The Terrors of the Earth

November 30, 2016

I will have such revenges on you both

That all the world shall—I will do such things—

What they are yet I know not, but they shall be

The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep?

No, I’ll not weep.”

These are words spoken by Shakespeare’s character King Lear in the drama of his of that name. They seem to me to be some of the most feelingly pathetic words to have been written – I mean affectingly provocative in a reader who understands them, of a great sorrow and pity – to be found in all of the literature I have read in my lifetime.

As such they appear to me to be a marvel of sympatheitc creativity and of expression of innermost human pathos and suffering. It is for lines of verse such as these that Shakespeare himself stands the premier of his peers in dramatic literature and as up there with the most feelingly creative and passionate human hearts of them all.

There is much romanticising made and said about Shakepeare; Shakespeare as demigod; Shakespeare as icon and saint, as some kind of surrogate for religion - or worse - for God. Lines of verse such as these cited hereabove as spoken by his King Lear then; need therefore to be handled quite circumspectly and without an unwarranted impassioned sentimentality blinding our sights; if one is going to impress the more taciturn of one’s readers with the true greatness of them and so of part of Shakepeare’s real achievment.

I begin nonet