THE BEAUTY OF A THOUSAND STARES
- Painting: oil on canvas
- Size: 32Hx44Wx2 inches
The title is an adaptation from Marlowe's Dr. Faustus (5.1.106). There was a fate in Marlowe's reference to the supernatural, the stars and heavens, his complete denial of the existence of everyday, ordinary life, ignoring the common people, or that they even mattered - his refusal to accept, in his life and his work, the Aristotelian formula of the tragic hero, laden with history and the commoner. He rejected that the ruin that overtakes humanity must come from some flaw that is within its own character. Marlowe departed. He had his own formula, and a formula that he lived by – that of the Machiavellian superman who was studied, but equally unaccepted in its time, sneered at, denied. But not to Marlowe, or “Marley,” as he spelled, and signed, his name. To Marlowe, tragedy resulted simply by coming in conflict with the forces outside of who we are, as the result of the composite failings of society, forces inevitably too great for humanity, and that inevitably begrudged it its life. And he faced his headlong collision with them in his quest to conquer them, dying in a brawl in Deptford. But he had already become the times definition of literature, and of society’s sacrificial lamb. He set the stage for Shakespeare, and all of us who have come after him, a faded gleaming light over a tainted society that only knew one course, through the dregs of the very society in which he single-mindedly, obsessively, self-destructively, tried to confront its flaws. A solipsistic opportunist, rejecting the legacy of a shoemaker’s son, whose brilliant mind let him see what was beyond the walls of Canterbury.
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