Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A new Shakespeare fan

I just completed my first reading of a Shakespeare play! Somehow I managed to make my way through high school without any exposure to this man's wonderful way with words. Better late than never, I suppose.

He writes with amazing insight into the human condition and I always love an author who can do that.

The play was "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Admittedly, getting through the first act was a bit difficult, but once I got the hang of it I found the story very amusing. My favorite character was "Bottom" who, although filled with pride and self-assurance, is really a sort of bumbling idiot. At one point in the play he is unaware of the fact that his head has taken the shape of a donkey's, and after singing her a song, Titania declares her love for him.

I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again.
Mine ear is much enamored of thy note.
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape.
And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.

Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that.
And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little
company together nowadays. The more the pity that some
honest neighbors will not make them friends.
Nay, I can
gleek upon occasion.

Act 3, Scene 1, A Midsummer Night's Dream

I love the line in bold. A love potion has caused Titania to fall in love with Bottom in a manner that is void of all reason. Bottom's suggestion that love and reason are not friends and that this leads to silly romantic episodes is just as true today as it was in the 1500's when the play was written. But today, many people manage to find the confusion and folly in the play without the help of a love potion!

Well, after my first reading of Shakespeare, I definitely look forward to more. "As You Like It" is next on my agenda. Somehow, in spite of the fact that I was completely unversed in Shakespeare, he is my 16 year-old daughter's favorite, and has been for a couple of years. Just one of the many things to love about the homeschooling life are the things you learn from your children