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Shakespeare: climate change denier

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Titania&Oberon.jpgI have one question for climate change deniers: have you considered the possibility that climate change-related phenomena are the work of fairies?

Shakespeare makes a strong argument for this position in A Midsummer Night's Dream.  When confronted by her husband, Oberon, with the accusation that she's taken the mortal, Theseus, as her lover, Titania, the Queen of the Fairies, retorts:

    These are the forgeries of jealousy:
    And never, since the middle summer's spring,
    Met we . . . .
    But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport.

In Plain English: "You're nuts with jealousy, Oberon.  I never had a chance to get it on with the man because you were constantly interfering."

    Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
    As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
    Contagious fogs; which falling in the land
    Have every pelting river made so proud
    That they have overborne their continents:

IPE:  "As a consequence, the winds have blown fogs from the ocean onto the land, causing the rivers to overflow."

    The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
    The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
    Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard;
    The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
    And crows are fatted with the murrion flock;
    The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud,
    And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
    For lack of tread are undistinguishable:

IPE:  "The fields have been flooded, crops lost, fields untilled."

    The human mortals want their winter here;
    No night is now with hymn or carol blest:
    Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
    Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
    That rheumatic diseases do abound:

IPE:  "The humans have ceased singing and blessing the night, so the moon is in a bad mood and causing disease to accompany the flood."

    And thorough this distemperature we see
    The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
    Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
    And on old Hiems' thin and icy crown
    An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
    Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer,
    The childing autumn, angry winter, change
    Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
    By their increase, now knows not which is which:

IPE:  "All of which disturbance is causing the seasons to change.  Frost is coming in spring, and buds are blooming in winter.  The seasons are swapping characteristics, and nobody knows which is which."

    And this same progeny of evils comes
    From our debate, from our dissension;
    We are their parents and original.

IPE:  And this climatic mess is OUR FAULT.  Because you (Oberon) and I (Titania) are having a fight, the climate is going to hell.

Shakespeare's description of current climatic events is so compelling in its accuracy that I can only  think that his diagnosis of its cause is equally astute.  Rather than perpetuating the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, shouldn't the nations of the world invest in some marital counseling for Titania and Oberon, so they can stop fighting, and we can enjoy normal seasons again?

(Image of Titania and Oberon from BBC's website)

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the A Midsummer's Night Dream category.

All My Sons is the next category.



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