Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Bright Film with a Dark Heart: An Education (October 2010)

The film "An Education" is a coming of age story adapted from a memoir by well-known Guardian journalist, Lyn Barber, from her teenage life in 1961.(1) It is her recollection of being wooed and feted as a 16 year-old girl by an older man in his mid 30s.  She was a talented young girl with a lust for life. It is a "journey" film but her journey was along the wrong course and back on track again: a coming of age film. The film was released in October 2009 and critically acclaimed with eight BAFTA nominations, a nomination for a Golden Globe and numerous glowing reviews.
"An Education' is one of the best films released in a long while with superb actors, script and the power to make you question and change your views about education.
The reviews in general are conventional and miss a dark, sinister heart in this well-acted and engaging drama. (2) It is seen as entertainment in a standard theme of coming of age after some life experiences. It has a subtle screenplay by Nick Hornby and the director was involved until the third draft.(3) The moral of the story is about making the right choices in life. Jenny and her parents are taken in by a charmer, a sociopath, and the choice is fun and sophisticated restaurants and hotels or a humdrum life of teaching or civil service that begins after Oxford University.
Jenny reasons that her parents and teachers have failed to achieve a life she can regard as inspirational and, as she is joyful and intoxicated with David and his friends, why should she work so hard to pursue an Oxford career? Why not drop out and live life to the fullest? As events unfold, things are not as clear cut as they seemed.
Ultimately Jenny works out for herself why education is worth pursuing. Some reviewers have described it as a charming film, romantic, serious and funny, not substantial, but giving an authentic slice of English life-- teachers, parents and institutions. It's a bit sexy and a bit sad. There is a moving confessional scene at the end when the dad delivers a cup of tea with his biscuits to his grieving daughter's door.
The cast is outstanding with faultless acting. Carey Mulligan is radiant as Jenny and Alfred Molina plays her limited father, easily persuaded by the glib Peter Sarsgaard as David, and Olivia Williams as the despairing teacher. Dominic Cooper is excellent as David's friend, one of those slimy types who live by their wits and always choose malleable, attractive women. Rosamund Pike as his girlfriend is outstanding especially when Helen is puzzled by the common term "to read English" while the great Billy Fury's Maybe Tomorrowplays in the background.
The film explores eternal questions that rise up in young lives: Jenny asks herself about the importance of passing her exams and going to Oxford are echoes of thoughts other teenagers have. The contrast between David, his glamorous friends and lifestyle whose education was at the 'university of life', and the 'boring' life led by Jenny's English teacher and headmistress who both had degrees is marked.

But what have they missed - with the exception of a friend who contacted me in alarm? That this film succeeds in promoting a negative image of Jewishness while reviewers analysed it conventionally through the orthodox ideology. What we are seeing in this is the beginning of the creation of anti-Jewish stereotype and we have caught it as it emerges from the shadows. Antisemitism in Britain usually comes from Liberal-Socialist types who oppose Israel and support Palestinian groups. This could herald Jewish people getting The Frankfurt School Treatment - negative, psychological warfare. David's character is introduced and defined by his Jewishness. I would have expected "sociopathy" but the film presents Jewishness as a pathology.
The First Act or exposition stage of a film introduces the characters and shows Jenny's normal life and introduces her ambition for Oxford. Jenny's normal world is disrupted by David who enters it at 6 minutes into the film and defines himself as a Jew. This is the part of a film where character is defined and this is how we interpret the film; we carry this notion of his character through the film. This view of David acting as he does because he is Jewish is not undercut later in the film and this is the context in which all his actions now take place. He is defined as someone Jewish behaving in a typical way rather than a sociopath who happens to be Jewish as is usual in contemporary film and drama. This departs from the orthodox ideology and presents his badness as growing out of being Jewish.
The story is advanced by scenes and these scenes which show him taking Jenny to places are driven by David's character which is defined as Jewish not sociopathic. The writer selects events to create a strong dramatic line.
The theme of David as a Wandering Jew is reinforced by Dad's comment to Jenny's young friend, Graham-the one who is to be dismissed because he is awkward and young. We are thus prepared for the entry of a "Wandering Jew." This is his essential nature in the film as he is faithless and always on the move. At his first visit to her home, she emphasises at 15 minutes that he is a "Wandering Jew" and he then walks in as her father is repeating it. Her father laughs embarrassedly.
We are given clues to David's nature at 29 minutes in, when we see him leave Jenny in the car to let a family of Black immigrants into a flat while an elderly woman looks out of a window worriedly. Jenny is in David's world now, not her own. Soon after, we see her enjoying herself with her new friends as her schoolwork suffers. This is quickly followed by David and his associate stealing an historic and valuable map from an elderly lady. Jenny recoils at this but is talked around and becomes a party to it. She becomes a party to their dishonesty.
Dad gives her a Latin dictionary for her birthday as her young suitor Graham does, too-which shows him as young and awkward compared to the suave and confident David. David's charm and greater sophistication are pointed up as he brings a pile of presents. David appears to be understanding and sympathetic and gets around her "simple" parents. The evil as part of Jewishness is given absolute emphasis at 105 minutes when they go to meet Rachman at the races: "He is not the sort of person who has an office." Rachman is eponymous and his name is a by-word for corrupt landlords. This knowledge reinforces the negativity of Jewishness in the film. The derogatory term "Rachmanism" came from him as did new laws that were passed to protect people. One scam as mentioned above was moving Black immigrant families in or prostitutes to drive elderly sitting tenants who were protected by law out. These elderly ladies are referred to a "Stats" in the film.
In the film, Jenny naively failed to look for contradictions or to question her lover more closely but just goes along with his corruption as David gives her justifications (albeit immoral ones such as the map being better off with them since the old lady didn't know what it was). In the article, Barber claims it was because her teenage self affected a suburban existentialism that forbade such questioning as "bourgeois". Hornby's script suggests that there was more than that. She was deceived by a low type and hindered by English politeness while being ashamed of her own lack of sophistication. She was taken in by someone brazen enough to believe in his own lies, by one we are told is "a Wandering Jew". I doubt that open antisemitism would be expressed by a headteacher (Emma Thompson) at that time and that she would have denounced Jews as Christ-killers in so blunt a way, if at all. This is based on the memoir as headmistress Miss R.Scott-Garwood looked aghast when Jenny told her she was to marry a Jewish man but that does not imply the harsh denunciation of the film. This was condemnation; not shock.
I enjoyed the film but was concerned about this one disturbing addition to the source material for the film which seemed intentionally included by the film makers for no other reason except to further an anti-Semitic agenda. 
How would the adapter approach the source material? In the early stages of the film, the exposition stage, when character is being explained, there are references to "a Wandering Jew," and in his first appearance, David defines himself as a "Jew". From now on his behaviour is seen as being because he is Jewish. An important function of dialogue is to reveal character as one talks about oneself or when other characters do. This also carries the story forward and communicates information to the audience. Here, this was done by constant references to David's Jewishness. As David is the second principle character who drives the plot forward, Jewishess becomes a main theme.
David in the film is good-looking but in real life not so. In the memoir, Lyn Barber writes: "Of course my friends all clamoured to meet Simon, but I never let them. I was afraid of something --afraid perhaps that they would see through him, see, not the James Bond figure I had depicted, but this rather short, rather ugly, long-faced, splay-footed man who talked in different accents and lied about his age, whose stories didn't add up."
Events bring out character and the events involving David drive the film. This requires a clearly defined character with specific traits and sociopathy would have been the more appropriate choice but, instead, the filmmakers deliberately emphasise David's Jewishness. The events selected by the filmmakers show David's atrocious character and by now we have been prepared by allusions to see this as inhering in or stemming from his Jewishness.
The American novelist Henry James had an analogy of illumination that goes thus: He imagined a main character in a circle surrounded by the other characters each time one interacts with him they illuminate a different aspect of his character. Dialogue illuminates character and tells the audience about the character's history. This is a "journey" story and its strength comes from this.

