1000 Books In 10 Years; Vol. 100: The King’s Attrition, by Williams Shakespeare (sort of)

Some might see this work as a sequel to Macbeth (or, for those of you who are superstitious, “the Scottish play”), though if I were to think of it in such terms I think I’d rather see it as an epilogue of sorts. Ideally though I think this work is one that stands on its own. Knowing what happened in Macbeth may offer some insights into The King’s Attrition, but the narrative is one that is very different than Macbeth, more akin to Hamlet in that it revolves around a protagonist who is defined by internal struggles. While Malcolm serves as the title character, his internal struggles are not all the play has to offer. There are elements of ‘queer theory’ throughout the play, both in the relationship between Celie and Volumnia, and also in the dialogue shared between Malcolm and David Bathsheba, the later of which offers scriptural precedent that sanctions homosexual love. The play also offers views on class and racial issues, and speaks a great deal of issues regarding gender and feminism. It is meant to be a post-modern text that draws on the multiplicity of human nature, and though some of the ideas may seem dated, I feel there lies a fresh perspective on many of these themes within this work. And keeping with the post-modern tradition the composer (that would be me) has employed the pastiche in concert with appropriation and deconstruction. Very little of the play’s content is original (if any at all), and I see myself more as the work’s composer rather than the author. The word combinations are like notes that were already there, simply waiting to be place alongside other notes with the hopes of creating a pleasant melody. The King’s Attrition is a re-contextualization of passages and poems by a great number of authors. If one ever wondered what type of work John Donne, John Milton and William Shakespeare would have produced if they’d worked in concert, The King’s Attrition would serve to answer the question quite nicely, while also allowing George Bernard Shaw an opportunity to let his work stand alongside the master of theatre. It is a feminist work, at class-conscious work, a work on race and homosexuality, and a great many other things, all wrapped up with a Freudian exclamation mark, and I hope anybody whoever chooses to invest their time in The King’s Attrition enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed composing it.

If you are interested in a copy please contact me 🙂

Rambler About Rambler

Jason John Horn is a writer and critic who recently completed his Master's in English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has composed a play, a novella and a number of short stories and satirical essays.

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