An Ever-Fixed Mark

My introduction to Shakespeare came not only formally from studying Macbeth and Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice as a required part of our English curriculum at school, but also creatively from my mum’s love of traditional ballet – Prokofiev’s balletic version of Romeo and Juliet re-tells the tale so beautifully in music and dance, but ideally you have to read the original to be able to follow the story.

So one way or another I’ve always loved the challenge of reading Shakespeare’s plays, but to be properly understood I always felt they really needed to be read out aloud with proper expression and animation, breathing life into the sparkling narrative rather than just read out word for word in a meaningless monotone that inevitably leaves everyone bored to death by such a dry and dusty delivery.

And much later on I discovered Shakespeare’s sonnets, often bringing another challenge of true understanding if not read out aloud with feeling. They can sometimes be quite repetitive in their themes but are beautifully written nonetheless. I have a treasured silver bangle in the shape of a Mobius strip with the first two quatrains of Sonnet 116 engraved onto it. As the strip twists, the wording continues on to the ‘other’ side of the bangle, so it is engraved in its entirety.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

William Shakespeare

This is also the sonnet that Marianne quotes in Sense and Sensibility, when she finally comes to the understanding that Willoughby could not have loved her enough if he chose to marry someone else for money after he was disinherited due to his own bad behaviour. And it is this sonnet (engraved as it is on my bangle) that immediately sprang to mind this morning for me, too, when I read the prompt word ‘bend’… 🙂

Weekly Prompt: Bend


3 thoughts on “An Ever-Fixed Mark

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s