House of Cards Explained: Shakespeare, History & Guilty Pleasure

For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy there is but one rule hunt or be hunted.  In 2013 House of Cards came on the scene as Netflix’s first ever self commissioned original series. Since then the series created by beau Willimon has not only grown as a mature textured piece of television but also offered a sturdy foundation for the towering house that Netflix built inspired by the 90s BBC. Series starring Ian Richardson and the 1989 book by Michael Dobbs house of cards is appeal is based on its darkly distinctive mood and world. It’s Shakespearean magnitude its heightened mirrors of our own world and
historical past and the guilty pleasure of rooting for its deliciously wicked central couple. Frank and Claire underwood played by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright let’s walk through each of these elements which make this series so enduringly binge worthy.
The butchery begins House of Cards draws on the spirit of Shakespearean history and tragedy to imbue. Its drama with hyper real grandeur and intrigue we feel we might be watching a heightened version of today’s politics presented as exaggerated history for a future audience. The show captures perhaps better than any modern example the spirit of what Shakespearean audiences must have felt going to see productions of Richard the third. In the historical play the villainous Richard who Spacey played at the little bit of Lebanese. What an idea on across this world using his asides non-tender fair shaped a color that is wicked designs. Now I’ll marry although I killed her husband and his father house of cards like it’ BBC predecessor utilizes the same confessional court wall break composition did rather well this year, I would just love to talk to you about how to modernize the food-processing industry in Iowa. Please suit my risks with this butter knife the theatrical device could easily fall flat on camera. What do you but it works thanks to Spacey’s enjoyably devious performance. The over-the-top nature of this extra dirty world. and that this can I only tell you what pranks sends to us and how we have cures to everyone else.

For president look they’re thinking it’s too good to be true and it is getting this window into his mind fascinates us. Knowing his secrets gets us on his side until we subtly root for a success at all costs. We feel in the know superior to the foolishly honest victims all of this psychologically works on us the same way Shakespeare plays his audiences in a Cell Oh – Iago is motivated by resentment. When a fellow promotes another over him just as Frank’s plot against the president is that awesome. He’s feeling rod of his promised cabinet position Claire takes a cue from Iago’s tactics with suggestion as well. When she plants the idea of an affair in the first lady’s head I just have a thing about women who sleep with their bosses. But the Shakespeare play that most deeply shapes house of cards genetically is Macbeth clams and coral and king Hereafter I think that you should be Prime Minister the Underwood’s channel. The Macbeth disconnect between inner and outer to hide their true selves as Lady Macbeth says look like dinner and flower be decided when Frank speaks to Peter Russo’s ghost in church. Peter is that you this recalls how Macbeth is haunted by the ghost of Banquo the friend. He murdered most strikingly though is Lady Macbeth as a model for player at times like Lady Macbeth Claire seems the superior mastermind.

The even more ambitious one really pulling the strings Claire is convincing lack of need for romance. Fidelity or motherhood reminds us of Lady Macbeth’s famous words I’m willing to let your child wither and die inside you. If that’s what’s required Lady Macbeth references having given suck or breastfed a child but we’re told that the Macbeth’s are childless complicit lost child. Echoed and Claire’s past abortions and neither woman expresses regret for a childless destiny yet. In both stories the couple’s lack of children starts to haunt them at least politically. The Macbeth’s in their barren crown and other ways well there ain’t about to present the shining picture-perfect family of France Republican poll.  Conway you guessed it I still think children the Macbeth’s ascent to power leads to a mixed-up world in which there is foul and foul is fair yet in the vast majority of Shakespeare’s plays divine order or great chain of being must inevitably be restored. It remains to be seen if the house of cards universe. The links inpoetic justice but if Macbeth is any indication. The story doesn’t end well the Macbeth’s breakdown from within as Lady Macbeth obsessively tries to wash invisible blood from her hands.  Macbeth reflects that life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying the dangerous nihilism of the Macbeth’s can only drive human beings. Insane where we cannot continue to engage with the world of nothing that means nothing like a mix of Shakespearean history and tragedy.

