charles mee

the (re)making project

The Plays

Iphigenia 2.0 [sample]

by Charles L. Mee

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I see that there are acts
that will set an empire on a course
that will one day
bring it to an end.

Because, we see from the histories of empires
none will last forever
and all are brought down finally
not by others
but by themselves,
from the actions that they take
that they believe are right or good
or necessary at the time to do.

Sometimes they are brought to ruin
by no more than the belief
that something must be done
when in truth
doing nothing would have been the better course.

[quietly, the First Soldier enters to one side,
stands in silence,
listening to Agamemnon]

To be sure,
an empire
cannot refuse to defend itself from absolute devastation
and so it will arrange to have the capacity
for self defense.
It will preserve itself first from extinction
and, as well, from lethal damage or great harm
and then, too, from hurt and ill-treatment
that could, if left unattended, lead to devastating injury,
and, so by degrees,
an empire will reason itself to a need to be immune even
from insult
responding, finally,
to the anxieties and nightmares
that arise from within,
and so: striking out
at the phantasms of its own dreams.

Of course, it will know that a nation must protect its borders
and, in order to do that,
must secure its periphery
and so it will come to attend to conditions just beyond its
outermost bounds
and thus, by increments,
its interests will grow,
until they will have been extended beyond an ability to defend them.
They will have created new enemies along the way.
They will have created the causes of wars
where there were none before.
Even if an empire begins with no ambition
with no desire for conquest
no wish to grow
even so, it will feel it must grow or die
and so it grows
and thus it dies.
Ruin, it would seem,
is inherent in the nature of empire.

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