Sunday, May 1, 2016

More Shakespeare - 2 (continues & concludes)


                                                      [Caliban - Charles A Buchel, 1904]

Allen Ginsberg on Shakespeare's The Tempest continues (and concludes)

continuing from yesterday

AG: Trinculo’s got some very funny lines, discovering Caliban's nature and how he smelt like a fish! - "..a very ancient and fish-/like smell, a kind not of the newest Poor-/John. A  strange fish! Were I in England now, as once I was, and had this fish painted... a painted fish"
And here's that line, "..misery acquaints a man with/ strange bedfellows" - Did Shakespeare invent that? -  "misery…", line 38 -  "Misery makes strange bedfellows?" You know the famous trite phrase? - Maybe from here.

So, what is this, so we have a comical scene, a couple of nice phrases, well, I mean, there are a lot of nice phrases, in the prose (but I don't think we need to dwell on it). I like line 61 - "What's the matter? Have we devils here? Do you put/ tricks upon's with savages and men of Ind, ha? I/have not 'scaped drowning to be afeard now of your/four legs, for it hath been said, As proper a man as/ever went on four legs cannot make him give ground,/And it shall be said so again while Stephano/ breathes at's nostrils" -  "while Stephano/ breathes at's nostrils" i.e. "while I'm alive" - That's another illustration of his.. Shakespeare's directness of images, (rather than...)and avoidance of generalization. Instead of saying, "while I'm alive", he says, "while I'm breathing at my nostrils" - "while Stephano", you know - "I shall continue to teach here at Naropa, while Ginsberg breathes through his nostrils"! - It's a funny way of making it absolute, sure, true, exact.. you know, of nailing it down, nailing down a note - "While Jim Cohn [sic - one of the students in attendance] breathes through his nostrils, he'll continue to play the piano" - "Says Jim Cohn, "I'll play the piano as long as I breathe through my nostrils!" - It's very direct, and totally grounded. Then there's also, later on, all this stuff about "moons" and "mooncalfs" -  (Stephano): "Out of the moon, I do assure thee, I was the man i'/ the moon when. time was".."How camest thou to be the siege of this mooncalf?" - (that's line 105) - "How camest thou to be the siege of this mooncalf?" - and line 135 - Caliban -  "Hast thou not not dropp'd from heaven? -  Stephano:  "Out of the moon, I do assure thee, I was the man i'/ the moon when. time was"..

So they get Caliban drunk (and so, I suppose, this is a parable with what happens with the mob, what happens with the lower class(es), in Shakespeare's mind, and it's really pretty ridiculous because, if you take Caliban to be the laboring proletariat (or the lumpenproletariat , the laboring proletariat, the masses, and if you take Stephano and Trinculo to be the jesters and misleaders of the masses, or the leaders of the masses, or the revolutionary leaders because they're going on a revolution here, (this is Shakespeare's analysis of revolution, where the under-privileged, the ground-down, the slaves, the proletariat, and their middle-class leaders, or lower-class leaders, are getting together a mob to go attack the castle of Prospero, his cell, and getting drunk on the way, and the.. 
and Caliban (and the masses), getting drunker and drunker, saying, "I want to lick your foot, You should be my master. I'll show you where the old master lives". It's really disgusting, (a) disgustingly anti-democratic view, in a way. But then, he's also done the same thing to the aristocracy. He's also shown..  In fact, the aristocracy is even stupider and is sly-er and meaner (here, everybody is just drunk, and ill-natured, and dumb, but, above, they're drunk, ill-natured, and smart! - which is worst? - who knows!) But, he's promising, in line 140 or so, Caliban - "I'll show thee every fertile inch o' the island/And I will kiss thy foot: I prithe be my god" - Trinculo - "By this light, a most perfidious and drunken/monster! when's god's asleep, he'll rob his bottle" - Caliban - "I'll kiss thy foot, I'll swear myself thy subject" - Stephano: "Come on then, down, and swear

And then, it's Trinculo, the jester, "I shall laugh myself to death at this puppy-headed/monster. A most scurvy monster! I could find in my/heart to beat him -" - Sttephano: - "Come, kiss" - Trinculo: "But that the poor monster's in drink; an abominable monster"



Meanwhile, the monster (the people) say very beautiful lines - "I'll show thee the best springs, I'll pluck thee berries/I'll fish for thee and get thee wood enough/A plague upon the tyrant that I serve!/I'll bear him no more sticks but follow thee/ Thou wondrous man"  (because he's been giving him fire-water) - Trinculo -  "A most ridiculous monster to make a wonder of a/ Poor drunkard!" - Caliban - "I prithee, let me bring thee where crabs grow/And I with my long nails will dig thee pignuts" (spoken of as peanuts, somebody said, pignuts (equals) peanuts, yes). "Show thee a jay's nest and instruct thee how/ To snare  the nimble marmoset, I'll bring thee/ To clustering filberts and sometimes I'll get thee?Young scamels from the rock. Wilt thou go with me?" - So they're going to go with him, so, with his howling monster, this drunken monster, and Calban's revolutionary song is: "No more dams I'll make for fish/ Nor fetch in firing/At requiring/Nor scrape trencher, nor wash dish/ 'Ban 'Ban Cacaliban!/ Has a new master, get a new man./Freedom, hey-day! hey day, freedom!, freedom, /hey-day, freedom!" - (That's really sad, acttually!) - Stephano - 
"O brave monster.." (even worse!). 

Coleridge has something to say about that that's interesting, what do people, what do people think of Shakespeare's reactionary, or apparently reactionary (stance)?, (because, after all, Coleridge was of the day of the French Revolution, where all this came true). (William) Blake also had the same vision, which I quoted, in "The Grey Monk", I quoted yesterday, "The hand of Vengeance found the Bed/To which the Purple Tyrant fled/The iron hand crushed the Tyrant's head/And became a Tyrant in his stead"  (which is what were going to have here). In 1811, Coleridge's lecture on The Tempest,  (he) said, "that kind of politics which is inwoven with human nature". However, "In his treatment of this subject, wherever it occurs, Shakespeare is quite peculiar. In other writers we find the particular opinions of the individual; in Massinger, it is rank republicanism, in Beaumont and Fletcher even juro divine principles, (divine right, I guess), are carried to excess - but Shakespeare never promulgates any party tenets. He is always the philosopher and the moralist, but at the same time with a profound veneration for all the established institutions of society, and for those classes which form the permanent elements of the state - especially never introducing a professional character, as such, otherwise than respectable. If he must have any name, he should be styled a philosophical aristocrat" - That's kind of interesting - it's very Burroughs-ian also, Burroughs' basic take, a little bit of, a little bit somewhat of the basic Buddhist take around here (Naropa) I would say, not far from the Shakesperian monarchial philosophical aristocrat - "delighting in those hereditary institutions which have a tendency to bind one age to another" - (that's another shot, that's interesting, as a rationale for the philosophical aristocracy) - and delighting in "that system of  ranks, of which, although few may be in possession" -  (ie a few enjoy the pleasures of the  wise council of Gonzalo), "all enjoy the advantages" -  all of the State has the advantage of his possession, of this possession, all of the advantages of Gonzalo's powers, since Gonzalo is wise). So, it's basically, in a way, a sort of Confucian view, that is, delighting in the "hereditary institutions which have a tendency to bind one age to another". So, in this respect, politically, Shakespeare has, as we understand, Confucian attitudes towards authority. "Hence again, you will observe the good nature with which he seems always to make sport with the passions and follies of a mob, as with an irrational animal. He is never angry with it but hugely content with holding up its absurdities to its face, and sometimes you may trace a tone of almost affectionate superiority, something like that in which the father speaks of the rogueries of a child. See the good-humoured way in which he describes Stephano passing from the most licentious freedom to absolute despotism over Trinculo and Caliban".


                                                    [Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)]

Well, I might as well finish this one paragraph of Coleridge, because Coleridge is very intelligent, and it's a really interesting point, or it's a point that everybody recognizes one way or another about Shakespeare, that "philosophical aristocrat" that he is, but I don't know if it has been as well or overtly expressed, except by Coleridge. I mean, Buckley, William Buckley would make a more reactionary monster of Shakespeare than Coleridge does, and the Marxists would make a, sympathetic with Buckley, would make a reactionary monster. And I suppose left-wing Marxists would make.. have made  Shakespeare as an enemy, analyzed Shakespeare as an enemy of the proletariat and an ally of the oppressing aristocracy. I think there is such Shakespearean criticism, or was, probably, I don't know.  Does anybody know about that?