House of Cards also draws loosely and colorfully from our own historical past and present. In season four Underwood and Conway introduce a meta commentary comparing themselves to Richard Nixon and John F Kennedy. In the Nights 2016 presidential election, if you were a Democrat you’d be unstoppable you’d be the new JFK.  If you were Republican would you be Nixon Underwood’s comparison to the new Cory’s Nixon boom Spacey also played in the 2016 film. Elvis and Nixon is a plausible parallel brought down by his own paranoid plots crimes and scandal make somebody experience and without the surrender. Kennedy was young relatable and charismatic just a social media friendly Conway speaks directly to Americans and gives people hope in the show. The candidates represent opposite parties to the drugstore achill parallels. Underwood is excelling in the rebel long after the age when Democrats help the south. The Conway is a Republican from New York oh you’re a New York Republican that’s an attractive fiction  Isn’t it and you’re a Democrat from South Carolina that’s even bigger fiction. Well there you go this recalls an earlier presidential race between harry s truman and Thomas Dewey in 1948 a pragmatic Democrat versus a young New York Republican with a lead. In the polls famously the belief that Dewey wind was so strong that the Chicago Tribune printed the false headline. Dewey defeats Truman only to be disproven by the final vote like Gerald Ford Nixon successor. Underwood becomes president without ever winning an election having taken on the offices of both president and vice president.
After a series of cabinet changes and the resignations that I will one heartbeat away from the presidency not a single vote cast in my name democracy is so overrated office. Meanwhile Underwood’s wheeling and dealing with congress is inspired by JFK successor lyndon b johnson also a southern Democrat and former Majority Whip Frank. Underwood proudly displays a famous picture of lyndon b johnson staring down a frightened congressman both also introduce ambitious social programs LBJ’s Great Society and Underwood’s America works state. The outcomes of the programs are opposite building. The welfare system versus demolishing it but both Underwood’s and LBJ’s hopes to find their legacies are derailed when global conflicts overshadow. Their legislative agenda and of course, there’s today Claire’s and Frank’s power couple status invites comparisons to Clinton. While the Nexo nyan undertones have been earily close to new stories about Trump’s claims with tapes and calls for impeachment.  It’s at times like these I wish I was Nixon had every nook and cranny bugged yet again like Shakespeare’s histories. The show is wilfully rearranging leaves historical or present inspirations to create something larger than life. All three of us took bullets while I know why we’re smiling – ” we survived house of cards” captures a tone of outright over-the-top wickedness letting us live our juicy imaginings of how bad Washington might be. While scaring us with the thought at times that it’s not purely exaggerated one of the biggest differences between Netflix’s series.  Its BBC ancestor lies in the look feel and mood her cards Parliament is brightly lit visually reflecting a stuffy staid. Political landscape at its civilised surface hiding all intrigue but from its first episode directed by David Fincher.The updated house of cards is dark from the pounding music to the literal darkness of an overwhelming number of frames. The Underwood’s world is an underworld. This is a window into the shadows miss bombs a very good crowd of you adding to the dark is a calculated distance between the characters and the camera rarely.  A true close-up the space around the characters retains their outer persona. Which they rarely let draw no one is allowed inside camera movements are flawless tracking. Shots always smooth composition is precise never do we see a human shape or messiness to the camera or framing.

The production design heightens this feel of sterility Frank and Claire almost unbelievably free of clutter seem to possess almost no personal items. They’re perfectly empty Holmes visually underlined that they lack a personal life.  They are their work and outer persona meanwhile the pristine surface lies dirty plotting underneath the darkness. Also leads to a muted color palette and understated desaturated both contribute to our feeling that the environment is clean and attractive yet not vibrant human or alive. We emotionally perceive the light is cold and it often is but viewers have noted, that many frames involve an interplay of cold and warm or blue and yellow often with blue. In the foreground and yellow in the background. The blue and yellow greatest spiritual contrast not between black and white which in nor might represent good and evil but between warm and cold making us think of the pole between human warmth and icy ambition. The frame is neatly streamlined not crowded by diverging colors both lights also stem from realistic light. Sources daylight or interior lights so there is a functional foundation which is then moderately stylized. Thanks to the darkness and precision of lighting setups that strategically avoid multiple shadows. All of these visual cues together with music add up to a consistent mood and world. The atmosphere seems at once severely removed from our factual DC at a close to home mirror of the disillusionment.

We feel about our actual political landscape what keeps us engaged most of all is the central relationship between Frank and Claire. Their ups and downs evolution and growth together and away from one another like the Macbeth’s the Underwood’s are truly close setting aside their duplicity. They almost seem like a relationship other couples should study to learn how to communicate work together and read each other’s minds. As their marriage falters and looks in poker moments like a purely political arrangement I’m starting to question all of it Francis what any of it is worth well what are we doing this for in the White House. The couple now sleeps in separate rooms. The hall between them signaling, their growing gaping distance the virtue Frank demands from others is loyalty. Don’t surprise but Frank it’s about others being loyal to him apart from those. He deceives he treats everyone as a servant even a dog who must obey before all else. After a dog’s didn’t you you either put it to sleep or you’re putting muzzle on it this derives from Frank or Kurt’s worldview. Well everybody can be valuable that’s my philosophy you and all other people as pawns and servants leads to a tyrannical dictator.  Like state and ironically pushes people to consider turning on him most notably Claire. Whereas Claire believes and we initially perceive of a couple are equal partners. It becomes clear that he views her as another loyal subject merely the most privileged and important one and you will be the first lady though. It’s not clear whether this is result of the isolating role of the presidency or has been his feeling. All along Claire’s leaving at the end by are three their attempt to take political power in her own name.

In season four finally proved to Frank that he needs her as much or more than she needs him I said you were nothing in the Oval without me mister.  The other way around season four ends with a very significant moment when for the first time they break the fourth wall together.  They are now partners in crime Claire has finally convinced Frank that she is his equal not his servant. The state of their union is strong yet the title house of cards underlies the delicate fertility of you of any right with a grandma rider just as Frank’s career is always one dirty secret away from ruin with us.  How did that happen if? we can predict anything for certain about the future episodes of house of cards it’s that inevitably Something Wicked This Way Comes you.

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