Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dialogue - Obama and Everyone Else from Dryden's" The Conquest of Granada"

John Dryden is rarely read by high school students.  Dryden was a 17th Century poet and he was the master of the 'closed couplet.' AKA the heroic couplet.

He wrote a play The Conquest of Granada using closed couplets.  I never taught this particular piece, but i really liked it.

The story is about the defeat of the Muslim Moors by the Spanish with the conquest of the city of Granada.

The main characters are mostly Moors and members of two factions violently opposed* to one another - think Sunni and Shia, or Democrat and Republican.  The Spanish Christians are united.

The hero of the play is the undefeated warrior Almanzor who is madly in love with his king's lady, Almahide/  She too loves Almanzor, but refuses to give in to 'what the heart wants' for the larger good of loyalty to one's word and lord.

There is a bit of dialog that reminds me of President Obama, the most closed minded and ineffective President since James Buchanan.

Boabdelin, the king of Granada, knows of the divided agendas (  Abencerrages v.Zegrys) and could care less; divided subjects give a king more power - keep 'em guessing: " The People their own tyrants are."

Almanzor, who has 57 Campaigns against the united Christians of Spain under his belt, knows that each of victories were Pyrric and further strengthened Christian resolve. Boabdelin, like 'I won both' Obama cares less.

Boab. I do not want your counsel to direct
Or aid to help me punish or protect.
Almanz. Thou want'st them both, or better thou would'st know,
Than to let factions in thy kingdom grow.
Divided interests, while thou think'st to sway,
Draw, like two brooks, thy middle stream away:
For though they band and jar, yet both combine
To make their greatness by the fall of thine.
Thus, like a buckler, thou art held in sight,
While they behind thee with each other fight.
Boab. Away, and execute him instantly! 

At least an IRS audit, Mr. President.

* "The story is told that one of the Abencerrages, having fallen in love with a lady of the royal family, was caught in the act of climbing up to her window. The king, enraged, shut up the whole family in one of the halls of the Alhambra, and ordered the Zegris to kill them all. The apartment where this is said to have taken place is one of the most beautiful courts of the Alhambra, and is still called the Hall of the Abencerrages."

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