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Archive for April, 2014

After Raphael-self portrait

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Late Jayawardene of Sri Lanka

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From a Chinese Painting,-watercolor

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Shakespeare’s life is equated with the Elizabethan Age. Such is his genius. One might wonder how can a young lad with modicum of education, -typical grammar school syllabus with its devotion to Ovid, Bible and Prayer Book , unlike his contemporary Marlow who went to the University, surpass all others to be the representative man of the Age. It is such a serious question that defies a rational answer and many scholars have hazarded a theory to aver Bacon as the real author. As with every theory it has its supporters but literature is not respecter of class or scholarship. It has to smell life in its naturalness, even coarseness has its part. Scholarship can make a horse run to win the Derby but cannot make it fly like Pegasus. Here is the difference between Shakespeare and his rivals. His line trots and when flies it takes our breath away.

So what was the secret of William Shakespeare? I shall come to it by and by. Beginning as a player he became the most celebrated playwright of the Age. It was a time when poets were considered a cut above the players similar to the subtle social distinctions that marked a composer than a flautist in the Baroque Age. He made wise career moves in taking shares of the Lord Chamberlain’s Company at its inception in 1594 and his star rose as with the fortunes of the Company. Its popularity was such its players were elevated to be regarded as the King’s Men on James I accession in 1603. He ended up as part owner of the Blackfriar’s theatre. In short his sound business acumen made him as the Stratford lad who made good in the City of London.

Intelligence he had aplenty as his life in bare essentials would prove. His imagination was of such ethereal quality that he could put words in the mouth of Mercutio and we feel we know Queen Mab as though from direct experience. Never has any one excelled in poetic fancies as shown in the plays like Othello or Antony and Cleopatra. One can imagine it coming out like a single sweep of imagination, theme and coloring adding to the line- richness and vibrancy as the Renaissance palette of a Tintorotto or a Vernese. In the latter play especially ‘his language reaches heights and depths never reached before or excelled since.’

Not poppy, nor mandragora,

Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,

Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep..” (Ot.AcIII sc.3: 330)

Negative capability as defined by John Keats explains the ability of Shakespeare, whose academic credentials were merely rudimentary, to have excelled himself in writing plays that bear his name. The Bard of Avon despite his negative capability made up by exercising his imagination. Such is imagination and it belongs to the inner world.

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How rational mind may lay bare our world in terms of use and purpose is like putting together a newspaper which once read is outdated. Mere facts help one negotiate his world adequately. Shakespeare’s King Lear or Hamlet and Macbeth hold freshness that is beyond fads and facts. Works such as these are drawn by imagination,- or in a manner of speaking, lay bare the truth that animates human soul. Imagination ranging through inner world can give human experience various shades of meaning and reveal them to others. The Bard surpassed himself and his lines consequently acquired beauty and truth to delight great many.

benny

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A Hare-charcoal

A Hare-charcoal

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Shakespeare’s 450th birthday was celebrated quite recently and if I felt I owe at least a mention of  him it is because of his incandescent genius. Every nation creates a benchmark that rarely can be surpassed nor one dare dispute its place. Legend of King Arthur is rightfully conceded as belonging in such a category. Legends are precisely set so high if any one even so much as try to meet it half in achievement would be creditable. Shakespeare lives in such rarefied atmosphere and shall continue to do so.
William Shakespeare

Shakespear’s influence on the English language has stood the test of time thus far, with little sign of relenting.Echelons of British culture aside, even those who “don’t do Shakespeare” speak his words in their daily lives. Most of us will have quoted the playwright thousands of times without knowing it.Ever been “in a pickle” or had “too much of a good thing”? Perhaps friends have “eaten (you) out of house and home” or had you “in stitches” over a joke.
There are many more phrases and words we owe the Bard who belongs to mankind except the language in which he clothed his genius. Genius cannot have a country anymore than a sword may be found in a scabbard.
“For goodness sake” –
Henry VIII

