An examination of consequences: we see four conspirators in chains, outside the prison, awaiting torture and execution …
In my heart I have borne a secret empire
In this prison, before daybreak, in a moment,
The two hands of an executioner will become my universe
DL: Maybe because suffering is something Weil’s fluent in, she makes these guys symnpathetic in their last moments. Any sense of vindictiveness you might have seems mitigated by watching them suffer. This seems like good 20th century dramaturgy, to have complexity in villains. But does this sympathy undermine the politics?
W2: Shakespeare does it – e.g. RIII – that’s good drama.
DL: But is it good politics? What does empathizing with the bad guy do? What do you want out of it/out of your theatre? Is agitating against an obvious villain more effective?
W5: isn’t this about laws? isn’t this about the Geneva Convention? We don’t only engage through empathy – we have ideas, we see here cycles of violence – and since politics is about power, it seems naturally political.
M4: who cares if the text seems political, inherently? we can all read something into it – what do you as artists get out of it, or how do you want an audience to respond? all of these themes apply to the greeks as much to brecht.
DL: Fair enough. And “who cares?” is a really good place for an intermission.