Continuing our series, here’s question #2. To recap, the priest took the liberty of pulling Antony’s “The evil that men do lives after them…” quote to offer up a sermon on the truth that the good you do really does matter, and that you should strive to have a good life because it really will live after you. I got his point, I think people appreciated the sermon, I’m not one to be trivial (not matter how much it grates on me when somebody says “Shakespeare was wrong.” Even if you are a priest I will take you down.)
So the question is this – how do you feel about that? The “grab a quote and then make it mean what you want it to mean” thing, even if it turns out that you are drastically misinterpreting its original intent? I’ve seen people rant and rave about overuse of Polonius’ “To thine own self be true” advice.
On the one hand I appreciate the exposure to Shakespeare. There’s no doubt that people in that audience had never heard that quote, and got a quick lesson. The problem of course is that the lesson may have left them with a misunderstanding of Shakespeare that who knows what it will take to correct.
Where do you draw the line? How much of a purist are you about that sort of thing?
I’m torn. Obviously I’m documenting my experience pretty heavily here, but it’s not like I felt obligated to gather everybody up and give them a lesson in Julius Caesar. Honestly I just don’t think anybody left the service thinking about Shakespeare. They were thinking about what the priest said about living a good life. And I’m ok with that. If I’d heard anybody muttering about “Wow, Shakespeare was stupid” or “I can’t believe Shakespeare wrote something ridiculous like that,” then I might well have stepped in.