To stab, or not to stab

If you were thinking that things were awfully gory on TV and in the movies these days, well, you may be assured that this is Not News in any sense of the word: William Shakespeare was wont to include a bit of the old ultra-violence now and then, and he’s been gone for 400 years. And he had all sorts of ways of killing people off:

Distribution of deaths in the plays of William Shakespeare

At the link, an interactive version of this chart, with numbers of iterations for each death. And there’s this:

As accustomed as we are to thinking of contemporary entertainments like Game of Thrones as especially gratuitous, the whole of Shakespeare’s corpus, writes Alice Vincent at The Telegraph, is “more gory” than even HBO’s squirm-worthy fantasy epic, featuring a total of 74 deaths in 37 plays to Game of Thrones’ 61 in 50 episodes.

Not that George R. R. Martin is keeping count. (At least, I don’t think he is.)



  1. backwoods conservative »

    3 January 2016 · 9:10 am

    Et tu, Brute?

  2. Chuck »

    3 January 2016 · 9:43 am

    Everything we see on TV or in the movies is a pale imitation of the real thing. People are diabolical in devising ways to do in other people. It used to be our great smarts were employed in devising ever more excruciatingly painful ways to do in our enemies. Nowadays, we are more interested in efficiency then maximizing pain. 7 at one blow? Piker! How about 700,000? That’s progress for you, or at least Western Civilizations version of progress. The Mideast seems to be clinging to the old ways. Now-a-days, scenes of horror elicit cringing in the audience. Used to be they would elicit ecstasy.

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