Saruman and McMurphy

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Saruman and McMurphy

#1  Postby Matthew Shute » Mar 11, 2010 3:44 pm

I feel an unsystematic literary rumination coming on…

Saruman, the villainous wizard in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga, is a puzzling case. There are several qualities to admire about him: he is willing to follow his own path and struggle for his own vision, heedless of orthodox wisdom and morality; he shows ambition and initiative; he has intellect and erudition; he prefers experiment and discovery over handed-down mysticism (“Saruman the White” becomes “Saruman of many colours”, and Gandalf accuses him of breaking a thing to understand what it is – a dig at Newton’s prism).

There is also a deeply pitiful side to Saruman. Worst, he compromises his own ideals, in the end resorting to an attempt at genocide; he becomes ensnared with Sauron and the dubious allures of totalitarianism and absolute power, stultifying hierarchy and regimentation; he fails to achieve anything he sets out to achieve, constantly acting out of fear and weakness, allowing circumstances to dictate his strategies, and making idiotic decisions.

Another ambiguous case is McMurphy, the well-known hero or anti-hero in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. McMurphy, too, struggles to live up to his own ideal, although he makes a better go of it than Saruman does, achieving a powerful yet short-lived victory over Nurse Ratched. However, he is not subtle or devious (Saruman-like) enough to achieve a more lasting triumph. He is driven to the edge, emotionally, by Ratched’s crass brutality coupled with her sense of righteous purity. Although he manages to get the better of her, for all to see, he does so thoughtlessly, resulting in his own destruction. With more intelligence, thought, and planning, he may have been able to “expose” the Big Nurse and bring down her regime while living to fight another day.

Somewhere, between these two flawed characters, is a heroic ideal.

(Yeah, this is a re-post from Rationalia.com)
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Re: Saruman and McMurphy

#2  Postby j.mills » Mar 11, 2010 10:00 pm

Okay. Interesting. What d'you want me to do about it? :scratch: :grin:
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Re: Saruman and McMurphy

#3  Postby Hollis » Mar 11, 2010 10:19 pm

Matthew Shute wrote:Somewhere, between these two flawed characters, is a heroic ideal.


I don't remotely give a shit.
Monotheism is easily the greatest disaster to befall the human race. ~ Gore Vidal

The art of writing is mysterious, the opinions we hold are ephemeral... ~ Jorge Luis Borges
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Re: Saruman and McMurphy

#4  Postby j.mills » Mar 11, 2010 10:43 pm

Somewhere between my response and that of Hollis lies the forum ideal. :grin:
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Where one becomes many through struggle and strife,
But the Mother of Mysteries is another man's call:
Why is there something 'stead of nothing at all?

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Re: Saruman and McMurphy

#5  Postby Matthew Shute » Mar 12, 2010 3:00 pm

Hollis wrote:
Matthew Shute wrote:Somewhere, between these two flawed characters, is a heroic ideal.


I don't remotely give a shit.


You gave enough of a shit to reply, silly. :dopey: Bloody teenagers.

Okay. Interesting. What d'you want me to do about it?


Say whatever you like. It's a free forum. :drunk:
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