Monday, November 23, 2009

Gods Among Men

I recently saw an absolutely fabulous production of Cymbeline by Mr. William Shakespeare. I loved it. (Please, pause while I take a moment to relive the Theater-Induced-Ecstasy. Okay, I'm back now.)

One thing that struck me during the production was the director's reinterpretation of the play's Deus Ex Machina elements (For my thoughts on Deus Ex Machina, you can click here). While the script called for the chorus of the play to call on Jupiter to alter the fates of the characters and ensure a happy ending, in this version the exposition was given over to a narrator and 'twas to her that the chorus appealed for a happier end.

The narrator attempted to justify the pain of the characters, but when handed a pen by the member of the chorus, she conceded and rewrote the end to a happier one. The audience rejoiced.

I loved this interpretation. It struck me, as a writer, and put me to think of the power that the writer has over the events of the story. Indeed, Shakespeare could have elected a tragic end to the tale, for there was enough sadness it in, but instead it was quite happy, and the audience laughed and cheered for the main characters.

We, as writers, are powerful beings. We create these worlds before us in our stories, create peoples and animals strange to us, and create the past, present, and future as we see fit. We are the gods of these new worlds, even if our characters cannot plead with us, in person, at least, for a different end than the one we choose to give them.

For it is our choice. We have the power.

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