Student: Also that he was just white.. part of the white devils….

AG: Yes, part of the white devils, yeah

Student: Actually, in his time, it was  just the way to go, you know. You didn't really think of anything, you just.. 

AG: Well, yes, you had regicide. I mean, this is.. Shakespeare is full of cases of regicide all the time

Student: But I hadn't thought of…

AG: But he's always laying it as an ambition or envy trip.  Or is he always?  - well, no, sometimes it's ambivalent. I mean, sometimes it's the weak-mindedness of Lear, (and there's some criticism of the King here, that he didn't make provision for envy, for evil power didn't make provision for power-ambition, and when he left, and left the whole scene open to his brother to take over and screw up)

Student: Same sort of thing in Richard the second

AG: Richard the second also

AG: Well, I'll read the rest of.,  it's very brief, two more sentences - "The truth is Shakespeare's characters are all - general intensely individualized, the results of meditation, of which observation supplied the drapery and the colours necessary to combine them with each other. He had virtually surveyed all the great component powers and impulses of human nature - had seen that their different combinations and subordinations were in fact the individualizers of men, and showed how their harmony was produced by reciprocal disproportions of excess or deficiency. The language in which these truths are expressed was not drawn from any set fashion, but from the profoundest depths of his moral being, and is therefore for all ages."   
That the main insight into.. let's see… He also says, "..it is in the primacy of the moral,  being only that man is truly human.." (I suppose a contrast between Ariel (and) Caliban, as non-human creatures, and Caliban as a moral human) - "for it is in the primacy of the moral being that man is truly human in his intellectual powers he is certainly approached by the brutes, and, man's whole system duly considered, those powers cannot be considered as other than means to an end, that is, to morality." 

Well, I was just checking out what Coleridge had to say about Shakespeare, about The Tempest specifically, which is that one "philosophical aristocrat" analysis, I thought was really interesting, and something you can't get around, particularly in this day and age when..there was a tendency, say in the (19)60's, towards a total democratic libertarianism and philosophical anarchy. Here, the man for all ages, and all times, and all seasons, Shakespeare, is not a philosophical anarchist but a philosophical conservative, an aristocrat (and I noticed the same thing in (William) Burroughs, although Burroughs' humor is totally anarchic - Philosophical anarchism, I mean, he would have the middle-class and the upper-class skewered and screwed, and, you know, eaten by rats! - that's his constant fantasy, but he himself, will say, "Well, there's no better place than America, if you want to…(that) America's the best place in the world, you've got, you know… you don't want to go out there with the rest of the starving natives, do you? - "If you want all the advantages, you'd better stay here, if you know which side your bread is buttered on, you better stay here". Burroughs is sort of sneakily, overtly sneaking your attention back to the fact that you've got it good and you'd better not complain, unless you're willing to take the consequences . At least, that's what he always does with me, when I come on radical with Burroughs. He's always rebuking me by saying, "Listen, Ginsberg, you got it good here, you're the poet of protest? You're making a lot of money. Where else could you be the poet of protest?  It's a good life that you've got. You've got a good deal here".  Like..  but he's also like a Shakespeare character who's a bit cynical (well-meaning, but very cynical, and knows which side his bread is buttered on). 


                                                    [William S Burroughs (1914-1997)]

Student: Kind of like a bag-lady..I'm thinking about bag-ladies..
AG: Who?
Student:  Burroughs
AG: Really?  I wonder where you get that notion..?
Student: ..because he's an individual, you know
AG; Yes.  Well, that aspect of his mind, which I was pointing out, which is like Shakespeare's is.. well, I couldn't call it.. there's a humorous aspect, (it's not quite cynical, it's just a disillusioned, or un-. -I mean frank, or disillusioned, or laconic, or cynical - which is another quality which is straightforwardness - but humorous, as in Shakespeare). And it's not quite cynicism, but, there is a word, it's… un-pretentiously frank, disillusionarily unpretentiously frank or honest (I'm not quite sure what that is, there is an adjective for that which fits here  - realistic?
Student: Up-front
AG: Up-front, realistic..
Student: Something like the Convention in Chicago in (19)68, when he didn't want 
to walk in the marches (and) he found himself , you know,  on anti-violence marches...
AG: Yeah   
Student : I think that what I meant was, in that period, I don't think anybody had ,  really, very much fun, you know,(with) the whole idea, the whole atmosphere...
AG: Why, yes, it was very soon after, you remember?, the Levellers
Student: Yeah
AG: There was a revolution very soon afterwards. King James the second? - who was it that got..?
Student: Charles the first.
AG: Charles the first? - and that was the guy after James the first  - So, the next successive King was going to get his head cut off!
Student: But they were mostly religious wars…
AG: Well, religious wars, but they were complaining against all this fancy finery and excessive aristocratic ostentatiousness - and the sexual licence and the degeneracy of manners and everything. It was somewhat proletarian shot, wasn't it, the Cromwell-ian period?
Student: I mean, actually, though, they still.. even people like Sir Thomas More... They still wanted things to be stable, and more or less as they were, you know.
AG: Right. Who took over from the Cromwell revolution?  Was that shopkeepers took over? What party took over? Was it just honest businessmen? land-owning aristocrats? - I've forgot. Does anybody know? So there was a social revolution..


                                                           [Oliver Cromwell ( 1599-1658]

Okay, let's move on. So, anyway, so Shakespeare's jape at revolution is: "'Ban 'Ban Cacaliban!/ Has a new master, get a new man./Freedom, hey-day! hey day, freedom!, freedom, /hey-day, freedom!"  (and I was comparing that with Burroughs' attitude towards democracy (and (Chogyam) Trungpa's, for that matter) and (William) Blake's disillusionment, and also you can bring in some of (William) Wordsworth's revolution later with the French Revolution. And Coleridge's comment is, after Napoleon also, 1811, at the height of..maybe at the height of Napoleon's military power, but also (it was) at the height of the disillusionment that Wordsworth had, and probably Coleridge, with revolutionary Napopleon, and so Coleridge is willing to accept Shakespeare's philosophical aristocratism without getting mad, as maybe (Percy Bysshe) Shelley, or younger Coleridge, younger Wordsworth, might have done, before they'd had their revolution and seen their
disillusionment.

I'm still wondering.. what is that?  There's a phrase they use in Time magazine to mean that somebody's laconic and realistic - "looking at things with a jaundiced eye" - "jaundiced", yes, Burroughs is jaundiced realism (except "jaundiced" is a little sour still, there's another, still another, word that is even more exact, which is more honorific (to) this attitude.

Well, moving on, we get to Act 2, Scene 1, which, as I said, in contrast to the aristocratic conspiracy and the mob-democracy conspiracy, or the low local conspiracy, the idyllic scene is the love-scene between innocence and innocence, the innocent prince and the innocent princess, Ferdinand (and Miranda), their reconciliation, and Prospero witnessing and approving their love.  There are a few.. well ,there are a lot of interesting lines in it, like Prospero (aside): "Poor worm, thou art infected!" (meaning, poor mortal man, thou art infected with love, "Poor worm, thou art infected!", talking about Miranda and Ferdinand's relation (Miranda's, probably). We'll skip over that. I would point out there's a "crowned"... (remember we had this funny phrase about the crown before? - what was it in relation to? - I mentioned it..)

Student(s): It was on the imagination..They were playing (at being) the King….

AG: Yes, so, then there is… that crown returns in Ferdinand's speech, Act 3, Scene 1, line sixty-nine, sixty-eight, "O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this sound/And crown what I profess with kind event/If I speak true!" - (So there's that "crown" again)  

Then Prospero, praying for the proper issue  (line seventy-five) - "Fair encounter/Of two most rare affections! Heaven rain grace/On that which breeds between them" - Funny pun - "Heaven rain grace" on whatever progeny they have, whatever be bred between them. But, you know, for a heterosexual love, that's kind of interesting - "that which breeds" between these lovers"  ("breeding", meaning the affections between them and the relationship, but also the implication of increase, "foison", progeny, creation, "that which breeds" -  Creation - creation, that which is going to be created between them, meaning the emotional affair but also..breeding, something that breeds, or gives birth.

Meanwhile, we get back to - Scene 2, Act 3,  contrast building up. Caliban - "How does thy honor. Let me lick thy shoe" - ("Let me lick thy shoe", he's really so abased and it's the... Shakespeare really must have had an abased, debased, mind to have to conceived that, so directly and so frankly and so without any kind of…it's really raw!  Finally, he's got this monster, fishy monster, on the ground, saying, "Let me.. Let me lick thy shoe!" - it's really disgusting!  - Who's shoes is he going to lick but this drunken..drunken idiot(s)?

So the prose there gets funny then. Trinculo - "Thou liest, most ignorant monster. I am in case to/justle a constable. Why, thou deboshed fish thou/was there ever man a coward that has drunk so much/sack as I  today. Wilt thou tell a monstrous lie,/ being but half a fish and half a monster" - I love that - "Let me lick thy shoe" - It's really.. it's a great line (like the other one about the.. they'll take to it like a cat licks..milk.. what is it? - the cat licks the dish of milk?)

Student:  …laps it.

AG: "The cat laps milk". I mean, it's a good phrase for an actor - "the cat laps milk", "let me lick thy shoe". As the author of "Please Master", I thought this was a great line - "Let me lick thy shoe". I mean, just to put the whole thing from that level,  finally. And, as you noticed, as they get drunker and drunker,  Caliban gets more and nore intolerant and intolerable, until, finally, his whole motive is stated very baldly (his desire is stated very baldly- "Let me lick thy shoe", but his motive on line forty-two of Act 4) - "As I told thee before, I am subject to a tyrant, a/sorcerer who by his cunning has cheated me of the island" - (So it's back to the theme of envy - Even Caliban feels that he's supposed to be King of the Island, that (the true magician) Prospero's sneaked it away from him. It's kind of interesting, that, philosophically, it's reversed, that the lowest, most monstrous, is angry because he feels that he should be King and that the King, Prospero (who, actually, is going to get rid of his magic wand and resign his kingdom and resign his magic and resign his power, and wants to get rid of his power)  is being confronted by this monster who wants power. It's a really sad situation, human situation, that those who want to get rid of power and disarm completely are constantly confronted by aggression, the aggressive powers that want to gain power and keep the fight going, whether… At this point, I was beginning to compare the situation with my relation with Tom Clark and Ed Dorn (sic) , as well as the situation between the pacifists in America and the military, which is getting up on its haunches now [1980] in this election (sic). 


                                             [Ronald Reagan (1911-20o4) (US President 1981-1989)]


                                            [Alexander Haig (1924-2010)  (US Secretary of State 1981-1982)]

                                                           [Richard "Dick" Cheyney (1941-) (US Vice-President under George W Bush]

How did the wise man, Prospero deal with aggression?  In this case, in a really interesting way. Imagination answers in Ariel by setting them to quarrel with an invisible body but a voice mocking them, saying at one or another, "Lies" - Caliban -  "..hath cheated me of the island" Ariel -  "Thou liest" -   Caliban -  "Thou liest, thou jesting monkey thou.." (thinking that somebody else was talking, thinking that Trinculo was talking, so that Trinculo has to say, "Why, I said nothing"). So (he) sets rumor going, and gossip. Rumor and gossip is going and people are quarreling with each other, thinking somebody else said something, but actually it's the imagination saying something. So Trinculo says,  "Why, I said nothing",  So Stephano says, "Well, then shut up!' - So,  "Proceed no more" - "Mum then, and no more. Proceed- "I say by sorcery, he got this isle", continues Caliban, "From me he got it"  (So, he's really covetous, wanting to get it back). It winds up that Ariel, continuing:  "Thou liest", thou canst not"and starts a fight between them. Caliban  - "What a pied ninny's this!"   - that's a nice line - "What a pied ninny's this!, Thou scurvy patch!"  ("patch", because he's dressed up in patches, the jester's patches - we're talking about Trinculo dressed up as..  Trinculo, who is suspected of calling Caliban a liar because Ariel from the air has been whispering it, in the air). So that Caliban finally calls him a "pied ninny" ("pied" meaning a motley, weaing a jester's costume, patch clown)   - "Thou scurvy clown"-  "scurvy patch" ("patch", I guess, because of patches, "scurvy patch" - patched quadrangles on the clothes.
So they get on to they fight and actually hit each other - Stephano, lording it over both Caliban and Trinculo, hits Trinculo, in line 74 or so, 73 - "Do I so? take thou that!"

Then the great funny part is when Caliban now outlines the plot of..the assassination plot, to those guys, that, in line 84 - "Why, as I told thee, 'tis a custom with him/I' th' afternoon to sleep, there thou mayst brain him,/Having first seized his books, or with a log/Batter his  skull or paunch him  with a stake,/Or cut his wezand with thy knife", (his wind-pipe),"Remember/First to possess his books for without them/He's but a sot, as I am.." 
-  (if he doesn't have his magical books, he's "but a sot") - And this is really interesting, because Caliban conceives that the magic power of Prospero is in his magic books. At the same time, Prospero is planning to get rid of his magic power and burn his books. And so, at the same time that… (so) books symbolizing excessive..excessively.. well, whatever books, and magic power, symbolize here - power (like Gregory Corso's "Power" [i.e. the poem "Power"]. "A thirst for power is the thirst for sand. Power is under-powered". So, a power is "standing on a street-corner, waiting for no-one is power" - "The angel is not more powerful in looking than not-looking" - So, at the same time that Prospero has understood the nature of power, that is, wanting to give it away and be done with it , these guys, their idea of revolution is the idea of seizing his power, so, "first, seize his books before you kill him"  (thinking, that if they seize his books and get his understanding, they'll get his understanding, but it's a … or, if they want to get rid of his power, they have to burn his books). So they want to burn his books and Prospero wants to burn his books, both at the same time, which is really funny.  So, the line there is: "Remember/First to possess his books for without them/He's but a sot, as I am. nor hath not/One spirit to command they all do hate him/As rootedly as I. Burn but his books." - So the book-burning thing is here, also


   ["Burn but his books" - (still from the 1966 film of Ray Bradbury's book, Fahrenheit 451, by Francois Truffaut]

And then, Calban proposes they can fuck his daughter, Miranda, who's "more beautiful than Scycorax"  

So, let's see, we get on.. They go onward with their plot, and they approach Caliban's hut, but Ariel plays  a tune on a tabour and a pipe, and Trinculo says, "This is the tune of our catch, played by the picture/of Nobody."  - (kind of pretty that) - "played by the picture/ of Nobody" - I think that line has been quoted endlessly - "This is the tune of our catch, played by the picture /of Nobody" - There is the notion - "the picture. of Nobody"  - that was so tricky about that line.

However, it's.. however, they suspect that there's another magical thing that's going on because they hear this music. And even Caliban, ..Caliban, with his imagination, recalls now the exquisite beauties that he's seen and heard. And then, there's this second greatest, or classic speech, in this play, and perhaps in all Shakespeare, from Caliban, talking about the phenomenal universe - "Be not afeared, the isle is full of noises,/Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not./ Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments/Will hum about my ears and sometimes voices…" [Allen makes two more attempts to "get it right"] - "Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments/Will hum about my ears and sometimes voices/That, if I then had waked after long sleep,/Will make me sleep again, and then, in dreaming,/The clouds methought would open and show riches/Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked, /I cried to dream again."
- (Well, everybody's had those kind of dreams, dreams of beautiful music, or riches, or sweetness, or love, or wet dreams that, when you woke, you "cried to dream again", it was so beautiful. 


