Renaud explains statecraft to Jaffier

“Tonight’s carnage won’t matter, everyone knows what happens in a sack …”

Levine: so … would that make you sympathetic to Donald Rumsfeld or Milton Friedman?

Does the play have an anti-sentimentalist agenda?

It does put forward a genuine notion of beauty, as something worth being saved.  The destruction of Jaffier is almost a side-bar, albeit an exquisite and beautiful and noble one …

SW’s geometric notion suffering – that one action leads to another …

Do we know what’s in it for the conspirators to pull this off, from Spain?  Where do we locate the rewards/risks of the mercs with regard to accepting the job, also varying with regard to class.

The history of the mercenaries: rootless, envious, bitter …

Levine: but does any of this have relevance to our lives?

Can you construe Cheney & Rumsfeld to have acted in good faith?  Certainly you can look at Renaud’s strategy and see it as an effective one …

Levine: what’s the impulse behind updating a play, or mapping its action on top of something contemporary?  Or what’s the impulse to leave it alone?

This is a compelling example of realpolitik – discussing tactics separated from moral outcome or ideology … that’s the relevance.

Levine: does it tell you anything you didn’t know?

The most chilling thing about the scene is the absence of any explanation of Renaud’s motivation.

Levine: this is clearly a play about politics, at some level, it’s a question of what’s best for us …


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