Thursday 22 January 2009

Historical Novel Heartbreak

Was it worth it?

The question I silently asked myself, over and over, late last night. Tears staining the copy of Lady MacBeth that I borrowed from Mr. Crowe, Celtic Women singing a sad Irish lullaby, my heart broke into a thousand pieces.
Were the joys, the romance, the adventure in this novel worth the tragic ending?
Was the bit of time I spent getting to know MacBeth, the wonderful man that he was, worth the agony of seeing his death, like a movie in my mind?
If I could do it over again, knowing that this book would break my heart... would I?
What's more, if Lady Graudh could do it again, would she fall in love with MacBeth, only to be widowed 18 years later?

Yes. A thousand times, yes.

Today, I read a piece by Arthur Miller, describing the appeal and greatness of the Tragedy. He argued that tragedies were not at all pessimistic, that they were actually quite optimistic. In a nutshell, he said a tragedy is when a character feels he is not in his rightful place in life, and struggles against society and it's rules, to gain his dignity. Only an individual with true passion and desire for a more meaningful life would choose this fatal path. In short, the passive live while the rebels die. Only a tragedy, with someone passionate enough to lose their life for their dignity, can be this powerful.

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