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Catalog of the Shakespeare Art Collection  --  Oil Paintings on Shakespearean Themes

#97 "TROILUS & CRESSIDA"
Description of Painting - Oil on Beaverboard 15" x 24"
by Hannah Tompkins

 

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This play is about the Trojan War. It is an aggressive war, for a cause involving
"..a theft most base that we have stol'n what we do fear to keep."
as expressed by the Trojan Troilus and seconded by his brother, hector, who adds:
"..nor fear of bad success in a bad cause."
Nevertheless, the men are unanimous that any cause, good or bad, will serve to bring them "honor" and "glory". It is their sister Cassandra who champions the womens' voice as she cries her plea in the streets rousing anti-war sentiments:
"Cry, Trojans, cry! Practice your eyes with tears!"
The kneeling woman in the painting represents all bereaved womankind who mourn their war dead.

The skeletal figure with oversized hands, is shown in a posture of crucifixion. Behind him, emerging from a green spectral mist, among the tombs and tomb-stones are the restless ghosts of the dead who died for a useless cause.

The golden panels of hope on the upper left are splattered and dripping with blood. The disasters of "bad success in a bad cause" are irrevocable. The corpses stand witness to the delusion of "honor' and "glory", and in the finality of death, expose it in all its nakedness.

FIN


Copyright © 1990 Hannah Tompkins. All rights reserved.

 

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