Thursday, December 01, 2005

Titania's Speech

Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,

Perhaps the most interesting thing to come from my experience of the rain (previous post) is a realisation of just how physically real this speech is.

As we approach 2007 - the year when over half of the world's population will be classified as urban - connecting our personnel experiences with the natural elements of Shakespeare is becoming increasingly difficult.

I suspect, in Shakespeare's time, listening to Titania's speech was a much more powerful experience - it certainly is for me now - and physical/tactile rather than intellectual. There is an overwhelming sense of uncontrolled energy - an energy against which we are impotent.

My understanding of this is not now in terms of psychology - it is in terms of a concrete feeling based, as it must have been for the vast majority of Shakespeare's original audience, on being forced to endure a real storm.
Pelting rain is no longer just uncomfortable, it is a force to be reckoned with.
And this is not an extreme event (as it is sometimes suggested by people who have lived in the closed world of the ivory tower) - my experience was only on the edge of the really serious flooding that devestated parts of Romania.

Just as in the politic world of Theseus/Hippolyta, Egeus is being allowed to break the harmony and sends out the forces locked in the lovers; so in the natural world of Oberon and Titania, a dispute unleashes considerable natural forces, normally held in check.

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