[Bumped for the monkey heart comment. And everything else.--AJ]
Greg Jones: Othello
M.S.U. Athletics: Desdemona
Mark Dantonio: Iago
Kirk Cousins: Cassio
Chris L. Rucker: Roderigo
The parallels are striking to Iowans conversant in the Bard.
I'll be frank, I didn't have a post for Michigan State ready until late last night. In all previous installments, it's been plainly obvious who the heros are and who's the antagonist. However, the Spartans have been a good story this year given their dramatic wins and off-the-field adversity. It seemed this week's "Shakespearean Opponents" would be impossible.
That all changed when coach Dantonio reinstated Chris L. Rucker to the team just hours after the latter left jail for a parole violation. For his detestable win-at-any-cost decision (and it's still true even if Rucker doesn't play today as traveling with the team sets a bad precedent), Dantonio collects the ignominious mantle of Iago, one of Shakespeare's most vile villains. Fuck his monkey heart.
Iago (Dantonio, hey whaddya know they both end in "O") must have a small dick because he's incredibly jealous of the moor, Othello (Jones). Iago has a pernicious effect on Othello's marriage to Desdemona (M.S.U. Athletics) and is completely governed by animus towards those around him.
Furthermore, Iago strokes the ego of Roderigo (Rucker) in order to acheive his own diabolical goals. He expertly crafts a row between Roderigo and Cassio (Cousins), an otherwise estimable man for his own enjoyment and personal gain.
By the play's coda, most everyone lay dead because of Iago's meddling although it's unresolved as to whether or not Iago is led away to be executed. Much like how we don't know if Dantonio really died following his heart attack and has been replaced by the Dantonio-bot -- but that's a story for another day and on another blog.
Ironically, the author stumbled upon an excellent essay about Shakespearean villians by Gregory L. Gietzen this past week. Ironically (and unfortunately for Gietzen), he went to motherfucking M.S.U.
In the eyes of Gietzen, Shakespearean villains are:
(1) self-serving -- villains refuse to accept the idea of a higher morality and pursue their own ends at the expense of the rest,
(2) aggressive -- antagonists set out to attain their goals, make things happen and force other people to react,
(3) willful -- villains reject the idea of predestination, they believe that they forge their own places in the world,
(4) solitary -- villains are loners, creatures driven to operate outside the norms of society at the same time they work within it,
(5) entropic -- villains can never build up order, never create, but may only destroy, chaos immediately follows them, and
(6) self-deceptive -- villains are utterly confident of their abilities -- and they have to be; they know that goodness and justice dominate their worlds.
Yes, those attributes fit Iago (Dantonio) to a fucking 'T'.
# # #
VI: Wisconsin Badgers -- "Richard II; Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; Henry V"
V: Michigan Wolverines -- "Richard III"
IV: Penn State Nittany Lions -- "Julius Caesar"
III: Ball State Cardinals -- "As You Like It"
II: Arizona Wildcats -- "Macbeth"
I: Iowa State Cyclones -- "Much Ado About Nothing"