Friends, Romans, Countrymen… Lend Me Your Ears

I recently watched the visual splendor that is The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.  Visual, yes, but a storytelling trainwreck for a garden variety of reasons, the most notable of which in my mind is that Terry Gilliam refuses to establish a set of rules and abide by them.  If a chess player may move any piece like the queen whenever he chooses to, the game of chess becomes impossible.

The brilliance of Antony’s speech is that he has bound himself to a set of strict rules he adheres to while still accomplishing his aims.  He promises Brutus that he will only speak well of Caesar and say nothing against the conspirators.  And yet, Antony somehow manages to turn the crowd to exact revenge while keeping within the constraints of his promise.

Only a mind as brilliant as Shakespeare could pull that off. Don’t believe me?  Here, watch and be amazed for yourself:

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