Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shakespearean Storms in Chicago

This has been one tempestuous week in Chicagoland; today's storms felled trees all over town, roofs blew off, windows blew in. The tree in our front yard bowed lower than I had ever seen it bow, as if in submission to the unusually strong winds. It reminded me of the storms in Shakespeare, which were often augurs of significant events: the deaths of kings, imminent murders, the plots of traitors.

I was reminded, too, that Cassius, in Julius Caesar, walked the streets at night braving a storm like this, baring his chest and daring the lightning to strike it. His theory was that with Caesar in power, all was not right with the world, and the storm was an instrument of "fear and warning."

And of course the Tempest raised by Prospero was meant to be a storm of vengeance against the men who had betrayed him. Considering all of the rain we've had this week--and I'm talking violent rain, with weird lightning and odd-sounding thunder--I might even believe it if someone told me that the current weather was someone's act of revenge.

On the other hand, it's beautiful in a wild and frightening way. As long as I keep my roof and our tree doesn't fall on our house, I think we might make it through with a renewed appreciation for nature and some very green grass.

5 comments:

Peter said...

By odd coincidence, my favorite production of Shakespeare was one of The Tempest by a small professional group in -- Chicago. That was the week of the great blizzard of 1993, so maybe there is something to this weather-Shakespeare thing after all.
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Bob said...

Those of us in Michigan who are getting your leftover storms would like those of you in Chicago to keep them there, please. The neighbors are trying to get that tree out of the pool today.

But it was an awesome storm. It parked over us for about five hours and rumbled and roiled and lashed and drenched and left us with a few tornados, too.

But what a show!

Julia Buckley said...

Peter, I find THE TEMPEST more significant every year. And Chicago theatre is terrific, and of course they do Shakespeare constantly in the big Globe replica at Navy Pier.

Everything reminds me of Shakespeare, but especially this weather.

And Bob, I'm afraid we might be sending a bit more of that weather your way. It looks mighty gloomy out there.

There's a great scene in Huckleberry Finn in which Huck describes a thunderstorm that he witnesses from a cave, and it's just a lovely piece of writing. I thought of that yesterday, too.

Peter said...

I find that Shakespeare is best staged in smaller theaters, at least for those of us for whom the language requires a bit of extra concentration. My favorite productions have all been in smaller theaters, of Coriolanus, The Tempest and Macbeth. I also saw Ian McKellan do Richard III in a big hall not designed fot theater. It was all shallowly sloped seating, muddy sound, black costumes -- bad news!
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Julia Buckley said...

That is true. And I also enjoy Shakespeare on tape.