Benson Theater Closing Night Essay

Benson Theater Closing Night Essay

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Just recently, Benson Theater put on its last show, bringing an end to its storied history. I have had the personal honor of performing in Benson Theater four times and its atmosphere and character have had a profound effect on me as a student and actor. Benson is often home to the hardest-working people on campus: techies putting their blood, sweat, and tears into their work, actors reciting lines late into the night, and directors volunteering their time to ensure the perfection of the show. That is why on Saturday night it was bittersweet to see the last show in Benson. Yet, without the good times that were had in Benson during rehearsals, shows, and all the time in between there would not have been any real sentiment about its closing. John Keats, much like myself, came to the realization that without the possibility of sadness, there can be no happiness; much like without the choice to be evil, there can be no good. In Ode on Melancholy Keats expresses this intrinsic connection between joy and pain through the juxtaposition of death and nature imagery.
The first stanza of Ode on Melancholy advises perseverance through dreariness in order to experience the ultimate feelings of joy. Throughout the entire first stanza, for instance, Keats advises against suicide with lines like “No, no, go not to Lethe” (Line 1), “neither twist Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine” (line 2), and “make not your rosary of yew-berries” (line 5). He emphasizes the importance of continuing life in spite of its gloominess because it is only through suffering that man can truly know what bliss is. Keats' idea of a dualistic nature of joy and despair in which there can be no joy without the presence of despair is much like relationsh...


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...rst Joy's grape against his palate fine...and taste the sadness of her might” (line 29). Keats closes with the final oxymoron of “cloudy trophies” (line 30) which are rewards for the perseverance of the “soul” (line 29) through the wretchedness. The third and final stanza uses the imagery of a melancholy goddess to show the intrinsic connection between torment and delight.
In Ode on Melancholy Keats expresses the fundamental connection between bliss and agony through the comparison of death and nature throughout the poem. Keats realization about the duality of relationships not only holds true for happiness and depression, but for many other partnerships such as the one between Benson Theater and the new Sobrato Theater. The sadness endured on closing night of Romeo and Juliet will be more than made up for by the many new memories to come in the new theatre.

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