Sic Transit John Wilkes Booth

Death of Booth

 

 

Judging from his melodramatic “Sic, Semper Tyrannis!” at Ford’s Theater after murdering Lincoln, Booth perceived his role of assassin as  being his greatest role, a chance to play in real life a doomed Romantic hero, an avenger of a wronged people.  The last twelve days of his life, as he eluded capture must have been disappointing for him, as the newspapers he read, including those who had been highly critical of Lincoln, universally condemned his action.  Perhaps he perceived that instead of  being a hero, he was fated to be cast as a minor villain, remembered solely due to his slaying of a great hero.  Booth wrote in his diary, “With every man’s hand against me, I am here in despair. And why; For doing what Brutus was honored for … And yet I for striking down a greater tyrant than they ever knew am looked upon as a common cutthroat.”

His last stand in a burning  barn on April 26, 1865 lacked the heroic drama he sought, Booth being shot in the neck and paralyzed.  Dragged from the barn and lingering for three hours his last words perhaps summed up Booth’s verdict on his final performance:  “Useless, useless.”

 

 

 

Published in: on April 28, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Sic Transit John Wilkes Booth  
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