The talk with the headmistress re-affirms David's nature. "Jews killed our Lord" and are therefore evil. The audience waits for this "truth" to be undercut but it is affirmed at the climax. David is from those who killed our Lord-the symbol of goodness who came to save us. He is the betrayer, the Judas.
We don't know if any of the other characters are Methodist, Anglican, Protestant, atheist, etc. and wouldn't know unless that was chosen to be highlighted. His use of "shwartzeh" for black, rather than just saying "blacks" or "negroes" (considering the time), seems as if they are making it more of a slur. 
His Jewishness was emphasised throughout the entire film-from his comment at the beginning and then many more times throughout in case one kept missing it. Jenny is  redeemed at the end by going to Oxford and, of course, the headmistress is then shown to be right.
Jews are, as a voting bloc, ultra-liberal and sympathize with socialism. They are intelligent and successful but are they, as a group, dishonest and corrupting? This film gives that impression.
David is the only Jewish character in the film and it is part of his self-image. There are no external signs of Jewishness-- no kippah, no ethnic look or clothing so, if one didn't know-if he or someone else in the film wasn't continually pointing it out, he would be a character like the others rather than the embodiment of an ethnicity. He is a corrupter of innocence; a fraud, a thief, a liar, a scammer. He is a child abandoner. He has done this before, according to the abandoned wife with child beside her, who is now jaded. He has impregnated other innocent British girls. He lowers property values and ruins society. He steals from innocent vulnerable people and takes the treasures of the culture for himself like the stereotypical money-grubbing Jew. 
There is a purposeful link made between the Jew and evil and corruption. It is purposeful because they produced it that way. It is not fair to say, well, the fellow in real life upon which the film is based was a Jew because so many other details of the memoir were altered and many were altered radically. But the man was not only kept a Jew in the film, his ethnicity was emphasised while so much else was changed.
This is not subtle, but explaining it is difficult because it is almost impossible to see if one is not attuned to this kind of propaganda. But, to an Englishman who has been made to feel guilty from birth for our history, it was plain.  A Jewish friend in America emailed me in some distress and, to be sure she had got it right, I asked what situations the Jewish character is shown in. As soon as she said exploiting Blacks I knew she had spotted something important because that is how we English are made to feel guilty, by negative stereotypes, which destroy the humanity of a select group and dehumanises them. Once that takes hold, anything can be done to them because they cease to be seen as human. Once this is explained, it's plain.
The same kind of propaganda found in Nazi antisemitic literature makes a return in "An Education" but at a more subtle level. This is how a negative political ideology works: it takes a group and dehumanises them by substituting negative characteristics for their essential humanity. Whatever goes wrong it is they who did it and people can retaliate without conscience because they do not share our humanity.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Power Of Music 

Rock music crashed into public awareness in 1955. The record that started the movement was Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets and used on the soundtrack of the American film “Blackboard Jungle” which was about juvenile delinquents and teenage gangs in a New York school.

Where the film was shown or Haley played the cinemas were wrecked and seats slashed with knives. This established the wild, rebellious posture that young people began to imitate and gave them a manufactured identity and rebellion against their families and local traditions.

It was an American mass-cultural style, an amalgam of various forms but principally Country and Western and the black Rhythm and Blues. It came in a package with a style of dress and ways of walking and behaving.

Haley was suceeded by Elvis Presley who defined the style and look for the next decade and has a religious devotion nearl 40 years after his death. His home Gracelands attracts worshippers on the scale of Lourdes or Mecca.

If anyone found one of his toenails fans would probably be cured of Scrofula! It was Elvis who broke the old American establishment. Known as “Elvis the Pelvis” because of his hip shaking performances, to begin, he was only shown from the waist up on American television.

He got his break when Sam Phillips owner of Phillips records wanted a white singer who sounded black. Rock has always been a global form promoted from the top but not developed from communities.

The style changed in 1962 with The Beatles whose live appearances again produced mass hysteria and in 1964 had an audience of 58, 000 at the Shea stadium in New York, which was exceptional at the time. Their records sold millions even before release and at one time they had the top 5 hits on the American Billboard chart.

John Lennon made his famous remark that “We are more popular than Jesus,” that appalled many but was objectively true. Two of the members wrote their own songs which attained a standard of melody that probably surpassed Rogers and Hammerstein. Siy Sir Paul McCartney has been compared with great European composer Franz Peter Schubert (1797 – 1828) by Peter Maxwell Davies.

Talented artists were subsumed into the global enterprise making millions in advertising and book sales and weakened the culture and traditions of independent nations. Rock and its sanitized form pop is mass, universal entertainment.
The destructive side of Rock music is that it was often produced and listened to through drugs.

