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The title is lifted from a line of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Speaking to well-respected public figure Brutus, senator Cassius states:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves...
This quote's relevance to Green's novel is explained as such within the work:
I am in receipt of your electronic mail dated the 14th of April and duly impressed by the Shakespearean complexity of your tragedy. Everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia: hers, that she is so sick; yours, that you are so well. Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.” Easy enough to say when you’re a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.
This passage is presented as an e-mail from reclusive author Peter Van Houten to Augustus Waters, protagonist Hazel's love interest, in an analysis of the relationship between these two main characters that includes a pretentiously unnatural volume of references to Shakespeare's works. Van Houten's point is fairly clear: Shakespeare (or, more accurately, Cassius) was wrong in his analysis of fate; there is indeed "fault in our stars," and that's what the book is about.
Except not quite. Let's take a closer - or rather, a wider - look at Julius Caesar's text. The context for Cassius assertion: Caesar's popularity in Rome has grown immensely. As Brutus and Cassius speak, the Roman masses attempt to make Caesar their king. Neither Brutus nor Cassius desires this, and though Caesar denies the people's offer, both are concerned. Cassius has already decided to take matters into his own hands and has organized a conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. He desires Brutus' support for his plot, primarily because Brutus is a widely-beloved and well-respected public figure who is also a close friend of Caesar's: presumably, he would be able to sway the population in favor of the conspiracy following Caesar's death by convincing them that such a sacrifice was necessary to protect their freedom.
I was born free as Caesar; so were you:
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he:
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Caesar said to me 'Darest thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point?' Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
And bade him follow; so indeed he did.
The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Caesar cried 'Help me, Cassius, or I sink!'
I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature and must bend his body,
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake: 'tis true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their colour fly,
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
Alas, it cried 'Give me some drink, Titinius,'
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world
And bear the palm alone.
tl;dr (even though you should actually read it since Shakespeare's kind of a decent writer) Cassius once saved Caesar's life by rescuing him from drowning in the Tiber River. Caesar, Cassius asserts, is just as mortal as Brutus and Cassius themselves - not a godlike being as the Roman masses seem to believe. He goes on:
Cassius has just established that Ceasar is not intrinsically greater than either himself or, more importantly, Brutus, whom he is clearly attempting to flatter. It stands to reason, then, that Caesar has no more claim to the throne than does Brutus - the only reason Brutus and Cassius are politically beneath Caesar - his "underlings" - is that they have not yet done anything about it. There is no "fault in [their] stars" that stands in the way of their halting Caesar's rise to power.
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that 'Caesar'?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.
Cassius' quote is a situational one that applies specifically to his and Brutus' sociopolitical status; it is not, as Van Houten suggests, an overarching analysis of the nature of fate. It's not like this is a major deal or anything but it just kind of irked me ya feel.
Come Friday, however, I decided that grabbing Nintendo goodies on the cheap is always a good thing and headed off to Best Buy with the intention of picking up Bravely Default and Yoshi - the former because I've heard little but positive reports about it from the cool people on this website and others, and the latter because I'd played the GBA rerelease of the original Yoshi's Island back in the day and had rather enjoyed it. I already owned Zelda and Y, and the rest of the games weren't of any real interest to me. I also planned to spring for a Pro controller, since I anticipated playing Mario Kart, Smash, and other stuff (Zelda, Mario, Metroid?) with it.
Naturally, both of the games I wanted, as well as the controller, were sold out. No problem - I'd just order them online.
Got home, went to Best Buy's website, and found myself unable to purchase the controller - no shipping options available, it said. Moreover, it also told me that no stores within reasonable driving distance had the item in stock. As for the games: I had, in fact, looked up the sale on Best Buy's site earlier that week and found a category within their online store that displayed the games involved in the sale. When I navigated to this page again, the only thing on the page - inexplicably - was Mario Golf.
I then decided to research the price matching policies of Best Buy's competitors and found that Target would match both online prices and printed prices in sale sheets. Walmart and Toys R Us would only accept the latter, though Walmart's website noted that they would match printed prices even if one did not have the ad in question with him - which was good, since, as I noted before, I was out of town last weekend and thus did not receive Sunday's paper and the Best Buy ad contained therein. I drove over to Walmart - which is just down the street, fortunately - and found that, while they had both Bravely Default and Yoshi in stock, they lacked even a space on their shelves for white Pro controllers. Hoping to accomplish all of my purchases in one fell swoop, I headed back home and looked up the controller on Target's website to ensure that the store I went to had them in stock. However, the white controller was not included in their online catalog (though the black one - which was not on sale - was), and I can only assume that they no longer carry the item. TRU's website produced similar results - though there was a page for the white controller, it was out of stock at all locations. I decided to call it a night.
The next day - today, that is - I had a plan: I would go to Best Buy and request a rain check on the controller deal, grab one of this week's ads, and head next door to Target, where I would purchase Bravely Default and Yoshi. Best Buy, however, was unable to grant a rain check: they could not guarantee that the controller would be in stock again, and, after searching two different systems of inter-store shipping, determined that the item could not be shipped to the store or to my home from any of their locations.
Somewhat disappointed, I headed over to Target, ad in hand, but - as it turned out - Target was out of stock of Yoshi, which made the BOGO pointless. Fortunately, I knew from my adventures yesterday that Walmart did have both games, and so later in the day I returned to Walmart and requested a price match on the deal. After the employee I spoke with asked her manager about the situation - and after her manager asked her manager about the situation - they agreed to match the deal and I headed home $40 poorer and two 3DS games wealthier.
That left the controller. As no physical retailers in my area seemed to have it, I researched online retailers' price match policies and found that Tiger Direct would match other online retailers' prices, including Best Buy's. However, upon calling their customer service, it was revealed that this particular price match would not be honored because it was below the "actual price" of the item - that is, they wouldn't make a profit on it.
Mildly disappointed, I gave up on the hunt, assuming that Nintendo would eventually drop the price of the item in question, given that $50 for a game controller is fairly ridiculous. Besides, I reasoned, it's likely that the cheaper Gamecube controller set to be rereleased alongside Smash 4 will be compatible with most of the same games as the Pro controller in the future. I could just get that instead - and it would serve to replace the malfunctioning Gamestop-brand (bad idea) GCN controller I currently own.
On a whim, I looked up the Pro controller on eBay, expecting perhaps some slightly lower prices that usual from those who had bought them on sale with plans to flip them.
New Black Wii U Pro Controller:
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