Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Shakespeare LIED!


He did. Don't believe me? Well, fine then, but he did. As a writer for six odd years, I know it - or, at the very least, it's in some dark corner of my soul that I never previously allowed to see the precious light of day.
Let's start with lie #1: To thine own self be true, and it follows, as the night must follow the day, thou canst be false to no man. - Hamlet

If you think about it (and I've been chewing on this one for awhile) it doesn't really smack of truth. Oh, it sounds good, and isn't that the point? Isn't that what authors do - make it sound good? Isn't that what decievers do as well? It's my opinion that Shakespeare very well may not have agreed with this little tidbit. (Unless, of course, you're one of those conspiracy theorists who believe he was several different people - if so, rock on, I love conspiracy theorists. Except they always kick me out of meetings. Apparently, maniacal laughter is frowned upon.)

Besides, he had Polonius say that line, and in the play, Polonius is well known to be a bit of a idealistic and long-winded fool.

Wouldn't it make more sense to say that the truer we are to ourselves, and the more we know ourselves, the easier it is to manipulate those around us? I can't lay it out as a proof, because it is just my opinion, but the whole idea seems a little... naive.

Quote #2: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Now, granted, in the context, it's true enough - Romeo is Romeo, whether his name be Montague or Capulet. But this line is so often quoted, I thought I'd look into it.

Before I do - what do you think? Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

Technically, yes. Of course. But look at the word rose. The name matches the thing it describes, it's a true name - it's beautiful, fiery, has the 'r' from red in it, it's just an honest word. Here's where I disagree with Juliet. The name is not just a name, and the wrong name can be devastating. Sure, if a rose were called a skatawick, it would smell the same. But would it be used as often in poetry or prose? Probably not. If it wasn't used in poetry, would it still have the same romantic image? Again, probably not. Hence, the smell would be the same, but what a rose is, the essence, the ideas that go with it, the symbolism, would be entirely different. People would avoid the word, they would avoid the thing.

There are some names that ring so true - the objects were named perfectly. Chocolate comes to mind, pillow, sheaf, canvas, spoon, stick, knight. Why are these, in my opinion, good names? No reason, simply that there's no disconnect between what a thing is and what it's called.

What about the opposite? I think the english language has failed to produce proper names for several things, and that is when I hear the word, there's the teensiest tiniest pause between the image and the name. Student, for example, or body, or heroine (as in female hero.) I also think that the human body is often named poorly. Especially the parts it's not 'proper' to speak of. There are so many different ways of referring to a certain person's anatomy (mostly slang) and how many of them sound.... right? We shy away from the names as we shy away from the objects, and because of this the human body will never be truly seen as the beautiful miracle it is. The words are ugly, or awkward, or so ridiculous they're shameful.

Again, this is just my opinion. Some words are probably subjective.

What are words that you think really capture their objects? Just wondering. :)




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