Law and the Arts

(How I use the arts in learning about Law)

As I mentioned I learned and use the visual and aural arts explain legal theories and situations.  St. Thomas and the Ethics and Business Law department offers a wonderful class called the “Great Books” which is about lessons in leadership through literature.

On our class I use a lot of movies.  For example, there is a scene from “The Godfather” (making someone an offer they can’t refuse) to explain the theory of duress.

LAW AND COMEDY

For another example (and how I look at law) there is an old movie called “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” It’s a great old movie based on the Roman farces of one of my favorite authors, Plautus (251 – 183 BC – OK, I’m old….).  The movie is about a slave, Pseudolus and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master, Hero, win the heart of the girl next door.

Listen to the lyrics, “something familiar, something peculiar; something appealing, something appalling; something for everyone.”  This is the whole idea behind the legal theory of stare decisis — previous familiar cases that may have a twist in a new case!

Besides, it’s a comedy!!  And more fun than a tragedy!!

FunnyThingCover

[PSEUDOLUS]
Something familiar, Something peculiar, Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!
Something appealing, Something appalling, Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!
Nothing for kings, nothing for crowns; Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns!
Old situations, New complications, Nothing portentous or polite;
Tragedy tomorrow, Comedy tonight!

Something convulsive, Something repulsive, Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!
Something aesthetic, Something frenetic, Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!
Nothing of gods, nothing of fate; Weighty affairs will just have to wait!
Nothing that’s formal, Nothing that’s normal, No recitations to recite;
Open up the curtain: Comedy Tonight!

Something erratic, Something dramatic, Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!
Frenzy and frolic, Strictly symbolic, Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

[ENTIRE COMPANY]
Something familiar, Something peculiar, Something for everybody:
Comedy tonight!
Something that’s gaudy, Something that’s bawdy–

[PSEUDOLUS]  Something for everybawdy!
[ERRONIUS]  Pantaloons and tunics!
[SENEX]  Courtesans and eunuchs!
[HERO]  Funerals and chases!
[LYCUS]  Baritones and basses!
[PHILIA]  Panderers!
[HERO]  Philanderers!
[HYSTERIUM]  Cupidity
!
[MILES]  Timidity!
[LYCUS]  Mistakes!
[ERRONIUS]  Fakes!
[DOMINA]  Rhymes!
[PHILIA]  Crimes!
[PSEUDOLUS]  Tumblers! Grumblers! Bumblers! Fumblers!
[ALL] No royal curse, no Trojan horse, And a happy ending, of course!
Goodness and badness,
Panic is madness– This time it all turns out all right! Tragedy tomorrow,
Comedy tonight!

 kissmekate1  CLASSICSYou should also understand the classics, you know…as in Bill Shakespeare.  Speaking of Shakespeare!  (Click on the pic below from “Kiss Me Kate” based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.”