Sticking to the formula

Posted in books, classics by jrahman on January 20, 2017

William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays. Romeo and Juliet was the 28th, so one can assume that he was a quite experienced storyteller when he penned the story that ends with a pair of star-cross’d lovers taking their lives.  Just to refresh your memory: Friar Lawrence helps Juliet by providing a sleeping draught that will make everyone think she’s dead, Romeo is then supposed to come to her tomb and take her away, but messages get mixed and thinking that she is dead, he takes poison and dies just as she awakes from her drugged sleep, only to stab herself rather than to live without him.

Romeo and Juliet, the first romantic tragedy the Bard penned, was a big hit. Upon finding the successful formula of the taking of multiple lives in confusing circumstances, he ended four of his remaining nine plays in similar manner.

In the rotten state of Denmark, Hamlet duels with Laertes where Claudius plots for Hamlet to die either on a poisoned rapier, or from poisoned wine. The plans go wrong, and basically everyone dies.

How does Othello end? He accuses Desdemona of infidelity, and after a brief argument, smothers her . She dies but says Othello is innocent. Eventually it is revealed that Iago is the villain, and Othello commits suicide.

In Antony and Cleopetra, he goes to her tomb and sends a message to Antony that she is dead. Antony is devastated and decides to kill himself. But wait, he botches the suicide and wounds himself without dying. His followers take him to Cleopatra’s tomb, where he dies in her arms. Of course Cleopatra wasn’t dead, but now that Antony is dead, what can she but to kill herself?

You see dear reader, it’s hard to pull off hits, and once he hit upon finding a successful formula, even Shakespeare chose to stick to it rather than try something new.

So, east or west, don’t expect politicians to change from what they have been doing successfully.


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