Theater: Hero as Riddle

Ross (by Terence Rattigan) is a deductive story about T.E. Lawrence. Playwright Rattigan deduces that Lawrence goaded himself to his heroic and legendary exploits as a leader of the Arab revolt in World War I to achieve a personal triumph of the will. Rattigan further deduces that when Lawrence was whipped, bayoneted and sodomized on the orders of a Turkish commander at Deraa, his will was broken in a traumatic moment of "self-knowledge": he recognized himself as a homosexual. His later enlistment in the R.A.F. as "Aircraftman Ross" was a way of blotting out his identity.

Thanks to Rattigan's theatrical flair and...

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