Sunday, July 30, 2006

"to die upon a kiss".

Its usually an arduous task to attribute a single emotional characteristic to any of the Bard's plays. But in the case of Othello, its all about one thing - envy.

My earliest memory of Othello is watching the Laurence Olivier version on television, following which I read the unabridged original, and it impacted me instantly. The well-etched characters, and in true S'peare style, the multi-dimensional emotional gradient. One of the lines, which frankly has no relevance to the eventual plot, but goes to show how deeply ingrained the Bard wanted to have his characters, in prose, is one that stuck with me through the years (in addition to the title of this entry, which happens to be the last line of the play). When Desdemona's father bids goodbye to her, as she leaves with Othello, Iago and Emilie, he tells Othello, "Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see. She has deceived her father, and may thee".

Makes you think about all those times when your lover has told you that they would leave their family, their parents and everything for you. While this is an adventurously romantic thought, it ought to make you question their loyalty to you, instead of honoring their love for you, in the future tense, as per Brabantio's words. But that's not how our world works, does it?

After I read Othello, Merchant, Macbeth and Twelfth Night, I began to envision that S'peare, psychologically, lived in a parallel universe. His thoughts did not coincide with ours, nor did his emotional quotient. His world was a world where every thought, every nuance of our psyche was heightened to high heavens, and in viewing things, Shakespeare-style, in a larger than life, larger than yourself plane, one began to understand themselves and their world better. To those who scoff and say that S'peare sensationalized things and over-glorified and over-proliferated emotions to an un-decipherable extent, I say, you can only analyze your mind, when you place a magnifying glass on our thoughts. And S'peare was one of those few souls who had the capability to do so. His plays were limpid pools of sensible profundity, which, without bordering on abstruseness, have the capability of shaping our world, even today. And frankly, will continue to do so, many, many years into the unknown.

As he said it best in Hamlet, "For in that sleep of death .... what dreams may come".

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