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Well the ideas that are being put forward here are not really so uncommon in the Renaissance they're still highly conventional talking to us today but in the Renaissance they were being considered and the French philosopher Schauer own in a work called wisdom. It was translated in 16 a way was already convinced that incest was not unnatural and the prohibition of incest was merely the evidence of the power of custom over nature. The tradition was so powerful they could make nature can conceive of it and to grow shares in the Law of War and Peace which came out. 16:25 was coming to the same conclusion. He warned of the arrogance rationally accounting among things forbidding by nature. Those things which are not manifestly so and which have been rather by divine law in which rank haply you may put compilations without marriage and some reputed incest and use you. In other words the late
Renaissance acknowledges that there is something natural about sexual desire and that nature can see this and says and concedes copulation before it is divine law that prohibits it. And if there is no divine. Then what is to prevent Giovanni and Annabella from consummating their love. Now this explains the friars retreat into a purely tedious position a position of a blind faith. You can't do it because you have to have faith that there is a God he has no proof of the existence of God. He simply has to have faith and the friar therefore must admit the Giovanni's arguments are sound. If there is no God why. Now we see here they are for just beginning to edges way in to a total acceptance of a totally naturalistic universe. There is certainly no bounds or measure in this play. There's no justice. There's no moderation. There's no mean there's no heavenly
retribution there's no way to measure what's happening. Therefore we don't know where we are. We don't know how we're to account and judge the actions of the characters because there is no morality that is acceptable as presented to you by the author. Then of course there is the love of Giovanni and Annabel. This is a profoundly lyrical and sometimes very beautiful passion especially when they declare themselves neither of them at the beginning at least seems to have very much a sense of guilt or evil and they don't seem to have a genuine devotion to one. They are not simply sexually attractive. They are devoted to spaces Giovanni. So that's one job on leaders neck and suck the Veyron Ambrozy lips I envy not the mightiest man alive but hold myself and the king of the more great than where I king of all the world.
But I shall lose you sweet but you shall not. And about you must be a married mistress. Yes Jesus too. Someone must have a balance or some others as you and she says Nay now prithee do not speak so without jesting you'll make me weep in earnest devices what you will not tell me sweet canst thou be dead to swear that I will live to me and to no other. By both our lives I there she says what didst thou know of my Giovanni I was soon to seem to my eyes hateful which trust me that given is enough. I take my word sweet we must part. Remember what thou Doust. Well my heart and she would keep her of our if all things were equal and if she did not become pregnant by Giovanni and then not have to hide the incest it is a lovely lyrical scene which you would find as lovely and lyrical if you were not. Consistently aware that this is a brother and a sister talking to one another.
And Giovanni is a peculiar attack fast and possessive headstrong hysterical but very self-assured in his philosophical position very issue other than what he is doing is absolutely right. He is completely willful. He follows his will throughout the play without and with. His Donahoe known by as well as he says they were more used to stop the ocean loads and add than to dissuade the superhuman in this capacity to forge ahead without any obstacle without any hindrance. And he makes his fate as God drops the conventional God often acts of the new in the Old Testament and turns to faith and follows his faith to the uttermost. His character represents the triumph of the will in the spirit. And the triumph as we'll see later of the histrionic imagination triumph of the actor making himself he's so into
Mystic a character in fact that one begins to sense that his love for Annabella is a form of self-love that he loves Annabella because she's virtually his twin. They love each other in a mirror and they take identical vows he doesn't love Anabel he loves your virus and that a dog doesn't love Giovanni she loves Annabel. They're bad mostly mated and that may be the reason why they're so passionately in love with one another. Love me or kill me brother she says to him and he says that love killed me sister. Well he does both to her loves and kills and in this wooing scene where he finally wins her sense of love we get this. The suggestions of the tremendous possessiveness of self love. He handed her his dagger. Every time a lover and a dagger to his girl and says kill me you know he's going to be successful.
Now see here what to do. And here's my breast to strike home. Rip up my bosom that I'll show behold the heart of which is with the true face. Why stand are you honest. Yes most honest. You cannot love me. My tortured soul have felt the friction in the heat of death. Oh Annabel aren't quite on down. Below my sister and the view of my immortal beauty haven't tuned all our Both of my rest in life my brother my sister Annabel I know this and could afford you Winston's Why do I love so much the more for this which intent. Why is nature there's nature first in your creation meant to make you mine else have been seen and found to share one duty to a double soul near innocent birth and blood. But persuade Miran Innes in affection. I have asked counsel of the Holy Church who tells me I may love you and tis just that I may I should and will. Yes Will.