There was a negative and corruptive sub-culture to go with the drugs and musi which, in fact, depended on the drugs used by the musicians. There was required reading to support the drug culture like it: Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, Carlos Casteneda, for those who thought they were on a spiritual path; or, for those who wanted political revolution, “The Greening of America” by Charles Reich and the Marxist who inspired the Woodstock festival, and the Hippy movement, Herbert Marcuse. People who did not show full devotion were sneered at as psueds.

Rock stars were promoted as Gurus. The one most feted was John Lennon. But how deep does the thinking go? Lennon was interviewed for Marxist magazine, 'Red Mole' by wealthy editor Tariq Ali who wrote,” A limo pulled up outside our office, to the astonishment of bystanders. My colleague Robin Blackburn and I piled in and were driven to Tittenhurst, his Surrey mansion. We spoke for most of the day, saw one of Yoko's avant-garde films (which Robin adored) and were driven back to London. The interview had gone extremely well. Both John and Yoko had been disarmingly frank. The very next morning John rang. He had been so inspired by our interview that he had written a new song. Could he sing it down the phone? He could. That was how I first heard "Power to the People".

Tittenhurst Park a massive, white, 200 yr-old Georgian mansion in Ascot, Surrey had an eight-track studio, 7 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 reception rooms and stood in 70 acres of Parkland. Not only did he record "Working Class Hero" and describe it as a song for the revolution. Here he wrote in his best known song, “Imagine” no possessions” but died leaving $275 million. He donated to the Ira and Black Panthers.

The groups of the first beat boom looked back but for inspiration not to imitate. The Beatles based their early songs on those of Buddy Holly and used his format for a band of 3 guitarists and drummer. The Rolling Stones were part of a white blues movement in London and adopted instruments such as Maracas from black blues singers in the states and the Sitar from India. These influences aided their own productions and helped developed their own song writing. For the young musicians in the early 60’s the influx of American blues records was inspiration.

A fundamental feature of rock is excitement and the power to put people into frenzy. That is all gone, now. The current artists are looking back to previous bands. There has been a shift from copying the 1960’s groups to the 80’s, but it is still looking back to more exciting and creative times but with no development.

Although it was once the young, the main buyers of rock music now are in their 40’s and 50’s. The young have no cultural music of their own and look back to eras before they were born or to New York forms like Hip Hop and Rap.

I recently went to a poetry reading in a pub and it was nothing to do with our culture or traditions but readings in “rap.” Even less than Rock or pop this does not grow out of the natural interactions of the community, or as an expression of some deep care or aspect of life but is an aspect of our decultaration.

Popular music is parceled into types and eras and the quest of the multi-national corporations for a new sounds, a new look, a new star promoted beyond their talent and inculcated by magazines and television programmes..

The difficulty has always been matching the words to a tune. Pop is manufactured specially to make money by titillating young people with boy or girl bands with the right look. There is no cultural development and the more popular acts sound indistinguishable.

Rock and Pop comes in waves and fashions and because it operates on the surface of life, puts down no roots and locks people into an era. -“When was your era”, as if all of life comes to an end when a new fad begins!

One 23 yr-old woman tells me her favourite band is The Doors and her hero Jim Morrison who died 12 years before she was born. This would not be pathetic if she had said her heroes were say Wagner or Beethoven, as they were part of a deep tradition of music which can move people everywhere and by their genius transcend their era.

The image of rebellion is used to corrupt the fans while making millions. A young woman told me she likes the Sex Pistols and the Clash, “They are anti establishment”. What?  They pretend to be, but are worth millions and live in mansions with servants and top schools for their children which is never publiciused in the media. Only there posing as rebels is shown. There are 14 year-olds raving about the Clash who were late 70s early 80s! Looking at the Charts is like looking at the stock exchange index and buying a CD like shopping for processed food in a supermarket.

Everything is packaged, the images on the front are designed to appeal to usually base instincts. There is neither spontaneous talent nor inspiration. Mass produced Rock and Pop is dying, its energy gone, or, fading away as T.S.Eliot put it in “The Hollow Men”, “Not with a bang, But a whimper. What will fill this gap?

The time is right to begin replacing this artificial music by re- linking to our own traditions and re-developing them for our current time and experiences. We can not recreate the past by imitating it and must use the instruments that modern musicians have done so much with.

Many people now prefer a guitar solo from Clapton, Jimmi Hendrix or Gary Moore than an aria from an opera. It is also futile to try to recreate the original sounds by playing early old instruments a thousand years late - we should be like a choir of caterwaulers screeching on catgut.

I mentioned Blues music. This is a genuine culture and grows out of the real experiences of poor, black singers who tramped the southern states articulating a deep need and a plaint for improvement. This is an immediate expression of the sufferings of a community grown out of experience not manufactured.

Our natural culture is being destroyed as we are re-culturalised for a global culture. We should seek to introduce an understanding of our spiritual and social malaise into traditional forms. We are being oppressed by our elected representatives who have hoodwinked us into trusting them as looking after our interests is a subject for community songs. There is precedent in our Ballads of Robin Hood.
The early songs of Bob Dylan give an idea of how to articulate our modern oppressions. He wrote protest songs with a contemporary theme but within traditional structures. His anthem for the new era “The Times They are A Changing” was expressed musically by using the tune of “An Irish Rover”.

“Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is Rapidly aging”

This was a hymn to the Adversary culture but it suggests the way. A Hard Rains A-Gonna fall” contains imaginative poetic imagery. With Dylan the whole is greater than the parts and the images are built up until one has the feel of mans’ destructive potential.

It is developed from our traditional Border Ballad, Lord Randall:

"O where ha you been, Lord Randal, my son?
And where ha you been, my handsome young man?"
"I ha been at the greenwood; mother, make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied wi hunting, and fain wad lie down."

In Dylan,

“Oh, were have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, were have you been my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways,
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, etc…

In the original Lord Randall has been poisoned by his lover, in Dylan the world has been poisoned by humanity. It was the time of the Cuban missile crisis and Dylan uses traditional forms to carry the contemporary thoughts and emotions felt by people across the world. The Dylan piece is more sophisticated than its model and the language poetic but it suggests a way of re-linking with our musical origins and but being topical for our current time.

TV and radio no longer have such powerful control over what we watch and hear as the internet has opened up new ways of broadcasting music. There are local shows and festivals to begin a renewal of musical culture, like the return of spring after the cold and blasts of winter. There are local and back street pubs that need custom and many who want to escape trendy bars with their excessively loud dance music which destroys customers’ ears.

