Prospero as a flawed machiavellian prince

DreamWorks SKG will release its first features this fall: ImageMovers films will be financed by and distributed by DreamWorks SKG domestically, with Universal handling video and international distribution. However, the deal is not exclusive, so Robert Zemeckis can still direct for other studios. Business is business, however, and the nation-wide Japanese opening is being rescheduled.

Prospero as a flawed machiavellian prince

Traditional folktales never were. There are some good guys. There are some bad guys. The good guys win.

The Invention Of Moral Narrative | Slate Star Codex

The good guys are usually scrappy amateurs; the bad guys usually well-organized professionals with typical fascist precision. The good guys usually demonstrate a respect for human life and the bonds of friendship; the bad guys betray their citizens and their underlings with equal abandon.

They gain their good guy or bad guy status by either following the universal law, or breaking it. Neither the Greeks nor Trojans are especially good nor villainous.

Prospero as a flawed machiavellian prince

The Trojans lose some points for kidnapping a woman, but the Greeks lose some points for killing and enslaving an entire city. Neither side is scrappier or more professional than the other. Neither seems to treat civilians better or demonstrate more loyalty. Nor was it on the mind of the authors of Mahabharata, the Norse sagas, Jack and the Beanstalk, et cetera.

The article concludes this is because of nationalism. Nation-states wanted their soldiers to imagine themselves as fighting on the side of good, against innately-evil cartoon-villain enemies. This was so compelling a vision that it shaped culture from then on: A Global History of Concentration Campsabout the rise of the idea that people on opposite sides of conflicts have different moral qualities, she told me: In short, we are rehearsing the idea that moral qualities belong to categories of people rather than individuals.

What are we to think of this? Robin Hood started stealing from the rich to give to the poor as early as the edition of his tale. The Mayan Hero Twins? Are there any differences between the way ancients and moderns looked at this? Maybe modern stories seem more likely to have two clear sides eg made up of multiple different people separated by moral character.

Villains as opposed to monsters, or beings that are evil by their very nature seem more modern.

So does the idea of heroes as necessarily scrappy, and villains as necessarily well-organized. And just eyeballing it, modern stories seem to use this plot a lot more, and to have less deviation from the formula.

The past stories seem much more conducive to blind nationalism than our own. The amorality of the warriors in the Iliad manifested as total loyalty: Hector fought for Troy not because Troy was in the right, but because he was a Trojan.

Achilles fought for Greece not because he believed in the Greek cause, but because that was his side and he was sticking to it. What more could a nationalist want?

In contrast, the whole point of modern good-vs-evil is that you should choose sides based on principle rather than loyalty.

The article gets this exactly right in pointing out the literary motif of virtuous betrayal. We are expected to celebrate Darth Vader or Severus Snape virtuously betraying their dark overlords to help the good guys.

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In Avatar, the main character decides his entire species is wrong and joins weird aliens to try to kill them, and this is good. Compare to ancient myths, where Hector defecting to Greece because the abduction of Helen was morally wrong is just totally unthinkable.

This is a super-anti-nationalist way of thinking. I suppose nationalists could make the very dangerous bargain of telling their soldiers to always fight for the good guys, then get really good propaganda to make sure they look like the good guys.Yes, the Manicheans who divided the world into all good and all evil, and who gave us our indispensible term “Manichean” to describe a juvenile belief in nuance-free black-and-white narratives about the world.

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The Invention Of Moral Narrative | Slate Star Codex