Image courtesy of George Romney / Wikipedia

Act 1 of The Tempest
Image courtesy of George Romney / Wikipedia

“All the world’s a stage” – Shakespeare and The Plays…

As a little kid I did a lot more playing than reading. I seldom read anything, being way more interested in most anything outdoors… climbing trees, riding my bike, playing GI Joe, acting goofy…

I’m a fascinated newbie when it comes to Shakespeare. I started writing about his work last fall. From what I have gathered, he gained influence from several other writers, including those who scribed God’s inspired word that makes up the Bible. Shakespeare also had a profound love of nature. Yep, Shakespeare was FOR the birds!

Just rattling on with The Bard…

How do we get there from here? An expression of hope, right?
You can’t get there from here. A roundabout way of saying it’s just not going to work.
Saving the best for last. The last act, and the curtain call.

The better I do at planning for the future, the less I have to be concerned with cleaning up from the past. (Click to Tweet)

What’s that got to do with it? Saving the best for last…

Indeed, Shakespeare was a playwright. With that said, perhaps the most profound element of his writing that makes it stand out is that it utterly opposed the neoclassical theory of style.

Shakespeare’s plays followed a very interesting pattern, or life cycle, that, upon reflection, tell a story in itself. Here’s why… as a generalization, Shakespeare’s plays followed a profound theatrical pattern…

– The early works were comedies and histories.
– Then, it was on to the tragedies.
– Ummm, you guessed it… the last hoorah… “The Late Romances”… well, some would say that romance is for the birds… and, yes, Shakespeare knew the exultation of joy that comes from our friends who go #tweet.

Whether you believe that the romances are a separate group of plays or not, the distinction is noteworthy… and it will stick in my book.

So, I’m guessing that you must be thinking I’m going to go off on an eloquent, harmonic spiel on Romeo and Juliet, “throwing off the name” and sacrificially giving in to the heartfelt romance that one would associated with the “love month” of February… particularly since, on the day after Valentine’s, my heart just throbs with each beat to the tune of a sonnet… weeping like a well-tuned violin that is being stroked by a rosined bow… and filled with a crescendo of the perfect love that God envisions for the multitude… a cappella… ahhhh yes, the oneword… dolce!

Well, I’m not thinkin’ that, so back to the storyline… 🙂

The rains fell and overcame the fire. Steam rose from the burning embers. Eventually, the steam subsided, leaving just ash. (Click To Tweet)

So, as I mentioned, I was reading more about this fellow and found out there was incredible symmetry with the Bible. After banging around with Macbeth, which is a sort of twisted tale, I settled in with The Tempest to ramble on about…

The Tempest. It seems dark. Well, to be honest, my church seems dark inside, but it’s really not “dark” – in terms of a reflection of the light of God. Yes, when you walk inside this and many other contemporary churches today they seem dark inside…

“There came a man who was sent from God, his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” John 1:6-8

So I’m thinking that people aren’t really light or dark… they may be a reflection of one or the other… just like the character Prospero. It’s postulated that Prospero represents God in The Tempest.

The Tempest seems sort of dark, too. It’s filled with illusion, manipulation and magic… there’s a storm and an island…

Here’s a wonderful summary of this work and it’s parallel to the Bible, written by Hannibal Hamlin, associate professor of English at The Ohio State University, he is co-curator of the Manifold Greatness exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

“Shakespeare’s interest in this plot has to do partly with exploring humanity in isolation from civilization. What happens when people are forced to fend for themselves, without the aid of law or civic institutions? Seventeenth-century explorers to the New World were asking similar questions as they encountered native people living seemingly in a state of nature. Were such people brutal savages, in need of civilizing, or were they noble innocents, free from the corruptions of European society? The Tempest explores such questions, often in biblical terms.

Shakespeare’s island is a kind of Eden, presided over by the God-like figure of Prospero, with Ferdinand and Miranda as a version of Adam and Eve, and Ariel and Caliban and angel and devil. As in the Genesis story, temptation and obedience are crucial: Prospero charges Ferdinand and Miranda not to have sex before they are properly married, anxious about the temptation they offer each other alone on the island. Prospero and his brother Antonio may also have a biblical model in Cain and Abel, the first brothers and the first murderer and death. For Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the Bible was the place to go for puzzling out life’s big questions: can siblings really get along? can anyone? are humans inherently wicked or just corrupted by society? are forgiveness and redemption possible in this world?”

“All the world’s a stage…” – to me, that says it’s more about the journey than the destination. The journey, and discovery… living in the light…

Oh to know the voice of thy Shepherd and to achieve unity within our church, and to be held in the bosom of God… only then may we take a bow and the curtain call…

What do you think about life’s big questions?