Friday, March 23, 2012

Stephen Dedalus makes a profound point about Shakespeare

No, not some theory on Hamlet. I mean this exchange early in Ulysses. Mr. Deasy proof texts from Shakespeare:
—Because you don't save, Mr. Deasy said, pointing his finger. You don't know yet what money is. Money is power. When you have lived as long as I have. I know, I know. If youth but knew. But what does Shakespeare say? PUT BUT MONEY IN THY PURSE.
Did Shakespeare say that? Of course not. And Stephen make that point only Deasy is too proud to catch it.
—Iago, Stephen murmured.
And that is true of so many of the things that "Shakespeare" is supposed to have said. Track down the character whose mouth he put the words and it changes. Iago does not seem quite so impressive an authority as "Shakespeare".

The same, as I've said before, is true of Jacques (the source for "all the world's a stage) or Macbeth (responsible for the view that history/fate is like the babbling of an idiot).

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