Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Comparing Qadhafi to Richard III

As foreign news coverage becomes unavoidable, Shakespeare becomes our contemporary once again.  Here are a couple of examples; I'm sure there will be others as events develop.

From The Independent on March 14:
I arrived at the theatre for a performance of Richard III last week with an image from that evening's television news in my head. A line of men lay on a road in Libya. Their hands were pinned to their sides and their noses were flat against the tarmac. But the camera panned low. You could see the sheer terror in their eyes as a beefy Gaddafi loyalist droned a litany of places where his men had killed protesters and where they yet would kill more. The men on the road are probably dead now.
Richard III is a play about a man of violence who maintains himself in office through a regime of unremitting brutality. It was written around 1590 but it is a mark of Shakespeare's evergreen genius that the dynamics it describes are still being played out in Libya, and elsewhere, today.

From something called Economicpopulist, back on Feb 15:
Like Richard III before the Battle of Bosworth Field, Gaddafi watches supporters vanish from top to the bottom of his army. His response has been no less brutal than Richard's, with assaults on his own people by hired thugs that he bought in neighboring countries. It will not end well for him, but it will end soon.


Margaret Litvin said...

Here's another one:
"The Libyan debacle is fast beginning to resemble a Shakespearean tragedy, one in which the protagonists seem intent on a bloody struggle, peppered with intrigue, a war of words and base motives. The villains in this sorry drama out-Shakespeare Shakespeare when it comes to their foolishness, vainglory and duplicity. I wonder if Muammar Gaddafi at this time is giving any thought to what he did to King Idris? Those who live by the sword die by the sword."

Margaret Litvin said...

And one more, first published in Al-Ahram Weekly:
Gaddafi is sticking to his guns, even as he increasingly looks like a failed Shakespearean hero, or rather villain. Wildly waving his arms around and promising death and destruction, the crazy old man reminds one of another crazy old man, Shakespeare's King Lear. As the British journalist Robert Fisk wrote last week, "the old boy looked bad -- sagging face, bloated, simply magnoon (mad) -- a comedy actor who has turned to serious tragedy in his last days, desperate for the last make-up lady, the final knock on the theatre door."