New Criticals

This "monster" Omar is both repulsive and attractive at once. He is this hybrid that not only exposes the divisions and contradictions of society, but also those divisions and contradictions that are at the heart of our own individual psyches, where sex, violence, justice, beauty, ugliness, and love collide. Omar is the "hidden foundation" upon which all other institutions and identities rest, the homo sacer, an out-law that is also in-law. He can be killed by anyone—police, gangsters—yet he becomes god-like precisely because he is not bound by the laws of any community or "political life." His life is both sacred and cursed. He is the key to understanding the way that power operates throughout the various institutions interrogated in the series, and how that power demarcates inside from outside, law from out-law. Omar is perhaps the most interesting character because he is so deliciously ambiguous—he resists inclusion and categorization, thus resisting being controlled by any of the Sovereigns that might turn his bare life into something "good" or "political", including those Sovereigns of his own game, the streets. This is why his opposition to Avon and Stringer cannot be seen as a simple opposition, but more as a mirror—the Sovereign and the Homo Sacer are structurally similar. Who is the "king" of the streets? Who or what is the sovereign of society? Whatever the answer to this question may be, it must include an understanding not only of the sovereigns but the homo sacers, the "monsters," the criminals as well. Omar's shout to Wee-Bey after he wounds him is also a shout to us: "Come at the king, you best not miss."