["Be not afeard  the isle is full of noises,/Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.." - Edmund Dulac (1908)]

And then Stephano's interpretation of all that natural beauty is, "This will prove a brave kingdom to me, where I shall/have my  music for nothing"   - "When Prospero is destroyed" (an aside from Caliban). 
So they go on. Meanwhile, we go back to the (in Act 3, Scene 3), we go back to the aristocratic conspirators who are doing exactly the same thing, say(ing) "When will be the moment that we call kill Prospero?" and in line fourteen, Sebastian  (aside to Antonio)  - "The next advantage/Will we take thoroughly" - Antonio (aside to Sebastian) - "Let it be tonight/ For now they are oppressed with travel. They/will not or cannot, use such vigilance/As when they are fresh " - (After they've done a lot of traveling, they'll sleep heavily, so they can't murder the King then) 

But then, Ariel's banquet appears, to be "a living drollery" in front of them and bewitch them, and so, just as the low-born base conspirators were bewitched and bemused by the exquisite music of Ariel, so a banquet, giving food, with mummery and dumb-show comes before them, this sort of, like, amusing them with their desires for food  - "A living drollery",  says Sebastian in line twenty-one - (It's) kind of nice that when they see the "puppet-show with live figures", (as it says in the note) … Okay -  "Enter several strange Shapes, bringing in a banquet, they dance about it with gentle actions of salutations, and, inviting the King, etc, to eat.." (from the stage directions). And Gonzalo's note on that (and ever the humanist philosopher and commentator), he says, "Who, though they are of monstrous shape, yet, note/Their manners are more gentle-kind than of /Our human generation you shall find/Many, nay, almost any." -  "Their manners are more gentle-kind, than of/ Our human generation you shall find/ Many, nay, almost any" - I like that "human generation", "Our human generation", meaning, not generation of.. what?..the 'Fifties, 'Sixties, 'Seventies, (etc), but, "born of human",  generated into the human world. Funny pun and useful to know in the future. When people are talking about generations, you've always got that pun to deal with.. you know, like, what is it, the "Lost Generation?"  (they all lost!).  (If) you're going to plot your own generation in the future, like the 'Nineties [sic] (after) the 'Eighties, you can make use of that use of " generation", you don't have to fall into the old trap that it's a ten-year shot.

Prospero (an aside) - "Praise in departing" - (a) very interesting phrase there, to understand how it is meant. The footnote gives it for you, I believe - "Praise in departing" meaning save your praise for the end" - Don't start.. I mean, when you go praise, wait a bit, wait until the thing is finished before you start praising, or the old Sophocles notion - "call no man happy until.. the end of his life?, until he's already dead?" - that is, "don't jump the gun and think that everything is going to be alright" - "Praise in departing" - that's page 39 - I mean line thirty-nine.

And then that contines with Ariel. Now the play is beginning to resolve itself, because Ariel gives a speech to Alonso, Sebastian, and all the plotters, and is their conscience, and reminds them exactly what all.. this whole confusion is about , line sixty-seven - "Remember -/, For that's my business to you - that you three/ From Milan did supplant good Prospero;/ Exposed unto the sea, which hath requit it/Him and his innocent child, for which foul deed/The powers, delaying, not forgetting, have/Incensed the seas and shores…"  - So she's reminding them and bringing up their conscience. So now the play is going to come to an end, or is going to resolve itself (or) is beginning to resolve itself, because awareness has dawned through the imagination, and they've been informed what the purpose of the whole con-plot is

And also there is a phrase here which gives you.. in a sense.. which gives you the whole philosophy, psychological philosophy of the play. At the end of page 83, or, beginning with about line 77  (Act 3, Scene 3) - "...shall step by step attend/You and your ways, whose wraths to guard you from - "whose wraths to guard you from"Whose wrath, whose waves.. whose karmic horrors  to save you from, "whose wraths to guard you from -/, Which here,  in this most desolate isle, else falls/Upon your heads - is nothing but heart-sorrow  - So Shakespeare is proposing "heart-sorrow" as the emotional antidote, or the awareness antidote, to the "wraths" caused by their own envious actions. The medicine for wrathful envy resulting in violence is "heart-sorrow/ And a clear life ensuing". And that's (something) stated outright and is a theme, and, as you see it integrated, you see that it's integral in the play, it's actually quite beautiful of Shakespeare to have announced his intentions  - "heart-sorrow/ And a clear life ensuing". I suppose it's his own life's lesson.

Alonso recognizes the tone here and said later in the page, "It did bass my trespass" -  
line ninety-nine. "O, it is monstrous, monstrous;/Methought the billows spoke and told me of it/The winds did sing it to me, and the thunder,/The deep and dreadful organ-pipe, pronounced/The name of Prosper: it did bass my trespass" ("bass my trepass" meaning "proclaim in deep tones", or give, like, a ground bass announcement of the trespass, or error that he made before in usurping ..in allowing the usurpation of Prospero's throne  - "It did bass my trespass" - "Therefore my son i' the ooze is bedded and/ I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded/And with him lie there muddied" - (Well, recognizing his errors, gets him suicidal, and he wants to go down into the ooze with his son) - "ooze", incidentally is nice. I think Herman Melville loved the way Shakespeare used the word, "ooze". And so you have at the end  of Billy Budd, undersea also, the sea ooze that is. 

Well, of course, in Shelley, there's a historical lineage for acknowledgement of this oozy sea, ooze at the bottom of the sea that Shakespeare discovered, so Shelley said "..the oozy woods that wear/ The sapless foliage of the ocean.." in the "Ode to the West Wind" -   "the oozy woods that wear/ The sapless foliage of the ocean.." - and Melville says,  "Sentry are you there? Just ease those darbies at the wrist. And roll me over fair! I am sleep and the oozy weeds about me twist." (at the end of Billy and the darbies, the last line of "Billy Budd") " -   "Roll me over fair".. " " Just ease those derbies at the wrist and roll me over fair! I am sleep and the oozy weeds about me twist."  So everybody's got the "ooze" from Shakespeare - the oozy blues! - Use the undersea-depth blues
. Then, also, "deeper than ever plummet sounded" was interesting, because, later on, he's going to go and commit suicide,"deeper than ever plummet" - "plummet" is a lead weight that you, you know, that the sailor hangs down into the ocean to measure the depth - "plummet" - "plummet weight" - everybody know it? - or the plummet that the.. I believe the plumber uses the plummet - Plumbing, plumbing the ocean with a plummet - "plumb the depths"  - Pardon me?

Student: Plumb-line

AG: Plumb-line. So a "plummet" is the weight of lead at the end of the plumb-line. Later on, we'll see Shakespeare saying that  "deeper than ever did plummet sound") he'll throw his magic book (or, his wand, I forgot) . So, just as the "crown" repeats itself a couple of times, the "plummet" repeats itself a couple of times - the ocean, the plummet, the bottom of the ocean   


                                       [Prospero in The Tempest - John Massey Wright (1777-1866)]
      
Then, remember, I was talking a the very beginning, about Shakespeare's directness of perception, (but) rather than using a generalization, he will use the actual action to indicate his idea. Gonzalo at the end says, "Okay, let's.. hey, we've got to follow the King and make sure he doesn't commit suicide in this mad rapture of grief and his ecstasy. So he says, "I do beseech you/ That are of  suppler joints, follow them swiftly/And hinder them from what this ecstasy/ May now provoke them to" - He didn't say "I beseech you that are younger", he said "I do beseech you/ That are of suppler joints" and I like that because it's really direct. Rather than indulging in an abstraction or a generalizaton like ,"You're younger", or "You're faster", or "You're.. "  He very particular.. he particularizes it, and says, "you/ That are of suppler joints" ..  For instance, what if I was moving from here and I said to..  Bob Rosenthal, or someone, "You've got suppler joints than me, carry my things" -  "You, of suppler joints" - It's just a very clear way - clear speech - "suppler joints". If you apply it in your own context, take it out of the play where it becomes kind of dulled and romantically play-like but actually use it as living speech, it's really living, it's really vivid - "You've got suppler joints" - "You,/ That are of suppler joints"...

[Audio for the above can be heard here, starting at approximately fifty-and-a-half minutes in and continuing until the end of the tape]

Saturday, April 30, 2016

More Shakespeare - 1








For earlier sections - see here, here and here

This tape begins in media res, with Allen noting one of Shakespeare's literary sources   - Montaigne's Essays [(Chapter 30) "Of The Caniballes"]

AG: Montaigne notes how one of his servants told him of a tribe of savages who followed the rules of nature. So this is an early Rousseau-ian utopian vision, which is echoed later by Gonzalo in one of his speeches:

"It is a nation, would I answer Plato, that hath no kinde of traffike, no knowledge of Letters, no intelligence of numbers, no name of magistrate, nor of politike superioritie; no use of service, of riches or of povertie; no contracts, no successions, no partitions, no occupation but idle; no respect of kindred, but common, no apparell but naturall, no manuring of lands, no use of wine, corne, or mettle. The very words that import lying, falshood, treason, dissimulations, covetousnes, envie, detraction, and pardon, were never heard of amongst them. How dissonant would hee finde his imaginarie common-wealth from this perfection?"

