Whoosh! Issue Eight - May 1997


IAXS Project #258
By Gregory R. Swenson (richan@aol.com)
Copyright © 1997 held by author
4793 words


Xena and Gabrielle

[01] Why do the characters of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS have such a following? Why do we care about them so much? Why are we more comfortable with them than with friends and family? It is because the characters of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS reflect three critical American mainstream philosophical beliefs: Puritanism, Transcendentalism, and Capitalism. These philosophies have driven art, music, and literature in the United States for four hundred years.


Puritanism Primer

[02] God and his or her nature is determined through group consensus. As a member of the group, you have a moral obligation to judge others based upon that consensus. If you fail in this duty, i.e. if you hesitate or if you allow another belief system to derail the group's imperative, you are destined to suffer internal conflict. Control of reality is paramount. Only the group consensus knows what is real. Reality must be defined through laws, legal action, or peer pressure. A modern day example of this imperative is the government's attempt to control the Internet through legislation. In the Puritan Primer, the decay of moral climate in the United States is directly related to defections to other philosophies.

"The Devil and Tom Walker"

[03] XENA's mix of Puritanism is quite extraordinary. Classic American literary works such as "The Devil and Tom Walker" by Washington Irving and "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne are lucid precursors to the internationally syndicated television show, XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. This link is demonstrated even in details as minute as the clothing worn by Xena, the lead character of the television show. Her dark outfit indicates that Xena has been touched by "the man in black." This indication corresponds with another image of a devil covered in black soot from the fires of hell who is referred to in both Irving's and Hawthorne's works.

[04] In the XENA episode, WARRIOR...PRINCESS (#15), Xena is recruited to protect the Princess Diana who is an exact double for Xena. Xena takes Diana's place and counsels Diana on how to pass for the Warrior Princess: "Well, you have to convince people you're me and I like dark." This use of the dark colors in American culture has gone from symbolizing the antagonist in westerns to denoting the contemporary anti-hero, perhaps best portrayed by James Dean, who is racked by internal conflict. Xena fits the anti-hero category and, like some comic-book heroes and heroines, wears dark colors to denote her inner struggles.

[05] In "The Devil and Tom Walker", the Devil tempts the protagonist by offering the legendary pirate Captain Kid's treasure for services rendered. Walker agrees with one stipulation: "He [the Devil] proposed, therefore, that Tom should employ it in the black traffic; that is to say, that he should fit out a slave ship. This however, Tom resolutely refused to do; he was bad enough in all conscience, but the Devil himself could not tempt him to turn slave-trader." Not only is abolition a major theme in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, but the man in black appears frequently to Xena in various forms. Draco says to her in SINS OF THE PAST (#01), "Celebrate your dark side, Xena. Don't run away from it." Ares also tries to seduce her with power in THE RECKONING (#06):

Your destiny is to rule the world with me. Fulfill your destiny and fill me again with the delicious sight of you; your warmth, the strength of you. Go look out the window...What do you see?

Warriors. Thousands of them.

All of them yours. Trained. Ready. Willing to die if you command it. With an army like that you could mold the world anew. Eradicate injustice. You can't tell me that all this holds no attraction...maybe a slight fascination.



[06] King Sisyphus tempts Xena with immortality in DEATH IN CHAINS (09): "Think about it. You must have loved ones...somewhere. You never have to leave them, never have to watch them leaving you. You'll have eternal bliss." Yet Xena is not the only character who experiences temptation. A role reversal takes place in A FISTFUL OF DINARS (#14) when Xena tempts "the man in black" with Sumarian treasure. In this case, the archetypal character has been divided into two characters -- Petracles, a warlord with a penchant for taking slaves, and Thersites, an assassin and harvester of souls. This is strongly reminiscent of Tom Walker's temptation by Captain Kidd's treasure in the "The Devil and Tom Walker."

[07] The Devil cuts down trees symbolizing evil souls in "The Devil and Tom Walker". Xena uses her sword and chakram to the same effect in DEATH IN CHAINS (#09). Hades asks for her help because the harvesting of souls has been interrupted :

Always ready for a fight. That's why I like you Xena.


God of the underworld at your service.

What do you want?

Hey, relax. I'm a big fan. Though for awhile you were working us pretty hard down there...I need your help. My sister's been captured by King Sisyphus. He holds her in his castle. I want you to rescue her.

