Shakespeare: And the reader’s conclusion captured the deeper philosophical lesson about the meaning of life in Richard II’s speech: “I guess as in art, I can overcomplicate the work, so I will just close it up. It seems to me that he has gone from king to prisoner, and in his thoughts goes back and forth, but seems to conclude with saying that until you have been at peace, or content, with nothing . . . you cannot be pleased with anything. Or that you cannot be truly happy until you have come to terms with being nothing.” And the reader didn’t even know who is Shakespeare!

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Shakespeare Saved My Life Excerpt

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+shakespeare+richard+II&qpvt=images+shakespeare+richard+II&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=CE868088E1CE179BEF797535250B338826B943C4&selectedIndex=24

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+being+alone&qpvt=images+being+alone&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=80BA10B921BA41F4E30AF007358DB3CA391A286D&selectedIndex=34

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+being+alone&qpvt=images+being+alone&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=C9A0166DA200C3B91C8A16893D3B3ABE7D7FEEA0&selectedIndex=36

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+being+alone&qpvt=images+being+alone&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=81C23391195B74CB1A3038B820B5632DF124D497&selectedIndex=42

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+being+alone&qpvt=images+being+alone&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=D818EE04776988D9E9D67E6A53D42FCC53C5EEA1&selectedIndex=46

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/shakespeare-saved-my-life-excerpt-_n_3133831.html

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‘Shakespeare Saved My Life’ Excerpt: Laura Bates’s Tale Of How The Bard Helped A Solitary Confinement Prisoner

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A  soliloquy from the last act of Shakespeare’s history play, Richard the Second.

Spoken by the overthrown king who is now imprisoned, the speech begins: “I have been studying how I may compare this prison where I live unto the world. And, for because the world is populous and here is not a creature but myself, I cannot do it.” Along with the speech, I attached a blank sheet of paper with one question: What do you understand from the excerpt?

While most prisoners scribbled a brief response, Newton submitted a full page, both sides, with incongruous smiley faces punctuating every other sentence:

I understand that he is in prison, and clearly in a type of solitary confinement.  His thoughts are his only companions, his method for populating this empty world so that it can be compared to the world outside of those walls. He had studied a way to compare the two—so it is clearly his attempt. I cannot tell if it is extremely complex or rather simple? It seems like you can spend time on just about each passage and come up with three different conclusions.

That comment alone earned him a place in the program. Awareness of multiplicity of interpretation is the key to reading Shakespeare. Not bad for a fifth-grade drop-out.

I can really relate to the thoughts of ambition plotting unlikely wonders! I can see him now pacing around and playing out these great fantasies and then the quick reality check and it leaves and he feels silly. Maybe that is what he meant by “die in their own pride”?

And his conclusion captured the deeper philosophical lesson about the meaning of life in Richard’s speech:

I guess as in art, I can overcomplicate the work, so I will just close it up. It seems to me that he has gone from king to prisoner, and in his thoughts goes back and forth, but seems to conclude with saying that until you have been at peace, or content, with nothing . . . you cannot be pleased with anything. Or that you cannot be truly happy until you have come to terms with being nothing.

Wow. That was the most thoughtful response I had ever gotten to an initial Shakespeare assignment—in prison, or on campus. And Newton didn’t even know who Shakespeare was.       

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2 Responses to Shakespeare: And the reader’s conclusion captured the deeper philosophical lesson about the meaning of life in Richard II’s speech: “I guess as in art, I can overcomplicate the work, so I will just close it up. It seems to me that he has gone from king to prisoner, and in his thoughts goes back and forth, but seems to conclude with saying that until you have been at peace, or content, with nothing . . . you cannot be pleased with anything. Or that you cannot be truly happy until you have come to terms with being nothing.” And the reader didn’t even know who is Shakespeare!

  1. Pingback: Greatest personal relations therapist Shakespeare: In his last public lecture, T.S. Eliot remarked that “So great is Shakespeare…that a lifetime is hardly enough for growing up to appreciate him,” and in one of his last essays he declare

  2. Pingback: Greatest personal relations therapist Shakespeare: In his last public lecture, T.S. Eliot remarked that “So great is Shakespeare…that a lifetime is hardly enough for growing up to appreciate him,” and in one of his last essays he declare

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