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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Nunn On Shakespeare

“'He was not of an age, but for all time’ — so, in memory of his friend, wrote Ben Jonson in 1623. What prescience! Today, many of us still turn to the plays of Shakespeare as a kind of Bible of Humanism, a depository of the most penetrating insights into our complex and contradictory condition. The plays remain searchingly relevant, as the priorities of different ages find new and unexpected emphases in his language, characters, dramatic situations and underlying themes. In addition to having invented and understood the principles of psychology hundreds of years before Freud, our national poet has not only defined the British, but seemingly created us, our ideas and our ideals; who we are and who we aspire to become. It’s our species that’s under his microscope, as he reveals the beast and the angel in man, capable of unspeakable violence and/or spiritual perfection. Above all, he identifies our capability to find forgiveness. Four hundred years before Nelson Mandela, Shakespeare gives these words to a man confronting an enemy who has repeatedly tried to destroy him: 'The power I have on you is… to spare you.’ All that’s left to say is: 'Shine forth, thou star of poets’—right again, Ben!”
Sir Trevor Nunn

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