Elisa Esposito

Elisa Esposito

    The Shape of Water

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… without a voice. Orphaned Elisa was found by the river, with scars on her neck that may have caused her to lose her voice. She uses sign language and her expressive eyes to communicate with people.

Living… in the early 1960s, with the Cold War looming. She lives alone in an apartment in Baltimore, Maryland. Her apartment is decorated in shades of green, and even the water in her bathtub is green.

Profession… nighttime janitor at a secret government laboratory. She has become friends with one of her co-workers Zelda. Neither of them knows anything about their employer. Their job is to mop the floors and not ask any questions. Elisa now has a new responsibility: cleaning a room that contains a mysterious amphibian creature that was brought there from the Amazon. Like her, the creature can’t talk. They start to bond, as Elisa teaches the creature sign language and plays Benny Goodman music. 

Interests… hanging out with her friend and neighbor Giles. They often go to the local diner to catch up over pie. Giles especially likes the restaurant because he admires the waiter behind the counter. Elisa also loves movies, and conveniently her apartment is located above a movie theater.

Relationship Status… single. Elisa doesn’t need a man; she pleasures herself in the bathtub every morning with an egg timer by her side to make sure she stays on schedule. Colonel Richard Strickland at the company once hit on her, but she’s not interested. 

Challenge… helping the creature, which is the subject of a top-secret research project. She feels great sympathy for the creature, who is treated very harshly by the government officials as they experiment on it. She is getting more curious about the creature and the intentions of the scientists. After Elisa overhears the executives at her company say they are planning to kill the creature, she starts formulating an escape plan along with her friends. The escape will be hard to pull off since the creature is monitored 24/7.

Personality… shy (when she’s at work), sympathetic, curious, and attentive. Elisa is quiet and withdrawn when she is at work, often asking Zelda to speak for her when she is addressed. When she is with her friends, though, she is much more social and enthusiastic. Elisa has great attention to detail and is a thorough thinker, showing great stealth as she begins to sneak around at work. While Elisa can’t voice her feelings, it’s clear from her actions and expressions that she has developed an intense passion for the creature. 


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