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Re: REPEAT PERFORMANCE
All true, Dan. What struck me on watching it again last night was what happens to Barney. He blames Sheila for his own deficiencies, and then caps this character defect with a growth into rage and hatred of her, to the point where he wants to kill her. This character arc is a shocker, and it's built up throughout the story by his hostility toward her and remarks to her. But earlier, he's at least wavering, and several times they are getting along well, as in California. Paula exerts an instant attraction for him at the party, and he makes no effort whatever to control himself. His vows mean little as against his inner feelings against Sheila. He despises her and blames her for emasculating him. But still, to reach the point of murder, he goes almost quite mad. Thus, when William shoots him, it's an action predicated on an extreme emotional state of Barney. I find it interesting to have made a basically weak man, who cannot control himself, as such a central character in the drama. Sheila is never shown as actively frustrating his ambitions or his powers of authoring a new play, whereas he is shown as wallowing in self-pity. He brings about his own death at the hands of William, but he was trying to drink himself into oblivion as it was. I do think that if we look closer at Barney's criticisms of Sheila, we might be able to tease out a case that she really was suffocating Barney to some extent. She was hooked on success. They had no children.