“Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, ‘tis true: ’tis true ’tis pity,
And pity it is true: a foolish figure,
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then, and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause.
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.”
– William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
“William Shakespeare (1564-1616), poet, dramatist, magister ludi of the English language.” – Lapham, Lewis H., editor. Lapham’s Quarterly. Volume 1.1.
Unknown. Shakespeare. 1610. Oil on canvas.
Coriolanus (2011), directed by Ralph Fiennes, is a satisfactory film. Excellent acting, sophisticated frame compositions, and decent cinematography. It is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy by that same title, however, the story is placed in the contemporary world, which allows the viewer to better relate to the story in the light of our own politics and wars. It points out our human folly, to which I respond in the words of Fyodor Dostoevsky, “Am I so stupid that, if others are stupid and I know for certain they’re stupid, I myself don’t want to be smarter?” Unfortunately it still remains that all of us are often manipulated by selfish governing, and we don’t even realize it.
So as Coriolanus talks his way toward the customary end of all tragic heroes, we find ourselves longing for a better one. Someone who fights for us with superhuman power, yet sympathizes with our weakness. Someone who suffers outside the city gate, yet identifies with all those inside it. Someone who remains silent before his unjust accusers, and bears the blame that is rightfully ours. One, in short, whose love for us is unfeigned. – Barry Cooper, “Coriolanus Untamed.” The Gospel Coalition.