In The Outlaw Josey Wales, the viewer finds the hero, Josey Wales, representing Christ to a world of sinners. It is unclear whether Clint Eastwood intended to direct the movie in mind with such similarities between Christ’s role as a savior and Josey’s actions. Christ is an archetypal, mythological hero figure that the well-read viewer finds often. From the physical wound in Josey’s right rib, to the fact that Josey, a lone hero, cannot help but guide and protect genuine people likens him to the figure of Christ.
Furthermore, Josey indirectly offers his path to redemption to everyone around him, even the sinners, often portrayed as bounty hunters or Redlegs. The viewer finds Josey giving the opportunity to these men to turn back and rethink the life that they have chosen. In the end, those that choose to follow the path of Josey Wales are satisfied, while those who turn away from him are damned. From the beginning of the film, we see parallels between the Christ figure and Josey Wales.
In the Christ story, after enduring the suffering of His people, God sent Jesus to Earth to save the people. Similarly, Josey Wales witnesses the raping of his wife and watches helplessly as his son dies in the flames of his burning home, calling for his father to help. Later, we find Josey crying, holding the cross of his son’s grave, until it falls to the ground, turned sideways. A sideways cross, placed on a gravestone, signifies the hope for the resurrection of Jesus (www. religionfacts. com). This is a foreshadowing for the upcoming path that Josey will take.
He offers his good deeds to those around him and attracts a wide range of followers that become like a close knit family, similar to the Church. Later, those around him realize that he is the savior that the world needs. When he is introduced to Granny Hawkins, she expresses that she did not believe what the Union soldiers tried to convince her about Josey. Her wise, old age signifies that she sees the truth, even if those around her may not. Furthermore, although Josey often kills those who have ventured from his redemptive path to salvation, he does not prefer violence.
For example, when the cunning carpetbagger attempts to convince Josey to pick the Redlegs one by one off the ferry crossing the river, Josey prevails and chooses instead to shoot the rope instead, sending them down the river to rethink their actions. The viewer finds Josey offering sinners and criminals the opportunities to turn their lives around numerous times. Following the incident on the river when Wales spares the lives of the men on the ferry, two men who want to capture Josey for money confront Josey and Jamie.
These mercenaries are blinded and corrupted by riches. Their corruption is made apparent after Jamie mentions gold under his blanket to distract them and Josey warns them not to go near the boy, even stating that he is crazy. Josey wishes to see these men live a life free of their desire for riches, yet once they make the conscious decision that this is the life that they want, Josey and Jamie kill them both. When the mercenary in the Lost Lady Saloon travels to capture Josey Wales, a similar situation arises.
Josey states, “Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy. Once again, Josey offers the boy the opportunity to leave and forget about killing for money, but the boy chooses to stay on a path directly against Josey and is punished for doing so. Josey, similar to Christ, offers sinners salvation from their earlier lives, yet when they choose to go against him, they are punished. To the few that recognize Josey’s role as a savior, he offers protection and an environment of support. Josey’s inability to turn away from those in need is expressed repeatedly by Clint Eastwood in the film.
For example, when Josey is firing away at the wicked Union soldiers, Jamie asks him why he won’t leave. The answer is that Josey is sacrificing himself to save the boy, replying with “I got nothing better to do. ” Not until Josey realizes that the boy is wounded does he drop his weapons to guide Jamie to safety. Jamie passes away in the rain, signifying that he has been cleansed of his sins with the help of the savior Josey Wales. He states his satisfaction for what Josey has done for him with “I’ve never felt better. Furthermore, we find Josey, much like Jesus, protecting the weakest in the film. Josey takes a special interest in protecting Indians, including Lone Watie and Moonlight.
Everything has been taken from the Indians, including their dignity, and Josey find himself as a leader for these vulnerable people. Josey trusts Lone Watie, and he is not afraid to share his wisdom with the man on how to rid the world of the sinners. He tells him his tactics on how to pull a gun quickly on mercenaries. Later, when Josey faces the Comancheros, Lone Watie states, “We’re facing the sun; this will give him an edge. Josey stands as a lone savior against a large group of rapists and murderers, and they are afraid of the “Son. ” Josey’s followers become a closely linked family, and his path remains open to more conversions. Jesus’ path is not easy to follow, and Josey, representing a Christ figure in the film, The Outlaw Josey Wales, conveys this tremendously.
At one point in the film, Granny Turner is complaining about the path ahead after being saved by Josey, and Lone Watie asks her, “Would you rather be riding with the Comancheros,” to which she replies, “No, I wouldn’t. The way of life of the Comancheros may be easier than standing up to a world full of sin and corruption. However, Granny Turner, along with Jamie, Lone Watie, Moonlight, and others are drawn to the path that Josey offers. This way leads to spiritual salvation, and the viewer is able to better understand the Christ story after watching the film. Although everyone is offered the life that may be simpler and often times more desirable, one must search deep inside to venture down the path of the hero. Few before have walked this path, but men such as Christ and Josey Wales offer an outstanding example.