Culture develops by like-minded people performing and writing for and about their communities not from theoretic blueprints. Natural music grows out of the community whereas artificial pop and rock are manufactured and “consumers” manipulated into buying it. Development within a tradition gives continuity and acts as a spine to hold communities together. It is time to begin re-linking with our cultural origins.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mass Culture and Human Nature (September 2009)

remember being in The Yacht, a fine pub in Torquay, 3 years ago. They had murals of various rock stars and I remarked on their insincerity and the landlady and the barmaid seemed offended. It was as if I had insulted their friends or family: so much part of people’s psychological lives are these icons.
But they are little more than cardboard cut outs: they pose constantly but only show one side of themselves and this pretence is kept up by the media. The pose as rebels but live in fabulous mansions, have gardeners, butlers, nannies and send their children to the best schools.                 

Human nature is corruptible which is why attempts to degrade young people work.

Pop stars are talented but to get these great riches they corrupt young people by example and by advocating things such as drugs. They are very much part of the general orthodoxy or their careers would soon be destroyed. Their personae are usually an embodiment of a fashionable idea. David Bowie in his early days embodied the feminist idea of androgyny; Madonna popularised sado-masochism, though the philosophy came from Foucault. In real life she tried to live as an English country lady while in public she pretends to be a rebel effing and blinding and snogging Britney at award ceremonies.

The New Left would never have replaced traditional liberalism in the 1960's if it were not for pop singers. An attack on Enoch Powell was contained in the early versions of the Beatles 1969 hit “Get Back” which began as a send up of telling people to "Get Back" to their own countries to satirise the “Rivers of Blood” speech. But Paul McCartney thought better of it and made the lyrics more oblique.

Pop stars are arbiters of taste and behaviour and must take personal responsibility for the harm they have done to young people by creating degenerate images to make themselves millions. Young people identify with them and are beguiled by their rebellious and exciting poses. Those whose pictures they have on their bedroom walls are their role models.

Of contemporary music rap is very popular but corruptive as the aggressive misogynistic lyrics changes the attitudes of young men who start to treat their girlfriends roughly. It also decultures us as it is replacing traditional verse in pub poetry.
Pop stars have replaced religious and national icons for millions of people. The man who undermined the western world Elvis Presley has a religious devotion 32 years after his death and his home Gracelands attracts worshippers on the scale of Lourdes.

Soaps show young females as objects to arouse male desire and break down inhibitions to grooming young girls. I recently heard a man who has an 11 year-old daughter lustingly commenting on Sophie Webster! Those who promote this are not innocent television producers and writers but know what they are doing. In East Enders Jim Branning’s daughter Lauren (born 29th March 1994), usually wore a very short dress; Lucy Beale (born 9 December 1993), looked as though she was wore a push-up bra. On Coronation Street Kevin Webster’s daughter Sophie's breasts push out of her top and she was about 14. Contemporary art and entertainment is creating a climate where our young women are only worth sex. Parents who watch these programmes should start to realise what is being done to their children.

Photos of Girls Aloud posing as "sexy schoolgirls" shows a look to be imitated and turns children into sexual targets. Dressing up little girls like prostitutes signals that this mode of dress is sanctioned by the Establishment to paedophiles who are made to feel their behaviour is becoming accepted.

The modern manipulators are leading us into degeneracy through popular culture.  In a recent TV series "I'm a Celebrity Get Me out of Here", simple people, described as Celebrities, were so degraded as to eat live worms and stick insects.

There are several levels to this: there is cruelty to lesser animals; encouraging children to eat insects and slugs in the garden and the decline into more degradation of our people and culture. For example, on a “reality” programme one masturbated a pig and on another, one fried and ate Kangaroos testicles. They do not see themselves as lowering their esteem but reacting to the old image of Twin Set and pearls!

Culture is social engineering now and the desired attitudes are arranged and presented to be sympathetic and thus to change people’s attitudes. The Soaps promote “gay” lifestyles. This does not happen by serendipity. It is planned in meetings. The “Goodies” are shown sympathetically and glamorously, every character they want us to imitate is attractive and cool; the “Baddies”, those they want us to hate, are thick and unlovable. It does not occur in a vacuum but in tandem with other developments and helped to manipulate acceptance for the Government plans to equalise the sexual marriage laws.
Contemporary art is used to undermine the Sacred needs of people. Every year time-warped artists stage a ritual by setting up an ordinary member of the public. The script is this: an elderly person takes a youngster, say grandchild or niece, to an exhibition and is shocked by something on display, like an unmade bed or something that requires little imagination, and complains to the press. Then the curator is quoted as saying, “Art is to make people think, and to provoke feelings”. This hackneyed response has been used on each occasion for at least the last 30 years.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the modernist movement set about destroying the form and grammar of traditional art and thus the content, and made it both unintelligible and uninteresting. In the 60’s the New Left became the new "elites". Aristocrat rulers had sense of “noblesse oblige" towards the working classes and a sense of responsibility but the elites, who grew out of the new left, corrupt them out of contempt and personal gain. 

What are the effects of this constant debilitation of people?Ordinary people lose contact with our civilization and become disorientated, lost, suffer from bereavement and become depressed.

Our culture is still amenable to the elites but our manipulated young and those from a de-culturalised background give up. They cannot take refuge in a smaller cultural world like the elites who live in large houses in posh areas of London, or beautiful English villages as country gentlefolk. They lose heart and, having nowhere to go descend into vices and viciousness; they are no longer civilized and do not know how to behave. They become prey to amoral meritocrats who use and exploit them.

The papers devote pages to the drugged and drunken antics of “celebs” and footballers while the celeb magazines and radio stations promote those who have degraded themselves on Reality TV shows. They show them leaving night clubs drunk and question whether they are wearing knickers or not. The people who make these programmes and write the magazines are educated and intelligent people so they know what they are doing to our young people.

I looked at the covers of two celeb magazines: one stated, “Posh is looking tired and stressed. Is it too much partying?” The other, “Britney and Paris’ wild night out.”

They are constantly belittled by TV shows that call them chavs and show them as stupid and dysfunctional which almost subliminally deprives them of self worth and they seek it in drink and drugs. There is a trend in drinking amongst people as young as 10 -15. We see them all over the country in subways, on recreation grounds, schoolchildren drinking cans that they have been sold by shopkeepers.

