Jealousy in The Virgin Spring

The Virgin Spring from 1960 brings about this question: to what extent will someone act on their jealousy towards another person? The film is set in 14th century Sweden and highlights the jealousy of a foster child, Ingeri, towards her foster sister Karin. Karin is a young, beautiful girl known to be a virgin. Karin is greatly spoiled by both of her parents and is allowed to stay out late dancing with different men and then sleep all through the morning. Although both of her parents recognize that they are spoiling her, they love and adore her so greatly that they let her continue her childish behavior. Contrastingly, Ingeri is a pregnant foster child in Karin’s Christian family who is treated very differently than Karin. The family makes it very clear that Ingeri’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy disgusts them and that their precious Karin is the ideal child. In addition to being verbally abused and shunned frequently by her family, Ingeri must do extra chores in order to pick up the slack from Karin sleeping all morning. Ingeri despises how she is treated in comparison to Karin. The audience is introduced to Ingeri’s jealously of Karin from the very beginning of the film.

(Time stamp: 03:20)

In this image, Ingeri is praying for someone to “Come to my aid.” As the film progresses, we discover that Ingeri is praying for something, anything to happen to Karin in order for Karin to be less idolized. In the following image, Ingeri is asked to make Karin breakfast while she sleeps in bed and Ingeri captures a frog and puts it in between bread.

(Time stamp: 10:56)

This image demonstrates how desperate Ingeri is to bring ill will upon Karin. She is willing to do anything within her power to take attention away from Karin. The defining moment of Ingeri’s jealousy comes when the three herdsmen are attacking Karin in the forest. Ingeri discovers Karin being assaulted and forced to the ground by the herdsmen and she remains watching with a rock in hand.

(Time stamp: 39:24)

The expression on Ingeri’s face shows her internal struggle of whether or not to attempt to stop the men from raping her foster sister. Ingeri cradles the rock, and watches as what she hoped and prayed for unravels before her eyes. She ultimately drops the rock, and watches Karin get beaten to death by a club. At this point in the film, the audience can gage the severity of Ingeri’s jealousy. Not only did she wish evil doings on Karin, she wanted her to be stripped of what her whole family values in her; her virginity and innocence. After Ingeri’s desires unfold, she proceeds to keep this information from her family who is anxiously awaiting Karin’s return and worried about her whereabouts. Ingeri only confesses what she saw when her father confronts her about it. This next image highlights this conversation.

(Time stamp: 1:06:30)

Ingeri finally admits her jealousy of Karin and how she willed for this to happen to her. She claims that “My guilt is greater than theirs” in reference to the herdsmen. Now that Ingeri’s evil desires have finally come true, she realizes the severity of her jealousy. As in the image, she admits that she hates Karin, and believes that it is her fault that she was raped and murdered because she prayed that very morning for something to happen. The Virgin Spring depicts this ongoing battle with jealousy that Ingeri has and how it ultimately led her to wish death upon her sister.

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