February 17, 2010

In the secret parts of Fortune

This blog has been wandering lately through the labyrinth of Hamlet, although if you'll scroll down you'll find links and comments about current events. Today's topic is the first meeting in the play of Hamlet with his former friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

You have to feel kind of bad for those two. True, they were not true friends cut from the same cloth as Horatio, but they really don't deserve their ultimate fate. They have been summoned by Claudius and Gertrude to search out the reasons for Hamlet's distemper. They accept the mission and attempt to carry it out, but at least they confess as much to the Prince.

The dialog between the pair and the Prince is some of the best in Shakespeare, Hamlet being even more skilled with words than with the sword. Here's a sample dealing with a perennial Goat Rope topic: the goddess Fortune, personifying all the forces of luck and chance that are beyond the control of any of us. Fortuna has been described as the only pagan deity to survive into the Christian era:

My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads,
how do ye both?

As the indifferent children of the earth.

Happy, in that we are not over-happy, on
Fortune's cap we are not the very button.

Nor the soles of her shoe?

Neither, my lord.

Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of
her favors?

'Faith, her privates we.

In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true; she
is a strumpet...

Here's a thought to ponder: given the state of your luck these days, whereabouts on the person of Fortune would you be today? Most days, it seems like I'm somewhere around the armpits.

FOOD. Here's an interview with writer Michael Pollan about a topic most of us are interested in several times a day.

WHO KILLED KING TUT? Maybe a mosquito.

WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT? A Minnesota farmer came up with an unusual Valentine for his wife: a half-mile long heart made of manure.

MYTHOLOGICAL POLITICS. Here's an interesting take by Michael Lind on the non-reality based nature of certain political tendencies.



Morgan Morgan said...

Armpit -- you took mine. Runner-up for me, I guess, is her ear.

Great Pollan interview. Need to read his gardening book ... Need to take up gardening.

El Cabrero said...

Goat manure and old hay make a for a good garden.