Our young people do not understand their loss of identity, the loss of the sense of who they are and loss of self-worth. What are the consequences? The degradation shows in their social lives when they try to escape from themselves.

A 20 year-old young woman told me how she and her cousin go on. “We were so drunk,” she said beaming, “...we couldn’t stand.” They could not remember how they got home. I asked if they like getting drunk. “It’s social” one replied; the other, ”It’s good fun.” “It is acceptable now like sex and dress.”
Some politicians claim stopping “Happy Hours” would stop drunkenness but there are ways of getting drunk quickly and cheaply like “drinking glasses of water while drinking alcohol because it reacts in your blood and you get drunk quicker.” There is also a trick of gulping air down while you drink. I asked who originates these tricks. “Probably, the breweries”, she replied.
They have been educated to see themselves as equal to men but in practice women’s vital organs are not as strong as men’s and they have a greater chance of liver and kidney damage as well as permanent brain damage.

Children are selfish, but become civilized as they grow older and take responsibility for the world around them. This is becoming adult. But the new culture prevents them from growing up and keeps them immature which is causing so much uncivilised behaviour. Bar owners and the drinks companies play on the weaker part of people’s nature rather like a sales scam would play on, say, someone’s greed. It is preying on the young’s need for fun and adventure with unhealthy adventures.
Young people drink drinks that have pretty colours and fruity flavours and seem like soft drinks but are about 6% alcohol, or pretty, pleasant tasting cocktails. At the same time in a “cool bar” the hypnotic music pounds away disorientating them. There are often TV screens all around showing sport, pop acts or models on catwalks. One bar had a couple of bouncy castles upon which customers bounced gleefully, mindless that outside their bubbles of pleasure there is a dangerous, hostile world. Recent bomb attacks were outside London nightclubs.

Some say it is their own fault but a cool bar is unreal and like being in a dream so people lose sense of the real world outside that they will re-enter at closing time, and drink too much. There is the use of the hallucinatory effects of drugs in adverts. I saw an advert for vodka shots, which was a square of undulating shades of blue light. You do not see these colours by drinking vodka, gulps of air or not. You see this by taking ecstasy.
On a normal evening in every town and city you see young women collapse onto the pavement and often being attended by paramedics and stretchered away comatose or with cracked heads. Is this all our young women are worth? They walk up to cars waiting at traffic lights and ask for lifts and often just open the door and get in. You see them staggering around the streets at 2 to 4 am lobbing their boobs out to stop passing cars for lifts many get raped but do not remember properly.

On internet “Social Networking” sites young women present themselves as tarts and most say they “like getting drunk.” Their clothes and poses show them as anybody’s meat. They are imitating people on TV talent shows and think they will be spotted, and slappers who have made fortunes showing their silicon boobs. The main article in the Mirror of Friday the 14th of August was about Katie Price (Jordan)!

Our elites promote these as role models for our young people, but only promote honourable and worthy people as role models for ethnic minorities. If you walk around an inner city school or community centre the walls are festooned with heroes from the histories of ethnic groups like Gandhi, Marcus Garvey or Harriet Tubman.
Some bars are used for pills and others for cocaine and most door staff are pumped up on steroids. The drug goes with the music. The coke-heads are hyper and constantly making a sort of chewing motion. The staff of these bars put Vaseline on lavatory cisterns to try to stop customers doing lines of coke on them but the owners are usually on it themselves and door staff are often dealers.
Another mode of destruction is Clubbing on Ecstasy. It is a special occasion like going to church on Sundays. A common feature of ecstasy clubbers is a need to escape from themselves which in a healthier age would have led to a mystic journey in solitude as eremites counting their beads and communing with God. In our degraded times they are prey for the hard-headed business people who use any fashion to make money out of people.
A young woman explained to me: “It heightens the music, makes it more epic.” In common with others it helps them to dance longer, but the important effect is that “It fills you full of love towards those around you, if a girl is being sick in the toilets you pull her hair back for her. I have only seen two fights in eight years of clubbing.” She compared this with aggressive pubs when people are drunk and violent fights ensue. It is a response to the betrayal of the needs of our young people by Christian leaders and has fuelled artificial communities and the illusion of transcendence through drugs.
Popular culture does not have to be destructive: we must revive local fairs and festivals and renew Folk music traditions by expressing contemporary meanings through traditional forms. Bob Dylan did this - “A Hard Rain’s-A gonna fall” is based in the Border Ballad Lord Randall. (1) His anthem for the new age in 1965 “The Times They Are - Changing” used traditional balladic language and was carried by the tune of “Irish Rover” but expressed contemporary matter.

The idea is that the culture grows from the community and is not imposed on the community or by manipulating people to conform to an artificial culture. Contemporary examples are Joanna Newsome(2) in America and duo Show of Hands in England. (3)
These are not rationalist formulae for I leave that to ideologues, but suggestions for creative people to develop in practice. There are countless traditional pubs that need customers now the Government’s totalitarian anti-smoking laws have destroyed their trade that would rent out rooms for performances. New cultural movements grow from joy generated by people with common bonds getting together to produce and enjoy music. They will be able to forge emotional bonds with their culture and begin renewing popular music traditions naturally.        
     Lord Randall lyrics     

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Elizabethan Tragedy: Revengers and Over Reachers (September 2012)

