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Hello, I’m here proposing, most specifically, the movie version of Agatha Trunchbull, although the book version was not already proposed, needing a formality post. But this proposal is specifically for the Pam Ferris version because I’ve read she is arguably not Pure Evil in that version, and I want to propose her in order to discuss if that version is Pure Evil or not. Also, I have not read the book, so this version is the only one I know.

What’s the work?

The 1998 movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, a story that talks about a little girl who is despised by her family, had great interest in reading, and later, discovers she had telekinetic powers. She is put by her father in a school, where the headmaster is a cruel child hater and our candidate in question. She also meets a good hearted teacher named Miss Honey.

Who is the candidate and what she did?

Played by Pam Ferris, Agatha Trunchbull is the headmistress of the Crunchem Hall primary school. She is a child hater and a former Olympic hammer thrower. In the past, Trunchbull, who is half-sister of Miss Honey’s mother, came to her house after her half-sister's death in order to take care of her niece, while Honey’s father was working. Eventually, he dies and is highly implied by Matilda that Agatha killed him, but is not confirmed both in the movie and the book (only in the musical version). After Honey's father’s death, Trunchbull abused her and even broke his arm (who is confirmed at the climax of the movie). Once eventually she got out from “Trunchbull’s house”, she became a teacher at the school, while her aunt was the headmistress.

When Matilda desires to go to the school, his father is reluctant, but when he meets Trunchbull, he sends Matilda to the Crunchem Hall. On the first day of Matilda, Agatha shows her cruel methods throwing a girl, Amanda Tripp, high, only because she was using pigtail hair, also insulting her mother. Amanda almost died impaled in the iron fence of school. Is also revealed to Matilda by Hortencia, an older student, that Trunchbull had threw a boy of the window yesterday only because he ate candies during her class, making him badly injured, like to wipe students who hidden up from her, and one of the favorite punishment ways of her is looking students in a hole in the wall stuffed with nails and broken glass, which she calls “the Chokey”.

Matilda's corrupt father sold a faulty car to Trunchbull and she looks Matilda in the chokey for reprisal. In the class, after Matilda was released from the chokey by Miss Honey, Trunchbull was teaching the class when she realizes was drinking water containing a salamander (which was put there by Lavender, one of Matilda's friends) and thought it was a snake. When Matilda puts her hands up to say that it was a salamander, not a snake, Trunchbull starts to accuse Matilda for putting the salamander in the water glass. Matilda says she didn't this, but Trunchbull says that even if she really didn't, she will punish her and starts to insult her and her father, which ultimately leads Matilda to manifest her telekinetic powers and make the glass turn around throwing the salamander at Trunchbull, making her move desperately to get rid of the animal and the entire class laugh. When she gets free from the creature, she again accuses Matilda, but this time, it's logically impossible since she stayed in her place. Trunchbull then says she was lurking each one student every time.

In the afternoon, Matilda and Miss Honey went to Trunchbull's house, which is also Miss Honey's former house, taking advantage of her going to train. Here, they see Trunchbull kicking a black cat away because she is superstitious. And after telling Matilda that Trunchbull is her aunt, Honey shows her some of her old recordings, including a photo of her father, teling also he killed himself, to Matilda's disbelief, thinking Agatha Trunchbull killed him. But Trunchbull's car starts to fail and she has to come back to home, completely wrathful with Harry Wormwood and threatening him and burning his story, when she realizes that there is someone at her house, starting a chase for the invasor, almost capturing Matilda and Honey. She takes a hammer throw ball to attack whoever is at her house and breaks chains with bare hand only to break a statue in the garden, because Matilda and Honey managed to escape from her.

On another occasion, she forced the student Bruce, at the school, to eat an entire cake because she thinks he ate her slice of cake that was reserved for her, forcing him to do that in front of the entire school. When Bruce achieves to eat the entire cake thanks for the students crowd (started by Matilda), Trunchbull breaks the plate at his head, take him to the chokey, forces the entire school to copy the dictionary on a five hours detention after class and threatens take anyone to the chokey with Bruce.

Some night, Matilda goes to Trunchbull's house in order to take Miss Honey's doll, some chocolates and take advantage to take some revenge on the headmistress, using her psychic powers to simulate ghostly powers and make Trunchbull think she was haunted by Magnus' ghost. But when she runs away from the house, she finds Matilda's ribbon.

In the other day, on the school, Trunchbull asks the class about the red ribbon and accuses Matilda, with Miss Honey saying she was instead of Matilda, but Trunchbull threatens to break his arm again and says she will take Matilda to "a place where not even the crows can land their drops on her". But Matilda starts to use her powers to simulate Magnus' ghost again, this time, writing a message to Agatha Trunchbull on the board, making her terrified, then throwing erasers on her and knocking her. When she wakes up, she takes one of the students to throw him from the door, but Matilda uses her powers to save him, make him fly back to the school and throw Trunchbull at a globe, making her rotate until be thrown at the wall. She wakes up again and eye on Lavender, running to her, only to collide with a door and be lynched by the entire school throwing their snacks on her, who leaves the school forever.

Heinous Standard

This version of Trunchbull is not less heinous than her book version. Some acts of her movie version stand out in comparison to her book's, like her sending the entire school to a five hours detention, when they will copy the dictionary. Also, some of her worst actions are kept, like throwing Amanda Tripp almost to her death, brooke Miss Honey's arm, putting students on chokey and throwing them.

Mitigating Factors

Some people say this version does not qualify as Pure Evil due to the comedic traits, especially in the salamander's scene. But I don't think this is a redenming trait, because that scene does not make her taken less seriously and does not mitigate the heinousness of her evil acts. Also the movie itself has a comedic trait, but Trunchbull is not taken less seriously because of that.

Verdict

Easy yes to this version of Trunchbull.


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