by Carl, 11/16/2012, 8:21 PM

I’m really confused why the first third or so of this Jean Godden piece was written. I like Godden’s writing for the most part, but this is both forced and unnecessary.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd thinks the players in the Petraeus scandal are like Shakespeare’s MacBeth and Othello.

Every once in a while, Maureen Dowd’s editors will mention to her, “hey maybe don’t shoehorn quite so many references to the movie you just saw into a political analysis when you write your next column.” And rather than seeing that as a request to not shoehorn any piece of fiction into her column on current events, she decides it’s ol’ Shakespeare’s turn. I’ve mostly stopped reading her, but I remember it seemed for years that any mention of Hillary Clinton was accompanied by a Lady Macbeth reference.

A better analogy would be to another Shakespearean general: Coriolanus.

Even better would be to realize that this is a pointless effort and to either just write something about Petraeus, or to write about Seattle, since that’s what people go to Godden’s page for.

Shakespearean tragedies are defined by fatal character faults. MacBeth’s was envy; Othello’s was jealousy. Coriolanus, on the other hand, was driven by ambition. And that certainly seems to loom large in the Tragedy of Gen. David Petraeus: a man motivated, from the beginning, by ambition. He wowed them at West Point and climbed the social ladder by wedding the West Point Superintendent’s daughter. He climbed the ranks to earn his fourth star and embraced fame as a military idol.

I guess I should mention that there are spoilers for a play written in the early 1600′s coming up. I’d recommend the movie version of Coriolanus that came out last year if you haven’t seen it.

Anyway, OK, I see it now. When Caius Martius wins victory at Corioli it’s the same as when Petraeus married someone’s daughter. Oh, maybe it’s that his surge strategies in 2 countries killed a lot of people something something “this butterfly was a grub.” No! Here it is! Here it is: CIA drone strikes are when he teams up with Aufidius and, and, nope, I lost it. Shit.

He didn’t travel alone. He once arrived at a party (hosted by Tampa socialite Jill Kelley) at the head of a 28-car motorcade. He obviously liked having his attractive biographer Paula Broadwell hang on his every word. That he dallied with Broadwell is not too surprising given that she crafted a book that gushes with admiration.

You know what. Dude hooks up with someone too young for him. Nobody would approve, least of all their families. Lots of death follows the main character. For real, it’s a secret marriage and a couple suicides away from Romeo and Juliet. So that’s a better shoehorn! I win.

Um, I guess I should have had two spoiler alerts?

Anyway, then she gets away from the absurd comparison to describe life as a military brat her perception of military culture and says that too many people have died in Afghanistan. I have nothing against the former and agree with the later, so let’s end there.

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