The great period of English tragic drama was the Elizabethan period when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne. There were two principle forms: Revenge and Over Reachers tragedies. I examine two of each to introduce a new audience to these great plays.
The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd is a neglected masterpiece but began the fashion for one of the two principle forms of Elizabethan tragic drama the Revenge play. The other was the Over Reacher and begun coterminously by Christopher Marlowe. Spanish Tragedy is very theatrical and uses highly formalised language in a line by line movement of blank verse for the sinister parts and prose for the comic patches. It is not hum drum because of the theatrical action presented and the dramatic declamatory speeches. The use of rhyme would have made the form humdrum, but not the action. The dramatic method is primitive but the plotting is ingeneous. Public executions were popular at the time and often carried out in theatres.
The Mystery Plays reached their greatest popularity in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the  Renaissance they waned. In England by the end of the fifteenth century they had been for the most part replaced by a kindred species which had been developing alongside them - Morality Plays. These taught the  Christian life in a direct and entertaining way rather than through the severer stories of the Mysteries in the Bible. They were dramatized moral allegory and had abstract allegorical figures like The Seven Deadly Sins, Contemplation, and Raise-Slander.
The Spanish Tragedy mixes theatricality from Latin writer Seneca with traditional elements of dramaturgy from Morality plays. The ghost is from Seneca who uses the ghost of the Greek mythological character Tantalus to frame Thyestes. Spanish Tragedy is framed by the ghost and Revenge, an abstract character influenced by the abstract characters of Morality plays.
It has many set speeches - some are soliloquies and the characters display deep passions. There is an extravagant rhetoric of gesture when Hieronimo gets up and falls to the ground rather than the sophisticated self-analysis which derives from Morality plays. The viceroy also falls to the ground declaiming on melancholy in Act i, scene ii.
Hieronimo's declamation uses images of hell and fiends which reinforces the supernatural element behind the action:
Oh sacred heauens, if this vnhallowed deed,
If this inhumane and barberous attempt,
If this incomparable murder thus
Of mine, but now no more my sonne
Shall pass vnreueald and vnreuenged passe,
How should we tearme your dealings to be iust,
If you vniustly deale with those that in your iustice trust?
The ougly feends do sally forth of hell,
And frame my hart with fierce inflamed thoughts;
The cloudie day my discontents records,
Early begins to regester my dreames
And driue me forth to seeke the murtherer.
Eies, life, world, heauens, hel, night and day,
See, search, show, send, some man, some meane, that may!
The characters emotions are externalised in rhetoric and the representation of grief is formalised.
Hieronimo imagines Bazulto as Horatio come back from the dead as Lear later sees Gloucester as Goneril and projects his obsession on the outside world.
The sense of obligation to take revenge for the blood of kin is a duty. The delay in doing so brings dramatic tension. The end is a double Revenge - the first for Andrea, the second, Horatio. It emerges that his murder in battle was dishonourable and the accounts of his death emerges in stages. Hieronimo, the protagonist only appears half way through at the climax of Act 2 when Horatio is killed.
Acts 1 and 2 lead up to revenge for Andrea but end in the death of Horatio. Andrea was having a relationship with Bel-Imperia which her family see as a disgrace. He was from a lower social rank. Bel-Imperia is destined for a dynastic marriage. Her family tries to rule her but she is strong willed.
Hieronimo finds his murdered son's body hanging in an arbor in his garden. He first demands that the universe be just. Justice in society was thought to reflect justice in the universe itself. He appeals to the heavens to learn who murdered his son. A letter written by Bel-Imperia in blood drops from heaven. Her hand is guided by some other power. He thinks it is a plot to ensnare him:
   A letter falleth.
Whats heere? a letter? Tush, it is not so!
A letter for Hieronimo.
[Reads]  "For want of incke receiue this bloudie writ.
Me hath my haples brother hid from thee.
Reuenge thy-selfe on Balthazar and him,
For these were they that murdered thy sonne.
Hieronimo, reuenge Horatios death,
And better fare then Bel-imperia doth!"--
Proof comes when Hironimo is brought a letter of confession from one of the murderers, Pedringano. There is a dark irony here as Pendringano has been duped into thinking that he will be pardoned, but is hung.
The moment of crisis is expressed in Hieronimo's central soliloquoy. With the book in hand like Hamlet, a symbol of authority:
Vindicta mihi! Ay, heaven will be revenged of every ill, Nor will they suffer murder unrepaid: Then stay, Hieronimo, attend their will, For mortal men may not appoint their time.  
Vengance is mine, saith the Lord, from St. Paul. This speech heralds change as his attitude changes and brings the dramatic thrust. Hieronimo resolves to be devious and circumspect. The strategem:"Not as vulgar wits of man."
The notion of final justice is revealed in the supernatural frame:
Then, sweet Revenge, do this at my request; Let me be judge, and doom them to unrest:
Let loose poor Tityus from the vulture's gripe, And let Don Cyprian supply his room; Place Don Lorenzo on Ixion's wheel, And let the lover's endless pains surcease - Juno forgets old wrath, and grants him ease; Hang Balthazar about Chimaera's neck, And let him there bewail his bloody love.
Then haste we down to meet thy friends and foes: 
To place thy friends in ease, the rest in woes.
For here, though death hath end their misery, I'll there begin their endless tragedy.
This is a double revenge. Hieronimo consciously takes revenge for Horatio but unwittingly takes supernatural revenge for Andrea. The humans think they are in control but they are puppets. There are inset dramas like little Morality plays - the courtier in Spain tries to blacken the character of another and the viceroy accepts it without evidence and nearly commits an injustice. There is a need for caution. Hieronimo is cautious and honourable but driven to revenge. The villains facilitate revenge by asking the Revenger to stage an entertainment then agreeing to act in it. The play within a play is an inversion of the whole play  and in enacting revenge they are themselves slaughtered. The play within a play is a recurring feature. Then Horatio's corpse is produced. The Revengers have a need for their revenge to be known.

