Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Literature, Poetry, and Books

"O for a Muse of fire"

Hie thee to Washington, DC and delight in the Shakespeare Theatre's Richard II and Henry V (both playing until April 10). The two contrasting kings are played by the same actor, Michael Hayden (No, not the former CIA Director!).  The staging is in the more traditional mode (quite in contrast to the Theatre's As You Like It) but with considerable ingenuity in the Harfleur siege, the execution of Bardolph, and the slaying of the Fench hostages (lamentably omitted in the Kenneth Branaugh movie), among other scenes.  Some of the directors' decisions are disputable (Agincourt battle--more arrows, please), but the actors do justice to the Bard's portrayal of this "mirror of all Christian kings." 
 
The parallels of the English monarchy with Israel's kings in Samuel and Kings becomes abundantly clear:  Just as Israel's fulfillment was to be found in the New Testament, so England's would be found in Abraham Lincoln.

Discussions - 5 Comments

I understand appreciate the intent of the last paragraph, but I would point out that, to a Jewish reader, it is somewhat grating.

It's orthodox (or even less so) Christianity, which I understand can be grating to some Jewish readers. But please note that I make this point not for proselytizing, but in trying to understand Shakespeare.

I should have added that DJF's concern about my post illustrates the importance of arguing in natural rights/natural law terms foremost when in the public square. I am reminded of this, having attended meetings of the California Republican Assembly, the conservative wing of the California GOP. Fine folk they are, but their meetings take on the air of a church revival--that is not the atmosphere that on balance welcomes people into the party.

I'm sure Branagh lamented having to omit every last scene he had to. But I find his edits very judicious, and the end result is better than his more capacious Hamlet movie.

Hmm, I actually prefer his Hamlet. H V makes the king look too much a person at the mercy of others--the Church, the mayor of Harfleur, his men on the battlefield, even Katharine. Also, his-then wife, beautiful as Emma Thompson is, was too old to be a credible Katharine.

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