Macbeth and Palpatine.

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Macbeth and Palpatine.

Postby admin » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:49 pm

Politics and art. Are politics a good or bad source of inspiration for a work of art?

Some of the classic literature is clearly rooted in politics. For instance, Dante's "Divine Comedy" is a rabid political propaganda - which does not prevent it from being one of the great literary monuments of the human culture. In cases like that, political influence is obvious.

The fact is: a lot of classic literary works have political references that we simply don't notice, because they were only relevant to the contemporary spectator.

Take "Macbeth", for instance. In it, Shakespeare paints what became the textbook portrait of witches: ugly old women, performing disgusting rituals, finding their only joy in causing misery to other people. Coincidentally, the release of "Macbeth" happened at the times of Scottish king James I taking the throne of England and expanding the reach of his anti-witch laws from Scotland to all of England. In the minds of the viewers, Shakespeare provides an artistic justification for the witch prosecution edicts. In another episode, Shakespeare practically names James I the descendant of Banquo, predestined from time immemorial to take the throne of both England and Scotland.

So, basically, "Macbeth" was a welcome mat that Shakespeare rolled out before James I. And yet it is timeless, and the characters, which were initially designed to carry the political message, remain as full-fledged members of the gallery of the most prominent images created by Mankind.

Let's look at one modern film that everybody here knows.

First, a brief historical reference. It is not a very well-known fact that Brutus (yes, that very Brutus who killed "the tyrant" Julius Caesar) used his private army to besiege a town in Roman Republic and inflict numerous hardships on its citizens, when that town was unable to pay back the money owed to Brutus. Would you want to live in a country, where rich guys have private armies that they can use to extract money from you? And yet Roman Republic is usually portrayed as "democratic", whereas the creation of an Empire is deemed a violation of freedom.

Now, in "Star Wars" (e.g. Episode III) Palpatine is a negative evil character. But if you look at the processes in the Galactic Republic, you'd see some striking similarity with Roman Republic. Trade Federation (basically, a bunch of merchants) have their own military fleet, which they use on a whim to establish a blockade of a planet they are not happy with. And when they cannot achieve their goals, they just build a bigger army. Palpatine eventually brings a uniform law and order throughout the Galactic Republic (in the process transforming it into the Empire - which is welcomed by the very citizens of the Republic, who are more than happy to exchange some of the freedoms they have for the assurance that their homeworlds will have some law governing the relationship with other worlds and factions).

As it is commonly understood, Lucas in Episode III made an anti-Bush statement. But the picture that he painted turned out to be very life-like and showing different colors and angles. All of a sudden, Palpatine's figure acquired depth and became similar to Julius Caesar, rather than a cardboard "da bad dude".

My point is: if a work of art stems from real-life politics - as a result, it rings true, regardless whether it succeeds in making the point it set out to make.
whitepony
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Re: Macbeth and Palpatine.

Postby whitepony » Tue Nov 09, 2021 11:26 am

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whitepony
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Re: Macbeth and Palpatine.

Postby whitepony » Tue Nov 09, 2021 12:07 pm

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whitepony
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Re: Macbeth and Palpatine.

Postby whitepony » Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:29 pm

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whitepony
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Re: Macbeth and Palpatine.

Postby whitepony » Thu Nov 25, 2021 5:48 pm

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