[20180515] 莎士比亞的”暴君”們

[20180515] 莎士比亞的”暴君”們

Bloody-Scepter’d ‘Tyrant’ Explores Shakespeare’s Take On Politics

By Scott Simon and Stephen Greenblatt @NPR

在哈佛任教的莎士比亞專家 Stephen Greenblatt 上節目宣傳他的的新書 <Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics>。莎士比亞身處英國伊麗莎白一世統治的後期,此時公開稱呼君主爲暴君 (tyrant) 已被伊麗莎白一世的父親亨利八世作爲犯罪寫進法律,莎士比亞只能把他對政治的探討投射到他劇中的人物,如 Macbeth、Richard III、Coriolanus、King Lear 等,Greenblatt 將莎士比亞這種以古鑑今的手法用到現代,希望回到四百年前,分析莎士比亞撰寫這些暴君的手法,能夠帶給現代逐漸失序的世界一些啓發。

該書的簡介 (from goodreads)

As an aging, tenacious Elizabeth I clung to power, a talented playwright probed the social causes, the psychological roots, and the twisted consequences of tyranny. In exploring the psyche (and psychoses) of the likes of Richard III, Macbeth, Lear, Coriolanus, and the societies they rule over, Stephen Greenblatt illuminates the ways in which William Shakespeare delved into the lust for absolute power and the catastrophic consequences of its execution.

Cherished institutions seem fragile, political classes are in disarray, economic misery fuels populist anger, people knowingly accept being lied to, partisan rancor dominates, spectacular indecency rules—these aspects of a society in crisis fascinated Shakespeare and shaped some of his most memorable plays. With uncanny insight, he shone a spotlight on the infantile psychology and unquenchable narcissistic appetites of demagogues—and the cynicism and opportunism of the various enablers and hangers-on who surround them—and imagined how they might be stopped. As Greenblatt shows, Shakespeare’s work, in this as in so many other ways, remains vitally relevant today.

莎士比亞對暴君的着迷源自於一個問題:人民通常都知道這些野心家滿口謊言、衝動、善於煽動情緒,但爲什麼人民還是甘於讓他們爬上高位成爲暴君呢?莎士比亞認爲,主要原因是人們也會考量自身的利益,其中一些人 (Greenblatt 稱之爲 enablers) 甚至爲了自身利益而在明知這些野心家的真面目時,仍然主動幫助這些他們。

莎士比亞還對如何逃脫暴君很有興趣,在他的劇中有使用暴力如刺殺來消滅暴君的、有勇敢站出來說出真相的 (一般是女性)、還有作爲僕人卻勇敢替受害者說情的,莎士比亞對這些不同種類的反抗也多有着墨。

在莎士比亞的晚年,他似乎認爲堅持執行民主程序、投票程序等細節,能夠真正防止暴君的崛起:

Shakespeare thought in a very sustained way about what it would mean for politicians, low-level, ordinary politicians to insist on the observing of democratic procedures, on voting procedures, as they do in that play, Coriolanus. And that is what, in effect, defeats the rising tyrant.

延伸閱讀:

  1. The Psychic Tyranny of Shakespeare’s Tyrants
  2. What can ‘Macbeth’ teach us about President Trump’s next move?

相關詞匯:

  • demagogues: a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

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