Shakespeare Solved ®

Shakespeare Solved ® is a forthcoming series of novels that covers the Bard's entire life and work.

These novels solve the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare by transporting us back in time, to walk in his shoes, and see his world through his eyes.

Only when we see Shakespeare in his original historical context can we understand what his plays and poems really mean.

This blog explains some of my ideas and discoveries, to prepare for this series of novels.

Please join over 70,000 people on facebook, Twitter & Google Plus following Shakespeare Solved ® -- the number one Shakespeare blog in the world!

Articles Written For:

The University of Oxford's Bodleian Library & The Royal Shakespeare Company

Most Popular Posts:

1. Shakespeare's Shylock Solved 2. Shakespeare's Othello Finally Identified 3. Shakespeare In Love Sequel Solved 4. The Real Romeo and Juliet 5. Shakespeare's Malvolio Solved 6. Shakespeare's Real Petruchio

Friday, October 13, 2017

Shakespeare and Harvey Weinstein

One of the most powerful and influential producers in the history of world cinema is having an unprecedented fall from grace.

Harvey Weinstein, film producer and studio chief, has been accused of many cases, going back 30 years, of predatory sexual assault — including rape.

The allegations against him are so specific, so widespread, and so persuasive, that I find it hard to imagine that he is innocent.

It has all the makings of a Shakespeare tragedy.

Macbeth’s “vaulting ambition” and his “black and deep desires” made him run headlong towards disaster and death.

King Lear’s test of love and turned his “crawl toward death” into another dash towards insanity and death.

Perhaps Angelo from Measure for Measure is the most appropriate figure from Shakespeare, to represent the predatory sexual power politics that Harvey Weinstein seems to have employed for decades.

Angelo offers Isabella, a novice nun, to spare the life of her brother if she has sex with him.

By the end of the play, Angelo is punished, but the punishment does not fit the crime — perhaps a caution to us today, that we should not let the Angelos of the world get away with their criminal acts and abuses of power.

There is an irony in the fact that this film producer who made the most popular and most beloved film about Shakespeare, and who produced and/or distributed other film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, is himself destroyed by desires that Shakespeare recognized so well.

Mr. Weinstein produced and/or distributed Prospero’s Books starring John Gielgud, Hamlet starring Ethan Hawke, Love’s Labour’s Lost by Kenneth Branagh, and Coriolanus by Ralph Fiennes.

Arguably the most enduringly popular film he ever produced is Shakespeare In Love, which of course he also shepherded to the stage as a play.

I have a love/hate relationship with that film. I enjoy it as entertainment, as a romantic film fantasy of Shakespeare.

But I hate the fact that it is has such a dominant and outsize influence on our understanding of Shakespeare.

It is a great film. But it is terrible Shakespeare.

And as much as I dislike the film, I do think that a sequel should in fact be made.

Mr. Weinstein announced in late 2013 that a sequel was planned. But now, what with this growing scandal, and the possible dissolution of Mr. Weinstein’s company, I doubt that a sequel will ever be made.

That is horrible. Another film should be made, regardless of whether he is involved or not.

Ultimately, I think Mr. Weinstein did not heed the Bard’s most basic lesson of, which Shakespeare adopted primarily from the Bible — if you test God, you will suffer the consequences.

The Macbeths, the Lears, and the Angelos of this world all put their own ambition, and gluttonous desires ahead of God. 

Shakespeare knew that when King Saul, King David, for example, put their desires ahead of God, they would face ruin.

Shakespeare knew that Aeschylus’ character Orestes got more than he bargained for, when his one and only ambition was to commit a crime against a woman — he wanted to murder his own mother!

But the Greek gods gave Orestes more than he bargained for. 

Vengeful spirits, the Furies, chase him off stage and spend the next few years hunting him, until he is brought to justice.

Mr. Weinstein spent much of his career building power and influence, and apparently used that as a weapon.

He tempted fate. He tested God. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and apparently Mr. Weinstein scorned many many women.

In a 2015 survey of the acceptance speeches at the Academy Awards, Harvey Weinstein was thanked more times than God.

God was in sixth place. 

Meryl Streep accepted an award and joked that Harvey Weinstein was “God” — and he laughed. 

If Mr. Weinstein is punished, as anyone should be for such depravity, I suspect the rest of his life will be an endless torment of lawsuits and jail sentences.

It looks like the Furies will chase him off stage, and hunt him for years, until he faces justice.

David B. Schajer

No comments:

Post a Comment