Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shakespeare: the language of the heart

I recently read (and reread) an excerpt from Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis. What impressed me the most was the dramatic flair of the writing. Every stanza was devoted to fleshing out the fiery passions of Venus, bringing her to life for us like a prima donna on stage. Shakespeare seems to be most interested in the emotional and the irrational and how those urges translate themselves into action. In this poem and in the plays I've read so far, the characters are all driven by passions which result in actions which may or may not have desirable consequences. But the characters never worry about things like consequences. Hearts are on fire, the gestures are grand, characters get tangled up with themselves and with life . . . just the perfect recipe for a great play. It's Shakespeare: would we expect anything less?