Sunday, December 29, 2013

Not A Secret


If you could purify truth

distill it down to its absolute

Essence of essence


If anything could be removed


then it would not be



all ways

has been



all ways

will be


unto itself

of itself


yet never

by itself


truth is


whatever is left


is not


©Christopher F. Brown 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Summer Clouds In The Desert


I'm pissed that I once thought



you were, in my eyes

worth every



and star


In yours

non existent


invisible like radiation

indivisible from the magnitude of the void


I'm pissed that you use to shine

so brightly

causing my eyes to look your way


Siren song

was your voice to my ears



was the thought of you

your image upon my mind



was your form to my lips


Now I am here



seeking not your death but my own


Knowing it was not a trick

it always was what it was


you were never liken to Desdemona

you were always my personal Iago


You remind me that I’ve never known you


That is the pain and comfort


The closest ive come to knowing you

Reminds me of the most pain

Summer clouds in the desert


some hope

ive come to question your existence


You and I know

you’ll yield no rain


You are a reminder of intangibility


There may come a day when it rains

hell even snows

in the desert


but until then

you are not hope


you are a mirage.


©Christopher f. Brown 2013    

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Unpacking The "Other" meanings of "Urban" and "Urbanization" and the effects of "Urban" culture upon the mainstream American culture


Christopher F. Brown

Prof. Sean Nash

African American Art History 



Unpacking The "Other" meanings of "Urban" and "Urbanization" and the effects of "Urban" culture upon the mainstream American culture


What is meant by the word, "Urban" when not used in the context of comparison to words such as, "rural" or "suburb?" Does the word "Urban," when used outside of the previously mentioned context mean; something negative, African American, Black, Latino, or is the word a more insidious way of saying Ethnic? When the word, "Urban" is applied to art, literature, music, dance, food, clothes, culture, or a group of people, does it denote something less harmful than something that is dangerous? Is the word another way to describe the destructive force of cultural appropriation? When the use of the word, "Urban" becomes systematic and a process for describing aspects of a culture that one might have close proximity to, but not a part of, does this then add a new meaning to the term, "Urbanization" as well as, "Urban?" Does the term, "urban" become more favorable than using other adjectives like, "street" or "gritty" and is "urbanization," in this context, the opposite of "gentrification?" All of these questions are examples of what is hidden in the meaning(s) of the words "Urban" and "Urbanization."  When I write the word, "Urbanization" I do not mean the process by which more people move and populate areas solely designed and developed for the benefit of homo sapiens. I also do not mean the shifting of cultural thoughts by which secular, and individualistic values are adopted as the primary norms and mores of the majority cultural group. When the words "Urban" and "Urbanization" are used, I will be examining why there is a sense of them implying being of African American culture, being "black" and or having sense of, or feel of "blackness," also, I will examine why one aspect of American culture views the words, "Urban" and "Urbanization" with a sense of awe and acceptance while some use and view the words as having a negative concatenation.


In America, as far back as slavery, things that African Americans did were simultaneously shunned and viewed as inherently deviant and degenerate behavior and nature; while being praised as innovative mimicked privately and sometimes openly. A primary example of early acceptance of African American culture, of early cultural appropriation, early, "urbanization" can be found when looking at the early art forms, and even the modern art forms of Jazz and Blues. After Emancipation and World Wars I & II, many African Americans moved out of the south and took their unique culture with them. What was readily liked and transmitted on radio, records, movies, and television was just as quickly mimicked. The musical art forms known as Jazz and The Blues, while some said were degrading to the soul and disruptive to the very fabric of the greater American cultural fabric and should be left to African Americans to listen and play in their houses of disrepute some, mainly the youth of America that was not African American at the time, saw Jazz and The Blues as interesting, and fascinating and simply cool and began the process of learning and mimicking what everything they could and eventually making valid contributions to said art forms.


