Friday, March 14, 2008

Current Events or Plot Summary?

Kocieniewski, David, and Danny Hakim. “Felled by Scandal, Spitzer Says Focus is on His Family.” New York Times 13 March 2008.
Is it just that I’m deeply engrossed in Measure for Measure, or is the contemporary political scene echoing, once again, the plot of a Shakespeare play?

This was the opening to a story in the New York Times yesterday:
Gov. Eliot Spitzer, whose rise to political power as a fierce enforcer of ethics in public life was undone by revelations of his own involvement with prostitutes, resigned on Wednesday, becoming the first New York governor to leave office amid scandal in nearly a century.
Let me change that just a bit . . .
Acting Duke Antonio, whose rise to political power as a fierce enforcer of ethics in public life was undone by revelations of his own attempt to seduce a nun (which resulted in an assignation with his ex-fiancée), resigned at Act V, scene i, lines 366-74, becoming the first Shakespearean protagonist to leave office amid scandal since Duke Frederick.
I’m not trying to get the mote of dust out of either Governor Spitzer’s or Antonio’s eyes—we all have our hypocrisies. And the title of the play is meant to advise against taking measure for measure. I just wanted to see if Spitzer’s story measures up (ha, ha!) to Antonio’s.

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Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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