Why me?

You know him. You've seen the deadly tricks he's capable of. But you have to act quickly. Time is short and the price of failure is high.

What are you talking about?

In a few hours...Celesta's eternal flame will burn out. If you don't release her before that happens, eternal suffering will be the fate of all mankind. You know who she is...don't you?


"The Scarlet Letter"

... ...
The Scarlet Letter and Xena's "A"

[08] There is also a bit of Hester Prynne from "The Scarlet Letter" in XENA. The copper color of her breast plate and its fantastical design echo Hester's letter 'A' which she wore seemingly as armor over her chest. (To see "Xena's 'A,'" find a picture of Xena, then rotate the picture 180 degrees so it is upside-down.) Hester had to wear her letter 'A' because she had committed adultery and bore a child. This is how Solon, Xena's son, from ORPHAN OF WAR (#25) came to be. One of Hester's internal conflicts was whether or not to reveal who was the father of her daughter. Xena breaks faith with her best friend Gabrielle over the unspoken truth about Solon. Hester and Xena both have to choose how their children will be raised. Hester chooses to raise her own child despite the objection of the Boston town magistrates and religious men of the community who feel that she cannot give Pearl an adequate religious upbringing. Xena chooses to leave Solon with the centaurs so that he will not learn the ways of war. Both women want their child raised according to their own hard won moral code.

... ...
Xena and Solon Hester and Pearl

[08] Hester's scarlet A and Xena's breastplate symbolize this moral code as well as symbolize the healing aspects of their respective personae. As time passed for Hester, the original meaning of the scarlet A changed. It came to signify Hester's advocation for healing. Hester's skill as a seamstress goes from mending clothes to mending lives. Because of the darkness which crowds her soul, she is reputed to have a window into the souls of others. In the latter part of her days she heals those who seek her out. (Part of Hester's ability to heal comes from watching her husband, Dr. Roger Prynne work.) At the end of the "Scarlet Letter" Hester wore her A as a badge of honor.

[09] In THE BLACKWOLF (#11), Flora, Xena's first protege, says, "Xena taught me to swing a sword and embroider linen for my wedding chest." Flora says to Xena, "Even back then you could read people. I could never figure that out. You always has this knack for understanding what someone needed without asking." Xena's skill of embroidery evolves into sewing people up on the battlefield in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (#24). In DESTINY (#36) we find out that Xena wears her breastplate to honor M'Lila, the former slave who influenced Xena's own moral code with respect to compassion. It is M'Lila who speaks to Xena in the Underworld. She sends Xena back to the living telling her that she is still needed. Xena mends both bodies and minds. (M'Lila also introduced Xena to the healer Nicklio. I suspect Xena served as an apprentice to Nicklio while she healed from her broken legs.) Hester's scarlet A and Xena's breastplate stands for a red cross on a white field.

[10] This Puritan thread continues in the conflicted actions of both women's lovers. Dimsdale, Hester's lover, manifests his guilt through a scar in the shape of an 'A' over his heart. He hides the scar under his clothing until his death when he reveals it to Hester, Pearl, and the townspeople of Boston. Borias, Xena's lover, finally admits publicly that what he has done -- waging war against a moral people -- was wrong and joins the centaurs. He recovers the Ixion stone, placing it in the hilt of his sword. The Ixion stone is revealed when Solon drops his father's sword while escaping from the warlord, Dagnine. Pearl and Solon both receive their inheritances -- the truth about their fathers. Also, at the end of ORPHAN OF WAR (#24), Solon throws his father's sword into the lake, a reversal of King Arthur taking the sword Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake of the Arthurian legends, thus borrowing from a different English language tradition.

[11] Xena's change of heart is symbolized in her weapon placement. Originally her sword was assigned to the most accessible spot, her left side. After her change her sword is consigned to her back. On her left side is now mounted a somewhat more versatile weapon, the whip she took from Hector, Draco's overseer, in SINS OF THE PAST (#01). It can keep enemies at bay, the wolves in GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (#28) away, or keep one from falling into a pit, as in ORPHAN OF WAR (#25).