So those are some of the historic background for The Tempest text, which is also, as I said, relating to envy, jealousy, competition for power, but also, the arrangement of the state, and the nature of political wrangling for possession of the state, or for power over the state.  So that we covered.. We covered, I think, up to Act 2, Scene 1, and.. what we had… I think we had got up to the point where (in Act 1, Scene 2, which is a long, long, long scene), Ferdinand and Miranda are brought together and fall in love, and..(for those who’ve read the play.. I’m assuming everybody.. I’m assuming some knowledge of the play), Ferdinand and Miranda have fallen in love, and Prospero is making problems for the advance of their amour, (mainly as a test to make sure they don’t get it too easy, although it seems a little shallow, it’s not quie motivated properly, you don’t know why he’s coming on so heavy on that point).
(to) Ferdinand: “One word/ more/ I charge thee/That thou attend me (to Miranda (no)) – “Thou dost here usurp.." (to Ferdinand – this is Prospero to Ferdinand, on page 50 of the Pelican text, Act 1, Scene 2, line 454) -   
Thou dost usurp the name thou ow'st not, and has put thyself/Upon this island as a spy to win it/From me, the lord on't" -  
  - and Ferdinand says “No, as I am a man!",  "I haven’t done that". So Miranda has previously said. “Why speaks my father so ungently? This/ Is the third man that e'er I saw, the first/ I sighed for Pity move my father/To be inclined my way”

Well, what Prospero is doing is testing out their love, and testing out Ferdinand’s sincerity at the same time, just trying to make it sort of a little obstacle in their way, so they have to go an obstacle course and do it right, (to) see how they’ll fare, see how their love will survive his contumely. And when I read it I noticed it seemed a bit thick, his behaviour. His idea was  “..lest too light winning/ Make the prize light” - “..lest too light winning/Make the prize light”.
  
And (Samuel Taylor) Coleridge noticed that too, and Coleridge’s comment is:
 “Prospero’s interruption of  the courtship has often seemed to me to have  no sufficient motive “ -  (which, I think, that everybody’s reaction was – why’s he hassling them?) -  “still”, says Coleridge, finding extenuating circumstances, “still, his alleged reason” (which (is) lest too light winning/ Make the prize light”) is enough for the ethereal connections of the romantic imagination, tho it would not be so for the historical (imagination).”

Actually, what it does is, it makes Miranda disobey her father slightly. So it’s really a trick to sunder the authoritarian worship of Miranda for her father. It does serve the purpose of getting Miranda’s back up a little so that she has to separate from her father and go out to her lover, and that might be an intelligent calculation by Prospero. So it serves that little purpose, tho’.. (and) so it serves the purpose, I suppose, of thickening the plot. But it’s a…
it doesn’t make too much sense, and…  Because that’s what I  thought - (and I’m glad that Coleridge noticed it too, because I thought that that was just.. maybe I wasn’t getting the point, or something).



Then, in the second act, that, more or less brings that particular shot to the end,  Act 2, Scene 1. we have Antonio, Gonzalo, Sebastian..  We have the King, Alonso, (as you all know, Prospero was..  let’s see, on our table – (the)  “cast of characters" – Alonso, the King of Naples, Sebastian, his brother, Antonio, (who’s in this scene), is the brother of Prospero, who was the Duke of Milan, (and Antonio had cast Prospero on the ocean in a ship with his daughter). Gonzalo had been helpful in giving them provisions and made sure that they didn’t drown (Gonzalo, the counselor, or grand vizier)
So what Prospero’s done here is gathered all the plotters from the previous political imbroglio together on the island, because he’s going to reconcile all the problems. So he’s got the.. Alonso, the King of Naples, and Sebastian, his brother, and then he's got Antonio, the guy who kicked Prospero out and tried to… and betrayed him, he’s got Gonzalo, the old honest counselor, and Adrian and Francisco, who are Lords. So what you have here is – the King’s been quarreling with the Court, and you have a good example of their behavior in the first scene. In the second scene, you have the monster(s) and the people, the quarreling drunk louts. So what Shakespeare is presenting is the two classes of society and their basic behavior and manners and motives… In Scene 1, the quarreling wits of the Court and contentious jealous envious brothers ready to commit murder to get to be King themselves (and so you have all the inter-politics of that, of their ambition). Then, in Act 2, Scene 2, you’ll have Stephano, “a drunken butler”, Trinculo “a jester”, meeting with Caliban, the brute human meat monster. And so, he’ll represent, see, the mob… They’ll represent the mob and the populace, and you’ll see them quarreling to assassinate Prospero, and quarreling over power also. And Caliban offering to lick Stephano’s shoe, offering to lick Stephano’s shoe if Stephano will murder Prospero.

So, actually, it could be.. I suppose it could be seen as a political parable. - [to Student(s)] Have you read enough of the play to remember that..those parallel passages?.. It’s built like a brick shit-house, in a way, as far as… really nicely and proportionately done. In other words, a whole display of the Court -  the contradictions, conflicts, passion, aggression, ignorance, and envy of the Court - then contradictions, conflicts, passion, aggression, ignorance, and envy of the populace. So that you have, like, a slice of life of all stations of humanity, (both those in power and those out of power), the masters and the servants, both behaving very similar, both with murder in their mind, both attempting assassination (you see the manners of the assassination of the Court and the manners of the assassination of the mob pretty much parallel. I suppose, if you studied it, you could make it exact parallels, or some witty parallels (there must be some corresponding humor in the plots of the aristocrats and the plots of the mob). In any case, in both.. both sides, Court and mob, are ready to murder for power, which is interesting. The quarrels on both sides…    In the Court, among the aristocrats and the wits, they’re quarreling among themselves, or they wind up quarreling among themselves, and their quarrels are obstacles to the gaining of power. With the louts and the monsters, they’re all loony and they all wind up quarreling among themselves and getting messed up in their plot also.

Something about the second act of The Tempest. We’re in Scene 1. The aristocrats are going to murder Alonso, the King and take over his power, and Scene 2, where the monsters and the butlers and the drunken jesters are also planning to kill Prospero and then getting into quarrels themselves. So it’s, like, mirror images of each other. As above , so below, in society. So these interesting parallel scenes work really well, (are) really well done. And then, structurally, what’s interesting is that in Act 3, in contrast to that, is presented the innocent love scene between Ferdinand and Miranda. So that, just in terms of the structure of the play, there’s an interesting logical development, that you get the political… The second act is an analysis of society, (or Man), from a political point-of-view, and then, the third act begins with the presentation of the idyllic love-scene – the meeting and the vowing – Miranda having revolted from her father, slightly. (Ferdinand) having (become) attracted to Miranda, submitting to her father submitting to her father’s authority, and walking away, Miranda and Ferdinand meeting and digging each other and, having, actually, true human communication, in the the form of love, as compared with the monster mob or the aristocratic Court in the paranoiac set of schemes that are going to..wind up in murder (if they can have it).  So, actually, it’s the murders of Macbeth..it’s Macbeth and Hamlet and Lear (those plays were also about envy of power, and power-grabbing, and murder for power, except the sting has been taken out of it in this play, because none of the plots to murder are going to take place, they’re going to be foiled by the imagination, they’re going to be foiled by Ariel, or the wizard, they’re going to be foiled by the wizard, (by) Prospero, and his helpful poetic imagination, which is going to use tinsel tricks or “spectral music” to, like, drop acid in everybody’s mind, to make.. reform the plot. It’s about on that level, that is the psychological or metaphysical weaponry of true power (like Gregory Corso’s power in his poem. “Power”) is poetical magic. So they don’t need swords, they don’t need blood, they don’t need armies. Prospero just needs his poetic imagination to resolve the problems.



So a burden must have dropped from Shakespeare’s mind and bag, because the blood and anxiety and nightmare of Macbeth, the resentment and irresolution about fighting and taking up "arms against a sea of troubles./And by opposing, end them” in Hamlet,  is resolved, because Prospero’s active. The tearful, pitiful, complaining, resentment of (King) Lear, that having been robbed of his power and cursing, is over. I guess.. what?.. who was the one? was it Timon?, who gets to be really mean and mad and angry? – Like the total pitch of the hell realms of Timon - that’s passed over. What you have left is this light-hearted, light-handed, completely, compassionate, elevated, merciful, resolution at the end. So, if they did reflect the dfferent stages of Shakespeare’s relations with people, he, apparently, came to a relatively good safe harbor at the end. 
(And yet),  judging from the way that he deals with the problems here - having been unseated, he’s able to forgive it - but we’ll get to that later.



