Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tread Softly Because You Tread On My Dreams

A particular part of a particular poem by William Butler Yeats known to most people as W.B. Yeats has been echoing through my thoughts in recent days. I first became aware of it from the 2002 movie "Equilibrium" upon watching it again recently. I realize this movie did not exactly overwhelm film critics or movie-goers alike. However, I have always unapologetically loved it since I first saw parts of it and I feel there is more substance to it than most movie-watchers appreciate or realize. The movie is set in a future dystopia where following a global nuclear war the emergent society in North America (called Libria ironically enough) has banned all emotion (referred to as "sense crime") and doped its citizenry to not feel emotion and begun a purge of all sorts of things that elicit emoting such as  literature, music, and other forms of art and artistic expression in an attempt to prevent violence in the form of war or crime. For this to happen a totalitarian regime controls all of society turning everybody into unfeeling worker drones whom are easily controlled. This dominant paradigm is enforced by highly specialized and trained personages called Grammaton Clerics of whom actors Christian Bale who plays John Preston and Sean Bean who plays Errol Partridge are two such. Ultimately, Preston realizes his partner Partridge has begun to feel again and is committing sense crimes in reading a book of poetry by Yeats. Near the beginning of the movie when Preston confronts Partridge the latter is reading a book of Yeat's poetry and quotes to his partner the excerpt from the Yeats poem "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" below right before Preston executes him:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. ~  W.B. Yeats
Below is the scene in the movie to which I refer:

1 comment:

  1. I love this movie, too, and after viewing it a few times (I have a copy of it), I know that there is an even deeper level of meaning in it.

    Remember that "Tetra Grammaton" has been known as the four letter word for God to the Hebrews and that they were forbidden to speak the name. The four letters are YHVH, which correspond to the name of "Yahweh."

    Makes you think, eh?