to win Rita’s affection not because it is the right thing to do. Once he changed the outlook of his situation he is able to transform himself into a better man with better morals. Plato states in his book that very few people can achieve such a transformation. Phil is now searching for the good in a situation and perceiving it in a spiritual manner. The major transformations that Phil does to change his life are dramatic. He begins to read, take piano lessons, and learns to sculpt ice.

Phil Connors experience could never happen in reality but is it an example to everyone who watched the movie. The roller-coaster of emotions through the souls of Plato is how most people will go through their life. They will experience the appetitive soul and go for those lower pleasure and also experience the good in all of that as well. Most people will be satisfied with living life as appetitive individuals but with Phil’s scenario of being forced out of that situation to go into the good he now has a better understanding for life. He now desires to learn more to not only improve his life but help others as well.

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The Development of the Phil Connors’ Character in a Movie. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from
“The Development of the Phil Connors’ Character in a Movie.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019,
The Development of the Phil Connors’ Character in a Movie. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Jun. 2022].
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