[12] Even Xena's back-up weapon -- her sword -- has been pressed into service in secondary capacities, a weight to stop bleeding in THE RECKONING (#06) and a splint in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (#24). Xena's chakram also draws from further Arthurian Legends. Excalibur was placed by Merlin into a stone as a test to determine the next heir to King Uther Pendragon's throne. In THE XENA SCROLLS (#34) the chakram is embedded in a rock. Only Xena's ancestor Mel Pappas can withdraw it. On one side of Excalibur was written "Take me." On the other side was, "Cast me away." On one side of Xena's chakram are the crenulations of a fort wall, its defensive aspect. On the other side are the tines of a lightning bolt, its offensive aspect.

... ...
Xena's and Hester's pillories

[13] Both Hester and Xena must continue their struggle against guilt. Pearl asks her mother Hester when will her father join them on the town pillory? Callisto, taking the part of Pearl, forces Xena onto a town pillory to confess her crimes in A NECESSARY EVIL (#38). For a brief moment Callisto is again a little girl filled with innocence.

[14] Xena's inner conflict comes from "the man in black's" touch. This conflict then becomes the war referred to in the title, ORPHAN OF WAR (#25) -- the war within: the Puritanism found in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS.


Transcendentalism Primer

[15] God is evident in Nature. We are closer to him/her, the closer we are to Nature. God is everywhere at once. We, too, can achieve this state by staring at regal vistas, sunsets, or nature's fury. This state is personified as an "invisible' all-knowing eye," as described by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay "Nature." To see an example of the eye, take out a dollar bill and look at its backside. Look at the pyramid. Above the pyramid floats the "eye." The pyramid below it is a masonic-like icon symbolizing our efforts as a group (the bricks in the pyramid) to be God-like or to be closer to him/her.

[16] (Interestingly enough, the symbol of the game "Illuminati" by Steve Jackson Games is an eye enclosed within the pyramid. It alludes to conspiracy. Together we see all, know all--much like the Watchers in Highlander, the Talamasca in Ann Rice novels, or the unknown governmental agency directing the lives of Americans in The X-Files. Such groups may even conduct witch hunts as in _The Crucible_. Puritanism has corrupted Transcendentalism in these examples.)

Henry David Thoreau

[17] Of the traditionally mentioned Transcendentalists, Gabrielle most resembles Henry David Thoreau. Gabrielle's Transcendentalist travels begin when she joins Xena after Xena saved Poteidaia in SINS OF THE PAST (#01). Xena becomes, in effect, her mentor. Ralph Waldo Emerson was Thoreau's mentor and, as such, provided him with the gift of reflection -- Walden Pond. As Thoreau lived in the relative solitude of Walden Pond, land which belonged to Emerson, his ideas became words. As Gabrielle travels with Xena, she drinks from Xena's pool of wisdom and records what she sees. Witness Xena's explanation to Gabrielle while they sit by the still waters of a small lake in DREAMWORKER (#03):


By the lake

I could have killed someone. I mean I was capable of it.

We're all capable of it. The point is -- you didn't cross that line.

But I got close enough to peek over. And what I saw scared me.

See how calm the surface of he water is? That was me once. And then...(Throws stone.) The water ripples and churns. That's what I became.

But if we sit here long enough it will go back to being still again. It will go back to being calm.

But the stone's still under there. It is now part of the lake. It might look as it did but it's forever changed.

[18] Both Gabrielle and Thoreau set out to live their lives deliberately eschewing the prevailing collective views of the day, trusting individualism instead. Thoreau says in "Walden," "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." Gabrielle says to Xena in SINS OF THE PAST (#01):

You've got to take me with you. And teach me everything you know. You can't leave me here.


Did you see the guy they want me to marry?

He looks like a gentle soul. That's rare in a man.

It's not the gentle part I have a problem with. It's the dull, stupid part. Xena, I'm not cut out for this village life. I was born to do so much more.


Perdicus looks on

A little later Gabrielle confides in her sister:

Lila, I'm going to join up with Xena.

(Laughs.) Oh, you're serious.

Absolutely. I'm going to be a warrior...like her.

A warrior? Gabrielle, I can beat your up.

Yeah, but you're very strong for your age. Lila, you know that I'm different from everybody else in this town.

I know you're crazy.

Well, call it whatever you like. The point is I don't fit in here. And the idea of marrying Perdicas...

He loves you, you know.

But I don't love him. I've got to do this Lila.

