The Condemnation Of Marcus Brutus Essay

2203 words - 9 pages

“We’ll attack when we’re told, And submit should he scold, For we’re old Pa Ubu’s dogs-of-war” (Taylor 31) is the mantra and role of Brutus from “Ubu and the Truth Commission” by Jane Taylor. This play tells the complicated story of South African politics and highlights the failures of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in its attempts to heal the wounds of South Africa and bring justice in the transition from Apartheid. In Act Five: Scene One we see the condemnation and trial of Brutus, the three-headed dog and co-conspirator of Pa Ubu, and through this can draw a direct parallel to the real-life difficulties that were encountered by South Africa when trying the political players involved in Apartheid. Taylor uses this scene as a prime representation of the inability of the TRC to justly discern between the roles of the whole versus the individual in regards to the officials responsible for the violence and wrongdoings that took place under the Apartheid system.
In this specific scene it was determined that “In the matter of the state versus Brutus, Brutus, and Brutus, it has been determined that there is unequal culpability, and thus we hand down separately, three distinct sentences…”(Taylor 44). This is just in the fact that different actions should be subject to different consequences, but being that the Brutus’ are of a single body makes it impossible for the Brutus’ to fulfill them completely. Jane Taylor takes many cues from real life happenings from the end of apartheid to mold and model this sentence in order to highlight the difficulties in dealing with Brutus’ trinity of power. In order to better understand the thought behind this, we must look closer into the three roles of Brutus to see why three distinct sentences need to be administered.
When we first meet Brutus in Act One: Scene Five; they are introduced initially as a whole, but we are able to quickly draw the lines of distinction between the three heads, and are able to see and assign them differing roles. The first head of Brutus is introduced as a savage beast who longs only to carry out horrendous deeds, seeking “some little bone… a tiny cartilaginous morsel”(Taylor 31), in other words a low-level entity that is directed to terrorize, and does so willingly. The second head of Brutus is introduced in a different manner, he says that he does not want to perform the savage deeds, but rather says “… I do long to lead…”(Taylor 31) highlighting the fact that he does not condemn the savagery, but is more associated with a higher level in the hierarchy, a military leader of sorts. The third and final head of Brutus speaks more eloquently saying “…diplomacy needs more informed conversation…” (Taylor 31), this highlight of diplomacy and education helps to infer that he holds the role of a politician. With these three distinct roles we see that they are all closely related individuals in a single chain of command, but their deeds and actions define them as...

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