I was alive because the Holy Church is now out of the low zone system but the possessiveness the willfulness of this desire of his is clear in his imagery clearness and clear in his will yes will. Must I now live or die live as one of the few and never will. What Tao is there which my captive heart had long ago resolved I blessed it telling that I'll tell thee now. For every Sox I would have spent on the side for every tear shed 20 and not so much for that I love that I just say I was ghastly thinking you couldn't think it. Now it's thinkable and now only thinkable but doable and you Vania it was and is so strong that it really transcends his love. Stronger than his love. And this play becomes more than a love story at the end is it was and is
so strong that he will kill his sister to further his revenge to justify his revenge. Not so much interested in saving her from suffering by killing her as it is in revenging himself on this man so runs so he is attempting by the end of the play to create a masterpiece of horror. And he comes in as you may know with Annabella as hot as Dag and one of the most spectacular sessional scenes in all of literature. One of the most difficult scenes to prevent from being hilarious. Are all lying about how you may look at it it's a kind of earthly shit that's going on there. Well he is he is an artist and having created this monstrosity and artist in goal or an artist naturalist compounding crimes of sex and murder
mixing them together and creating himself through his act creating himself into something more than a love something more than a criminal in a sense for the great a criminal in the world ever knew. Creating so obscurely to an extreme act which he's pushed through all bound his past all limits. He's almost a character going to be back. Because he's an actor like the characterization that they have no identity in themselves they must create their identity by criminal action. Janae himself have no identity so how to create himself by being a criminal. He was called a thief as a child and thought to himself I'm going to call me that though I must be a thief and therefore I acted a part of it and acted so beautifully they spent most of his life in jail. Well therefore his characters are actors and the characters who are certainly Giovanni is an actor playing a part trying to realise themselves
through criminality trying to piece them selves together to give himself a car. But he's really also a lover and a genuine lover and a lover and criminals are constantly vying in his heart for it creates real pathos out of the scenes between Giovanni and the fellow particularly the final scene. You know I perceive my brother this banquet as a harbinger of death to you and me it was all of yourself that is and be prepared to welcome it. Well the Schoolmen teach that all this globe of Earth will be consumed to ashes in a minute. So I have read too but it was somewhat strange to see the waters burn their ears always a skeptic not believing the Aristotelian the Schoolman up in the what is this. How could I believe this might be true I could believe as well that might be how will happen. That's most certain. She says for she has been a dream a
dream. Else in this other world we should know one another so we shall have you heard so since you are so but you think that I shall see you there. You look at me. Say we kissed one another prayed aloud for do as we do here. I know not that. The brother for the present. What you need for yourself. What See you in my eyes. Do you think I do indeed he said these are the funeral tears. If ever I have to time should hear a car pass that affection the perhaps the wrongs of conscience in the civil use may justly blame us. Yet when they but know ours not my will wipe away that rigor which would in other incest be abhorrent. Yeah so the kid that he kills to save life and killed him and I can't because a lot of stuff packed and skepticism about the afterlife the dawning of the possibility of the word afterlife then I continue their
loving to him and finally his senseless proud and arrogant notion that. This incest will be accepted and condoned by future generations as it were the spectator because the passion is so intense because the love is as it were in some funny way so pure. Well he's going to say her name and killer in a cast and that gives us of course echoes of Romeo and Juliet as well. You kill him. He kisses her corpse as well. But because a quite different situation and the obstacle to love has now become not a pair of warring families but rather a family kinship we have here an ultimate love that the ultimate Leiber stuff and you know one of the grimmest itself has incestuous implications. The
great passions of literature always have incestuous overtones to them. And as one commentator Jenny delusional has as has noted you'll always get a situation in which there is an obstacle to love and a love potion whatever that position might be. The archetypical love story being that of Tristan and Isolde. Well these two don't want to love do they but they take a love potion which makes them love and therefore they must they must commit what amounts to incest just on is the nephew of his uncle Mark. That's the obstacle to their love the same thing in Fandor where Sandra has a love potion. It's not real potion as Aphrodite has made her love but there's an obstacle to her love namely that the artist is the son of her. Was this always the obstacle and what the rules most suggest is the most passionate incestuous love and of course the obstacle is the breaking of