– “Neither here not there” – Othello

– “Mum’s the word” – Henry VI, Part II

– “Eaten out of house and home” – Henry IV, Part II

– “Rant” – Hamlet

– “Knock knock! Who’s there?” – Macbeth

– “All’s well that ends well” – All’s Well That Ends Well

– “With bated breath” – The Merchant of Venice

– “A wild goose chase” – Romeo and Juliet

– “Assassination” – Macbeth

– “Too much of a good thing” – As You Like It

– “A heart of gold” – Henry V

– “Such stuff as dreams are made on” – The Tempest

– “Fashionable” – Troilus and Cressida

“What the dickens” – The Merry Wives of Windsor

– “Puking” – As You Like It

– “Lie low” – Much Ado About Nothing

“Dead as a doornail” – Henry VI, Part II

“Not slept one wink” –

Cymbeline

– “Foregone conclusion” – Othello

– “The world’s mine oyster” – The Merry Wives of Windsor

– “Obscene” – Love’s Labour’s Lost

– “Bedazzled” – The Taming of the Shrew

– “In stitches” – Twelfth Night

– “Addiction” – Othello

“Naked truth” – Love’s Labour’s Lost

– “Faint-hearted” – Henry VI, Part I

“Send him packing” – Henry IV

– “Vanish into thin air” – Othello

– “Swagger” – Henry V

– “Own flesh and blood” – Hamlet

– “Truth will out” – The Merchant of Venice

– “Zany” – Love’s Labour’s Lost

“Give the devil his due” – Henry IV, Part I

“There’s method in my madness” – Hamlet

– “Salad days” – Antony and Cleopatra

– “Wear your heart on your sleeve” – Othello

– “Spotless reputation” – Richard II

– “Full circle” – King Lear

– “There’s the rub” – Hamlet

– “All of a sudden” – The Taming of the Shrew

  • “Come what, come may” – Macbeth
  • (ack: independent.uk/Jess Denham on 23rd April,2014)

To be continued

benny

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A new study on participants in a Toronto homeless shelter found that 45 percent of the homeless men in the research had suffered some form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). And amongst them, 87 percent of their brain injuries had occurred before the men became homeless. . They encompassed a broad age range and all completed a detailed series of questions chronicling their mental health history. The St. Michael’s Hospital study also mirrors a similar study released last week in which half of all men entering NY jail system aged 16-18 reported a TBI before they were arrested. According to Dr. Jane Toplovec-Vranic who led this study “You have a concussion, and you can’t concentrate or focus. Their thinking abilities and personalities change. They can’t manage at work, and they may lose their job, and eventually lose their families. And then it’s a negative spiral.” A concussion is not merely an injury but it triggers whole lots of events that runs a gamut of social, economic personal territories for which no agency wants to own up. Cluster principle applies here.

 

“You need to train the correction officers to understand brain injuries so that when somebody may be acting rude or answering back or forgetting what they’re supposed to do, it’s not a sign of maladaptive misbehavior or disrespect, it’s a sign of a brain injury,” Wayne Gordon, a brain injury expert at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, said about that study’s results.

The St. Michael’s study looked at the cases of 111 homeless men and found that assault accounted for some 60 percent of the TBI’s. Drug and alcohol were the leading factors for men under 40, while assault was the most common factor for men over 40 years of age.Amongst those cases, sports and recreation related injuries accounted for 44 percent of the TBI’s, while motor vehicle accidents or falls made up another 42 percent. A significant percentage of people received their TBI in non-violent accidents. “Injury commonly predated the onset of homelessness, with most participants experiencing their first injury in childhood,” Topolovec-Vranic wrote in the study, which was published in the journal CMAJ Open.“Additional research is needed to understand the complex interactions among homelessness, traumatic brain injury, mental illness and substance use.”(ack: Eric Pfeiffer/Yahoo News of April, 26,2014)

benny

 

 

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