A Bit of Parmenidean Dialogue

from a class handout…

[Lights up on conjoined twins, center stage.]

Clov:  The things that are cannot be Many.

Hamm:  Oh, yeah?  Why?

Clov:  ‘Cause for them to be Many, they’d have to be like and unlike.

Hamm:  No.  Wait.  What?

Clov:  If they are Many, they’d couldn’t all be like, ‘cause then they’d be One, not Many.  Or, if they were all like, but not One, then some’d have to be unlike, otherwise they’d all be One.

Hamm:  One what?

Clov:  Shut up.  So, they can’t all be unlike either, ‘cause then they’d be One, not Many.  Or, if they were all unlike, but not One, then some’d have to be like, otherwise, they’d all be One.

Hamm:  One what?

Clov:  Look, let It go.  So, if things are Many, they’d have to be like and unlike.  But that won’t work.

Hamm:  Won’t work?  Why not?  Wait.

Clov:  Listen.  If some were like and others unlike, would the first be like or unlike the second?  If they’re like the unlike ones, then they are unlike—all of them.  But that can’t be.  But if they’re unlike the unlike ones, then they are like—all of them.  But that can’t be.  So thing that are cannot be Many.  They’re One.

Hamm:  One what?

[Hamm produces a gun; shoots Clov.  Hamm and Clov die.  Applause is heard offstage.]

4 responses

  1. I keep reading this piece, and I can’t decide if it is more stupefying, or more humbling. Anyway, it seems to force speechlessness on me.

%d bloggers like this: