Author Topic: The Big Reveal of The King in Yellow [spoilers]  (Read 382 times)


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The Big Reveal of The King in Yellow [spoilers]
« on: October 03, 2018, 12:59:56 am »
Obviously the point of weird fiction is there IS no reveal, for that limited the imagination. But what do you think makes people go crazy when they start to read the second act. Is it even something written in the play or is the play just cursed?


Re: The Big Reveal of The King in Yellow [spoilers]
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2018, 05:36:39 am »
My present pet theory is that it may be a commentary on the hazards of insatiable curiosity. People don't want to read the second half, yet they feel forced to by some thing... Occam's Razor says the thing they feel forced by is their own mind. It's like the thing modern shows do where they drop a cliff-hanger plot twist at the end of an episode... except this play shows symptoms consistent with having had a comparably compelling twist on the first page of its second half.

For the time it was written, I'd consider it plausible that it's just an allegory about knowing one's own limits and the hazards of lapses in self control that cause one to yield to temptation and exceed them. It's like a particular niche of mind-control horror where one wants to resist but cannot -- it forces one to empathize with a character who's had stripped from them all efficacy of Will and proceeds to spiral into insanity.

Is the insanity from the play? Or from the mere experience of that experience of so passionately wanting not to do the thing and yet being betrayed by one's own body and mind... forcing a split between Will and Mind, perhaps, by forcing the owner of both to watch them diverge so precipitously? I wonder if it's the trauma of the experience of reading under those circumstances, rather than the play's actual content, that causes the insanity.

From a modern angle, I'm tempted to read it as a meta cautionary tale on the power of the imagination: A reader who looks for too much Truth in yellow-the-book may construct a copy of yellow-the-play in their own mind, and in believing it to be a perfect copy, place in it whatever content is required to drive that reader mad.