Abstract Imperfection

Do we hate him, or do we love to hate him?

The Shakespeare Company: Richard III (http://bit.ly/2e1GeSz)

Shakespeare’s historic play, Richard III, came alive at the Vertigo Theater on September 27th- showcasing clever artistic direction, inspiring acting, and astounding tech- portraying a holistic production highlighting the many truths about the human condition’s need to compensate for a lack of love. As an AP-20 student studying Richard III in class, Gloucester’s character never appeared to be humane, rather I stereotyped him to be one-dimensional and static, unwilling to discover the layers of vulnerability hidden behind his insatiable thirst for power. However, when brought to life by Haysam Kadri, I was able to delve into the complexity of emotion arising from the wreckage produced by childhood neglect and the wickedness of a naturally attained ability to charm.

Without condoning his actions, I happened to find myself naturally empathizing with our villain, for his back-story of feeling alienated is an emotion all humans can identify with. Really, his villainy is an exaggeration of all that makes him human- the whirlwind of emotion, the deviousness, the lust, his flawed logic, and his purposeful ignorance towards humanity’s morals are what make him relatable. Like a friend we want to hug, to fix, to inspire~

A friend who really is a reflection of the darkness hidden within every human being; the twisted perversion integrated in our way of being when we attempt to persuade and manipulate the truth to our benefit. The cleverness behind our word choices in our everyday battles between the heart and mind. The silenced cries of uncontrollable passion. The confining boundaries of society-induced reasoning. We’re trapped in a world of hypocrisy, where we indulge in the villainy of others to appear superior to satisfy our fragile egos, only to truly relish in the idea of another being as perplexed and depraved as oneself.

So is that why I loved Richard? Because his screwed up mind made me feel justified for the feelings I experience? Is it because he validates my imperfections and highlights the rawness of being human?

Or is because I understand how it feels to be deprived of love? To feel second best, falling short with a fever known as the “not good enough syndrome,” every time an opportunity arrives at my door? Perhaps its more than this, it’s my undying want to care for another broken human, attempting to glue back the pieces of another man’s shattered soul. Some may argue that it may just be a natural instinct to desire to mend all that is broken, to embrace Richard for his ugliness and his torn soul. Because he’s not a bad man; man is nor good nor bad, man is simply human.

And humans are the epitome of abstract imperfection.

And that’s what it all boils down to- being human. Attached to such a title comes with it a sense of obligation to love your kind. For, even you are flawed, you are hurt, you are evolving. And just as you desire to be loved, so do the cruelest villains etched into literary compositions, who are rooted in the core of darkness concealed within every man’s intimate crevasses.

As humans, we love all that is a reflection of relatable emotion- of vulnerability.

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3 thoughts on “Abstract Imperfection

  1. Dear Malika,

    Ever since we began talking about Richard The Third in class, I was torn between hating Richard, and loving to hate him. Reading your piece, I think I have finally come to a decision. He is not someone I hate. But he isn’t someone I love to hate either. He is abnormal. Deformed and broken, he knows he isn’t meant for humanity to love him. So were his deeds just a product of society’s corruption? Even if they were, his deeds cannot be justified with that as the excuse. I don’t hate Richard, but I don’t love to hate him either. Richard is the person who I would enjoy the presence of. I don’t hate him at all. He was faced with issues we can’t imagine, and his deformity is the main factor for that.

    One thing that I loved in your blog was the concept of humanity. You always related Richard back to his humanity, whereas I thought of Richard as less human and more psychopath. But in the end, psychopath’s are humans too. Another concept that really got me thinking was your mention of humans being the epitome of abstract imperfection. Perfection to me a simply a set of standards to which we set our everyday lives to reach. As we reach those standards, our expectations seem to grow, and along with it, those standards. So in this infinite loop, perfection is impossible to reach, leaving every human imperfect. But to be abstractly imperfect? To me it invokes the feeling of individuality, something which I value greatly.

    I don’t really see anything you could work on. Everything seems to perfectly fit together. But then again, everything you seem to do ends up being perfect. I really enjoyed reading this piece Malika. Thank you for sharing your brilliance.

  2. Dear Malika,

    Your writing is beyond me. I do not know how you write so fluently. It’s amazing. I saw NO GUMPS. None. Not one. Wow ok. I am really going to need your help in critical essay writing, just saying. Regardless, The reason I LOVED your piece was because it summed up the nature of our attraction to a character like Richard III concisely, effectively, and fluidly. Everything made logical sense and was relatable. Your writing also clarified for myself why I was drawn to him so much: it was because even though his form was supposedly of a vulnerable state, he was confident in knowing that such vulnerability, even though exposed daily, would not hinder his progress. He embraced it. To the degree that he achieved everything he desired–the throne, and the respect that came with it (glory, be it short, is glory nonetheless).

    Furthermore, I have no improvements to give. However, in the first paragraph you did say that you were an AP 20 student, which is untrue as you are an AP 30 student. I laughed. It was funny. You are funny.

    Lastly, I just wanted to thank you for such a piece. I enjoyed it. I was able to breath through the analysis, which made it perfect. I agree that “humans are the epitome of abstract imperfection,” but when it comes to you that statement proves untrue.


  3. Dear Malika,
    Since reading Richard III last year, I have loved his character. I have never truly been able to explain why, but in your exploration of humanity in this piece, I have found a reason.
    Like you, I can empathize with Richard. Seeing him in all of his madness just reminds me of what it means to be human. His character, for me, is a reflection of just how hurt a person can become in the face of alienation. I believe that I have experienced – although not nearly to the same extent – what it means to feel alone and unloved. Even if my experiences with loneliness have been temporary and shallow compared to the rawness of what Richard must have felt, it only takes a little bit of experience with these things for me to understand him. It only takes a taste of these experiences for me to understand how little it takes to become like Richard. It only takes a moment of playing host to these emotions for me to feel empathy for him.
    One thing that I want to highlight about your piece is that your voice truly comes through. When I was reading it, I almost felt like you were standing beside me, whispering the words in my ear. Your ideologies really come through in a personal way, and I can really say that I feel closer to you after just reading this.
    I also appreciated the subtitle that you put in bold at the beginning of your piece. It really caught my attention and engaged me, because that is a question that I know many of us in the class have been pondering. Your subtitle – especially being as it was a rhetorical question designed to invoke our own thoughts – was a clever and effective way to begin.
    As a constructive criticism, I would have liked to have seen a more unified style. You began the piece with a very professional tone that made me think you were going to review the play, but then you deviated into a more personal-response-type of tone. Both would have been effective, but together in the same piece they challenged the strength of your coherence. I think that this could be improved either by returning to the professionalism with which you began at the end, or by omitting it entirely and focussing on your thoughts about empathy and humanity.
    Once again, I think that this was a brilliant piece and was really thought-provoking. Thank you for a wonderful read!

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