Today I found myself trying to explain the importance of Caliban’s “Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises” speech and found myself reduced to some fairly base vocabulary (read, curse words) because I couldn’t fully articulate the raw emotional connection that I was trying to get across. It reminds me of a long time ago, of a girl that I went to high school with (and had a crush on), who died in a car accident. One night, years later, I had a dream with her in it. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, just a dream that she happened to be in, as if she were still alive. I will always remember waking up and realizing, “Nope, she’s not around anymore,” and the ache that came with that, the desire to immediately climb back into that dream. I even wrote a play of my own about it.
I feel as if I should include the text of that speech:
Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.
I’ve often pointed to Hamlet’s “Thrift, Horatio, thrift!” comment (about reusing the funeral leftovers at the wedding) as an example of something that comes straight out of Shakespeare, 400 years ago, but it still exactly the kind of thing that you could see someone saying and doing today. But I think I may change that.
What’s your favorite moment like that? Amid all Shakespeare’s talking about kings and ghosts and fairies, what’s the moment you point to and say “See? SEE? Shakespeare gets it! That’s the sort of thing that a person today would totally do!”