This Great Stage Of Fools

By: Rosemary Dewar

Schemes eventually end, and when they do, it is never clean nor free from great sacrifices. One does not get to predict the amount of damage that will manifest. It may be possible to find reconciliation; however, that cannot protect from losses that are feared the most. One can end up forfeiting what is held most dear without intending to. Everything has consequences that can either aid you or end you.

In Shakespeare’s King Lear, King Lear has diminished himself to a pawn piece in God’s game. Now, he wants to play God and have his three daughters play a game for him. Those who flatter him to his content will be rewarded with the kingdom he has. Two daughters win with vapid graces while the third daughter, Cordelia, is exiled for words that ring as true as love could. King Lear visits his two admiring daughters to find that their praises were as vacant as his retired throne. King Lear finally learns the meaning of Cordelia’s praises, and regains his fatherly relationship. Together they try to recover his throne. A neutral member of Lear’s court is captured and has his eyes gouged out. Lear and Cordelia lose to the other two daughters and are ordered to be put to death. The two daughters are discovered to be fawning over the same man outside of their marriages. Out of jealousy one daughter fatally poisons the other, and out of shame of discovery the remaining daughter dispatches herself. King Lear is rescued only to find Cordelia murdered. Out of escalating insanity, King Lear dies of a broken heart. He has lost everything; all for a game of sycophancy.

Most like to think they are one “more sinned against than sinning.” That is where you discover the victimhood mentality. It infects everything. Redemption and resolution are not reached until others (usually the dearest to you) feel your pain. Instead of confronting the bad behavior, people will pacify you against their better judgement. You may feel comforted and justified, but the result is pure vanity. Within the play, a minor protagonist states that, “The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman.” A selfish request can become one’s undoing.

The way media rewards its loudest voices is dreadfully similar. Play by their rules and they’ll advance your reach, but call them out and users be damned. They will suspend you, or ban you. It figuratively gouges the eyes out of those who favor your content. This occurrence has had consequences that they didn’t count on. It has emboldened good and bad people to expose that very scheme. So long as liberty reigns, there will always be others ready to take the place of those who conspired their way out of favor.

In a moment of weakness when you don’t acknowledge your worth, it can easily be taken from you. The Bible’s story about two brothers, Jacob and Esau, is a lesson of how trickery may get you what you want, but not the way you intended. Jacob persuades Esau to trade his right to the family inheritance for food after nearly starving from a hunting and gathering trip. Jacob then tricked his father in order to gain the inheritance. The words exchanged and the vows made cannot be undone. Jacob makes an enemy of his brother, and Jacob himself is tricked many times in his life by his future in-laws and his children. Jacob and Esau’s families remain enemies, with losses that last for generations.

Our current society cannot be sustained by constant scheming. Another set of standards will replace it if we do not challenge ourselves to seek the purest forms of liberty and truth. We will either pass on ethics and a fear of God to the next generation properly, without deceptions, or we will fall prey to those who just want to take our place in our moments of weakness.

Human frailty is always a constant. It has to checked, but it won’t be helped by a game of “who can play my biggest fan.” It’s no different than attempting to change the rules of decency for your own amusement and comfort. It can turn on you rapidly and without remorse. Keep the truth close, so close that it lives within, and it will keep you.
By: Rosemary Dewar