By Marilynn Stark          









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Giant Little

Giant Little Part Two

Catster's War Poem

Political Commentary

On T.S Eliot      

On Shakespeare

On Goethe

On Latin Inspiration  


On Skiing  


On Shakespeare


     One should eulogize Shakespeare properly, which might constitute a steep task in view of the contribution this great author has made to English literature, if not to Western culture, for the truths he has spoken and portrayed.  Nor would this task be conceivable with ease if one would meet on eloquent grounds the most artful and pithy wielder of words to the wise, the tellers of souls  which live on through time's long stretch.  Across the centuries forth do march their meanings, those Shakespearean phrases and sayings which repeat themselves in various contexts of living and in cultural clutches clinging dear in the minds of ones who have heard them spoken at appropriate moments and also in memory's recount.  How at a juncture of acute complexity as would relate to destiny's ponder, does the average mind reach out and recount the famed phrase, "To be, or not to be: that is the question."  Hamlet's quandary may in its beginning sense sum up an existential quest which is universally applicable since it stems from the sheer state of existence, granted; however, listen now to the succeeding lines, and see how life is painted through the cutting insight of the brilliant William Shakespeare:


Ham.   To be, or not to be: that is the question:  
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer  
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, 68
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,  
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;  
No more; and, by a sleep to say we end  
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks 72
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation  
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;  
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;  
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come 76
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,  
Must give us pause. There’s the respect  
That makes calamity of so long life;  
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, 80
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,  
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,  
The insolence of office, and the spurns  
That patient merit of the unworthy takes, 84
When he himself might his quietus make  
With a bare bodkin?

From Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by Shakespeare

     "When he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin," is a directly-spoken contemplation of suicide which is led into through deeper and more successively descriptive, qualifying persuasions upon the nature of life, of existence, and the wrongs and vicissitudes we bear.  Until this more direct image Hamlet has softened his outlook by straddling the concept of self-imposed death with the refuge of sleep, so that Shakespeare plays upon the death desire metaphorically first.  This lead-in allows the subjective quandary to be unfolded before it peaks in the realm of mental despair, and sums up to a self-inflicted death blow.  Along the way to that acute declaration of threat come the most revealing insights into what to expect in life, and how to shoulder it, how to view it beyond all.  For anyone can relate to the objective review of life's nature for its resistances as Hamlet tells them, hoping that the prince will choose a nap instead, a getting away from it all.

     This vignette of our beloved Shakespeare introduces why he is so loved and respected.  The one who reads from Shakespeare can universalize into life in general, since such universalization is the specialty of this literary master.  Then the truth must be admitted that not all of us want to hear such dire truth, would not want to have to ponder its interstices in the daily life context, and would rather that  life be like a beautiful scene always to be relived in its next version, as equally even and filled with charm, so that there might present no rebuke, no great challenges or problems.  This same mental couch upon which lie the average terms hoped for in life can be extended where necessary to a few obstacles and rough spots, perhaps, so that listening to a drama by Shakespeare might be permissible, so as to form a store of readied thoughts upon any unlikely events to be construed as tragic, if they ever do strike.  That is the category of thinker who is uplifted then again by the wordsmith in Shakespeare, the category of those who skirt life's problems until the last minute, never really believing that they might be singled out for misfortune, since they will surely be spared.  For Shakespeare gathers them in presciently with his crowning glory, his unequalled eloquence.  Indeed, William Shakespeare writes for these middle-of-the-road people.  He can rescue the downtrodden, and his more excessive task is to enlighten the many.  It is widely known that Shakespeare has enlightened, that he is an unmatched luminary for his pinnacle of achievement.  How is this level in Shakespeare of literary mastery so?  Wielding words phonetically, as well as for their deepest and succinct meanings, Shakespeare creates impressions upon minds who have known no deep sorrow, perhaps, who have never met a supreme challenge of happenstance, whose way in life has not been injected with a sense of having been stricken or deposed in some manner.  He calls such minds to the reality of possible dejection through eloquence of word and a certain dignity of style which work together to make them listen.  How then he is loved for his guidance before the event, as his prophetic fortune is given freely and painlessly, as if he has seen so much that there is no pain he cannot announce and pronounce so skillfully, that its sheer pronouncement portends its resolution to the favorable outcome.  Indeed, if one studies Shakespeare and ponders his messages, the mind so acculturated becomes capable of word when under duress.  That is, despair is met before it builds, challenge is articulated and equalled conceptually, perhaps; the knower of Shakespeare has prefigured an understanding of life which then figures in most vitally.  For the enlightenment has occurred through the power of the English language placed at the hilt of its capability and meaning through the insightful pen of William Shakespeare.  Perhaps you have seen one who is under duress and is experiencing distress or despair, and who turns to "Shakespearean English" so as to recover and reconnoiter.  This is a glimpse of the exact gift of Shakespeare to mankind, and it is an honor to consider him therefore on this page with you.  

     With this preface to the one for whom this author holds an inestimable reverence let us see what beauty lies in the sonnet of Shakespeare.  In the Shakespearean sonnet deep reflections reveal a worldview which, when challenged and processed, now described and declared, will upon such glorious recount have the power to form a life for its very destiny when this towering author is truly heard by the receptive reader.

The Sonnet     


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