Who is Mariella

For my final blog post I am going to focus on a small aspect of the game The Stanley Parable (2013). This was actually not the first ending that I got, but it was the one that stuck with me the most out of all the crazy possible endings in the game. The scenario I am referencing was one of the endings that seemed most obscure at first. As the narrator tells us, Stanley, after walking around in circles for quite a long time, was actually just a crazy person walking around on the streets who ends up collapsing and dying for an undisclosed reason. Stanley, before dying, believes he is dreaming at one point, floating through a group of stars in space, and finally believes that the narrator is actually just a voice in his head. But the part I want to focus on is the back-story it gives us about the lady who finds him. Her name is Mariella and we aren’t sure if she works with Stanley or works at another place but she is the one who discovers him. The narrator goes on to tell us that she realizes that she is lucky for being a “normal” person, who knows what is real and what isn’t real. He also goes on to tell us that clearly she can tell that Stanley was crazy, because sometimes you can just tell. It is clear to me that Mariella is a working woman due to her chosen dress attire that was granted to her by the creators. She is blonde with a beige dress and a brown brief case. It at first caught me off guard but after thinking back it seemed to be a very conscious decision of the creator.

We are given a lot of Mariellas background but I find it more interesting to work with the definition of sanity and what it means to be “normal” through the eyes of Mariella. Stanley, in this scenario, is said to be insane, but it seems clear to me that the narrator has driven him to this point and at no point does it seem that he actually shows signs of insanity throughout the rest of the game. As well as it being unclear if Stanley is actually insane or if its just the narrator making us believe that fact to be true, we also never have a definition of normal become relevant in this game. It seems to me that the creators used Mariella to almost mock the idea of normality and insanity. I believe this to be true because right before the screen fades to black in this scenario, the narrator tells us the Mariella cant hang around because she has a very important business meeting to attend to, almost making it seem that the idea of a dead person in front of her has no effect on her life in any sense. To me this actually seems to be a very twisted and irregular person to respond in such a way that she did.

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4 Responses to Who is Mariella

  1. plorei says:

    That was probably the most thought provoking ending for myself as well. I reached it after Id been playing for about an hour, so at that point I was taking what the narrator said very lightly. Its interesting to hear the narrator speak about what is and isn’t normal because the narrator is among the least normal ‘characters’ I’ve ever encountered in a videogame. The game really pushes the idea that ‘normal’ is not something we should strive for.

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  2. epiratequeen says:

    I was really interested in this ending too, but I was most fascinated by the juxtaposition and clear parallels for Stanley and Mariella. The narrator begins the scene with Mariella with the same opening the player gets when we’re getting introduced to Stanley, and after the several minutes of surreal imagery and walking around in circles, we don’t associate Stanley with normalcy at all. It’s interesting that the narrator, at that point in the story, associated Mariella with normalcy and also with Stanley.

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  3. thawardasa says:

    Like the above commenters, I also really deeply thought about this ending more than any other one. What is normal? What is abnormal? It’s all in the eyes of the one thinking about it, as those who aren’t “normal” in our eyes most likely believe they are normal. It’s a very interesting topic that I’m sure I’ll be thinking about for time to come. Normality is all in the eyes of the beholder.

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  4. pittpanther8 says:

    There are a few scenes in this game where I find myself questioning my characters insanity, especially when the case is seeing the same images more than once. Drawing an attachment to Stanley as I control him, I try to separate myself from who I consider the delusional side of him, but It is very hard to tell what is real and what is not.

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