For the Financial Times, Peter Aspden interviewed David Simon, author of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, and the writer-producer of The Wire.
When Aspden suggested that The Wire reminded him of Shakespeare, Simon replied:
Read more about Aspden's lunch with Simon.
“We stole from the earlier dramatic tradition of the Greeks. Shakespeare began the process by which thinking men and women exerted some degree of control over their actions, markedly changing their ends. Hamlet and Macbeth are concerned with the interior psychological construction of their characters. They are more Tony Soprano than The Wire.
“The Wire transposed the idea of Greek tragedy by using institutions in place of the Olympian gods. And those institutions are our political and economic constructs.
“Now some people don’t want to watch that, to be told that the game is rigged. It is disturbing news. But those that do watch it will respond to the profound pessimism of the show. The people who watched Antigone or Medea were comfortable with that degree of pessimism. That was the ancient view of the world. And I’m not so sure it is so wrong in the 21st century.”