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Shut Up Hannibal / Theatre

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  • The play Custer concludes with an example that Breaks The Fourth Wall. Set in Purgatory more than a century after the Battle of Little Big Horn, it mostly consists of the souls of George Armstrong Custer and his subordinates arguing over who was to blame for their utter defeat and annihilation at the hands of the Sioux. The characters have been fighting over relatively minor matters when, without skipping a beat, Custer looks out at the audience and declares that while it's easy to criticize him, the audience members are at that moment sitting on land that they have been able to safely inhabit thanks to the very "manifest destiny" doctrine that Custer died for. The implication is, if you don't like it, go live somewhere else, but otherwise, you have no right to criticize me.
  • In Les MisÚrables, after being hounded by Javert for the entire play, Valjean issues a devastating one that also qualifies as Talking the Monster to Death.
    You are wrong, and always have been wrong. I'm a man, no worse than any man. You are free, and there are no conditions. No bargains or petitions. There's nothing that I blame you for. You've done your duty, nothing more.
    • Valjean then gives Javert his home address and expects to see him again. He does, but not at his home, as shortly after their next (and final) encounter, Javert commits suicide by jumping into the Seine.
    • Marius gives a much more succinct one to Thenardier after the latter tries to blackmail him over the fact that his father-in-law was seen with a "corpse" on the night the barricades fell and that he's an ex-con; namely, Marius punches his lights out.
  • In Act V, Scene III of King Lear, Edmund, the bastard Earl of Gloucester, duels with his half-brother Edgar, disguised as a knight, and loses the battle. Goneril's plot to destroy the Duke of Albany, with help from Edmund, is revealed in a letter and Albany has this to say to Goneril:
    Goneril: This is mere practice, Gloucester. By the law of arms thou wast not bound to answer an unknown opposite. Thou art not vanquished, but cozened and beguiled.
    Albany: Shut your mouth, dame, or with this paper shall I stop it. [to Edmund] Hold, sir.
    Albany [to Goneril]: Thou worse than any name, read thine own evil. No tearing, lady! I perceive you know it.
    Goneril: Say if I do— the laws are mine, not thine. Who can arraign me for it?
    Albany: Most monstrous! O! Knowest thou this paper?
    Goneril: Ask me not what I know.
    Albany: Go after her, she's desperate, govern her.