RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Let’s take that idea of playing out a little further now. The budget standoff has been described in all sorts of dramatic terms. So we decided to look into what the great works of the stage can tell us about this debate over tax hikes and spending cuts, and how it will play out. Think of it as “The Fiscal Cliff for English Majors.”
NPR White House correspondent – and English major – Ari Shapiro has this take.
ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: It’s Act 4 in Shakespeare’s tragedy, “King Lear.” The Earl of Gloucester is blind. He believes he’s standing at the Cliffs of Dover, about to throw himself to his death. The audience can see the blind man is not on the edge of a cliff at all. But Gloucester’s son describes the vertiginous sight to convince his father that the cliff is real.
(SOUNDBITE OF STAGE PLAY, “KING LEAR”)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How fearful and dizzy ’tis to cast one’s eyes so low.
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