In Robert Bolt's "A Man for All Seasons," which is currently being presented on Broadway by the Roundabout Theatre Company, the martyrdom of Thomas More is turned into a parable about the rule of law. "And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you -- where would you hide, the laws all being flat?" More warns a colleague who wants to "cut a great road through the law" and arrest one of King Henry's spies. But Bolt didn't write "A Man for All Seasons" in order to persuade those who saw it to go out and vote Labour. His purpose was to make viewers of all political persuasions reflect on the dangerous consequences of using extralegal means to pursue desirable short-term ends. The result is a deeply political play that is neither liberal nor conservative -- and one that succeeds as a work of art.The problem with political enthusiasts is that they never seem to grasp that exploring questions is more enlightening than hammering home half-baked answers. Nuance ambiguity escape them. Small wonder such people so often display a pathetic need for a leader.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
A good question ...
... Enter, Stage Right? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)