Friday, January 26, 2007

The Magician

Marcos the Magnificent was the best magician there ever was. There was no trick he could not master. Rabbits, milk, scarves - there was nothing that Marcos couldn't pull out of a hat, er, that may be a double negative. His best trick ever was sawing a lady in half. Moooooving along, one day he lost his magical powers. He tried to pull a rabbit out of a hat and only got the hat lining. He poured milk into the hat and it filled up and poured over, ruining his best silk scarves.

"Gosh darnit!" scowled Marcos, twisting the ends of his mustache.

He lined himself up for his big trick, and his beautiful wife and assistant Rebecca reluctantly locked herself into the box.

"Marcos," she whispered, "I thought you lost your powers."

"I can do this woman!" he hissed.

It was out of love for Marcos that she locked herself into her box, knowing full well that when he began sawing through the wood the individual tines would eventually cut and rip into her own belly flesh. But rather than humiliate him in front of his audience (currently, the President King of France) she let one single tear drop from her cheek as she fastened the MasterLock tightly through the clasps.

"Behold!" Marcos shouted, and in two quick motions, back and forth, he sawed straight through the box, and straight through his wife. She didn't scream or even cry out. You see, she died from a broken heart before the saw tines even nicked her.

Marcos, blinded by his own anger and pride, knew exactly what would happen, and so did Rebecca, but it was out of love for Marcos that she sacrificed herself and it was out of pride that Marcos killed her.


The short story "A Bloody Day for Marcos," written by Jesse Raub, is an interesting piece to examine philosophically. Easily, the point of the story is that Marcos' wife, Rebecca, was being selfless when she allowed herself to be sawed in half, for she loved Marcos so much that she could not bring shame to him by refusing to lock herself into the box. Marcos, in turn, was being selfish in his pride, knowing full well that he had lost his powers (see: rabbit trick, milk trick) and yet still continuing with the act, like nothing is wrong.

But that's just the surface. In this view, the reader is assuming that Raub is being truthful in his description of Rebecca. He stated that she loved him and could not bring him shame - yet, by allowing herself to be sawed in half, she shamed him more than he ever could be. Marcos' powers had gone - regardless of whether or not Rebecca allowed herself to be sawed in half. If she had refused, Marcos would have the shame of having a disobedient wife and assistant. However, by allowing herself to be sawed in half, she demonstrated to the President King of France that Marcos indeed had lost his powers.

I would even be so bold as to say that Rebecca herself could not live with having a shamed husband, so she allowed herself to be killed. Though she shamed him even more by showing his powers were gone, at least she wouldn't be alive to bear half of the shame.

Perhaps this was even the ultimate revenge. At the end of the story, Marcos is ruined as a magician, and also he had lost his wife. All because of pride. But Raub doesn't allow the reader that much insight. Instead, we - as the readers - must use our own wits of interpretation to discover the true meaning behind this story.

1 comment:

awesome said...

Or, you know, we would have to use our wits as readers to figure it out if Raub hadn't told us the story's true meaning.

More like, things that go bump on your FACE