[19] Thoreau says about living, "I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear: nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary." Xena misses Gabrielle's innocence in REMEMBER NOTHING (#26). Xena listens to her fiance from the alternate timeline. Maphias says regarding slavery, "You have to go along to get along." Xena could not 'practice resignation.' It was not 'necessary.' She chose to restore the timeline by drawing blood. With Gabrielle as a slave there was a substantially diminished Transcendental influence on Xena's life. There were no real individualists in her life: no Ephiny, no Phantes, and no Solon. Xena could not let this state of affairs continue.

[20] Thoreau explains how he intends to live: "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion." In THE ATHENS CITY ACADEMY FOR THE PERFORMING BARDS (#13) Gabrielle enters the annual competition for one of the offered scholarships. As she tells her stories of Xena, she comes to conclusion that she would rather live the adventure. Gabrielle joins Xena en route to their next adventure:


Gabrielle joins them trying to look nonchalant.


So who won?

I did.

Then what are you doing here?

Well, I know this is going to sound stupid, but I realized that while they are telling adventures, you and I can be living them.

Well, it's good to have you back.



ANGLE ON HIGHWAYMEN. The sounds of low derisive laughter greet Xena and Gabrielle's ears.


This is going to make a great story.

[21] Thoreau asks, "Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises. If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." In THE ATHENS CITY ACADEMY OF PERFORMING BARDS (#13), Gabrielle tries to explain to a friend that standing up for what you believe in is possible even though it may not make you popular. She says to Homer/Orion's father, "He'd do better if you'd let him be himself." She then counsels Homer/Orion after he walks out of the competition:

ANGLE ON ORION setting a fierce pace on a small road.

GABRIELLE rushes to catch up.


Leave me alone.

Orion. You can't give up.

Didn't you tell me, "If its not fun, don't do it." Well, its not fun for me anymore.

Then make it fun again.

Yeah, that's easy for you to say. It's been so long since I've told a story my way I don't know if I can, or if my father will even let me.

Your father loves you. You said it yourself. He only wants the best for you. He's just a little confused on how to do it. I'll bet your father misses the good stories that you used to tell as much as you do.

Ok. How?

Stop focusing on the destination. It's the journey that's the fun part.

What do you mean?

Well, its what I've learned from travelling with Xena. Every day is a new adventure, a new challenge. You have to look forward to that. Your father has you thinking only of winning. But you're never going to get there if unless you enjoy the process. Do you understand?

[22] Gabrielle's Transcendentalism is non-threatening and farseeing. To a certain extent it is symbolized by her staff. She tells Solon about it in ORPHAN OF WAR (#25): "No sharp ends to threaten anyone." Joxer tries to sharpen the staff in GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (#28). This is funny to watch but also symbolic of someone trying to change your mind. This is more seriously highlighted when Callisto as Xena teaches Gabrielle how to deliver killing blows with her staff in INTIMATE STRANGER (#31). Callisto then ties the breast dagger onto Gabrielle's staff in an attempt to throw Gabrielle into moral conflict. Later, as Gabrielle realizes that she has almost killed, she breaks the breast dagger from the end of her staff.

[23] The staff also is used to make leaps of faith. In DREAMWORKER (#03), Gabrielle breaks off the tip of a spear to vault a fiery pit in her "blood innocence trial." This clearly foreshadows the breast dagger example in INTIMATE STRANGER (#31). Gabrielle uses her own staff to vault a cart loaded with rocks careening in her direction in THE PRODIGAL (#18). This vault symbolizes the faith restored to her by Meleager.

[24] Finally, the staff is collapsible and easy to store. This is one of the more appealing aspects of Transcendentalism. Taking nature to work is impractical for most people but if you know someone who enjoys camping or other outdoor recreational activities, they probably have an outdoor catalogue tucked away somewhere. Watch what happens when they take out the catalogue to peruse it. The starry eyed look produced by outdoor catalogues is quite noticeable. Or they can watch XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and revel in the gorgeous scenery.

