“Titanic” is an epic and emotionally compelling masterpiece that weaves together the story of Titanic’s maiden voyage and it’s tragic demise on April 14, 1912, and the story Jack and Rose, two people from different worlds whose love for each other began and ended when fate brought them together on Titanic.
The essence of “Titanic” is not the ironic demise of the ship, nor is it really a love story between Rose and the two men vying for her heart. Rather, it is a journey that Rose embarks on for herself; a journey that would ultimately set her free from her gilded cage and allow her the chance to truly live.
In the beginning, Rose chooses to return to Titanic because treasure hunter, Brock Lovett, had discovered Jack’s drawing of Rose wearing the necklace known as the Heart of the Ocean when he was searching for the necklace in Titanic’s wreckage and wanted to know who the woman in the picture was. While Rose could have easily chosen to keep the diamond’s true fate a secret, she instead chose to return to Titanic and tell the story that she had held in her heart for 84 years.
Rose’s second choice is illustrated when she must choose whether to remain trapped in a life tinged in sadness where she is shackled by the stringent expectations of her mother, Ruth, and her pompous tyrant of a fiance, Cal, or to break free of her gilded cage and find happiness with Jack. When she goes to Jack on the bow of the ship and tells him she’s changed her mind, this moment is significant because it symbolizes Rose choosing to take the first step towards freedom.
When the ship is sinking, Rose faces her most difficult choice. She must choose whether to remain with her mother and Cal in the lifeboat and save herself or follow her own heart and return to the ship to save Jack. In the end, Rose chooses to save Jack rather than stay with Cal, even though this meant potentially sacrificing her own life. When Rose is rescued from the sea after Titanic sinks, she sees Cal searching for her among the survivors. She could have easily chosen to return to Cal and take up the mantle of her old life, but instead, Rose chooses to honor the promise she made to Jack and demonstrates her love for him by taking his name as her own even though he is no longer with her.
The necklace plays a vital role in the movie by symbolizing two very distinct entities: love and power. Initially, the necklace is presented as a gift to Rose from her fiancé, Cal. He claimed he is giving her the necklace as a symbol of his devotion to her, but in truth, he is giving her the necklace as a means of exerting his power over her and trying to buy Rose’s love. He doesn't truly love her; he only wanted to possess her. The necklace is a silent reminder to Rose that she belongs to Cal and not Jack.
For Rose, the necklace symbolizes the love she shared with Jack. When Rose asks Jack to draw her wearing only the necklace Cal gave her, this act symbolizes Rose choosing to break free from her life of privilege and the expectations of her mother and Cal and become her own person. After she shares the story of Titanic, Rose takes the necklace and casts it back into the sea in the place where Titanic sank. This act ultimately symbolizes Rose completing her journey and relinquishing her heart literally and metaphorically to Jack. By doing this, Rose is saying that her love would always belong to him, even in death.