Netflix’s ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ is set in Italy between the First and the Second World Wars. The film begins with a ten-year-old boy named Carlo, whose death breaks his father Geppetto’s spirit. Years later, the old man carves a wooden puppet out of the tree planted near the grave of his son. This puppet turns into a living boy and is named Pinocchio. At first, people are scared of the wooden boy, but soon, it is revealed that he is just as human as them. Still, there are some ways in which he differs from normal people. Death is one of them. If you are wondering whether Pinocchio is immortal or if he can die, then here’s what you should know about him. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Why Can’t Pinocchio Die?
Pinocchio was never supposed to be a living being. He was supposed to be just a puppet that Geppetto made in the image of his son while suffering a particularly strong bout of grief. It was in anger that the old man cut down the pine tree that grew out of the perfect pine cone that Carlo had picked out before he died in the bombing. Geppetto believed that he could make another Carlo, but he was also very drunk at the time. On waking up the next morning, the man knew that he could never replace his son.
It is the magical spirit from the forest that breathes life into Pinocchio’s wooden frame. She does it out of sympathy for Geppetto. His grief and love for Carlo lead her to offer him another chance at living with a son, one that he made himself. It was an act of kindness on her part, but it isn’t something that she should have done. It wasn’t her place to bring an inanimate object to life because by doing so, she bent the laws of nature. A living thing is born naturally and dies naturally too. However, for someone like Pinocchio, who was born out of magic, a regular death was never an option.
It isn’t that Pinocchio can’t die. He does so, repeatedly. The only problem is that he can’t stay dead. Because he is not a regular human, he doesn’t occupy the same place in the living world as others do. Due to this, he can’t occupy the same place in the world of the dead as others do. Every time he dies, he arrives in the Underworld and meets Death, but there is a ticking clock on his time there. Once the time runs out, Pinocchio goes back to the world of the living. Death, who is the sister of the spirit from the forest, reveals that this cycle of life and death will continue for Pinocchio till the end of time. However, Pinocchio is nothing if not a rule breaker.
Since his inception, Pinocchio proves himself to be someone who doesn’t pay heed to what rules are. In fact, he was born when the spirit from the forest breaks a rule herself. This act of rebellion is ingrained in him, and he is just as defiant in death as he is while alive. Pinocchio doesn’t have a problem with dying and then coming back to life and then repeating the same thing over and over again. But when Geppetto’s life is in danger, the boy decides that it’s time for him to break Death’s rule.
In wanting to return to the living world before the sand runs out, Pinocchio breaks the hourglass. This breaks the cycle of life and death and he returns to Earth as a mortal being. He sacrifices himself while trying to save Geppetto and dies, just like any normal human would. This time, however, he doesn’t come back to life. Not until Sebastian asks the spirit from the forest to revive him.
Seeing everyone’s love for Pinocchio, the spirit, once again, breathes life into his wooden frame. This means that, once again, he is caught in the cycle of life and death. He will die, but won’t stay dead for long. For an unconventional boy, death doesn’t follow the normal route, but he always has the option to take that road. If, and when, he wishes, Pinocchio can break Death’s hourglass again and go back to being mortal and then die, just like any normal human.