The Queen is Dead, My Lord
by Bill Juby
In Shakespeare's "Scottish Play", the doomed protagonist,
hearing of his wife's death, awaits his own fate, waxing grimly
philosophical on a life, bereft through his earlier action, of
all meaning. Macbeth has committed the capital crime of his culture:
regicide, his treachery as "thane" pushing him beyond
the bounds of social convention into a new and chilling existential
awareness. His bleak soliloquy describes the terrifying tragic
recognition of a solitary human condition engendered through the
willful annihilation of his culture's most meaningful social relations:
The Queen, my lord, is dead.
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow , and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
In today's advanced capitalist society, the parallel to Macbeth's
crime is the corporate CEO's betraying shareholders-and getting
caught. A modern tragic hero, someone like ImClone's Sam Waksal,
awaiting the outcome of his investigation by the Security Exchange
Commission, might thus ruminate:
Martha Stewart, my CEO, is had.
She'd have done time hereafter;
The SEC marks time for such a word.
Next quarter, and next quarter, and next quarter
The analysts forecast from day to day
To the last trade before the closing chime,
And all our annual reports have lighted fools
The way to deeper debt. Gone, gone, brief profit!
Life's but an unexercised option, a poor trader,
That puts and calls across the market floor,
And then is heard no more; a conference call
Swallowed by shareholders, bullish and alluring,
Bill Juby is the father to a notion off the coast.