But mine and mine I loved and mine I praised
And mine that I was proud on, mine so much
That I myself was to myself not mine
Valuing of her…
(Leonato: act IV, scene I), Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothin
Shakespeare shows great understanding of the human soul and in his comic plays too a dramatic refrain always resounds, albeit nestled amongst a thousand witticisms. Here therefore is our tragic condition shown in great purity. To live (and love) you must deny self. Or rather you have to escape yourself.
Even more disturbing the seriousness of Richard III and his famous existential autarchy, his noble (and vain) wish not to bow to anyone else’s mood:
Because I cannot flatter and speak fair,
Smile in men’s faces, smooth, deceive and cog,
Duck with French nods and apish courtesy,
I must be held a rancorous enemy.
Cannot a plain man live and think no harm,
But thus his simple truth must be abused
By silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?
Love, friendship, power. Being affected by dishonour is an inevitable consequence of an aristocratic ethic. A side effect that, like a mysterious illness, corrupts relations with the other. Which turns into the darkness of “conquest” and oppression as a defence against an insurmountable alterity in the human geometry of two or more straight lines.
What to do? To abandon oneself to a nihilistic and self-referential narcissism? Or is it more tempting to endure a “shared” happiness and participate in the human consortium ?
A dual perspective that seems the most Hamletic of them all.
To be or not to be? And in the first case, to share, alas!
Recommended Listening: Parole di Burro, Carmen Consoli