Monday, February 25, 2013

What do Topper Harley and William Shakespeare have in common?

They can mow people down like no one else.

One of my goals for the year was to read something old school, so I picked up King Lear  by Shakespeare. It’s a play I never had to read in school, but it’s one that continues to get plenty of press. George Bernard Shaw declared that “no man will ever write a better tragedy than Lear.” Whether or not that’s true, I don’t think, after 400 years, that there’s much I can add in the way of interesting commentary. I’ll just say this:

A good death can spice up any story, and modern authors still use the loss of well-loved characters to execute kick-in-the-crotch endings all the time. But to my modern mind, a tragedy like Lear , where nearly all the principals lie dead or dying at the end of the tale, almost gives off a whiff of farce. 

As Cornwall, Oswald, Regan, Gloucester, Goneril, Edmund, Cordelia and Lear (and a few servants) all met their tragic ends towards the close of the final act, I couldn’t help being reminded of this body count scene from that great masterpiece of cinema, “Hot Shots: Part Deux.”

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