The Winter’s Tale: A Paradox of a Play

 

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“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.” – Anne Bradstreet

“I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.” – Ernst Fischer

Shakespeare wrote some really bizarre stuff in his lifetime, but The Winter’s Tale out-weirds most of the roster.

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Did Shakespeare even have a map?

Like, for one thing, it’s somehow a bleak and snowy winter in the normally sunny-central, Mediterranean island of Sicily. Meanwhile nestled far to the north between Germany and Poland is the unexpected land of sunshine, flowers, and summery-silliness…Bohemia.

 

Which apparently has a coastline no one knew about…because all maps clearly indicate how unfortunately landlocked the country is.

As if manipulated geography and climate zones weren’t enough, a statue comes to life, a man is eaten by a bear, and a people rise from the dead.

What in the world is going on here?

In the vernacular, a “winter’s tale” is an absurd story of enchantment and faraway places told to fight off cold and dark days of snow and ice. A fairy tale. So in calling his play by such a title, Shakespeare was signaling to all of us that this was a story not to be taken seriously in details; but the greater themes of the story aim at something larger, and act to stave off the darkness and cold. Continue reading

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Chocolate Made Me Cry

“Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get.”
– Forrest Gump

Last month was super stressful, I’m not going to lie.

I had been working on paper after paper, assignment after assignment with no downtime for 3 weeks straight. I was losing sleep over all that I had to do – the whole thing was a nightmare.

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I feel ya Ophelia.

All the strain culminated on a particular Wednesday when I had my big Shakespeare presentation – a presentation that was freaking me out on for the several days preceding (it was on Hamlet, which I am sure was half the problem right there: not a happy play).

I had good stuff, I was just worried about pulling it all together. Working on it late into the night for a few nights in a row, I could hardly do anything else without dread following me everywhere like an attention-starved puppydog. I even prayed to Heavenly Father that if only ONE THING were to work out the next day, please let it be the presentation. Everything else could go wrong, but please let the presentation go well. Continue reading

The Time that is Given Us

Suspended Time  by jlopez

Suspended Time  photo by jlopez

“Time flies like an arrow;
fruit flies like a banana.”
Anthony G. Oettinger

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf,
“and so do all who live to see such times.  But that is not for them to decide.  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tokien,
The Fellowship of the Ring

In honor of Daylight Savings Time (which is tonight, so turn your clocks ahead), I came across a scenario I felt was good enough to share with you.  It went something like this: Continue reading

Tuor, Gondolin, and Our Life Mission

I am going to involve you all in my nerdiness today. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the writings of one of my favorite authors – J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve always found his mythology of Middle Earth particularly profound and inspired, full of life lessons. And this last week I was especially struck by a story that speaks to me of our purposes in life. It’s about a man named Tuor and his mission to the secret Elven city of Gondolin (from Tolkien’s lesser known works the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales).

Detail from Gondolin by digital-fantasy (via Deviantart)

Detail from Gondolin by digital-fantasy (via Deviantart)

Here’s some backstory:
Now, in the early days of Middle Earth (long before the Lord of the Rings takes place), the mighty elf-king Turgon was worrying about how to protect his people from the evil powers that sought to destroy the elves. So with the help of the sea god Ulmo, Turgon designed a secret city he named Gondolin. It was to be a sanctuary for elves hidden in the mountains, a place of protection, where no one would know its location except those who lived within it.

But the god Ulmo warned Turgon that the city’s secret would not last forever, and in the future Gondolin would be destroyed by enemies. Continue reading