The Revenger's Tragedy
This came at the end of the genre and is attributed to either Cyril Tourneur or Thomas Middleton. The opening scene is an imaginative and vivid staging. The stage directions tell us Enter Vindici [with his dead lover's skull]; the Duke, Duchess, Lussurioso [his] son, Spurio the bastard, with a train pass over the stage with torchlight:
Thou sallow picture of my poisoned love, My study's ornament, thou shell of death, Once the bright face of my betrothed lady, When life and beauty naturally fill'd out These ragged imperfections, When two heaven-pointed diamonds were set In those unsightly rings: then 'twas a face So far beyond the artificial shine
He devises an intrigue and lures his opponent while disguised as a malcontent and provokes discord amongst his enemies leading them to plot against each other. His disguise allows him to act as a detached, satirical and didactic commentator on the folly and evil of the others. The form is loose enough to allow the sequences to unfold at length 1, iii, ll.1, lV.ii.
Vindice is quite mad when he dons his disguise and his hired by Lechery to seduce what is actually his own sister. This sets up a nice irony as he is hired again later as himself to murder his disguised self which is comical on the stage. Black comedy was not a type then though this is simila. In Kyd the method of managing the masque is irony but here it is dark comedy.  
There are two masques. The first, is Vindici's real masque and they dance; the second is a masque of murder when the slaughter of revenge is carried out. It has multiple plots and the step-brothers trying to take the ducal throne kill their brother by mistake. They are all dead at the table: "Here's a labour saved." The plots usually fail. L comes round for the last word:"Those in masks did it." It is a sound alibi. Vindici finally gives himself away. Antonio: "What happened to the old Duke?" Vindici cannot resist taking the credit to show how clever he is but Antonio does not react how he expects and has him arrested.
Their names show their characters and Vindici embodies revenge. These emblamatic names de-individualise the characters rendering them types. Vindici shows what the desire for vengeance might lead to. He intended to revenge the death of his betrothed and his father who died of discontent and had the desire to purge society of evil. He believed his motives to be pure and retained the characteristic heroic stance.
The Revenger's Tragedy alternates energetic, high-speed action and brooding, slow-paced scenes on death, revenge and evil. The authors aim is to present an ironic and disturbing view of human nature. Vindici alternates from gloom to gaiety. He imagines Revenge leading his enemies to the cauldron fire. Act.1 has lively but farcical, satiric comedy. The subject is unpleasant and disturbing but the action has no murder or torture. It is where the intrigues begin and set-up escalating horrific action. The dialogue in later scenes is indecorous in the mood and tone of comedy without the profound reflections on tragic themes when death takes place. No character reflects on his motives or state of grace.
Vindice is no tragic hero like Hamlet and has no conflict with his planned revenge or hesitation as Hieronimo at the inception of the genre. He neither develops or decreases in morality, nor gains self-knowledge. His revenge draws the meditative passages into a terrible focus. The intensity of the killing of the Duke sustained by the allusive and vivid imagery is what makes the writer a tragedian. Melancholy was associated with madness as well as dark moods. It was thought to be physiological and prompted by frustrated ambition or injustice Stage-thunder represented the wrath of God in the early Revenges. Vindici showed Hippolito the skull as Hamlet does Horatio.
The exponent of Over Reachers was Christopher Marlowe. Two fine examples are The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustusand Tamburlaine the Great. Marlowe gives the impression that he came early and established grand, heroic speeches. There is a sense of opening out. The over reacher over reaches in an act of Hybris by challenging the gods or thinking he is one.

Tamburlaine the Great
Is based on the life of a 14c Turk from central Asia, Timur. It is in two parts. The first part is a drama of conquest. We first see him as an obscure shepherd chieftain who defeats the King of Persia, Mycetes and then his brother Cosroe. Then he defeats Bajazet, Emperor of Turkey and finally takes Damascus from the Soldan of Egypt. These victories show the triumph of energy and ruthlesness over weak and decadent civilisations.
He is no mere brute and worships the potential of the human mind. He shows great passion in his love for his bride Zenocrate, the daughter of the Soldan. He is a product of Marlowe's Renaissance imagination. A fascination with the earthly magnificence of men who have the courage of their convictions as well as the imaginative power. It is a non-moral play that presents Tamburlaine as a natural force and does not judge him.
Part 2 was probably written because of the success of Part 1.
The first part of Tamburlaine the Great is not tragic in the formal sense as it ends with a marriage. It is serious in spirit and elevated in tone and without scenes of comic relief. These qualities allow it to be classed as a tragedy. For many other characters it is a tragedy as they are either killed or commit suicide so though the central story is not formally a tragedy, there are many tragedies around it.
Marlowe draws upon classical myth in the poetry, astronomy, medicine. Those are the literary attractions - the richness of the linguistic decoration he brings to it.
It has a classical structure and is divided into 5 Acts and separate scenes and the Senecan influence on the declamatory speeches is notable. The set speeches on the bloody contents and the rejection of the comic are derived from Seneca and mingle with influences from native dramatic traditions.
These are positive influences of classical drama, but it is episodic in structure and repetative and reflects moods but has no development of the character, say, of Tamberlaine as there is in Macbeth or King Lear Shakespeare's later work. He simply puts events moving towards a close, marriage in the first part, death in the second.
Part1 has little overt violence but violence begins obtruding as the play unfolds. It is as if Marlowe tries to induce the audience into admiration for Tamburlaine's ambition and willpower through rhetoric, imagery and eloquence, ideas, mood and personality. It is only later that Marlowe shows the consequences: the violence of the battles, suicides and murders are off stage and we learn of them by report in the first 2 Acts there is a whole succession of characters who die on stage. In a Senecan play these things would be narrated. The cruelty intensifies and is fully shown by the end of the play. There is a psychological climax towards the end of the first part when when Zenocrate had been captured and forced to marry him, though perhaps falls in love with him, feels pity for the victims and tries to warn him of pride and prays for him. That is a sort of turning point because it is the first expression of pity and there are no inhibitions about pride. He ignores her warnings and becomes ever more inflexible and triumphant in ambition and cruelty. It is an archetypal play of a Herculean hero, proud, ambitious and tyrannical.
Tamburlaine has to face the truth that though he thinks his energy inexhaustable he can not beat death. He first loses his wife, then he too is stricken. This play is a tragedy: Tamburlaine feels himself to be immortal, but is mortal.
Marlowe was 23 when he wrote and dismisses the work of his predecessors in the prologue:
From jigging veins of rhyming mother-wits, And such conceits as clownage keeps in pay, We'll lead you to the stately tent of war, Where you shall hear the Scythian Tamburlaine Threatening the world with high astounding terms, And scourging kingdoms with his conquering sword.
For two plays, these "high astounding terms" are delivered fortissimo. The central problem is how long the audience can be kept in sympathy with the all-conquering hero and has polarised critics since the 19c. To one school of critics the play is a celebration of human aspiration with Tamburlaine transcending orthodox moral judgement through the power of his imagination expressed in poetry; to another school it is a moral spectacle showing the inexorable fate of over-weening ambition and the futility of earthly conquest. He kept the Emperor of Turkey in a cage until he batters his own brains out in despair.
It needs to be read with a sense of its theatrical potential, visualising how it would look on stage. The stage of the Rose Theatre was about 25ft across. In a scene of spectacular conquest Tamburlaine enters with 2 kings of Asia harnessed to his chariot. The entry line is: "Holla, you pampered jades of Asia." His pulling him round in the Rose Theatre - they could only go round in small circles. That image of the confinement and narrowness, within the vision of vaunting ambition is something brought home by the play being staged.
The reaching aspiring qualities are wonderfully expressed, but after the objective, the earthly crown is a let down. He refers to the woman who will become his wife. She would be carried around in a golden sarcophagus. He speaks of his feelings for her before the wedding.
Like Marlowe's other heroes Tamburlaine is self-made: "I am a lord or so my deeds shall prove and yet a shepherd by my parentage." to mortality. His defiance and anguish against his fate - partly because they show the futility of his aspirations - also show the pathetic vulnerability of those aspirations to inevitable process of time-decay. Finally, one has a pity for him as he fights the death that is claiming him:
What daring god torments my body thus,
And seeks to conquer mighty Tamburlaine?
Shall sickness prove me now to be a man,
That have been term'd the terror of the world?
Techelles and the rest, come, take your swords,
And threaten him whose hand afflicts my soul:
Come, let us march against the powers of heaven,
And set black streamers in the firmament,
To signify the slaughter of the gods.
Ah, friends, what shall I do? I cannot stand.
Come, carry me to war against the gods,
That thus envy the health of Tamburlaine.
Why, shall I sit and languish in this pain?
No, strike the drums, and, in revenge of this,
Come, let us charge our spears, and pierce his breast
Whose shoulders bear the axis of the world,
That, if I perish, heaven and earth may fade.
Theridamas, haste to the court of Jove;
Will him to send Apollo hither straight,
To cure me, or I'll fetch him down myself.
Between those defiant railings Theridamas advises:
Ah, good my lord, leave these impatient words,
Which add much danger to your malady!
Then came the reality:
Ah, friends, what shall I do? I can not stand.
A few lines on the first physician is telling him he has viewed his urine and its thickness and obscurity mean this is his end. The conqueror of the world is subject to mortality, the humiliating ordinariness of thick urine.

