Fwd: Shakespeare in the Minor Key

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Subject: Shakespeare in the Minor Key
Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 15:53:44 EDT

As described in Lord Clark’s “Civilization”, Shakespeare was a humanist and a man of the renaissance, an agnostic and rationalist in te manner of Erasmus, who spent some time at Magdalen College Oxford. These qualities were inherited by Bertrand Russell for example, who influenced Mansel Davies at Cambridge. Bacon was of the same persuasion, and founded “the invisible college” which became the Royal Society. John Harvard on the other hand was a Puritan of Emmanuel College Cambridge, who emigrated to Newtowne, (later Cambridge) Massachusetts and not an agnostic. Some of Shakepseare’s most powerful poetry is in the minor key. The first example is in sonnet form , the famous Macbeth Soliloquy, (Act 5, Scene 5) offers little but reason and enlightenment during lifetime, not self-delusion.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day by day To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

The second is from Hamlet Act 5, Scene 1

Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay, Might stop a hole to keep the wind away, O that that earth which held the world in awe Should patch a wall to expel the winter’s flaw!

This is again iambic pentameter, the pure poetry of Shakespeare’s plays. These extracts tell us what Bacon is telling us, that the human condition is transient in comparison with nature, and that nature shows. Any theory will in the last analysis patch a wall to keep the wind away.

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