Monday, August 30, 2010

The power of Shakespeare's words

In Shakespeare's measures of the withdrawal of the world we are offered a picture of, let me say, the privatization of the world, a picture of the repudiation of assured significance, repudiation of the capacity to improvise common significance, of the capacity of individual human passion and encounter to bear cosmic insignia. The tragic and the pathetic beckon one another. "Is this the promised end? Or image of that horror?" (Is this? This play. No.) "To be or not to be." "A tale told by an idiot." "Are you fast married?" "Look down and see what death is doing." "Then must you find out new heaven, new earth." After such words, in their occasions, there is no standing ground of redemption. nothing but the ability to be spoken for by these words, to meet upon them, will weigh in the balance against these visions of groundlessness. Nothing without, perhaps nothing within, Shakespeare's words could discover the power to withstand the power Shakespeare's words release. Is this, since then, the demand we place, to greater or lesser extents, on all writing we care about seriously? - Stanley Cavell

1 comment:

  1. I don't think the words save us - but the reader/audience that can tell a mask from a mortal. That's the saving ground that is brought into relief through the intense reaction of the soul to the story.