The Blues could be found in many areas of the south but Jazz was, "city music," to hear good jazz you had to hear it live because in the south at that time, few had, or could afford, record players. One wishing to hear Jazz, to learn Jazz, had to move to the city, the "Big" city. One had to not only abandon the rural ways of the agrarian south, but replace them with the ways of the city one had to become, "urban." One did not go out into the field and gather their food, one went to the store and purchased their food. One did not raise and slaughter their own meat, one went to the butcher. One's primary source of income came from working in a factory or public service instead of sharecropping, farming, or field-hand work. Adapting to life in the city is the first and more known meaning of the word, "Urbanization" one transforming themselves to be better suited to a life in a metropolitan city, an "urban" city.  The second meaning of the words, "Urban" and "Urbanization" came when one now had time for leisure. When the transplant that moved from the rural south or some other part of rural america had money and time to enjoy themselves they went and saw the live Jazz band that was comprised of mainly African Americans. The transplant learned to appreciate this music and when they could afford record players they played this Jazz music in their homes, having parties playing this music and congregating with others that enjoyed this Jazz music and the surrounding Jazz culture. This is when the transplant would begin to be labeled as, "Urban" by those "back home."

There was also the scenario where the transplant was actually African America whom left the rural area to pursue their dream of being an artists and abandoned the rural ways of their home. The African American artists transplant that lived from gig to gig with small jobs in between was now "city folk," they had white, Latin, and maybe even Asian, friends and had rent parties with illegal liquor to fill in any gaps to pay the bills that the gigs and part time job did not. These multiracial parties would spread the Jazz culture, around just as did the speak eases.  These early "city-folk" became to define what it meant to be culturally "urban" and unspokenly, that early definition, that early label came to mean; to be a part of, to be around, to know and like, black city dwelling African Americans.


When one thinks of an "Urban" area today one might instantly think of a predominately non-rural African American neighborhood. One today might also hear or think of the word, "Urban" and instantaneously associate that African American neighborhood as being, "Ghetto." The average person today does not understand that a "Ghetto" simply means a concentration of a particular racial or ethnic group regulated to a particular area of city, town, country, or kingdom. The word it's self-originated from early Venetian use in 1516 denoting the section of the city where the Jewish population was regulated and confined to living, many of the ghettos of medieval Europe were walled off from the rest of the city and were closed at night or during Christian holidays. When the understanding of the word, "ghetto" is attained, one can derive the modern meaning and usage. The way the word, "Ghetto" is used today is meant as any area where there is a concentration of one particular racial or ethnic group. Typically, a, "Ghetto" is stereotypically thought to be recognized by large areas of blight, high crime rates, extreme poverty, and a population that has very little to no education. The, "Ghetto" residents are also believed to be low class and lacking in culture. The stereotype is continued by the belief that citizens of the "ghettos" and xenophobic and would readily pounce upon any intruders or outsiders.  This fallacy of logic is readily proven false when one examines the process of gentrification. The modern stereotype of today states that someone or something that is, "urban" is, or slightly less than the stereotypical meaning of, "Ghetto." If a female that is labeled, "Ghetto" was to dye her hair burgundy and bright pink, her and her dyed hair might be labeled nothing more than, "Ghetto," but if a female that was from the same city, but not the "ghetto" area, or even a female that was not from the same city but a city in general, long as she was not from any area or section considered "ghetto," were to dye their hair in the same fashion, then the hair style and themselves would be considered, labeled "Urban."


Understanding the stereotypical meaning of, "Ghetto" one can logically extrapolate that every, town, city, county, state, country, and nation should have, what is stereotypically understood as, "Ghettos," there should be "Ghettos" in China, Russia, Eastern Europe so one is left to question, why is it assumed, that modern ghettos are a uniquely American, uniquely African American and Latino phenomenon? One is also left to question; why is it that when one uses the term(s) "Ghetto"/ "Urban" area, one that is not from a "Ghetto"/ "Urban" area automatically associates a negative aspect to both of those terms and people from those areas have been deemed such.


