[ by Charles Cameron — think of the universe as a handkerchief — folding it into one by its opposite corners ]
Consider these two phrasings — the first, from a WaPo report of Donald Trump‘s speech in Arizona, in which Jenna Johnson or her editor thought he “ranted and rambled” —
— the second from fair Rosalind, in Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 3 scene 5.
I donm’t think in the long haul that Trump is very Shakespeare the playwright, though as a character he may be Shakespearean. But I’m very taken with the genius of Shakespeare’s Rosalind, “insult, exult, and all at once..” and Trump’s “never left, right? All of us..”
Audrey Stanley, who directed a superlative Greek-tragedy-influenced As You Like It at Ashland while I was an adjunct anthro professor there, instructed her actors to make of each word its own universe, before running them together with the natural rhythms of speech, focusing in on “insult, exult” — both of which are two syllable words of which the second syllable is “sult” — yet having diametrically opposed meanings, and thus “universes”.
The actor who can move his or her breath and rib-cage from the fullness of “insult” to the fullness of “exult” — spitting defiance to joyous exaltation, at opposite extremes of the verbal spectrum — has performed a “coniunction oppositorum” as Jung would say, a folding of the universe as I would put it, from two (opposites) into one — “and all at once”.
It’s a brilliant and potentially transformative utterance, given to the brilliant and potentially transformative character, Rosalind.
Is Trump “brilliant and potentially transformative” — eh?
Under Audrey’s inspiration, I have long admired that brief line of Rosalind’s, and have only found one line — in Dylan Thomas — to match it:
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray
— that’s from his scandalously fine villanelle, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night:
Oy. Only one comparable usage. Until Trump.
Well, I’ll leave you there. I don’t think Trump, as I’ve said, is Shakespeare, quite — but in Arizona he stumbled into a speech pattern that attracts my notice.
Shakespeare Trumped, perhaps? I don’t know, but it comes close..
Until next time..