Caldeon Hockley: Machiavellian malcontent or misunderstood martyr?
I was nine years old when Titanic was released, and I was probably like a lot of you then. I idolized Jack Dawson and had pretty much written Cal off as just another bad guy. I'm probably the last person you'd expect to say that,right? But then I found something that completely changed my mind about him.
Billy Zane once said this of Cal: "His heart is breaking just as he's realizing he has one."
One day my dad brought a copy of James Cameron's Titanic home from the library, and when I was reading it, I came upon this quote from Billy Zane: "[Cal's] heart is breaking just as he's realizing he has one." I never really thought about that before, but the more I did, the more I realized he was right. Cal isn't evil; he's just hurt.
I believe Cal was a victim to Ruth's selfishness, the same as Rose.
In his own way, Cal was as much a pawn for Ruth's social advancement as Rose was. I expect Ruth would hide anything that might jeopardize the marriage until after the fact, so Cal probably had no idea just how dire Rose's financial situation was or that Rose was being forced to marry him. He had every reason to believe Rose loved him in return, at least until Jack Dawson came along.
I believe Rose probably hurt Cal just as much as he hurt her.
I believe Rose probably hurt Cal every bit as badly as he did her, without ever laying a hand on him. It seems to me thsat she treated Cal as an obligation, nothing more, and never really bothered to give him a proper chance...and certainly never held much regard for his feelings. She might've spared his heart had she turned down his marriage proposal to begin with, or at least had the courage to break up with him herself but instead, she left Jack's drawing for him to find, an act specifically designed to hurt him. She didn't even hold enough regard for his feelings to let him know she'd survived Titanic, and I believe Cal's story might've ended very differently if she had.
This is my favorite scene from Titanic because it's when Cal's facade falls apart.
I certainly can't say I believe Cal's actions were always right, but they were perfectly understandable. He was from a completely different time when it was frowned upon for men to openly express emotion. In his own way, I think he's really trying to be a good fiance to Rose and probably doesn't understand why that isn't enough for her. Before Rose, he's probably never been rejected and he doesn't know how to deal with it.Thus, he tries to hide behind a facade of arrogance...a facade that we ultimately see crumble.
Was Cal abused as a child? We'll proabbly never know
One of the most nagging questions about Cal remains was he or was he not abused as a child? Though no one has ever confirmed or denied this, there are a number of fanfics to this effect, and I'm inclined to believe it myself. Cal is obivously damaged, otherwise I don't believe he'd act the way he did, People like that are not born, and I find it highly unlikely that he became that way overnight. Therefore, he had to learn such behavior from somewhere...or someone. This would also give some insight into why he placed so much importance on money. It's really unsurprising that he would if everyone he ever cared about abandoned him...and then when the money finally abandoned him, he died.
"I make my own luck." Cal inspires me to never back down.
Yet despite all that, Cal still has some admirable qualities: determination, confidence, and real charm independent of his facade. My favorite quote of his is "I make my own luck." beacuse it shows that when he wants something, he will go after it 100% and not wait for fate or God to intervene. He knows that hoping and wishing can only take you so far, and sometimes when you want something done at all, much less right, you have to act. He inspires me to never back down, no matter how unpopular I become, and teaches me to see things from another's point of view and to always look for the good in others, even when it can be a challenge. There aren't many characters i've learned more from than I did from Caledon Hockley.
I don't expect that this article will change many minds, but I hope that now at least some of you will understand where I'm coming from, even if you don't think differently of Cal. Sometimes I wish I could hate him...let's face it, I'd make a lot more friends here if I did. But I can't, no matter how hard I try. Maybe it's because I try to see good in everyone or maybe it's because I finally know...I know what it's like to be universally reviled, to give everything you have to someone only to have them hurt you in every way imaginable, and to wish that person would vanish from existence, Either way, despite being vastly outnumbered and despite what others may think of me, I opened my heart to Caledon Hockley and I've never been sorry.