When one that does not view being "Ghetto"/ "Urban" as having negative aspects one then might seek to become "Ghetto"/ "Urban." Becoming "Ghetto"/ "Urban" is achieved by supplanting oneself into a "Ghetto"/ "Urban" area and associating very closely with stereotypical "Ghetto"/ "Urban" African Americans or Latinos that they have deemed less aggressive and more mild mannered that they classically stereotyped "Ghetto"/ "Urban" African American or Latino. The one that seeks to become "Ghetto"/ "Urban" then supplants themselves into the factious "Ghetto"/ "Urban" area, surrounded by "Ghetto"/ "Urban" people and then starts the process of cultural appropriation, in reverse if it is done by a person from a culturally majority group, and transforming themselves into something that could be authenticated as "Ghetto"/ "Urban." While the supplanter might make a distinction between being, "Ghetto" and being "Urban" the larger American society as a whole might not. While society as a whole might label the supplanter as, edgy, street, gritty, or the goal "Urban" depending on the how deeply a supplanter has immersed themselves into say "Ghetto"/ "Urban" culture they might be called and labeled "Ghetto" A white woman that lives in a stereotypical classified "Ghetto"/ "Urban" area whom speaks and behaves in a particular manner that is stereotypically associated with African Americans or Latinos and does not "switch" said linguistics and or behavior when placed in professional environments such as a office, school, or employment setting is said then not given the label of, "Urban" but is in fact labeled, "Ghetto." The white woman that lives in and or regularly associates with African Americans and or Latinos that are stereotypically labeled "Ghetto"/ "Urban" but does not adopt or can switch the previously mentioned speech and behavioral patterns is said to be, Street, gritty, edgy, and maybe the ultimate goal, "Urban."


As I stated above, this is just a touch of cultural appropriation in reverse. The culture of the majority group is abandoning their own culture and adopting the culture of the minority group. As I alluded to above, this normally does not happen in rural areas where the culture of said rural area is singular so again this process is often said thought of as becoming, "Urban." This pattern and process of adopting the culture of the minority group I call, "Urbanization" because ever since humanity created cities that encompassed more than one race or ethnic group, this "Urbanization" has taken place. Romans, adopted and renamed Greek Gods as their own. The Greeks implanted themselves so thoroughly into Egyptian culture that over many generations, they spawned a half Greek line of pharaohs that in turn spawned one of the most famous Egyptian people to westerns, Cleopatra. This supplantation was again so through   most do not even know that the word, "Egypt" is actually the Greek word for, "Kemet" which in the original language meant, "Land of the blacks" and that the word, "Pharaoh" is another Greek word for "Ha-Ra" meaning "House of Ra/ home of the most high God."


The process of "Urbanization" is very important because, as with the example of the Greeks and Egyptians/ Kemetics, it could lead to the opposite and start the process of gentrification. When Art, Music, Dance, Clothing, Cooking, and most every other aspect unique to a culture has been successfully,  mimicked, copied, commercialized, massed produced, and had its significance stripped away it becomes, trendy to the mainstream culture and may not be thought of as relevant or significant to the original culture it came from.  When a slang word is produced by one sub-culture, if the majority culture then begins using said slang word, the slang word is then abandons by the sub-culture as no longer being authentic. If the previously described process is applied to entire chunks of a culture then entire chunks of the culture dies. This is not quite gentrification but has the same effect. Gentrification is the process by which the majority movies into "Ghetto"/ "Urban" areas and does not adopt the stereotypical "Ghetto"/ "Urban" culture but retains their own culture and forces out; through financial, political, or just shear numbers, the indigenous culture.


An example of gentrification of that seems quite rare in America took place in the nineteen eighties. On a ranch in Antelope Oregon a group of religious people that came to be known as Rajneeshees ended up overtaking the town of antelope. As the followers of a man named Rajneesh, today more popularly known as Osho, began to grow the ranch began to grow as well. The Rajneeshees began to expand their farms, build thriving economic institutions and even pave and repave roads. It is when they began to want to further develop the property and expand on other political exploits did the current elected officials of Antelope began to deny the Rajneeshees permits.  When elections where next held in Antelope the Rajneeshees, whom were all American citizens, outnumbered the town folk of Antelope and easily defeated all incumbent officials in every category. The Rajneeshees then created their own police force, built more shopping places and restaurants of high quality, and more public schools that operated at a higher level of student proficiency output than the previous run schools. The public schools, some have argued, were the beginning of the Rajneeshees downfall; because the Rajneeshees were a religious group, local parents argued that they were teaching their religion in the public schools which is against federal law. This investigation allowed the federal government to probe deeply into all of the Rajneeshees doings.