So , I guess what we might do with Act 2 is check out the “pretties”, check out the interesting intelligencies in the text (then we’ll get back to the philosophy and structure of the play for Act 3). So let’s go over the high-points of the text in Act 2. I want to do it so we have enough time to finish the whole play  (maybe we’ll run it)/

I like Alonso’s speech, Act 2, Scene 1, line 102  - “You cram these words into my ears  against/ The stomach of my sense” - "against/ The stomach of my sense” – that’s a pretty funny way of laying it out  - "Would that I had never/Married my daughter there, for coming thence/My son is lost",  etc – but “You cram these words into my ears  against/ The stomach of my sense” (that’s the King speaking here). Then Gonzalo, Scene 1 of Act 2. (They’re being sort of witty at each others’ expense, and they’re bugging the King - that is to say, Sebastian and Francisco, talking about the loss of Ferdinand, Alonso’s son – It’s kind of a nice description. Francisco’s description,  in line 113:  His bold head/'Bove the contentious waves he kept, and oared/Himself with his good arms in lusty stroke/To th' shore that o'er his wave-worn basis bowed,/As stooping to relieve him. I not doubt he came alive to land" - and then Alonso, his father, says, "No no (no), he’s gone". And then Sebastian sort of blames the King for the situation – “The fault’s your own”. Alonso, the King says, “(Oh), So is the dearest o' the loss” – And Gonzalo, who’s basically the good guy, says, “My Lord Sebastian,/ The truth you speak doth lack some gentleness" – “The truth you speak" lacks in gentleness  "And time to speak it in. You rub the sore/When you should bring the plaster”.  And he replies,  “Very well".
  Well, actually there’s a certain gentleness here that Shakespeare’s pointing out – don’t strike at the heart” (which is also one of the points in Buddhist mind-training), “don’t strike at the heart”

And, Coleridge’s comment on this is interesting – “In this play are admirably sketched the vices generally accompanying a low degree of civilization,  and in the first scene of the second act, Shakespeare has, as in many other places, shown the tendency in bad men to indulge in scorn and contemptuous expressions, as a mode of getting rid of their own uneasy feelings of an inferiority to the good, and also, by making the good ridiculous, of rendering the transition of others to wickedness easy”.  Because in this scene, they’ll go from this bantering mutual accusation and "striking at the heart" and "rubbing the sore", and speaking the truth in.. without "gentleness", and speaking it the wrong time, they’ll go on to plotting against the King, later on, when he falls asleep.

“Shakespeare never puts habitual scorn into the mouths of other but bad men..”, Coleridge said. “The scene of the intended assassination of Alonzo and Gonzalo is an exact counterpart of the scene between Macbeth and his lady, only pitched in a lower key throughout, as designed to be frustrated and concealed, and exhibiting the same profound management in the manner of familiarizing a mind, not immediately recipient, to the suggestion of guilt, by associating a proposed crime with something ludicrous or out of place - something not habitually matter of reverence. By this kind of sophistry, the imagination and fancy are first bribed to contemplate the suggested act, and at length to become acquainted with it. Observe how the effect of this scene is heightened by contrast with another counterpoint of it in low life - that between the conspirators Stephano, Caliban, and Trinculo in the second scene of the third act, in which there are the same essential characteristics”
So, Coleridge continues,  “In this play...” -  (and his generalization's about the politics) – “In this play and in this scene of it are also shown the springs of the vulgar in politics - of  that kind of politics which is inwoven in human nature” – “inwoven with human nature” - that kind of politics which is inwoven with human nature”/
So, actually, if you listen to the Nixon tapes, or any of the Watergate matters, or any of the Billy Carter matter (sic - 1980), you get the same politics.. the kind of which is “inwoven”, that kind of politics which is "inwoven with human nature” also, ayou get very similar badgering and put-down. Like the great Shakespearean phrase of , "let  'em.. hey, let ‘em, slowly, slowly, twist in the wind” (from Watergate, when he’s talking about, I guess, (John) Mitchell or somebody, “twisting in the wind” in the public square – It’s almost Shakespearean in bantering, negative tone – “scorn and contemptuous expression". And it is true that macho scorn and contemptuous expressions is one of the psychological means that high politicans, (even in American life), use as a sort of put-down weapon for accumulating power to themselves, challenging people psychologically.   

Student:  ..Like in family-life too.
AG: Well, I think they do it here too
Student: (Probably true for him)...
AG: Yes, I know, but he’s interested in how does it affect the height of society (and the low of society) – But I like Coleridge’s insight there, that “scorn and contemptuous expression” is a means of power, the ‘put-down” is a means of power, cutting people down is a means of power,..
Student: Inimidation..
AG: Intimidation, psychological intimidation, also, is a prelude to crime, getting people to take on crime, too. So it’s just a real.. So, actually, there’s kind of an accurate model of our lives in Shakespeare’s shot.

Now with that, it makes it more poignant for Shakespeare to be presenting that, at the same time that he’s presenting, through the mouth of Gonzalo, in the same theme, a vision of utopia (which comes from that Montaigne passage I just read before, that passage on Montaigne’s essay on cannibals)  
Gonzalo’s speech, page 57 here -  or Act 2, Scene 1, line 143 -  (We’ll have a little banter first, say, start at line 136): ”You rub the sore/When you should bring the plaster" Sebastian: "Very well" - Antonio: "And most chirurgeonly" - Gonzalo (to Alonso), "It is foul weather in us all good sir,/ When you are cloudy" - Sebastian; "Foul weather?" - Antonio: "Very foul" - Gonzalo: "Had I plantation o’ the isle, my lord…” – (Now he wants to make a big speech about goodness) –Antonio: "He’d sow't with nettle seed” – (“that’s  that “contemptuous banter”) – Sebastian: "Or docks or mallows" - Gonzalo: "And were the king on't, what would I do?" - Sebastian: "Scape being drunk,for want of wine” - (You wouldn’t be able to get drunk on a bottle of wine!) -   And Gonzalo still persists, confronting them with his utopian vision – “I' the commonwealth, I would by contraries/Execute all things”  - (I’d do everything by opposites) - “..no kind of traffic/ Would I admit, no name of magistrate/Letters should not be known, riches, poverty./And use of service. none, contract, succession,/Bourn,bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none,/ No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil/No occupation, all men idle, all,/And women too, but innocent and pure, No sovereignty..” Sebastian, cutting through his idealism, says – he wants to be the king of it, I suppose– “No sovreignty",  "Yet he would be king on't" - Antonio: "The latter end of his commonwealth forgets/the beginning of it"   (because he began, “If I were king, this is the way I’d have..").



So I’ll go back to the Montaigne essay (for those who came in late) – on the cannibal, Montaigne "notes how one of his servants told him of a group of savages that followed the rules of nature” (it’s essay number 30 in his Essays.):   "It is a nation, would I answer Plato, that hath no kinde of traffike, no knowledge of Letters, no intelligence of numbers, no name of magistrate, nor of politike superioritie; no use of service, of riches or of povertie; no contracts, no successions, no partitions, no occupation but idle

So Shakespeare’s , actually, right on there, appropriating Montaigne’s  language (which is nice, to see Shakespeare appreciates a good mouth other than his.

Student: Well, he does it all along.

AG: Yes – “no respect of kindred, but common” – even to the syntactical parallels, parallelism – he takes over Montaigne’s syntactical tricks

[Allen calls off as an aside -"You off, Andy? – We're relating this speech in Act 2, Scene 1, line 143 to a passage in Montaigne."):

- " ...no respect of kindred, but common, no apparell but naturall, no manuring of lands, no use of wine, corne, or mettle. The very words that import lying, falshood, treason, dissimulations, covetousnes, envie, detraction.." - (detraction, that’s nice, he’s including that “contemptuous banter” - "…detraction" ) "...and pardon, were never heard of amongst them. How dissonant would hee - (Plato) - finde his imaginarie common-wealth from this perfection?"

Of course, and that's what’s interesting, as has been pointed out, by (some of the) critics, after all, this play was written for James the first. So really it’s a “Mirror for the Magistrate", it’s a.. sort of... instructions for the King, in some respects, a deliberate last chance by Shakespeare to teach the King how to govern, and to set a model for behavior and psyche for the Court, and to satirizeor parallel, the conspiracy of the Court, to make a political statement, which is basically a put-down of  the mob, too. Coleridge has something to say about that..