Doctor Faustus (c1592-4)
This was performed by The Admiral's Men twenty-five times between October 1594 and October 1597. It is based on a medieval legend of a necromancer Doctor George Faust. He was a scholar who wanted to understand more than academic facts and turned to magic. The Devil sends his agent Mephistopholes in the form of an ugly beast who is commanded to change his shape to a friar. The bargain is that Lucifer will give him 24 years of life with Mephistopholes as his servant. Then Lucifer will claim him body and soul.
Blank verse is largely used for the main scenes and prose in the comic scenes. Modern texts divide the play into five acts; act 5 being the shortest. As in many Elizabethan plays, there is a chorus that does not interact with the other characters but provides an introduction and conclusion and introduces events that have unfolded at the beginning of some acts.
Faustus delivers soliloquies at the beginning and end of the play and puts the focus on his emotions about surrendering to the devil. In the opening soliloquy, Faustus ponders his life and what he wants. He ends with decision to give his soul to the devil and in the closing soliloquy he anticipates the terrors that are before him. Then comes a line that demonstrates Marlowe's natural poetic ability:
See, see, where Christ's blood streams in the firmament! One drop would save my soul, half a drop...Ah! My Christ.
These high emotions are spoken in language of an equivalent stature but the scenes where Faustus has grapes brought to him and when horses are turned into bales of straw is in prose and feeble compared to the imaginative, poetic passages.  
He is granted all he asks but Mephisto will not answer certain questions such as who made the world. Faustus' guardian angel tries to redeem him while a bad angel tries to convince him he is damned. Lucifer approaches him and shows him the pleasures of the Seven Deadly Sins. As a Protestant thrust Faustus mocks the Pope and cardinals in Rome. An old man urges him to step back from the brink as there is still hope of redemption. He makes his choice and invokes Helen and embraces her: "Her lips suck forth my soul." These angels are like abstract figures from Morality Plays which used figures like King Herod and the Devil in that way.
It has features of a medieval morality play yet it is a Renaissance play in its treatment. The psychology of Faustus and Mephistopholes shows an insight which is moving.
It was common in the Elizabethan period for comedy to appear in tragedy and history plays including Shakespeare's. It provides an emotional contrast with the sinister passages. The porter in MacBeth is an example. Written in earthy prose is intended a comic relief before the discovery of the murdered King Duncan. The the gravediggers in Hamlet, the speeches of the Fool in King Lear. Some of the comedy in Faust extends the tragedy to everyday life as in the parody where Wagner also tries to summon the Devil.
Faustus: "Now is he born, his parents base of stock."
Is this intentionally or unintentionally bathetic?  
The opening of Doctor Faustus shows the aspiring mind at its most vigorous. Tamburlaine sought his satisfaction through physical power, Faustus through intellectual power and knowledge.
His first requirement in the pact with Mephistopheles is the simple but sweeping one; the Devil must tell me whatsoever I demand." The intention is in that beautiful line: "That all things that move between the poles shall be at my command." The yearning for limitless knowledge and power through knowledge drives him to necromancy. This is the last path available as he has mastered law, medicine, divinity etc. "Yet are but thou still Faustus." He seeks to transcend himself. Tamburlaine is only troubled by his mortality at the end, Faustus is troubled by his mortality at the beginning and one feels his futility at the beginning not the end.
His search for knowledge in necromatic incantations is obvious folly as the line he convinces to follow that path makes clear: "a sound magician is a mighty god." From the beginning of the pact the answers Mephisto gives show there is something unsatisfactory. In a sense the play as conceived is unwritable because the author is confined within mortality and can not provide M with supernatural answers. From these beginnings we move into a rough and disappointing patch in the middle that must be interpolations by a lesser talent. We go from unsatisfactory answers to petty and shallow trickery - providing grapes in the middle of winter and turning horses into bales of hay. One is initially stirred by the initial striving for greatness but the end justifies the final unsympathetic verdict of the chorus: "Faustus is gone. Regard his hellish form." That chorus triumphantly booms out orthodox morality as the confinement of human mortality that Faustus challenged has been re-asserted.
We admire his vain strivings and are appalled by the narrow chorus but the hopelessness of his quest is always in mind. There is a sense of moral ambiguity about Faustus and Tamburlaine generated by the gap between their aspirations and our response to those, and the means they use to pursue them and our response to those means.
Macbeth thought he was in control but was being manipulated by fiends which is given dramatic representation by the 3 witches. Tragedy often gives this feeling that though the characters think they are in control they are being manipulated. As Faustus is told: "When you thought you took the book to read, I turned the leaves."
(1)  The Spanish Tragedy 
(2)  The Revenger's Tragedy
(3) Tamburlaine the Great
(4) The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus