Famous Seven Words in 1592
"Now is the winter of our discontent"
~William Shakespeare~The Bard of Avon~
If only we could tell him those seven words are still apropos TODAY..2017! 425 years later.They were spoken by Richard III.
Richard III is a Historical play by Shakespeare,believed to have been written in approximately 1592.It depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign of King Richard III of England.
I am inclined to write about those words because of the State of the World at present.It is often said HISTORY repeats itself..of which I think is accurate. I've been a Scholar of History since my University days _it was my Minor.I came across the Classic John Steinbeck novel published in 1961..."The Winter of Our Discontent".
Goodness,that title got me thinking!Indeed, it was a good read.Knowing it's title was somewhat like those seven words Richard III uttered,I refreshed my memory on that famous play and Machiavelli "The Prince".
I am fortunate enough to have my 50 year old copy of The Prince,yellowed,spine back in bad shape,underlined with side notes,priced at 50 cents,Paperback,published by Airmont Publishing Company,copyright 1965,etc...from my 12th Grade English Class.
Now,you know my TRUTH...I'm a Bookworm for sure!Back to Richard III,Steinbeck,The Prince and 2017.Speaking or writing....
...there are many aspects all three have in common.The Darker side~Richard III~ words used to describe his conundrum includes: Bribes,Lying,finagling suspicious activities away from him,demand of Loyalty by all around him,loves winning,love of an audience,being braggadocios,creating a Court with a poisonous atmosphere,Love of outward FAME,fueling Hostility,coupled with his own personal inward toils_paint an Ophidian Laird or perhaps a..."Ophidian Lair"_
..even Darker_The Prince_ and the New Princedoms acquired by several methods: by one's own power,by the power of others,by CRIMINAL acts or extreme cruelty,or by the will of the people(But not ALL OF THE PEOPLE 2017 version).26 Chapters on how to acquire and maintain Political Power.Just a few of the characteristics of a Prince:It is better to be stingy than generous,better to be cruel than merciful,better to break promises if keeping them would be against ONE's interest,should undertake GREAT PROJECTS to enhance their reputation.
Shockingly,(not really but) there is a Dedication to Magnificent Lorenzo,son of Piero de' Medici.In almost all works of Renaissance Literature the Author declared his "Unworthiness and Praised the Patron's GREATNESS".2017,I Demand Loyalty Dammit!
..then there's Steinbeck!The main character Ethan Allen Hawley has lost the FORTUNES of his Ancestors.At the age of thirty-six all he has left is the old Hawley Place (East Coast Bay Area),a couple of envious children and his wife,Mary's nest egg inherited from her brother_$6500.He works for an Absent Grocery store Owner_spilling his desires & guilt to the would-be-congregation of canned goods each morning.AND,he suspects the Owner is in America illegally.So,what does he resort to_ turning his Boss in to Authorities plus _BRIBES,Quick Bucks in back alleys,conniving Land Taking Art of the Deals with unsuspecting FRIENDS,abuse of Trust,plagiarism,near Theft of a Bank,in "Collusion" with City Council and his Republican Party to throw Elections....I'm NOT MAKING THIS STUFF UP...written in 1961 reflecting what was going on in the 1950's,60's & 70's_Moral Decline in Politics as Steinbeck viewed it.
Quote_"In letters to friends before and after its publication, Steinbeck stated that he wrote the novel to address the moral degeneration of American culture during the 1950s and 1960s. American criticism of his moralism started to change during the 1970s after the Watergate scandal;here is how Reloy Garcia describes his reassessment of the work when asked to update his original Study Guide to Winter: "The book I then so impetuously criticized as somewhat thin, now strikes me as a deeply penetrating study of the American condition. I did not realize, at the time, that we had a condition," and he attributes this change of heart to "our own enriched experience". ( Garcia, Reloy (1979), A Study Guide to Steinbeck (Part II), Metuchen: Scarecrow, p. 4)
I was taken aback of the relevance of these three books when three parts(3 books)equals the WHOLE of Society in 2017 all over the World.
Very,Very Enlightening Reading....
So what's the Lesson learned from revisiting a play that's been around for 425 years,a book written 485 years ago dedicated to Magnificent Lorenzo Medici and another book based on the Morality of People & Politics in the 50's,60's &70's written 56 years ago?
Now is Still the Winter,Spring ,Summer & Fall of Our Discontent!
**To read the complete Speech of Now is the Winter of Our Discontent,here's a link..https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/56973.