                                                    [James IV of Scotland, James I of England (1566-1625)]

Student: Apparently,  Malcolm X (and I don’t know if  it’s the whole Black Muslim trip), but they say.. (they) think.. Shakespeare was a pseudonym. for the King, you ever heard that?
AG:   Might have been. No, but it was supposed to be a pseudonym for lots of people. 
James the first did write poetry, didn’t he?
Student: Maybe he did some of the Biblical translations..?
AG: That’s right. The King James Bible – Is that it?
Student: Yeah. 
AG: Maybe. I forgot about that.  Malcolm X thought that…?
Student  Malcolm X thought that Shakespeare was really King James.
AG: Because he expressed sort of aristocratic views?
Student: Yeah, and sort of.. Biblical language.
AG: Uh-huh
Student (2): Of course, The King James Bible is a lot of people..
Student: Right.
Student (2): You know, he didn’t do it all himself.
Student: Right, yes (it's a theory).

AG: But I suppose, this is also Shakespeare’s utopia? Gonzalo being sort of like a middle bourgeois character, but, nonetheless, he’s a good guy, and, at the end of the play, Prospero weeps (at the reconciliation scene with Gonzalo).  So Shakespeare’s, basically, expressing a basic human liking for Gonzalo. Although it’s utopia, they (it) probably wouldn’t work. As he says, “...I would by contraries/Execute all things (that is, just the opposite of the way the world is running -  by contrary). Still, this is Shakespeare’s, like, last stand, in a sense of proposing, or projecting, what might be a utopia. So it’s interesting for analysis. If you want to go through it, one could extend and write a whole blue-print on the basis of no contracts, what would happen if there were no succession in inheritance of property, much less boundaries or vineyards (no vineyards!  - he wouldn’t have wine – he wouldn’t have corn either, I wonder what..  certainly not metal). So it’s an equivalent to an American Indian don’t-bring-the-metal-up-out-of-the-ground  - “No occupation, all men idle..” (huh? – how he would do it, I don’t know?, except on the basis of that magical island that was described before where “ripe apples drop on my head" -  "Stumbling on melons as I pass/Ensnar'd with flowers, I fall on grass” – What is it? (Andrew) Marvell’s poem about the Bermudas – Marvell’s "The Garden" (and the poem’s about the Bermudas)  that paint a picture of magical enchanted isles full of ripe apples and “luscious clusters of the vine/Upon my mouth who crush their wine” (I don’t know if you remember Marvell’s 
"(The) Garden", Andrew Marvell’s poem, "(The) Garden"- which has the line “What wond'rous love in this I lead!/Ripe apples drop about my head/The luscious clusters of the vine/Upon my mouth do crush their wine/The nectarines and curious peach/Into my hands themselves do reach,/Stumbling on melons as I pass,/Ensnar'd with flowers, I fall on grass”
So it’s a whole utopia where the fruit presses itself inside his mouth!  “where you need that for "..all men idle all,/And women too”. Still, it’s a nice thing to know that Shakespeare did have a little idea as to what he would like…

Then, "All things in common nature should produce/Without sweat or endeavor, treason, felony/Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine/Would I not have, but nature should bring forth by /Of it’s own kind all foison" (which is abundance), "all abundance,/ To feed my innocent people"
Sebastian: - "No marrying 'mongst his subjects?" ((Now) they’re making fun of him) – Antonio: “None,man, all idle, whores and knaves" (they don't get married, they're all whores!)
Then:  " (So) I would with such perfection govern, sir,/To excel the golden age" - and Antonio says,  “Long live Gonzalo!”  - (So they’re making fun of him)

Student: Maybe it’s just, like, the rule of the mind? - that's how Gonzalo would rule in his mind, if it were up to him.

AG: Yes. Because he’s talking to the King about politics, they’re on a magic island and  -they’ve lost their… they think that they’re marooned, and the King thinks he’s lost his son so that actually he's open to..well, what is the ultimate.. what is the ultimate prize, you know?  Alonso, however, he’s worried about his kid, and he’s sick of the banter. He says, “Prithee, no more, Thou dost talk nothing to me" - That’s another nice Shakespeare phrase – “Thou dost talk nothing to me” – You’re not making any sense. You’re not saying anything, man” – “Thou dost talk nothing..” I mean, we would say, “You’re not saying anything new”. He says, “Thou dost talk nothing to me” - That’s a good one. I ought to use that. Somebody says something stupid in a classroom, say -  Thou dost talk nothing to me” – It’s just a good put-down. And then Gonzalo, who’s pissed off at the bantering wit, says, “I do well believe your Highness and did it to/minister occasion to these gentlemen, who are of/such sensible and nimble lungs that they always use/to laugh at nothing" – (That’s why I’m talking now, these guys laugh at nothing,  so I was "ministering" to them!) – So they say, "“Twas you we laughed at”.  So, actually, Gonzalo, for all his being a middle-class bourgeois, muddle-headed, utopian good guy, is also pretty smart, because he replies, “Who in this kind of merry foooling am/nothing to you. So you may continue and laugh at/nothing still." -  (So actually he’ s the smartest wit of the wits even though he’s an old plod) – But then, Antonio’s “Oh boy, what a funny thing”, he says, “What a blow was there given!” (because  it’s something like, it’s really like, the Hells Angels, sort of!  In a sense, It’s the same thing, like, you've just got constant put-down.
And then it gets rather fanciful  - “You are gentlemen of brave mettle. You/ would lift the moon out of her sphere if she would/ continue in it five weeks without changing."
And then, meanwhile… it gets just too much, and then, finally, imagination, supernal imagination, enters, "playing solemn music" – Gonzalo: - “Will you laugh me asleep?/For I am very heavy" - (It’s kind of interesting, that there are these constant things about sleep, being "heavy") - So they get heavy and all go to sleep, except the meanie conspiritors, the bantering wits, (quarreling wits too, you know), except Sebastian and Antonio

Then Antonio says to Alonso “We two, my lord,/Will guard your person while you take your rest,/And watch your safety"!  - So,  "Thank you. Wondrous heavy.",  says the King.
So he falls asleep.
So, the first thing that Antonio says is "We're going to guard you".  Then, when everybody's asleep, envy creeps forth between the conversation, in(to) the conversation, between Antonio and Sebstian, and Antonio says (in line 198, or so) – “They fell together all, as by consent/They dropp'd, as by a thunder-stroke. What might,/Worthy Sebastian? O, what might? - No more -/And yet me thinks I see it in thy face,/What thou shouldst be, the occasion speaks thee, and/My strong imagination sees a crown/Dropping upon thy head”.
So - Sebastian - “What, art thou waking?” – "What are you talking about?"– And then you get into this heavy paranoid conversation about murdering the King while he's asleep - And “the crown/ Dropping upon thy head”, we’ll find later on, where crowns of .. crowns of bliss dropping on the heads of lovers, at the end, I seem to remember that, a little line like that.   So they go on and they discuss the murder.

There’s a nice phrasing a couple of pages later (Act 2, Scene 1,  line 242) – “The man i' th' moon’s too slow -  till newborn chins/ Be rough and razorable..” – I like that  - He’s saying.. they were talking about.. if we actually killed this king, then, won’t his daughter in Tunis hear about it and take revenge? and (Antonio) says, “No, she won’t take revenge, she wouldn’t know about it, "unless the sun were post", the postman of this occasion, "the sun were post", lest the sun were to notify her. The man in the moon’s too slow to tell her - The man in the moon’s too slow to tell her ”, "till newborn chins/ Be rough and razorable”
- till babies would be born with beards, with rough beards and needing to shave  - There’s just a sort of funny fancy there  - "The man i' th' moon’s too slow -  till new-born chins/ Be rough and razorable..”

So then we go on. I like Act 2, Scene 1,  line 258
...I myself could make/ a chough of as deep chat" - A chough is the jackdaw, a bird sometimes taught to speak. I like the sound – “I myself could make/ a chough of as deep chat" - The  contumely and insults gets to a really murderous pitch at this point   - “Say this were death/ That now hath seiz'd them, why they were no worse/ than now they are” – (there they are, sleeping- as long as they are dead, they’d be no worse than sleeping – the King - “There be that can rule Naples/As well as he that sleeps, lords that can prate/As amply and unnecessarily/As this Gonzalo, I myself could make/a chough of as deep chat
- "I, myself could make a jackdaw of as deep gossip, or chatting", "I, myself could be a chatterer", "I, myself could be a deeper chattering jackdaw as this Gonzalo". ..I myself could make/ a chough of as deep chat"
No, “I myself could make a chough of deep chat" – How would you say it if you were an actor? - “I myself could make a chough of deep chat “ – I guess that would be the way - “I myself could make a cough of deep chat “ – I, myself could make out as a jackdaw, chatting as deep as that - “I, myself could make a chough of deep chat"- “I myself could make a chough of deep chat “ – It’s just a funny piece of mouthing that Shakespeare presents for an actor, because it does mean something if you get it.

