Friday, 25 April 2014

A Genius

There was hardly any dry eye in the audience when a bunch of actors performed on the stage. Their transformation was dramatic, their confidence absolute. The lines from Shakespeare’s Macbeth were delivered just right, in perfect English. And when those actors left the stage to thunderous applause, it was not just for their acting talent!

life's highway, shakespeare article, love, quotes, shakespeare

All the world’s a stage, wrote William Shakespeare. And centuries after his literary works, we still find his plays being brought into life at various stages across the world, time to time. On the occasion of his 450th birthday, Shakespeare’s literature was celebrated by showing his plays in theaters this April. Bangalore alone had so many theaters replaying his plays. The prophecy of his great contemporary, the poet and dramatist Ben Jonson, that Shakespeare “was not of an age, but for all time,” has been fulfilled.

Imagining English literature without his works is like understanding the science of walking without understanding gravity. While studying Julius Caesar in school we might have hated this guy for torturing us with his,’ Et tu Brute?’ English. I accept I did!! English lectures were never my favorite. I liked science and math. This was the chapter where for first time we scribbled meanings and took notes as the teacher explained. I blame Shakespeare. I remember our teacher had made us enact and reenact the play until we were conversant with every line. I suspect she enjoyed these sessions as for her there wasn’t much to do and we showed involvement limited only for writing exams.
Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, It seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come. 
These were my favorite lines. I don’t know why. I wondered what I would do if I come across a situation. Would I fear death? I think I would. Julius had done so much (may be not enough) in his life. I am still supposed to do so much. I would fear it.  It just makes me a coward according to Shakespeare!!

He is called the greatest dramatist, the one who transcended national barriers and had this powerful gift of expression of words. I have not read much of his works but whatever I have read I feel he must be very brainy. His plot in play filled with all human shades- envy, rage, greed, love, marriage, lust a few. I don’t know whether it’s his excellence of delivery or outcome of his brilliant perception which prints distinct impression of his poems and plays, which are always so suggestive, evocative, sometimes commanding sympathy and all the time simulating. Read lines from his Sonnet 116 and you would not agree more:
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,  That looks on tempests, and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks  Within his bending sickle's compass come;  Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,  But bears it out even to the edge of doom.    If this be error and upon me proved,    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
The emotion which is clear from the lines are that love which is one kind, remains constant, like the star in sky giving direction. To add more it doesn’t change with time or age or with passing of youth and beauty. He challenges if he is wrong, he would never write this and that would mean, nobody has ever loved in real.

I don’t think anybody would question his definition. I am not his great fan (the only reason I can think of is, his English!! I am impatient you!!) But a fan and I truly admire him (It would be so oblivious if I would not). An intelligent and poetically powerful writer. I don’t think any other writer can ever be anywhere close to his genius and prominence, ever! To conclude, a quote by John Keats on William Shakespeare:

I have good reason to be content,for thank God I can read andperhaps understand Shakespeare to his depths.” 
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