This example of gentrification is a typical in that the standard process of gentrification involves two separate ethnic / racial groups. The ethnic / racial group that is of the majority of the country as a whole, moves into the areas of the non-majority ethnic / racial group that are deemed, "Ghetto"/ "Urban. "Once the minority of the majority have implanted themselves into the majority minority neighborhoods that are deemed "Ghetto"/ "Urban" housing that was vastly too expensive for the original ethnic / racial group to afford is then sold to the "gentrifies." The gentrifiers are typically if not vastly, more affluent and wealthy than the already in place, "Ghetto"/ "Urban" residents so their purchasing power if extremely attractive in a capitalist economic system. As banks, and various other business owners see that they can make more profit from catering to the needs of the "gentrifiers" instead of the original population, houses and multi-unit living complexes, that were left to blight are renovated normally at the cost of kicking out the original tenants that have typically lived in said house or living unity for decades if not generations. Once the gentrifiers are securely in living habitats, normally having had whole neighborhoods renovated, local business are then left to compete with the business that the gentrifiers create or sell their business because they can not. If the already in place local business owner chooses to stay in business they run the risk of pricing out the already in place local people. Once hosing and local business has been taken over by the gentrifiers the next place left is culture.


When gentrifiers begin to supplant the culture of the already in play culture of the "Ghetto"/ "Urban" a strange thing happens. The culture of the gentrifiers is called, "Urban" culture. The gentrifiers somehow romanticize themselves as having been part of the culture that was there before they supplanted the culture. When a gentrifiers says they are from, "The Bronx, Brooklyn, Oakland, Chicago," a sense of being, tough, edgy, street savvy, and gritty is given unto them because, those that have not been to the areas where the gentrifiers have almost demolished previous culture, imagine them living in what they have come to believe is the "Ghetto" with what they have come to believe are "Ghetto" people when, in fact all of what was considered "Ghetto" is almost gone.  Since the gentrifiers can now claim some false sense of "urbaness" their art is considered, "urban" right along with the art of the people that had already been in said "Ghetto"/ "Urban" neighborhood.


When one hears "Urban Art," one might typically think black or Latino art, but it could very well be the art of a gentrifier attempting to cash in on a pseudo culture built upon reputation of the actual a people that have almost been pushed out of said "Urban" area. When on hears "Urban: literature, music, dance, food, clothes," they might attribute all of these things to residents of various "Ghetto / Urban"  areas and neighborhoods but in truth the, "Urban: literature, music, dance, food, clothes," could very well be a well-crafted, gentrified trick. "Drake" is a hip hop performer whose career is dependent upon maintaining a sense of being, "Urban." He has acknowledged that he did not come from any said "Ghetto" neighborhood that is stereotypically believed that all black men come from, but in order to sell his music to people that require him to have some association and understanding with said "Ghetto / Urban" areas and people he portrays a persona of one that does. Many people forget that he is a trained actor that has been performing since he was a young child. If he is actually performing his true artistic expression or if he is playing a role, it is left for one to choose upon their own. Miley Cyrus and Justin Biber are performers whom, after spending their childhood years being dictated to and having their image strictly controlled, adopt "Urban" personas, mimicking what is stereotypically believed to be the behavior of "Ghetto / Urban" people. This mimicry is all in an effort to break away from their former childhood image of being, "wholesome, decent, and good" setting the precedent that being "Ghetto / Urban" is somehow not decent, not good, not wholesome, and strictly adult. A horrendous aspect of this mimicry is, in truth, shows how the performer, and the people that support the perform, really view what they consider to be "Ghetto / Urban." If a person was to do an imitation of person "A" and that imitation was marked by idiocy and buffoonery, it can be safely assumed that the person that is imitating person "A" does not hold them in high regard   The irony in this is that performers like Drake must maintain the "urban" person in order to continue his artistic expression as it is while performers like Miley Cyrus and Justin Biber and abandon the "urban" persona. Drakes current fan base dictates that he continues to maintain his "Urbaness" indefinitely while Miley Cyrus and Justin Biber can change because of the wider fan base that they have.


What is meant by the word, term, label, "Urban?" The answer greatly depends on how and what an individual defines a stereotype. What is meant by, "Urban: Art, literature, music, dance, food, clothes, culture?" The answer again greatly depends on how and what an individual defines as authentic. The truth of the label, "Urban" could be a perceived belief in an idea that a gentrifier could and maybe would allow some to believe. "Urban" is defined as the, and by the stereotypes, personal experiences, and misconceptions, of every individual that hears and dare uses the word. Defining, "urban" as one thing, in one way, leaves a psychological door open for those savvy enough, for those whom are thoroughly in drenched in the ways of capitalism, to profit from portraying precisely what others believe "Urban" to be instead of what they think or believe, "Urban" actually is. "Urban" then becomes what it was in the very beginning, a word, a label, a term left for interpretation as well as misinterpretation.

