I've been following the conversations with great interest, as I find the "shattered order" of this play rather confounding. I really like what Gilbert had to say about the recession of the heroic order and its replacement by Saturninus's "self driven" energy and the chaos that ensues, but the ending -- with the all-consuming appetite of the "third force," as Gil calls it -- feels a bit nihilistic to me: I do grow morally detached from people who are morally detached from what they are doing.
Which returns me to one of Randall's initial questions: How much, if any, ironic detachment is there here? What's the tone? I find glimmers of irony, even glee, yet it moves all over the place, and I wonder if this was the same play for the groundlings as it was for the cognescenti in the boxes? Can you offer a spectacle of gore and Iago-istic moral horror for the "unskilled" groundlings while simultaneously deconstructing such a play for those "judicious" few, "the censure of the which one must in your allowance overweigh a whole theater of others" (Hamlet III, 2) .
Book Note: Year of the King
1 day ago