Some theatre each day keeps the doctor away…

The Meaning of Death

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I was thinking, on the way into the city last night, that if I were to die today (or rather, yesterday, or whatever day it is when I have the thoughts), I’d be content with the life I’d had.  There’s plenty of things I would have wanted to do, but I wouldn’t have been too disappointed not to have done them.  (Now, whether I’m merely in a mood to delude myself into thinking that I wouldn’t be gutted about not having made any kind of name for myself as a writer – well, who knows…)

And I was thinking, too, that with characters in fiction and whatnot, they need death to bring a greater meaning to their stories.  Or marriage.  But mainly death.  Indeed, the longer a character exists (in the narrative) without dying, the less meaning is imparted to each of their moments.  (Of course, if a character dies within one paragraph of being introduced, there’s not going to be much meaning to that at all.  One suspects that there’s a happy balance, and that this happy balance is different for each author.  One is also tempted to say that the perfect balance would be the one Shakespeare struck in his tragedies (and comedies too, I suppose), but I’m too tired to try and expand on that idea.)

The similarity between death and marriage, by the way, is that they’re both permanent.  (Well, we now realise that marriage isn’t quite so permanent as it used to be, but in romantic comedies, when everyone gets married at the end, it is assumed to be permanent.)

I suddenly have this sense of deja vu; that I’ve spoken about this before.  Insert that quote of da Vinci’s from a few days ago in here.

What permanence is, for a character, I think, is a halt to their development, and by halting their development, an audience can feel that the character, as a whole, has finally come fully into focus, with nothing left to discover.  (That’s either a brilliant insight on my part, or a terribly banal one, or a wholly incorrect one.  I wonder which.)

I’ve been gorging on TV lately, when I should be writing the damn play.  Oh, Adam, you kill me sometimes.


Written by epistemysics

May 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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