The Tragedy of Clara Oswald
Guest contributor Taylor Bookout ponders if Clara is fated to meet an untimely end.
Clara Oswald is a tragic hero. She has gone from an ordinary girl to the savior of the universe (and the Doctor) within the few years of the time we have seen her. She has defied death even while suffering millions of them, yet what does the universe do to repay her? As seen in Dark Water, it is the death of Danny Pink. She fights for control of her life but at the cost of his life and more willingly the cost of mankind. As a hero, she has to pay the price. But what are the prices? Danny Pink, her relationship with the Doctor, and her very being. Will her story end in tragedy? Or will the Impossible Girl defy a tragic ending? Let’s examine this:
Clara has lived her life always fighting for control. Between the Doctor and Danny, her control has been lost. This strikes a parallel to Sophocles Oedipus Rex, a man who fights to control his destiny and in the end causes tragedy for all who surround him. Sound familiar?
Now, if we rewind back to series 7, we learn that Clara had lost her mother as a teenager. She had no control over this event and we see that this shaped her character. The dispute between fans that her mother died the day of the Auton attacked London continues but it also brings up a few questions: is the universe or Missy to blame for Danny’s death? Or is even the Doctor indirectly to blame for his death? If Clara had never met the Doctor, would Danny still be alive? Was breaking the control of Clara Oswald all part of a master plan?
Question one: Is the universe or Missy to blame for Danny’s death?
The answer to this question is not simple. One can easily say that Danny was just at the wrong place at the wrong time (“It was boring” and “It was ordinary”) while another can say that it was all a part of Missy’s plan to lure Clara and the Doctor to the Nethersphere (“Didn’t you think I’d ever find my way back?”). As of right now, the answer is unclear until we see the rest of the finale. I, however, find it too designed for Danny’s death to be the reason to set the Doctor off to explore the afterlife.
Question two: If Clara had never met the Doctor, would Danny still be alive? Or is the Doctor indirectly to blame for his death?
Ever since the revelation of Missy’s true identity in Dark Water, there is no question that she has had master plans (excuse the pun) for the Doctor. For Missy, there is no better target for the Doctor than his constant companion, the woman he’d do anything for (even if she tried to betray him.) Missy appears to be paralleling Sherlock’s Magnussen. The Doctor’s pressure point is Clara. Clara’s pressure point is Danny. In the end, it all goes back the Doctor. It very well appears to be that Clara’s connection to the Doctor led to Danny’s sudden death.
Question three: Was breaking the control of Clara Oswald all part of a master plan?
Missy has appeared as a God-like character throughout this series. From showing up just as the policeman remarked “Oh my God” to welcoming the Half-Faced Man at the gate of “Heaven.” It is no coincidence that Missy displays herself in such a manner. Once again, the parallel to Oedipus Rex is undeniable. Missy has been in control all season. She may have even been the “woman in the shop,” which brought the original Clara and the Doctor together in the first place. If she is indeed the “woman in the shop,” then one must wonder if Clara’s control has not been in her hands since her life with the Doctor began. Was this all done just so Missy can declare victory from the Doctor? Or is Clara Oswald more of a chess piece than we think?
Clara Oswald, the ordinary girl from Blackpool, fits what we know as a “tragic hero.” The question is: Is Clara’s price paid or will she meet an untimely end once again?