A Brief Unpacking And Examination Of Corruption And Nationalism Through The Shakespearean Plays: Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Othello, And Troilus & Cressida.

Christopher F. Brown
Prof. Chris Weidenbach
English 017 / Shakespeare

A Brief Unpacking And Examination Of Corruption And Nationalism Through The Shakespearean Plays: Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Othello, And Troilus & Cressida.

In a paper about the play, “Julius Caesar” I wrote that “Julius Caesar,” “. . . is a message of warning against, and commentary about nationalism.” The underlying themes of, commentaries about, Nationalism and Corruption are also very present in the plays: MacBeth, Othello, and Troilus & Cressida. The ideology of Nationalism is defined by Merriam Webster’s on-line dictionary as, “Loyalty and devotion to a nation, especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of the culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.” Corruption is, defined, again defined by Merriam Webster’s on-line dictionary, as “Impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle: depravity, decay, decomposition, inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means (as bribery) a departure from the original or from what is pure or correct.”

In the play, “Othello” the character of Othello is constantly referred to as “The Moor.” On the surface, this is just a term that lets the reader know that Othello is of North African descent, and possible a Muslim, Shakespeare never directly writes such in the play but it is inferred as such. If this is examined further, the slight of subtle Nationalism can be seen in Act 1, Scene 1, lines 105-110; Act 1, Scene 1 lines 127-134, and Act 1, Scene 2, lines 7-28. Iago, in a clear example of corruption,  and a subtle swipe of the negative aspects of Nationalism tries to convince Brabantio that it was a highly negative thing that Othello be married to his daughter, says,

Zounds, sir, you are on of those that will not serve God if the devil bid you. Because we come to do you service and you think we are ruffians, you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse, you’ll have your nephews neigh to you, you’ll have coursers for cousins, and gennets for germans.

-- Othello,  Act 1, Scene 1, lines 105-110

All of that simply means that Othello is a Moor, an outsider, not a Venetian. If you let him, Othello, the Barbary horse, which is a breed of Arabian horse and a derogatory term for a Moor, have your daughter your descendants, meant by nephews, will neigh to you, meaning that your descendants will be part beast. A courser is another horse, particularly, a fast warhorse used in medieval Europe, again making bestial references. A “genney” is an old English/Shakespearean term for “Jenny” which is a Spanish Donkey. Shakespeare uses the term “German” in the sense of the old English/Shakespearean usage which meant cousins, as in having the same grandparents on ones mother’s or father’s side of the family. Iago is not only being racist on the surface but is inferring that Othello might also have some Spanish blood in him as well. If Brabantio lets Othello have his daughter then the Spanish Donkeys, the “Gennys” will become apart of Brabantio family, appealing to the subtle draw of Venetian nationalism in that in medieval Europe, as well as in some places in modern Europe, Spain is known as a part of Europe and has European culture, but unspokenly, Spain has been looked down upon by other Europeans as other, not “truly” European. Iago is appealing to the nationalistic side of Brabantio in order to corrupt him against Othello.

One of the doctrines of Nationalism is the national purity of it’s citizens. The citizens of nation “A” should seek to procreate with other citizens of nation “A.” The procreation between citizens of nation, “A” with citizens of nation, “B” is only to be done sparingly, and only when it serves to benefit the nations that could not be had otherwise. In the case of Othello and Desdemona, they eloped without regard for proper protocol, without regard for the rules and regulations of high society, of the nation, of Venice. Roderigo under the corrupting influence of Iago in a plot to gain Desdemona for himself says to Brabantio in Act 1, Scene 1 lines 127-134,

Do not believe that from the sense of all civility I thus would play and trifle with your reverence. Your daughter, if you have not given her leave, I say again, hath made a gross revolt, tying her duty, beauty, with, and fortunes in extravagant and wheeling stranger of here and everywhere. straight satisfy yourself.

-- Othello, Act 1, Scene 1 lines 127-134

again giving nod to the same subtle usage of Nationalism and pointing out how he, Othello is an outsider, stating Othello is an, “extravagant and wheeling stranger of here and everywhere” is in a sense, saying to Brabantio that Desdemona has thrown away her, “duty, beauty, with, and fortunes” on a wandering nobody. This attempt is a direct appeal to Brabantio’s sense of nationalistic pride, and is using Nationalism here as a corrupting tool.

