Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday's Medicine

Recently, I have been reminded of the brilliance of Shakespeare. I know. Of course, he's a genius, right? But having just watched a brilliant production of The Merchant of Venice, I'm reminded of the power of his art. He is a rock star. So, in an effort not to forget again, I'm going to use Wednesdays to post a bit of Shakespeare or some other genius' work, lest we forget art under the press of the humdrum.

Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2.

I have of late--but wherefore I know not--lost my mirth, forgone all custom of exercise, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestic roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god--the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?


  1. One of my favorite scenes in Hamlet is when he finally tells Rosencrantz & Guildenstern that his is so on to them. He does it by taking a recorder from one of the players, and holding it out to Guildenstern.

    Hamlet: Will you play upon this pipe?
    Guildenstern: My lord, I cannot.
    Hamlet: I pray you.
    Guildenstern: Believe me, I cannot.
    Hamlet: I do beseech you.
    Guildenstern: I know no touch of it, my lord.
    Hamlet: It is as easy as lying. Govern these vestiges with your fingers and
    thumbs, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music.
    Look you, these are the stops.
    Guildenstern: But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony. I
    have not the skill.
    Hamlet: Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You
    would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck
    out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the
    top of my compass; and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little
    organ, yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to
    be play'd on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can
    fret me, you cannot play upon me.

  2. Shakespeare is da bomb! Some say he was a composite. Other says that he and arch-rival/best friend Christopher Marlowe sort of had the same relationship Quentin Tarantino and had Roger Avary--muse-like but backbiting. And ultimately there are grey areas in writing--whose work belong to whom?

    Nice coming across your blog. If you like comical writing stop by my spot and read up my series, "Comedy as it Relates to sex."

    Thanks again!

  3. One of the things that's really briliant about Hamlet is how Shakespeare has the character go back and forth between prose and verse. Since prose is the language of commoners, Hamlet employs it to suggest that he might have lost his nobility, i.e., his wits, and he forces others to speak prose in order to communicate with him. Then, in the bit above, just as he turns to nail R&G to the wall, he suddenly switches to verse, thus not only exposing them as false friends, but exposing his own pretense at madness as well. Fucking awesome.

  4. I think Hamlet may be depressed - And I was able to convey that in only SIX words!

    I love Bill, but he could sure get wordy...

  5. I've been involved with a couple of guys who were brilliant and depressed. I also count a couple among my friends. Finally, I played Ophelia. Hardly the most fun I've ever had onstage, it was damn hard work, but even less fun in real life.

    "O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
    The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
    The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
    The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
    The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
    And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
    That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
    Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
    Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
    That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
    Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
    To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!"

    My future goals include not dating Hamlet anymore.

  6. I am not well read enough to discuss the Bard, but I have found this to be quite funny:

    Exit, pursued by a bear.
    -- William Shakespeare, Stage direction in The Winter's Tale

  7. I do so hate getting quintessence of dust on my leggings.

  8. Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. —Seneca

  9. "A foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable."

    It always reminds me of the soundtrack from "Hair", the movie version.

  10. I'm so going to enjoy Wednesdays over here! If only you could get Tony Hale to read some lines.

  11. shakespeare is an illusion.

  12. Something very wrong is coming out in February...Shakespear in Manga form. Just wrong!!

  13. So Red, I guess that means we're not getting back together?

    I had a Shakespeare post once - 0 Comments. Maybe I should have put Julia Stiles in it?

  14. Apparently, some of the people around here don't read MY BLOG!

  15. Thank you Flannery, for teaching me how to hyperlink. I did it! Weeee!