So I was reading Antigone by Sophocles, and something struck me. For those of you who don't know the story of Antigone, without going into great detail I will say it involves a political leader named Kreon who is so dead-set in his proclamations and in being right that he forgets to be wise (now that doesn't remind you of anyone, does it?).
Here is the advice his son, Haimon, gives him:
Father, the gods' most precious gift to man
Is reason. Now, I know I haven't the right,
Nor the skill, nor, god knows, do I want,
Ever, to tell you that you have reasoned badly.
And yet it's possible that someone else
Might think differently and still be useful.
I realize that, normally speaking,
It's not for you to hear what people say,
See what they do, learn what they feel and think.
You terrify them; they say what you want to hear,
Everything else they hold back.
But I hear what they're saying, I hear their whispers,
Their muttered words in the dark...
...Father, there's nothing more dear than your success.
What greater happiness can ther be for a son
Than to see his father's name increase in glory,
And for a father to see his son do the same?
I beg of you, don't make the mistake of thinking
That only you are right. The man who thinks so,
The man who believes that only he has wisdom,
That he alone has the gift of words, the power
Of Reason - that man, when you lay him open,
Is seen to be empty. There's no shame in yielding
To Reason, even for a wise man.
Trees that bend with the flooding torrent
Come through safe and sound;
But those that resist are torn out, roots and all.
The same in sailing: pull a cloth too taut,
And never slacken, you'll end bottom-side up
For the rest of the voyage. Give yourself leeway, father:
Forget your anger, allow for change.
I know I'm young,
But if I had advice to give,
I'd say that men should always be all-wise
By nature. But since that's not the way of things,
Then learn from the good advice of others.
One thing I like about really good theatre (and I think Shakespeare and the Greek classics certainly qualify) is their universality. The flaws and predicaments that faced the characters in these plays are the same issues we deal with today.
Somehow I thought the speech was apropos. Good advice for any political leader. Even one...say...that we know. ;-)
That's all for today, though I do have plans to post an entry dealing with what I feel is deplorable methodology as far as teaching the art of acting is concerned. A recent experience prompted my feelings about it, but it is far too lengthy to talk about now. I'm a busy boy lately and also very tired right now, so I don't know when exactly I will get to it, but it is something I'm quite eager to write about , so I hope to do it sooner than later.