[25] Every once in a while you will see the camera pan skyward, as in the end of ALTARED STATES (#19)and A SOLSTICE CAROL (#33). Sometimes it pans downward from the sky, as in DEATH MASK (#23). This is a "Transcendental" effect. In ALTARED STATES (#19) and A SOLSTICE CAROL (#33) it allows Xena and Gabrielle to symbolically expand their consciousness and be open to possibilities never before dreamed. They become part of the "all seeing eye." All the answers of the universe become accessible if only one can be still enough, listen hard enough, and ask the right questions. In DEATH MASK (#23), Xena breaks her brother Toris' commune with Nature as he struggles to come to terms with his innermost conflicts. By looking at Nature and by experiencing its glory, Toris seeks to find his answers to the nature of his relationship with his sister Xena and to his apparent lack of courage. His reflection leads him to confess to Xena his admiration for Gabrielle's bravery and to confess his cowardice at running away from Amphipolis while it was under attack from the warlord, Cortese.


Capitalism Primer


Did you say ... treasure?

[26] God is money. The more money one has, the closer one is to God. Money comes in many forms: property, chattel, people, etc. All have value. Some forms of money are more negotiable than others. The key is to: (1) find out what people want, (2) convince people they need what you have, and (3) negotiate the best price. This works for guns, butter, or marriage. Personal attractiveness is directly proportional to personal wealth.

Goods, Services and Philanthropy

... ... ...

Autolycus, Lord Selzer, and Joxer

[27] Salmoneus, Joxer, and Autolycus represent three aspects of Capitalism: goods, services and philanthropy. Salmoneus represents the 'goods' side of Capitalism. He is perpetually in search of the one deal that will put him over the top. In THE BLACK WOLF (#11) he tried to market Black Wolf paraphernalia, even trying to sell Gabrielle a "Wolf Pack" complete with Black Wolf logo. In THE GREATER GOOD (#21) he tries to market "fizzy water" under the guise of Lord Seltzer. He cannot even put aside his capitalistic tendencies at Xena's death in this episode. He tries to bargain for his town's safety with Xena's body.

[28] Joxer represents the 'services' side of Capitalism. At his first encounter with Xena in CALLISTO (#22) he tries to sell Xena on his fighting abilities much to the annoyance of both Xena and Gabrielle. In GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (#28) he is a courier, carrying Orpheus' head to Xena. While he is seemingly clumsy with weapons, he raced through the Bacchanalian forest travelling with the speed of Mercury. Chased by 'wolves,' he bounds to the top of a huge boulder as soon as he reaches Xena. Not even out breath, he taunts the wolves now surrounding him. His helmet even resembles Mercury's helmet. In TEN LITTLE WARLORDS, he delivers a message to Xena. This time the message is purportedly from Ares.

[29] Autolycus, the King of Thieves, is also a capitalist, though more along lines of folk heros, Robin Hood or Zorro. He redistributes wealth as he sees fit. If, along the way, he makes a little profit then all the better. After Xena corners Autolycus in A ROYAL COUPLE OF THIEVES (#17), he finally agrees to help her recover an artifact of considerable import -- for a price. After the artifact is recovered, he returns his finder's fee to his employers, who are people of little means but great potential. He tries to keep his redistribution activities secret. This protects the little guy on the receiving end of Autolycus' generosity. His secret is compromised. Hercules and Xena both know his true spirit -- the spirit of philanthropy -- and his attempt to right the wrongs of the world by employing monetary means.

Other Television Shows

[30] Have other successful television shows incorporated similar belief systems into their characters? Absolutely. Take MAGNUM PI, for instance. Higgins was the Puritan, Magnum was the Transcendentalist, and Rick and TC the Capitalists. Or perhaps we can take a look at something a little more contemporary: DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN. Dr. Quinn is the Puritan, Sully is the Transcendentalist, and the merchants in the town are the Capitalists.

[31] While I was in the process if writing this essay for IAXS (International Association of Xena Studies), Joe Queenan, in the December 28 - January 3 issue of "TV Guide", page 12, wrote an article called "Xena: Role Model." In closing he wrote, "Last on my Most-Admired List is Dr. Quinn, the Medicine Woman herself. Essentially, I think of DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN as a Great Plains version of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. Like Xena, Dr. Quinn is surrounded by dimwit males. Like Xena, with her Hercules, Dr. Quinn is paired with a Fabio lookalike. When you come down to it, except for Xena's medical degree, they're the same program. [Queenan obviously did not see IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (#24), which suggests that Xena was the first doctor in recorded history.] The only thing Dr. Quinn needs to make it complete is Jane Seymour doing backward somersaults. If ratings ever slip, it could happen."

