Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Vision of Worth Not Seen

Act IV Scene I particularly stood out in my mind.  Hero (her name is so ironic) is being accused of infidelity while she has but moments left.  When I was reading this scene, especially during Claudio's speech, "But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd, / And mine that I was proud on - mine so much / that I myself was to myself not mine...," (4.1, 131-133) all I could think about was how he was going to regret it when he finds out that she did nothing wrong.  The time with her is more precious than he realizes.  As I was thinking this, I began reading the Friar's speech in which he says, "...That what we have we prize not to the worth / whiles we enjoy it, but being lack'd and lost, / why, then we rack the value, then we find / the virtue that possession would not show us / whiles it was ours."  I think this is a beautiful and poetic way of putting the famous saying, "You don't know what you have until it's gone."  Many times we discuss the fact that Shakespeare wrote in the 16th century and question why it is that his works have remained part of the canon of great literature up until this day.  I think it is because his works contain such hidden gems of truth and reality that are timeless.  The notion of not realizing something's worth until it has passed is an idea that we all think about and sometimes experience.  And, as suggested, it is worse when things are left unsaid. 

"When he shall hear she died upon his words, 
th'idea of her life shall sweetly creep
into his imagination,
and every lovely organ of her life 
shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,
more moving, delicate, and full of life,
into the eye and prospect of his soul
than when she liv'd indeed." (4.1, 218-225)

Though Hero actually lives, I still feel that this is one of Shakespeare's quiet gems that are hidden in a lot of his plays.


Stacy Carter said...

I enjoyed this post because it's something that I didn't realize in depth as I read this act. It does make sense that Shakespeare is pointing out worth can often go unnoticed, and because this play deals with tragedy, it seems that he really wants to emphasize the dangers of not seeing the worth of something while it is right in front of you.

Christina Lee said...

Your analysis of the ending of the play of Claudio finally realizing what he has lost is beautifully analyzed and I agree with your statement. It fits greatly with the idea of grief in this play. I think that Shakespeare could have modeled this play over the seven stages of grief, but in a more humorous matter. The first part of the play is when Claudio is in shock and at first denial that Hero could betray him with Borachio, which is the first stage of grief (shock and denial). Then Claudio after humiliating Hero because of her betrayal is told of her apparent “death.” Claudio is now feeling guilty and is in pain of losing not just any version of “Hero,” but the Hero that he knew and loved. He is grieving the virginal and idealized version of Hero. As the play progresses, we see the past anger that Claudio had about Hero’s betrayal. The final scene in which you had analyzed reminds me of the bargaining, loneness, and depression that Claudio experiences. Lastly when Claudio thinks that he is marrying someone other than Hero seems like the last stages of grief which is acceptance and upward turn, (but of course he marries Hero.) No matter how you interpret the scene, it still develops into the idea, that you should never take anything for granted because you will miss it once it is gone.

ssomer said...

I really had not thought of this and I'm glad you point it out. There has to be a reason as to why Shakespeare's works have remained such valued pieces of literature even up to this day and I agree that one of those reasons could be all of the hidden "lessons", so to speak. Out of the plays we've read so far, we could probably pull out numerous little lessons that some may not even pick up on, hidden within the work. Shakespeare's ability to work these little "gems of truth" into his writing is quite exceptional.