the incest barrier here. The obstacle is clear and there's always a lot of depth with the lovers of consummate their passion together in a climactic and orgiastic way at their death. And this is one of the most. Fantastic love deaths in literature. Where was the very the passion and the death are interwoven by the very way in which she meets her death. He ploughs up with his jack now for it has borrowed from Othello as well as from Romeo and Juliet in the play especially in the summer we have a character which I gentle plotting against Grimaldi plotting and surrounds of setting Renard to kill him in the same way that Iago of manipulators rodríguez against Cassio in hell and Vasquez Macchiavelli into villain in the play comes right out of the place of Webster. Very similar to the two villains in the white devil and in the Duchess of Mao. I would join as he says at the end of the
Spaniard out when in a howling in revenge. Now there are a number of parts in the play which is very into the intertwined although not very carefully worked out. Annabella has three suitors besides her brother she has been molding his surrounds and she has dared get suitor operates in a separate plot chronology and operates in a revenge plot. He wants to avenge himself on the run so because he's been insulted by surrounds us servant has a gun by which I don't have to do so inadvertently kills the fool for getting. An absolute idiot who seems to be retarded and who demonstrates I think Eliot's assertion that Ford's comic passages are atrocious but that they're getting his death at the hands of Ramadi is nevertheless a highly conventional scene it's probably the only comic death scene in all of the literature closest thing to it I suppose the death of me to show that's not really comic
Dallas. But here we have a man dying. With just for the audience to laugh at. Oh help help he says dying. Here's a stitch phone and I got over a flash tele quickly obviously costs over. I'm sure I can have his forward and back with me and I'm with before and behind he says like sleights whole life is leading us to say oh my Dally C is like a pirate's foster get us some cold water I should boil over or else my whole body is in a sweater to maybe my shirt in my pants. It's pathetic and funny at the same time and it really is I'm very nastily. Bit of writing. Even though we get over for this is an acceptable character so rhymes O is the third suited to Anabel and he was involved in three separate plots himself so we have plots within plots he's involved with in a plot with a part of the widow his former mistress
who is now plotting with Vazquez to kill him but she is hoist with her own people and poison the banquet. He's involved with a plot by which I doubt of the husband of the policy comes in in disguise plotting to kill him also. The plot was dropped after the death of brigands and involved most importantly and less melodramatically of sensationally above Annabel. Now the very plot with Annabella involves him in one of the most interesting scenes in the play. Annabella pregnant and married surrounds Oh in order to cover up her incest. He's discovered her pregnancy and he's now having her around the stage by her hair filled with rage and jealousy and all I'm braced now when another character Beatrice Joanna and the change was called a whore discovered to be a whore by her husband. She said about it. The word blasts a beauty to deformity. It destroyed her really being called a whore. But Alabama seems to exult in the
word and she taunts surrounds them with his comical three. She refuses to name the father but she tells him that the child will be a boy and his dad and tells him this while singing the praises of her noble love namely her brother. Let it suffice that you shall have the glory to Father what so brave Father God. Because what is probably going to father is a monster. The baby was ever born a child instead. Very possible baby and a monster and in the course of the play the power of the moment she's dying curse. Annabella and says May they'll bring forth a monster from my womb which is probably what she would bring forth if he were allowed to live and give birth but he is furious around and he's threatening to tear to shreds and she continues to laugh in his face when he threatens to rip up her heart. Meanwhile singing Italian songs while he drags her up and down the stage the song being sweet at death and dying for love and she believes that
once we did that than to die for love. Now for here is unquestionably motivated by a desire for novelty. Many dramas of the period are as well Shakespeare Marlowe did. What can I do that's different. Well I can have someone sing song having a drag. And I asked her about her and her response in this situation is certainly novel and unusual. You had such as his power that he manages to make it real and convincing. The scene is really hard and what makes it horrifying is Annabel's complete sang complete cold bloodedness in the face of our own death. The play the scene becomes even more cruel because that is tricked into divulging the name of Arabella's love a brother to Vasquez who has been pretending to be very sympathetic to her tending to be her protector and as soon as she names the name the plate turns into a real opportunity and I take me this old damnable hag
Garance Lisa's Vazquez and put out her eyes as she rose slit her throat. But we're in the theatre of cruelty now and hope to time it will not only have a nose lead but will be burned at the stake at the end of the play. Unnatural monster though she is our man. The conclusion of the play is the most audacious thing in. The two lovers have been defeated even before they. Were first matched their misbegotten their mismatched. It's an impossible situation. Stark disaster is upon them. So they or at least Giovanni prepared to meet this disaster head on and here we have the trial. A stoic resignation turned into action. We've seen that the only way to behave in a world the kind of world created by Ford and created by Shakespeare is Sterling and that means passive to accept your fate. But here the stoicism becomes active not passive.