[32] Both DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN and XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS assign mainstream American philosophies to their characters and both base their lead character on Hester Prynne of "The Scarlet Letter." That the programs have the same look and feel is hardly surprising.

[33] I would like to make a few more observations based on this philosophical model. HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS uses the same format of American mainstream philosophy in developing its characters. Hercules is the Puritan, bound by the rules and regulations of society as well as those of his own making. But instead of being cursed with staying in one place as does Hester Prynne, he is doomed to wander. His cousin Iolaus is the Transcendentalist -- the free spirit -- and with A STAR TO GUIDE THEM (HTLJ, #46), the visionary. Capitalism is again embodied in Salmoneus and Autolycus.


[34] Perhaps the existence of the successful Puritanist/Transcendentalist/Capitalist model in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS is one of the keys to its popularity. I do not mean philosophies themselves make it successful but rather the characters show us how to create and strike a balance in our relationships in spite of what appear to be huge philosophical differences. This balance is sometimes rather hard to achieve. In XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, the characters work out their differences and grow as a result, something we would like to see in our own lives. This is what makes the show so universally appealing no matter where in the world you live. If, however, you are an American and Xena or one of her friends appeal to you, it is probably because you find yourself reflected in a character with a philosophy similar to your own: Puritanism, Transcendentalism, or Capitalism.


    Stick to the philosophy not the fantasy.


    Stories are meant to be told. Stories tell us who we are.

    GIANT KILLER (#27)

    Thou shall not covet. Thou shalt not steal. Who can live by these laws?


    You made me, Xena.

    CALLISTO (#22)

    It must have been a "warrior haze."



The pictures pertaining to "The Scarlet Letter" were taken from the Demi Moore movie version. Why this particular incarnation? I mean the Xena production staff could have chosen the more accurate Meg Foster PBS version. (Foster's frost-blue eyes also echo the electric blue eyes of Lucy Lawless.) I believe, however, that because the Xena production staff apparently has a penchant for combinatorial chaos they chose the Demi Moore version. Several elements from Arthur Miller's THE CRUCIBLE are included in it. There is a strong resemblance between the characters, disclaimers, and symbolism in both works to XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS.


Both Hester and Xena wear heavy black travelling cloaks as they meet others clandestinely. In one scene Hester wears her cloak as she carries Pearl to meet with her husband Roger Prynne, who is thought to be dead. Roger Prynne cannot stand the thought of being known as a cuckhold and therefore refuses to acknowledge Hester or Pearl publically. Xena, wearing her cloak, meets with Caliapus. She asks him to care for Solon. Caliapus says that he will raise Solon as his own.

A slave, acting a catalyst for change, appears in each story. M'lila, the Egyptian slave from Gaul, who taught Xena pressure points from DESTINY, resembles Tituba, Hester Prynne's slave from Barbados. M'lila, not speaking Greek, still manages to teach to Xena using signs. M'lila's death triggers Xena's "death phase." She kills a soldier using pressure points. As he dies Xena tells him to tell Hades to prepare himself for the souls she intends to send his way. Hester and Tituba are plagued with similar language problems. Tituba's death triggers Boston's "death phase." The witch hunts begin.

The use of a character with the attribute to heal is central to both works. Nikolos, friend to M'lila, and Roger Prynne are both healers. Nikolos heals Xena's broken legs and tries to make her comfortable as she dies from internal injuries. Roger Prynne, trained in both western and Indian medical practices, heals Dimsdale physically but torments him psychologically. He hopes to prolong the pain of guilt Dimsdale suffers.


At the beginning of the movie, a disclaimer is shown saying that, this version of THE SCARLET LETTER is freely adapted from Nathaniel Hawthorne's book. This must have ignited the disclaimermania affecting both XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS.


Allusions from the big screen often make their way to television. Sometimes they are broken apart to camouflage them. Reconstruction is possible with a little care. Try this: the scarlet A Hester wears is circular. The scarlet A within it is surrounded by the flames of judgment. In your mind place the chest piece of Xena's breastplate within her chakram. (Use the 180 degree rotation of the chest piece previously mentioned.) Make sure the lightning side of the chakram is up. The chest piece is now encircled with the tines of divine judgment.

The 2 As

The two "A"s

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