Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Event Analysis 2- Chris Ridgely

     For today's event analysis, I took a seat at "The Duchess of Malfi" play performed by the "American Shakespeare Center" which really brought great justice to the play coming from someone who has read the original play-script in high school. The play is a romantic tragedy written by John Webster about a widowed Duchess who falls in love with a not so wealthy steward. Her brothers forbid her from marrying this man because they do not want to spread their wealth around but she weds this man besides the wishes of her brothers. Then she bears three children for her new husband. After her brother finds out about this her disowns her without hesitation. The two lovers concoct a story to allow them to escape but this is also uncovered and the Duchess and the two younger children are put to death. Antonio, her husband, on the other hand is able to escape with the eldest son. In the end Antonio is accidentally killed and everyone else pretty much kills each other to put it in short.
     The play had very similar themes to "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe in which the character Montresor murders Fortunato because he has been insulted by him. The interesting thing about this short story is that it is being narrated by Montresor and it has been fifty years since the account of these events so we as the audience do not know for sure what kind of tint these events might have. Both the play and this short story have and underlying theme of what some might say, unjust executions or maybe even a loose theme of revenge of course weighing much more heavily on the account of Edgar Allan Poe's work. The stronger connection is unjust executions because while in "The Cask of Amontillado", the main character found enough reason in the mere fact that Fortunato has scorned him to justify the death of this man, the Cardinal and Ferdinand in "The Duchess of Malfi" found enough reason to execute the Duchess and her two children because after she is widowed, she found another love but her brothers did not want to share their inheritance so her they forbade her from wedding this man.
     These two works are of course tragedies so they are meant to evoke these types of emotions from the view by using such powerful imagery but I tried to think of how this type of response to such minute events happens in today's day and age. Obviously there are not going to be people killing each other because people have a little more sense than that these days, or so I would hope, there is a connection that can be made with some people if you observe the way people react when told certain news. One example that can easily be made in today's culture is the romance between two people which most closely connects with "The Duchess of Malfi". If someone has ever been told that the person they have a crush on started dating someone else or now has a boyfriend or girlfriend, that person will naturally build a negative response to that person because they have what they want. The same can also be said about the Duchess' relationship and the response from her brothers. Slightly different because they are not trying to date her but kind of the same because they are trying to protect their wealth so the same emotion is evoked. On the side of "The Cask of Amontillado", this is mainly a revenge story when we bring it down to it's foundation. This is not one very easily observed in society but people do tend to seek revenge if they have been crossed in a certain way. It is the eye for an eye idea in today's society so we will hopefully not bare witness to any well planned out revenge plots such as the one Edgar Allan Poe describes but people do have a tendency to erect revenge in small way against people in certain scenarios. If we use the crush scenario talked about earlier, I'm sure the party at loss wouldn't mind if the person at fault were to trip and fall without injury. They would think that person deserved it and it is okay because everyone has had that thought about someone at one point or another in their lives. When looking at the big picture, revenge is the connection that both "The Duchess of Malfi" and "The Cask of Amontillado" share. "The Duchess of Malfi" revenge plot is not as forward, but it is there in the fact that her brothers jump to execution for her disobeying their wishes and marrying Antonio.
     The examples found in today's society are at a much lesser scale than described in both works but something of that magnitude rarely happens in today's world so it is a much more discrete form of revenge. The interesting point is that this theme still happens and it is an idea that must be biologically implanted in our mind to feel these types of emotions and to experience a similar response to the character in both stories.

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