Realpolitik by James Archer

Editable and printable Word version

This monologue is by King Herod the Great, lying semi-delirious on his deathbed shortly after the visit of the wise men.  In each section, the opening word, “Fools!”, is loud, angry and distressed, whilst the rest is quieter and says why.  Think of Herod as a cross between Saddam Hussain – a monster who kept a lid on a simmering pot which boiled over once he was gone, making life far worse for the masses – and Marshall Petain, who thought that by appeasing the occupying powers he could save the country from far worse and moderate their impact; he is full of self-justification, perhaps subconsciously aware of the weakness of his case, and blames everyone else for what he was “forced” to do.

Fools!  Worthless sons! They’ll undo all I’ve achieved within a few years.  How have I deserved this?  For thirty-three years I’ve kept the peace.  Thirty-three years I’ve kept the Romans at bay.

Fools! Religious fanatics!  No common sense.  Always looking for a magic answer, a saviour who will make all problems disappear.  No sense of compromise with reality, always provoking the Romans, selling their snake-oil to the masses.

 

Fools! Mystic dreamers!  How dare they?  Asking around for a royal baby.  Don’t they realise what trouble they are stirring up?

 

Fools! Bumbling idiots!  I tell them to track those dreamers, and they miss them slipping into Bethlehem at night.  How can I eliminate the threat if they can’t spot the house?

 

Fools! Ungrateful Romans! I do their dirty work, and they blame me for killing a few peasant babies.  Don’t they understand?  What choice did I have? Better for a few to die than the whole country rise against them.

 

Fools! The lot of them!  I’ve done my best.  They’ll understand when I’m gone and it all goes up in flames.

 

Fools!