Monday, January 11, 2010

"Better than Shakespeare." George Bernard Shaw.

“Better than Shakespeare.” George Bernard Shaw.

One-minute review: Compares Shakespeare to John Bunyan (The Pilgrim’s Progress), and Bunyan comes out the winner because he believed in life and danger and fighting until he reached the Celestial City. Shakespeare believed in nothing. In his thirty-six plays there are no heroes—except one—Falstaff who believed in life. Shakespeare’s characters are “futile pessimists.”


“Only one man in them all [Shakespeare’s plays] who believes in life, enjoys life, thinks life worth living, and has a sincere, unrhetorical tear dropped over his deathbed and that man—Falstaff.”

“…futile pessimists who imagine they are confronting a barren and unmeaning world when they are only contemplating their own worthlessness, self-seekers of all kinds….”

“All that you miss in Shakespeare you find in Bunyan….”

John Bunyan’s Pilgrim: “My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get them.”

“Here is how Bunyan does it: ‘I fought till my sword did cleave to my hand; and when they were joined together as if the sword grew out of my arm; and when the blood ran through my fingers, then I fought with most courage.’ ”

Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc. 1960.

What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.

No comments:

Post a Comment