2692: Interior Decorating
Title text: It all came flat-packed in Pandora's Box.
The sword of Damocles, Siege Perilous, Chekhov's gun, and Pandora's box are mythical or conceptual objects associated with impending threats. These names are now used metaphorically for complex concepts related to danger. Cueball seems to have either taken inspiration from these tales and named some objects after them or (possibly with Beret Guy's help) managed to obtain the genuine items, using them as decorations in his house.
The Sword of Damocles refers to a lost history of Sicily, in which Damocles was said to be an obsequious courtier who envied the king's power and luxury. The king offered to let Damocles serve as king for a day, but during that day, arranged for a sword to be hung above the throne, suspended by a single hair. This was to teach Damocles the lesson that, along with the privileges of being king, there was also perpetual and inescapable danger and anxiety. The term has passed into general use for any situation that involves an ever-present threat of harm.
The Siege Perilous, in Arthurian legend, is a seat at the Round Table, reserved by Merlin for the knight destined to retrieve the Holy Grail. It was said to be fatal to any unworthy person who sat in it. The term is used as a metaphor for any situation that's exceptionally dangerous to anyone not fully prepared.
Chekhov's Gun is a writing principle highlighting the importance of conservation of detail. The term originates from playwright Anton Chekhov, who repeatedly used the example of an unfired gun to advocate removing superfluous elements from a narrative. In one such case, he said "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there." (It should be noted that, like most artistic rules, experienced writers will deliberately violate this advice when appropriate, especially to creatively misdirect similarly experienced audiences.) Cueball might not want Megan touching it because doing so means it will be fired shortly afterwards, following through its core concept.
Pandora's Box is a tale from Greek Mythology. According to myth, Pandora was the first woman, created by Hephaestus, and was given a jar (later translated as "box") and told never to open it. Eventually she did, and unleashed all the miseries into the world. The term has come to represent any situation where a small but ill-considered action results in numerous, often intractable, problems.
Given that two of the objects are potential hazards (the sword and the gun) and the third explicitly fatal, it is quite apt that they would come in such a box.
- [Cueball and Megan stand in a room. At one wall a sword hangs by a thread above a chair. On another wall a rifle is fastened to a board with illegible writing. Megan has one arm stretched towards the rifle.]
- Cueball: Yeah, I think the sword of Damocles looks nice hanging over the Siege Perilous.
- Cueball: Hey, don’t touch Chekhov’s gun!
- [Caption below panel:]
- My home decorating theme is "ominous metaphorical objects."
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