In the first part of  Act 1, Scene 2 Iago attempts to corrupt Othello against the Venetian aristocracy by telling him how horribly they spoke of him and how much harm they could do to him. Iago tells Othello how Brabantio is loved by the people and holds much influence and power beyond his rank. Iago plays on subtle Nationalistic notions and points out to Othello how Othello is once again considered an outsider. In Act 1, Scene 2, lines 17-28 Othello responds by saying,

Let him do his spite. My services which I have done the Signiory shall out-tongue his complaints. ‘tis yet to know which when I know that boasting is an honor I shall promulgate – I fetch my life and being from men of royal siege, and my demerits may speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune as this that I have reached. for know, Iago, but that I love the gentile Desdemona, put into circumscription and confine for the seas’ worth. but lights come yond?

Othello is forced to appeal to the ideology of Nationalism as being a servant of the nationalism of Venice, not a challenger. Othello is forced into a political Goldilocks paradigm. Othello can never be a fully accepted member of the nation, of Venice, yet if in good faith he marries into a high standing family as he did, although not for political purposes but actual love, and gives of himself at a high level of servitude as he did, he is not met with the full negative forces of being and outsider of the nation. Othello, for now, is left unassaulted, but not bruised, by Iago’s and Roderigo’s attempts to use the ideology of Nationalism against Othello, yet everyone has been fully induced into the initial stages of corruption Iago has planted.

This is as blatant as is the ideology of Nationalism is present in the play, “Othello.” In the play, “MacBeth” or “The Scottish Play,” Nationalism and Corruption are more present. Through prophecy and persuasion an increasingly corrupt MacBeth positions himself to gain the crown of Scotland. In “MacBeth," as with medieval other European monarchies, the idea is that the King (in the historical case of England and Spain, Queen) is the state/nation and serving the will of the King is serving the will of the state/nation. The conflict arises in, “MacBeth” when three witches tell MacBeth he will be King, as well as telling his good friend and fellow soldier Banquo, he will spawn a line of Kings. In the monarchical system of medieval Europe, there can only be one ruling King and typically that King’s children are the ones that inherit the thrown. The conflict is increased by the fact that neither of the men are in line to be King and there is already a reigning monarch at the start of the play.

“MacBeth,” speaks to the notion of how a spark ambition and what one is willing to do to accomplish the goals of ambition can turn one to corruption and using Nationalism as part of an arsenal of corrupting tools.  MacBeth’s wife fully embraces the corrupting notions of being a Queen, a head of state, when she receives MacBeth’s letter speaking of the prophecy foretold by the witches. Lady MacBeth pledges herself to do whatever she could to make the prophecy come true. As I wrote in another paper, the corruption of MacBeth has taken full effect and MacBeth goes, “. . .from a true nobleman with a heart and a sense of loyalty, duty, and a very present conscious to, by the time Lady MacBeth kills herself, a very heartless, cold, and power hungry man.” After MacBeth has killed Duncan, the rightful King of Scotland, and causes Malcolm and Donalbain, Duncan’s sons, to have fled to England, killed Banquo,  MacBeth then uses the guise of Nationalism, the will of the King as being good for, and the will of the kingdom, to cause MacDuff to flee Scotland as a traitor and then have his killed his family.

