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The Northern Lights

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The Northern Lights

I hardly see how one can begin to consider Shakespeare without finding some way to account for his pervasive presence in the most unlikely contexts: here, there, and everywhere at once. He is a system of northern lights, an aurora borealis visible where most of us will never go. Libraries and playhouses (and cinemas) cannot contain him; he has become a spirit or "spell of light," almost too vast to apprehend.

Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human

I don’t expect this short paper to reach the northern lights. I don’t think my mind can travel that far, and a plane ticket is probably too expensive. After three months of study, Shakespeare has exhausted me. I realize many scholars spend their whole lives in libraries trying to reach the elusive bard. I’m either out of shape or lazy. I have learned one thing this quarter. I don’t have to travel to the northern lights to find Shakespeare. I discovered him one day in a play, within a small scene, as a character, in an illusion. This quarter I had the opportunity to perform Edgar in a small production of King Lear. I truly believe Edgar is the embodiment of Shakespeare. I just had to perform him to figure it out. Now, I must confess; I haven’t read every Shakespeare play twice, so I don’t know if other characters fit the mold better than Edgar. Also, I assure you I’m not losing my mind as I write this. I feel quite healthy. I just had one of those most rare visions. Fortunately, I didn’t have to be an ass to have this dream. On the Dover cliffs, under the hot sun, with a director screaming action, and a camera pointing towards me, I found Shakespeare.

This quarter I had the opportunity to experience Shakespeare everywhere at once. I read fo...

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... more and more I read. He is the great magician to me, the playwright with his bag of tricks. I saw theater in his illusions. I learned this quarter you don’t have to travel to the ends of the earth to find Shakespeare. "How fearful and dizzy ‘tis to cast one’s eyes so low!"

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead Books, 1998.

Goldberg, Jonathan. "Perspectives: Dover Cliff and the Condition of Representation." King Lear, William Shakespeare. Ed. Kiernan Ryan. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992.

Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Pocket Books, 1993.

Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ed. Wolfgang Clemen. New York: Signet Classic, 1998.

Shakespeare, William. Complete Sonnets. Ed. Stanley Appelbaum. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1991.