Thursday, April 26, 2007

Negative Capability

One of the most fascinating things to me about this play was its initiation process. I never truly understood before what was so great about this great play that everyone says is so great. A strange thing happens when you delve into it. Every discovery about it becomes at once true and not true. Like Hamlet himself, you start seeing it this way but also that. And while language and socio-political context being foreign to us is certainly an obstacle, those are not at the core of the mystery. The possibilities are endless and you start thinking yourself into a black hole. I want to take back, for example, that Hamlet has a tragic flaw...

I took Annie's class upon recommendation basically because I wanted to cut to the chase -- where my own thoughts and research were too slow to lead me. But one of the most striking things she said a class or so before the last one was that this play is unsolvable.

I thought of a concept that long ago had been a huge 'aha' moment when introduced to me -- the key, I thought in all my college-age excitement, to ending wars, most of which are fought over religion: Keats's Negative Capability:
"... it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously - I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason-Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with

There is no chase to cut to. There is only yet another angle from which to see something. And while it's fun analysing the play and reading reading reading about it, the most satisfying thing of all is acting it, free-falling and letting your own molecular makeup translate and speak to you the uncertain and mysterious things you can't fathom about it but know are true.

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