“Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus!” (“Julius Caesar” I.ii.129).
Yes, he doth. Four hundred years after his death his plays present the human condition to us all over the world. Perhaps my most memorable memory of a Shakespeare play is from the time I saw “MacBeth” performed in Zulu at the Globe Theatre in London, under the name of “M’Batha.” And of course the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland and our own Bard on the Beach continue to offer us magnificent presentations of his genius.
There is a quotation, also from “Julius Caesar,” which I have often quoted to someone who seemed to me to be on the cusp of a good decision, but needed just a little nudge to move ahead. Come to think of it, it applies to every great social moment as well: climate change, nuclear weapons, Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. It is a great description of the kairos, the moment of truth.
And here it is for you–my salute to the Bard on his anniversary.
There is a tide in the affairs of [men],
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
That’s one of my favorite quotations too.