Archive for the ‘satire’ Category

Gordon Brown as Macbeth?

June 12, 2009

I had been seeing our most dear and revered Prime Minister as Gordon the Unready, for his parallels with Ethelread, who had a similar set of ups and downs and opened the way for William the Conqueror as his legacy to England, just as Gordon has opened us to the tyranny of generations of debt.

But it has suddenly struck me that he has far more in common with Macbeth, sometime King of Scotland, and particularly as portrayed by Shakespeare (in ‘The Scottish Play’).

Consider the line up.

Macbeth, Thane of Glamis – Gordon Brown
Coincidentally both are Scottish. When he becomes Thane of Cawdor (Chancellor of the Exchequer) his ambitions increase, and he eventually ‘kills’ the previous leader (Blair), and then becomes increasingly paranoid and obsessive.

Malcom and Banquo’s Ghost – Tony Blair
The previous leader, removed by the supplanter’s hand, is then the taunting ghost at the banquet.

Macduff – Caroline Flint or Alistair Darling or Peter (Lord) Mandelson
A friend, fellow Thane and general who finally dispatches Macbeth – offstage and therefore out of our sight.

At the end Macbeth claims no reason to fear Macduff, for he has been promised by the witches that he cannot be killed by any man born of woman. Macduff reveals he was “from his mother’s womb untimely ripp’d” (meaning born by Caesarean section) and was therefore not “of woman born”.

That may translate into a number of situations that fit the three ‘actors. In theory Peter Mandelson, as a member of the House of Lords, cannot assume the role of Prime Minister. But I think this is simply convention, following the moves 100 years ago to control the House of Lords by Lloyd George.

Hecate (Chief witch/Goddess of Witchcraft) – Peter [now Lord] Mandelson
At the famous cauldron [restaurant] meeting he tells Brown his time will come, though Malcolm (Blair) is the first chosen. He turns to Hecate again when things get tough.

Siward and Young Siward – various Tory Party leaders
The English forces [political opponents] that are defeated

The play is mainly about the plotting and deeds of Macbeth. The first focus is the killing of Malcolm, and the assumption of kingship by Macbeth but, despite his success, he is uneasy and first fears Banquo and organises an assassination, and at the feast with Banquo’s ghost there is the fearful sight of Macbeth in a rage.

Macbeth seeks the help of the witches again. He is told to “beware Macduff”, but also that “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” and he will “never vanquish’d be until Great Wood to high shall come against him”. All things that seem to protect him.

But he becomes increasingly paranoid and obsessive, and yet certain of his invincibility.
Another proof that Shakespeare wrote for all time – and that those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it! Here are a few quotes in which you might see resonance:

I am in blood
Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.

–Macbeth, Act III, scene iv

Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love: now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.

–Angus, Act V, scene ii

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

–Macbeth, Act V, scene v

© June 12 2009 Joseph Harris

Ah, satire; love it! 😉

Debt Control Man