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Shakespeare or LOST?

April 2nd, 2009

An interesting question, Rachel! I’ve haven’t yet watched LOST so I’ll have to deal in generalisations here until I do watch it.

Perhaps I could compare and contrast The Tempest to a series of LOST (both feature shipwrecks on a magical island, romance, nastiness)? At first glance it seems like comparing apples and oranges, though.

We can apply criticism to anything, of course, and the act of criticism has to be good for your mind in that it entails complicated mental processes including the articulation of ideas not consciously realised. But is studying LOST as rewarding for you as studying Shakespeare? It all depends on the quality of LOST, I think. Is it worthy of close examination? Is it complicated, nuanced, intelligent, dramatic (and so on) enough? To be brief, is LOST of very high quality?

Looking at the link you provided, Rachel, http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/This_Place_is_Death I have some doubts. I’ve quoted from the site below.

Recurring Themes

Ben drives a van with the name ‘Canton-Rainier.’ This is an anagram for ‘reincarnation.’ (Life and Death) (Rebirth)

Ben previously told Jack the last time he saw Locke was three years ago on the Island; he has however seen him since then. (Deceptions and cons)

Danielle tells Jin that her team departed for their expedition on 15 November 1988. (The Numbers)

Montand’s arm is ripped off. Later, Jin sees it somewhat decayed after a flash. (Missing body parts)

And my favourite theme (yes, it’s time to throw out the classics!) :

Sawyer refers to Charlotte as ‘Red.’ (Nicknames)

A couple of these might be motifs, at best. Anyway, at first glance I’m worried about the nature of the analysis going on here.

I think the best answer to your question is that we study both Shakespeare and LOST (or any high quality contemporary TV series). We’d be missing something if we studied only one at the expense of the other. Maybe start with LOST then graduate to Shakespeare? Or vice versa?!  I’ll watch the next episode!

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    LOST is an interesting story because it reflects our lives. We are all lost because we do not know the full truth of our existence. All we have are beliefs and theories and these can change when we are presented with new information.

    LOST delves into each characters life and moves from the present to the past and future. With this unusual presentation of time, answers to many questions are presented in a way that is exciting and believable and each piece of the puzzle makes you think you can now see the bigger picture. However, like life, when you think you understand the Theory of Everything, something happens to dash your theory into a million pieces. This is not too dissimilar to our lives, beliefs, and our scientific theories. Each answer just spawns new questions.

    What is life? What is time? Why are we the way we are? LOST presents all these questions in a fast paced exciting way. Our lives on the other hand are not that fast paced, and we can often get bored by the slowness of unfolding answers.

    My conclusion about LOST is this. If a story is unpredictable, yet logical in hindsight, then that reflects our lives and makes it stand out from the many Hollywood formula produced programs that are too easy to predict. And if a TV program can be exciting enough to engage your mind with the same level of curiosity that you had when you were a kid, then that story is a success.

    As for Shakespeare, well maybe it isn’t that different from LOST.

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