Posts Tagged ‘William Shakespeare’

Wednesday Wednesday: “Dangerous conceits are, in their nature, poisons.”

December 8, 2010


via.

Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.
which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But, with a little act upon the blood,
burn like the mines of Sulphur.

(Iago, Othello. Act Three, Scene 3, 1999-2002.)

Auden October and Fight Club Friday: All that we are not

October 22, 2010


When I woke in to my life, a sobbing dwarf
Whom giants served only as they pleased, I was not what I seemed;
Beyond their busy backs I made a magic
To ride away from a father’s imperfect justice,
Take vengeance on the Romans for their grammar,

(Auden, W.H. The Sea and the Mirror: A Commentary on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. 1944.)


Usurp the popular earth and blot out for ever
The gross insult of being a mere one among many…

… I am that I am, your late and lonely master;
Who knows now what magic is; — the power to enchant
That comes from disillusion.

(Ibid.)


All that we are not stares back at what we are.

(Ibid.)

The speaker is Prospero, addressing Ariel.

Mean Girls Monday: It Happens — Gretchen Weiner edition, redux

May 10, 2010

Why should Caesar get to stomp around like a giant, while the rest of us try not to get smooshed under his big feet? What’s so great about Caesar? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar. Brutus is just as smart as Caesar. People totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar. And when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody? Because that’s not what Rome is about. W–We should totally just stab Caesar!

Gretchen, Mean Girls.

It also happens: an imaginary scene that just happened in my head.

A Marketplace in Rome. Citizens are gathered in the dusty streets beneath a balcony, on which a man in a white toga and a purple cape draped across his shoulders stands with one arm raised up. He is clearly a snappy dresser, but he is also, it seems from the expectant mood of the crowd, reputed to be a powerful orator.

I am standing next to an ordinary citizen, waiting to hear what the man on the balcony has to say. After greeting the crowd, his opening salvo shocks the audience:

“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”

The assembled friends, Romans, and countrymen are all puzzled and going, “Well, yeah. Did we not just assassinate that dude, like, yesterday?”

Marc Antony draws back a little for dramatic effect, and, in the interim, I leap to my feet and address the stirring crowd calmly.

“Settle down, you guys — yes, we stabbed the everloving crap out of Julius Caesar, but you’re about to hear what is widely regarded as just about the most thumping-good rhetorical masterpiece evah: you will be thunderstruck and agog as you are lead on a journey challenging and surpassing all the expectations you hold about typical conventions of speech.

“Everything you think you know about eulogies is about to change. Hush, now, Citizens, and let Marc Antony blow ya mind.”

Won’t you please let Marc Antony blow ya mind?

Scene.