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Friday 21 November 2008

If Shakespeare knew the Romanovs...

Shakespeare's model of writing, grounded in Aristotle's formula - the tragic hero/protagonist who had to be noble and whose destiny was wrought by his own fatal flaw, and who met a tragic end, is something so timeless and inspiring.

When it comes to writing of the Romanovs, all the elements are already in place: the king, (or Tsar), the glory (Imperial Russia), the secret tragedy (Alexei's haemophilia), the fatal flaw, (Nicholas' trust in other people) and the ultimate tragedy (the massacre of a family - a massacre so tragic that it is far more powerful than the end of Hamlet, where everyone is slain) . The Romanov story fits Shakespeare's and Aristotle's pattern to such a degree that I often wish that Shakespeare were still here to write their true story with his depths of understanding of psychology and motivation, and his own brilliant command of language!

Oh, for another Shakespeare to write this story! Often I think that when Nicholas and Alexandra were in captivity, these words from King Lear might well have been something they could have shared:

"We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage...so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon 's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies…"

And the death of the beautiful Tsarevich Alexei...wouldn't Shakespeare have written,
"Goodnight, sweet prince, and flight of angels guide thee to thy rest..."

Ah! For another Shakespeare to tell their tale!

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