You Are Not Stones But Men: Ned Stark and Shakespeare’s Brutus

Posted: February 7, 2019 by patricksponaugle in Game of Thrones
Tags: , , , , , ,

 

Another great A Song of Ice and Fire + Shakespeare analysis. I’m pleased to be able to reblog this.

Shakespeare of Thrones

One can almost see the sombre face of Eddard Stark looming up behind these lines:

BRUTUS:

For let the gods so speed me as I love

The name of honour more than I fear death.

 – Julius Caesar, II.ii

Hailed as Shakespeare’s great political tragedy, Julius Caesar presents the delicate balance between the private and public self; a central conflict for both Ned and Brutus. The parallel is likely intentional, especially considering that George R. R. Martin has named Julius Caesar as one of his two favorite Shakespeare plays. Throughout A Song of Ice and Fire, the conflict of private self vs. public self persists as a vibrant theme–a duality of opposing concepts, much like ice and fire. It is also congruent with Martin’s ultimate conflict; the heart at war with itself.

By examining Ned’s orientation as a Brutus figure, we can identify how Martin incorporates thematic elements of

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