William Shakespeare

Coriolanus vs Feanor vs Achilles vs Hamlet vs You

This Summer, a boy, whipped the trousers off Corioli's soldiers.

CoriolanusThis Summer, a boy, whipped the trousers off Corioli's soldiers.
This summer, a mother prevented her son from killing his mother.
This summer, Boston Common shook with Shakespeare, and I shook with it.

If you are a father of sons or daughters, and you have not taken your littles to go enjoy Shakespeare, please accept my disappointment.

CommShakes.org 

What PLAY did you see this Summer?

I thought my enthusiasm for Shakespeare was tip-toeing on the infamous mad surface, but I was outdone by the MC at the Boston Common. Of course I have heard this opening speech before from them - I mean the Free Shakespeare People, but it gets me over each occasion.

Shakespeare Boston CommonO yes, you know them: those people who organize Shakespeare in the park next right to you, for free, with the most outstanding performance. Do you attend? Do you mark it out on your Calendar as some compulsory pilgrimagic adventure for you and your friends and family ....hmm... did I hear a 'yes'?

Anyway, this one was directed by Steven Maler. His production kept making me dream how I could replicate Coriolanus with my honorable ex-students without scene changes - if only horses were dreams then riders would be beggars.

Some twelve cases including me decided to go eat this Play. We paid zero money to be admitted, but as a matter of principle, I donated handsomely. Always support Shakespeare. Never attend a Free Shakespeare empty-handed; they will be twice blessed and you, thrice cursed!

Coriolanus Boston Common Performance.jpg

We argued about the Play before it started, sighed, moaned and laughed with the characters during the Play, and mentally fought after the Play. You know my opinion already. I do not disrespect him, I mean Gaius Marcius. He is (a) gallant- a true one! I just hope you really know the meanings of this word.


Resolute and proud to a fault (I think that was his primal flaw), tiger-hearted, python-skinned and ultimately non-duplicitous and fully equipped with an integral nature. Do you now see shades of fiery Feanor, angry Achilles, and humble Hamlet?

I savour all the Plays, but it struck me this summer that I had indeed entombed within my brain an unusual love for Coriolanus - that obscure Play you only recently heard about. We argued about his nature and, some concluded that there was no good feature in him - but you know Shakespeare knows his human nature too well to build a main character without character. Coriolanus is a solid creature, a man!

He was a bit too frank, too Hotspurish, too blunt; but he spoke his mind always, which was often in tune with the truth. He was brave like a lion, simple as a dove, but lacked the required biblical subtlety of a serpent. Here it is he resembled Caesar's Brutus: two men of principle who stick to their guns no matter what, residing strictly in their Platonic world, but alas, oblivious to the real fire raging around them.

The world was created on principles, but men and women and children run her otherwise. And when one fellow decides to be rational and fixes to fight the other innumerable herding humans, the System, he is with a paddle without a creek.

Coriolanus will not stoop to the base masses. He defies the ancient but ever prevailing custom of flattery. He neither gives nor accepts it. He has only one face. He does his job well and never takes care to assemble any quantity of worldly wisdom in his head. He was not born to please. If you find him pleasant, good! If not, good! He is who he is: an oak and no shaky bamboo. Wow, what a character!

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