Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Redemption of Action



In Act II, Aaron compares his attachment for Tamora, to whom he is "fetter'd in amorous chains", as one stronger than what binds Prometheus to the Caucasus as his innards are born away.

She is like Semiramis, the daughter of Derketo, who was abandoned at birth, after which her mother drowned herself. First fed by doves, then found by Simmas, a sheep-herder, her story is one of millions, the abandoned child of Musean or Oedipal climes. That is, one of millions if she was an abandoned son, which she was not. Her consequent independence mirrored her wit and craft, and with time wed her to the king of Assyria. Her exploits included cross-dressing as her son (after her husband passed) to fight in battle, to gaining a reputation as the originator of both the chastity belt and male castration. At each turn, the pedigree of a female who acts was an ambiguous heritage to assume. For the individuality of action, her reward was the death by her own seed and a mixed reputation which included its travel to Armenia as an amoral homewrecker and pretended harlot.

The poet Nairi Zarian told of her desire for a good-looking king of Armenia, Ara. Upon being refused in marriage, she proceeded to attack with her Assyrian forces. Once Ara died, she dressed a lover of hers as Ara, and feigning a resurrection to the Armenian people, one both peace and the dubious honour of saving through inexplicable sorcery. The role, then, of the witch, no longer the dove-symbol of Ishtar and human love, but that Medusa whose actions are feared and mystified for no more reason than that they are actions. It is at this juncture that love becomes lust, no different in action, yet in perspective a life transfers in this case to the second rung of Dante's hell, an empress of many languages, that made the lustful licit and became abandoned to the sensual - not as the naive encounter with an otherwise mystifying senselessness (that is, the means to know, to know at all, in the sense of faculty), but rather to double deviation so as to remove the blame to which she had been led.

It is here, in this metaphor, that Tamora's character takes place, a woman who plans, and a woman who loves, duelly for caution in a recursive circle of pre-empted amorality. And Aaron, the all-too-black, and fittingly dark and sinister companion of hers, attached as the chains of punished hubris, the chains that bind not devotion, but vice and its irremediable, quite Dantesque, remunerance of flesh elimination (in this case, by vultures).