Jacques, Melancholia and the Just World

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:22
Royal Shakespeare CompanyProgramme Notes for As You Like ItSeptember 2005 Dorothy Rowe Jaques, Melancholia, and the Just World   Melancholy has always been in fashion, and not just in Elizabethan times. It might not be called melancholy, but the way it manifests itself remains much the same. The melancholic person presents himself to others as someone who is alone and weighed down by the sorrows of the world. He has seen and suffered much, and, although he professes a preference for being alone, he requires an audience to hear and to be moved by his stark vision of the world, and to sense his hidden depths and profound suffering. This way of presenting oneself is currently much favoured by advertisers of men’s apparel who produce a stream of photographs of young men looking profound and melancholic, all trying to pretend that they are unaware of their own beauty and that they are the cynosure of admiring eyes. Men who are uncertain of their acceptance by others try to imitate this melancholic stance. Young women who know that they can never be the ‘bubbly personality’ much favoured by the media try to engage the interest of others by using a melancholic…

A Kind of Fear

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:21
ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY: THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE  Autumn 2006 Pericles and The Winter’s Tale  Programme Notes  A Kind of Fear  In his book A Grief Observed C.S.Lewis wrote, ‘No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning.’ Grief is indeed a kind of fear. We have lost, not just someone dear to us, but part of the structure of meaning which gives us our sense of being a person, that which we call I, me, myself. Events have shown us that where once there was a presence there is now an absence, and so a significant part of the meanings we have about ourselves and our life no longer fit what is happening. Whenever we make such a discovery we feel very afraid because what we experience is a feeling that our very self is crumbling and disappearing. Time goes by and the process of grieving allows us to construct other ideas about ourselves and our life, but, just as the healing processes of our body leave a scar, so the healing processes of our meaning structure…