There are a select few that are willing to speak aloud, although not to his face, that all are not fully swept away in the new Nationalistic fever of praising MacBeth. In Act 3, Scene 4, lines 1-38 Lennox and Another random lord have a conversation amongst themselves, where they speak of the killing of Duncan, the fleeing of Malcolm, Donalbain, and McDuff, and openly refer to MacBeth as a tyrant. This conversation is Shakespeare's way of telling the reader that all have not fully fallen under the persuasion of MacBeth’s unrightfull implantation of himself as being the head of the nation and therefore setting the stage for conflict between MacBeth’s brand of Nationalism and the version that others whom are not loyal to MacBeth subscribe hold. If the reader fully undertakes analysis of  “MacBeth,” it is inferred that, Duncan the King of Scotland, has recently become so at the onset of “MacBeth” by having won a battle ousting the Thane of Cawdor and making MacBeth the new Thane. This notion is important because it plays against the theme of Nationalism and Corruption. If the reader is to assume that Duncan was a conquering force upon Scotland then his legitimacy to the throne of Scotland is only such because he took it by force. If this is true then it makes those loyal to Duncan, loyal to Malcolm, Donalbain, and McDuff no different than MacBeth. When reading “MacBeth,” the reader views MacBeth as a traitor and villain because he does not subscribe to the nationalistic ideology that has Duncan as head of state and corrupt for envisioning himself as head of state but factually Duncan, just as MacBeth, used Nationalism as a tool to establish himself as rightful monarch only more effectively having had other still loyal to him after his death and only having MacBeth revolt against him during his reign. It is because of MacBeth’s and Lady MacBeth’s ready willingness to pursue perceived corruption to supplant Duncan and implant themselves as head of state and then their latter succumbing to insanity, that reader views MacBeth’s and Lady MacBeth’s actions as corrupt when maybe, their actions might have been the very same as some of the actions of Duncan’s past.    

The message of Nationalistic legitimacy is the opposite, yet  in some ways similar to the Nationalistic warning found in the play “Julius Caesar.” Cesar is already established as the head of state, of Rome, and the vast majority of Romans accept his legitimacy. There are some; however that when put under pressure and have a bit of cajoling applied to them, come to believe that Caesar is no longer serving the interest of the people of Rome or Rome its self but their own. Rome being a republic at this time, there is no unquestioned ruler, the ruler has to answer to the senate and even though we like to believe the senate represented the people, it did not. The senate of ancient Rome represented the interests the Roman aristocracy. Brutus is one man, of the aristocracy, that is different from rest in that he truly does believe in doing what is right for the people of Rome. In a paper about, “Julius Caesar” I wrote, “. . . it was not jealousy that caused Brutus to act. The love of Rome, the love of country and state, caused Brutus to kill the man [Caesar] he also claimed to love.”

In, “Julius Caesar” the juxtaposition between the ideals of Nationalism are found. The one ideal in MacBeth were the King is the nation and the ideal found in more modern times where the people of the state, not just its head, are the state, are present. Brutus comes to reason that for the good of the nation, the good of Rome, to keep the established tenets of the latter ideals of Nationalism going not for personal gain, he must kill Caesar. This killing of Cesar, his dear friend, ultimately leads to his own death as well as Cesar’s, but Brutus believed that his death would be a small price to pay if the Nation, if Rome, would not be left in the hands of Caesar. Which Brutus perceived to be now and ultimately growing more corrupt. Brutus makes a mistake in believing that Mark Anthony poses no threat to his beloved Rome, and certainly not the threat present and perceived real threat in Caesar.

The welfare of the nation of Rome and the corruption of Caesar is the focus of “Julius Caesar” whereas “Troilus & Cressida” draws on strains of Nationalism similar to that of MacBeth. The leaders and heroes of the Nations act in a manner that they say is best for the nations but like “MacBeth” the people and even some of the nobility realize that the war between the Greeks and Trojans is not something that benefits them but only serves to benefit to a very tragic detriment, the egos and pride of the various aristocrats, heroes, princes, and Kings involved. Another lesson of “Troilus & Cressida” is that if the will of the people is not supported by the rulers then it is no longer a republic but a vastly corrupt dictatorship and the people are non-entities of the nation and Nationalism is only lip service used by the nobility on a people that do not know any better or can do nothing about it.

In these four plays Shakespeare examines Nationalism and corruption vaguely to very overtly and the effects on the leaders, would be leaders, participants and the average citizen of a nation. Nationalism, can be used as a tool unite a people, to rally them and throw off the shackles of oppression. Nationalism can also be misused by the leaders to only further themselves or their interests, all under the guise of being good for the nation. When this happens, or is revealed as having had happen, corruption has been in play, and eventually will take down the leader or person that is corrupt. Unlike the nicely well wrapped plays of Shakespeare, history shows us corrupt officials and people in power take time and blood to be toppled. In these plays Shakespeare gives the reader, and subsequently the viewer of the plays, a glimpse of the ideology that is Nationalism and Corruption as a doubled edge sword. If the wielder of that sword is not careful the wielder could find themselves on the receiving edge and the cut meant for someone else is the blow that brings them down.  

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Pen to Paper & Finger to Key © 2008. Design by: Pocket