The tragedy of Iraq has been dissected from every angle: political, military and ideological. Now comes the Shakespearean analysis – by Thomas Ricks, military correspondent for the Washington Post and author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, on ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program earlier this morning:

If you want to understand Iraq right now, the best thing you could do is probably read Shakespearean tragedies.

This is not going to end As You Like It. It’s going to end bloody and messy: Othello, Hamlet, Lear.

And Shakespearean tragedies, remember, have five acts and I think we’re only in act three and there’s a lot more that’s going to unfold before we’re free of this mess.

That Iraq lends itself so readily to Shakespearean allusion and tragedy speaks volumes about a violent misadventure that has set ambition against human frailty and the sometimes cruel conspiracy of untamable events.

In the end it will simply be history. Richard III perhaps:

And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.

Peter Fray

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