Tuesday, May 19, 2015

a good-looking 'Shakespeare'

If you know of knew what someone looks or looked like, what, precisely would you know?

It's a curious matter because anyone who has taken the trouble to get to know someone else knows that how that person looks is a good way from depicting who s/he is. On the other hand, looks do send a message and sometimes a message that is accurate.

A botanist in England is said to have 'decoded' various symbols surrounding a picture of a man who turns out to be, according to the botanist, William Shakespeare. Since there are few if any depictions of the English Bard, it is a woo-hoo discovery if true.

But why is it woo-hoo. Does anyone reading "Othello" or "Romeo and Juliet" or "The Taming of the Shrew" think how much richer or full of life the play might be if the reader knows what the 16th century writer looks like?

The same questions might be asked of The Shroud of Turin or any other painting or even photograph. What would you know if you knew and ... well, not to put to fine a point on it, who gives a shit?

On the other hand, "one picture worth ten thousand words." I do tend to trust my gut about what's inside the face or form I am looking at. A "mean cuss" or a "kindly" person is processed almost without thinking.

Odd stuff.

1 comment:

  1. I remember being shocked by the discovery that someone was shorter than i remembered them. Can i trust my impressions? Can i trust my perceptions? In my mind, Shakespeare looks like a cartoon rendering i once saw, with an impossibly skinny torso.