Well, so, "What a sleep is this/ For your advancement!” – "Are we going to kill him or not?" – And Sebastian goes  on “ ..for your conscience?” -  Then they’re discussing conscience, and Antonio says, “Ay, sir where lies that? If t'were a kibe,/'Twould put me to my slipper” –  if it were a chilblain…  If conscience were something real, like a pain, a chilblain “'Twould put me to my slipper” (that’s on line 270-271)
Student: I just don’t know what "chilblain" is.
AG: "Kibe"?  Chilblain, you know, rheumatism? – like chilblain? rheumatism?
Student 2: Twinge
AG: A neural twingle and a chilblain..
Student: "Kibe" is where it's chapped on the heel.
AG: Pardon me?
Student:  "Kibe", it says, is a chafed spot on the heel…
AG: Chafed spot on the heel? Okay…Chilblain?…maybe? .."kibe"..let’s see, I’ve got another book. Which Shakespeare do you have?
Student:  I have the…
AG : Harrison?
Student: Harrison
AG: Let me check my note here. I’ve got another book.. Act 2, Scene 1 line 271? - It should say.. oh, actually, my note says, "A chough of as deep chat" ("I myself could make/a chough of as deep chat") – I could make a jackdaw talk as profoundly as he does" -"Kibe", a chilblain, maybe worse..but we don’t have a.. we don’t have any special footnotes – "Kibe"
Student: But it feels right. if you have a spot on your heel that pricks you, that would be like your conscience.
AG: Right. Yes. Yes, it would make sense that way..However, he's saying the conscience is not a physical thing, like a chilblain, or a kibe, or rough spot, so therefore, if it were, then I'd  have to get to the fire with the slippers -  but,  “I feel not/ This deity/in my bosom”. So he doesn’t feel any physical or physiological or can’t locate any conscience, particularly. 
That’s a pretty good line, tho’  - If it were.. if it were real, if conscience were chaffing sore then, “'Twould  put me to my slipper”,  but it ain’t so .. - that’s very Burroughs-ian - “put me to my slipper” – very witty - “Twenty consciences,/ which stand twixt me and Milan, candied be they,/And melt ere they molest! "



One thing I was thinking when I was reading this.. It is probably possible to read this. It
is possible to read Shakepeare at one sitting, with a little bit of footnotes, and understand every single word in the play. I didn’t realize that when I was in high school. I thought that there were mysteries-beyond-mysteries in the language that would make it actually impossible to read Shakespeare clearly, but, mainly, it was my laziness in just looking up words. That it is actually possible just to read through - (or one should) - as a thing one could teach – like here and now – is..  that you can actually read through any play of Shakespeare and understand every word  (at least every word that scholars have deciphered). Because there are sufficient footnotes, it’s generally laziness in examining passages that makes one feel that it’s impermeable. Because I tried.. I did last night, and every time I'd find a little blank spot in my mind that I could recognize, I checked it out in the footnotes..or re-read the passage, and I found that there was nothing impenetrable at any point, even in this advanced play, that everything was open, there was no need to feel intimidated by the complexity of the language, or the wit of the language, or the odd syntax (tho’ it might take a bit of examination, but no more than that, to figure out any sentence)
[to Students] - Was that your experience?  Or has anybody found that, you know, it’s too hard. I did when I was in college and high-school, I thought it was too hard, but it isn't really. I didn’t realize it was possible so I didn’t pursue the point of many of the sentences through a moment’s reflection.   

So, we get onto..more of this conscience thing. We're on that speech of Antonio's, there’s another nice phrase, “…whiles you, doing thus,/ To the perpetual wink for aye might put/This ancient morsel, this Sir Prudence, who/Should not upbraid our course”   This is Gonzalo who he’s talking about, about killing Gonzalo, and his phrase for killing Gonzalo is “might put/This ancient morsel", "To the perpetual wink for aye" – that's a nice way of saying, "kill him” – “put him to the perpetual wink for aye

And then, and then he’s saying, as far as the other people, whether they be… So, Gonzalo’s the only one who has any kind of integrity, so they have to kill him. As for the rest of the courtiers - For the rest, "They’ll take suggestion as a cat laps milk" – That's a funny, fast, exact, smoothie. I mean, there”s.. to indicate the smoothness with which they’d accept the transition to a usurper –They’ll take suggestion as a cat laps milk"– That's really true Shakespeare. I mean, it’s like totally simple  - They’ll take the hint, like the suggestion, 
"as a cat laps milk"  - It’s also a good sound –“cat laps milk” -   “the cat laps milk” -  
For an actor, it must be great – "Thou…",  you know, because you can really lay a trip on…  - "They'll take suggestion as a cat laps milk".  It’s easy words..."cat laps milk". 
So you could actually mouth it with any suggestion of contempt – “cat laps milk” - or humor – with any humor you want, you could put into that, (depending on the genius of the actor and how he wants to deliver that line), you’ve really got something to work, something nice to work with.

They’ll tell the clock to any business that/ we say befits the hour” “Tell the clock”? What is that “tell the clock?” – this is an example of what I meant – you can figure out Shakespeare -   They’ll tell the clock to” – “tell” means – “read the clock, or count the clock, or read the hour, or, you know, they are not telling the clock something, they are figuring out the time, counting to figure out the time, or "tell the clock"  (they say here (in the notes) "answer appropriately") - They’ll tell the clock to any business that/ we say befits the hour” 

So we have brothers’ envy here, again . Sebastian is convinced, in the next speech, “Thy case, dear friend/Shall be my president - as thou got'st Milan/I'll come by Naples. Draw thy sword. One stroke/Shall free thee from the tribute which thou payest./And I the King shall love thee" - Antonio - "Draw together,/And when I rear my hand do you the like,/To fall it on Gonzalo."  They draw, but then Ariel comes in and wakes Gonzalo with a song, which is an interesting song, actually, rhythmically,so I’d like to examine that briefly 

“While you here do snoring lie./Open-ey'd conspiracy/His time doth take/If of life you keep a care,/Shake off slumber, and beware./Awake, awake!" - (so it’s trochee trochee”  "While you-here do-snoring-lie" – trochee trochee trochee . So, Trochee-trochee-trochee- trochee-iamb-iamb  - Trochee-trochee-trochee trochee, Trochee-trochee-trochee trochee, iamb iamb .  “If-of life-you keep-a care - Trochee-trochee-trochee-trochee - “Shake-off-slumber, and beware - Trochee-trochee-trochee-trochee iamb-iamb – Awake awake! – Da-da da-da da-da da, – Da-da da-da da-da  da-da  da-da  – Da-da da-da da-da da  - da-da  da-da  - So, proper for waking. It’s going contrary (the beat) The refrain ("His time doth take",  "Awake awake!" (iambic) – runs counter to the trochaic meter of the other lines - and it’s a nice combo. If you want to… I mean, it just shows you how exact and subtle Shakespeare’s consciousness  of rhythm is, Shakespeare’s consciousness of rhythm is really exquisite here. And it’s very exact, you know. It isn’t, as if it fell out that way by accident, he really… he apparently knows‘ “His time" "Awake awake!” is different from "While you here do snoring lie/Open-ey'd conspiracy/His time doth take/If of life you keep a care,/Shake off slumber, and beware" -  Is that clear? - So that’s nice, It’s a little gem, rhythmically, it’s a little gem of reversed cadence, so to speak.

Student: The theme of waking up is going on through, in the whole play, constantly.

AG: Yeah, yeah, well, being put into an enchanted sleep and then (to be) woken up (they’re already sleeping , already sleeping in a sort of middle death and then he puts them into a magical sleep, like a shock treatment or something, and then wakes them up out of it

Well lets see. We have. Well that’s the end of the kings and the quarrels of the wits at that point. Then we have the beginning of the louts and the quarrel of the low-born fools in Scene 2 of the same act
& I had gone for this in the first.. (Scene 2 of the second act).  I think I read you from the original Folio to show the difference between the punctuation in the Folio and the punctuation in here – not that the Folio’s punctuation is accurate either, to the original playscripts..

Then we’ve got really funny... Trinculo’s got some very funny lines… 
   
to be continued

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at the beginning of the tape, and concluding at approximately fifty-and-a-half minutes in]