7 12 2008

Anyone out there ever see a movie called The Big Lebowski? A lot happens in it, and to no end, in the end.

A man who has dropped out of Amerikka gets involved with a bunch of sneaky and/ or desperate efforts of some other characters to make big money. Most of the other characters have permanently swollen egos, as nicely symbolized by a little cartoon that one of them, Jackie Treehorn, draws.

In the end the hero goes nowhere. Some of the others come to nothing or worse. A good man suffers a great misfortune. The pregnant mass of big dough they were all hustling for remains always safely in the hands of the rich, as we know it must always do.

But the ne’er-do-well hero survives, unprofited but unscathed. This is a bit of light against a dark backdrop.

I’ve never seen a movie that better expresses the following lines from MacBeth:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
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 5, scene 5, 19–28

After seeing this movie I have no doubt at all that the Coen brothers know their Shakespeare cold.




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