Everyone is familiar with the timeless classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The book of the underdog boy, who struggled with poverty, receives the chance of a life time, explores the magnificent Willy Wonka Chocolate factory, and at the end inherits the chocolate factory. The main characters consist of Charlie Bucket the protagonist of the story. Veruca Salt, the spoiled brat that can never be truly satisfied. Violet Beauregarde, the girl that can break records and always has to be the center of attention. Mike Teavee, the boy who is obsessed with TV, who always sits on the couch, and has never eaten at the dinner table. Augustus Gloop a fat child who doesn’t stop eating. Finally the infamous Willy Wonka, the owner of the chocolate factory. With this classic children’s book, there has been theories showing that the main cast members represent the seven deadly sins, gluttony, greed, pride, lust, sloth, envy, and anger. Also the reader can also see the symbolism with heaven and hell. Many people have voiced their opinion on the matter throughout certain blogs and articles. I am going to show the symbolism that I found of the classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory. How the children’s book has a much darker tone relating to the seven deadly sins, temptations, heaven, and most importantly redemption. Due to the multiple recreations of the story, I have based my research from the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This is my own personal opinion and thoughts of the story.
Let’s begin with the most obvious one. Augustus Gloop represents gluttony. In the first scene with him, the viewer can see him consuming an abundance of food. He even responds to the interviewer with food in his mouth. Gloop even responds to one of the interviewer’s question, “Sorry for Wonka. It’ll cost him a fortune in fudge” The viewer can obviously see Gloop is going to eat excessive amounts of fudge. The most infamous scene with Augustus Gloop is when he falls into the chocolate river. Gloop has hundreds of other candy he can pick from but instead he decides to go for the one thing not allowed. Gloop then falls to the river and sucked into the pipe, showing the consequence of gluttony.
Violet Beauregarde has broken many records throughout her life and likes to make sure everyone is aware of the accomplishments. Throughout the movie she always attempts to be in the spotlight. During her interview she explains why she has been chewing a piece of gum over the past few months, which really has nothing to do with the golden ticket. The main scene with her is when she eats the three course meal gum. The popular saying “big headed” for someone who thinks highly of themselves, well this takes it to a whole new meaning when the gum turns her into a massive blueberry, showing the consequence of pride.
The least favorite child is Veruca Salt, the stereotypical spoiled brat who gets anything she wants from her father, and still is not satisfied. She doesn’t want something later she wants it now. This throws up a huge flag for greed. Nothing can stop her from getting something. She makes her father have hundreds of workers open candy bars just so she can have the golden ticket. Even after she inquires the ticket she isn’t satisfied. When in the golden egg room in the factory she wants a goose immediately. Her greed for the egg makes her fall into the “bad egg” dump, showing the consequence of greed.
There are two characters that could represent sloth. Mike Teavee and Grandpa Joe both sit around and do nothing, but since grandpa over comes his sloth and gets out of the bed, I’m going to represent sloth with Teavee. Mike Teavee is completely obsessed with cowboys and Indians. He watches the TV all the time and doesn’t really do anything else. During the interview Teavee refuses to turn off the TV. Teavee’s mom even begins to brag, “I serve all his dinners here. He’s never been to the table.” This makes Teavee the obvious for sloth. During his main scene when he wants to be in the TV, he jumps on the platform and shrinks down to a couple of inches. His obsession for TV made him tiny, showing the consequence of sloth.
Anger is recognized near the end of the movie when Willy Wonka is outraged with Charlie. “You get nothing, you lose, good day sir!” This scene of the movie is quite shocking for the viewer because of the raw rage of Wonka. Throughout the movie Wonka is happy and relaxed. With such a bipolar flip the viewer sees how someone can completely change due to anger. The lovable Wonka becomes somewhat frightening at this scene. His punishment is not as blunt as the other children, but his is still there. After that scene Charlie is in shock and Grandpa Joe doesn’t appreciate Wonka’s tone of voice and wants to leave. Charlie and Grandpa Joe see that what they wanted maybe isn’t what they truly need, showing the consequence of anger.
Even the protagonist represents one of the deadly sins. Charlie was raised poor, always having to tend to his grandparents and mother. He did not have the life all of his school mates had either. Watching them run into the candy store, he always longed to be one of those children. This is a sign of envy. This picture is Charlie looking at the TV, when one of the golden tickets was found. Even though we don’t want to admit it he is jealous of those people. When he finds the money in the sewer he finally receives the life of the other children by purchasing chocolate. The special thing about Charlie is that he is not punished by envy. I will explain why he doesn’t later on.
The final sin is lust and it is not represented by a single character, but by all the people seeking the golden ticket. The one thing everyone wanted, but couldn’t have. People did everything in their power to obtain the golden ticket, rather it be hundreds of people ripping up boxes and boxes of candy, or the man using the smart computer to pinpoint the location of the last ticket. Even though the golden ticket was not truly lustful, what people did to obtain it however made the ticket lustful. Those workers could have been working on something then wasting all that chocolate. Charlie could have used that money for his family. The super computer could have located something more valuable than some candy bar. The only punishment I could find was the time people wasted for this and never obtained it. Something they could never have, showing the consequence of lust.
With all the seven deadly sins accounted for the viewer notices that all 5 children are tempted at one point. The children saw the factory and knew all they had to do was not break the rules. If the children did not give in to their temptations they would have obtained the chocolate factory. This symbolizes how the chocolate factory could represent heaven. If you overcome your temptation, you will enter into paradise. The Bible tells us if you do not give into temptation, you will enter into heaven. Even during the song pure imagination, Willy Wonka mentions how the forest is paradise. For many children a forest of candy would be paradise.
In a slightly horrifying way the beloved oompa loompas could symbolize demons. This wasn’t clear until I viewed the factory as heaven. The only time you see the oompa loompas longer then a couple of seconds is when one of the children have fallen into their temptation. After that they take the child and send them away from the chocolate factory. This represents what happens when you fall into sin. The oompa loompas never tried to take them out of the factory, the children are the blame of their own downfall. Just as how everyman will not enter into the gates of heaven because of his own wrong doing.
Finally and my personal favorite is the symbolism of redemption. Which is based on the final scene of the movie, throughout the movie each child is face to face with their temptation, and when Charlie is about to leave the factory. After Charlie finds the golden ticket he is confronted by the mysterious man, Mr. Slugworth. He offers Charlie a lot of money for the secret everlasting gobstopper. This is the temptation of Charlie Bucket. He always envied over riches and to have the normal life. After the scene with Wonka screaming at them, Charlie gives him the gobstopper, which would forfeit his chances with Slugworth. Even though he did break the rules of the fizz drink, Charlie overcame his temptation of envy. This shows that even though someone falls, there will always be a chance to pick back up. With Charlie giving Wonka the gobstopper, Charlie passed the “secret” test and in the end inherits the chocolate factory. Overcoming his temptation he has entered paradise.
Well I personally hope this doesn’t make you change your opinion of the movie. This is still one of my favorite movies, and again this is just my personal opinion. Many other people have theories of the symbolism of the timeless classic. No one truly knows if the author Roald Dahl was trying to lean towards this dark symbolism in his writings. This story could be just pure imagination.