And becomes almost existential. He is going to rescue himself from disaster to a great death and here we see him as a as a Chilean existential hero before existentialism was created or the venter creating himself through his actions becoming starker. Through A magnificent. Action. Is invited to this deadly bank bank with my surroundings of the nose surrounds who knows who he is and what he's done. And yet he will come anyway. He knows he will be destroyed and yet the dance is going to turn his cap into his own invention and he has to see himself as a superhuman figure almost a Marlovian. Why I hold fate clasped in my fist and could command the course of time is eternal motion that's now been one thought more steady than ever beings see. He senses that Annabella charges her with being unsteady. Because
she gave way and didn't hold fast. But he sees himself as steadfast and still trying to as well. He sees himself also as an actor. Interestingly enough he's going to as he says boldly act my last and greatest part creating himself so consciously through this act of incredible power. He doesn't care about the morality of the deed. He only cares that it will be remembered that I will have a place in history. He doesn't care about having committed a crime so long as it is a glorious crime the glory of my the dark in the midday sun noon and night. A criminal gloriousness is what he's after. He's an aesthete of evil. There's no more rowdy about evil. It's purest statuses creating it great and magnificent and this is where he brings in the back. So we have a situation where
dividing Xena was a mist so overwhelming so incredible that it's almost sublime. And this is I suppose the ultimate working out of that superhuman individualistic thrust that we first came in. Christopher Marlowe and that we haven't seen the end of that. Later we come up in the marquee desart where again the author turns to nature and follows the dictates of nature rather than of any absolutes above and of course evolves its way into Janelle and all the black masses being created by all the poets know deep in the 19th and 20th century we have here a kind of reversed religion in other words where the impulses belong to the devil. To guard the play is the creation not of the moral imagination but of a diabolical one. Of a restless cull a rebellious experimental mind for it is ultimately a death worshipper. He doesn't seem to support the life principle at all.
He's a dramatist of strictly perverse conviction I don't think there's any question about the sincerity of the emotions behind the play and that's what keeps the play alive. But we only values in the play seem to rest in the total liberation of the individual will. And it's partly for this reason that the Puritans close in to the shorthand now and close in on the court and on the theater and eventually close down reasserting law and moral authority and 16 foot into that law and moral authority which the dramas have begun to lose but the drama is never again even when it recovers itself and 16:16 goes on in the restoration period. It's never again to make its contact with the spiritual well for very long. The questioning of Marlowe and Shakespeare and a for. The New Science of bacon and. As broken as it were for all time. The Great Chain of Being. And after this men are
going to be living what Gates calls a time half dead at the top. The great concerns of the dramatist will be from now on to try and reinvigorate that top to reinvigorate the spiritual life of man and to do this without God is almost impossible. And this becomes Nevertheless the basic thrust of the modern drama. The question is no longer is God dead but now is man still man will never die I suppose as long as artists continue to ask their questions and the art of the past will continue to be a major consolation for us for the losses which they promise. As long as we remain story. I'm strong enough to accept their vision no matter how awful it may be. Thank you for the. I am. You've been listening to the sixth and final program in the 1968 series of Frank L. Weil Institute
lectures delivered at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. The speaker was Dr. Robert Bruce Dean Dean of the Yale School of Drama who is general topic was the metaphysical roots of the drama and the title of this program was John Ford the Jacoby and darkness. This series was a release of the University of Cincinnati station WAGA you see this is the national educational radio network.
Metaphysical roots of the drama
John Ford: The Jacobean Darkness
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University of Cincinnati
WGUC (Radio station : Cincinnati, Ohio)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Producing Organization: University of Cincinnati
Producing Organization: WGUC (Radio station : Cincinnati, Ohio)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-44-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:27:42
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Chicago: “Metaphysical roots of the drama; John Ford: The Jacobean Darkness,” 1968-12-18, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “Metaphysical roots of the drama; John Ford: The Jacobean Darkness.” 1968-12-18. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Metaphysical roots of the drama; John Ford: The Jacobean Darkness. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from