Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Politics, War, the Economy, Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage: Forget Obama, Clinton, McCain - Let's ask ourselves: WWSS!?

What Would Shakespeare Say?

Today is the 464th birthday of William Shakespeare. Everyone has heard of Shakespeare and many people have heard quotes from him in literature, movies, art, advertising, erotic literature, contracts, slogans and in almost every country of the world (I say almost because I found out that the country of Bhutan has very little electricity, and almost no TV or radio. Very few books too. But it's progressing. Before long you will hear their first general impression of the United States: Much Ado About Nothing.)

While the current campaigners for President may frequently ask themselves WWJD - What
Would Jesus Do? - I think that foraging for answers merits looking into the Bard's mind as well. It's easier, too. Jesus didn't write anything and his sayings hardly amount to a slim volume but Shakespeare gave us a phenomenal array of wisdom in the form of verses, puns, platitudes, soliloquies, rejoinders, etc. In fact, I'll wager that Shakespeare is quoted more than Jesus, simply because he's covered every base 10 times over.

Here are some examples along with sprinklings of a few of the million images the Bard evokes:


(substitute Caesar with George Bush)
Marcus Antonius:

And Caesar's spirit, raging for revenge,
With [H]Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth

Give me my robe, put on my crown;
I have Immortal longings in me."

Antony and Cleopatra (V, ii, 282-283)

Politics and sex (aka as Religion and Sex or John Hagee)

He hath given his empire Up to a whore.

Antony and Cleopatra (III, vi, 66-67)

Money and the economy:

I have profess'd me thy friend, and I confess me knit to thy
deserving with cables of perdurable toughness. I could never better stead thee than now. Put money in thy purse; follow thou the wars; defeat thy favor with an usurp'd beard. I say put money in thy purse. It cannot be long that Desdemona should continue her love to the Moor—put money in thy purse—nor he his to her. Othello Act 1, scene 3, 336–344

Falstaff by (who else) Orson Wells

Same-sex marriage:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. "Sonnet 116," 1–8

A veritable flock of fairies from "Dream"

More Politics:


My liege,

They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
With one that saw him die; who did report
That very frankly he confessed his treasons,
Implor'd your Highness' pardon, and set forth
A deep repentance. Nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it.

Macbeth Act 1, scene 4, 1–8


Unqualified Love, Sage Advice and
Two Images of Oberon

Othello and Desdamona

There is a great deal of wisdom and love in Shakespeare. And humor as well. The "other" book doesn't have that. Wisdom. Love. Humor. All of these things are absolutely necessary for survival. Every human being needs them.

Happy Birthday, oh Bard of the world!

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