Sunday, June 5, 2011

Shakespeare's Imagery - Spurgeon 9 of 10

Dr. Spurgeon’s flawed research on Shakespeare and Bacon images – cont. (9)

(9) On page 28, Dr. Spurgeon writes "Bacon . . . definitely asserts that he strongly approves of war," while "Shakespeare hates war . . . associates it with loud and hideous noises" (pp. 28 - 29). 

Here again Dr. Spurgeon is very misleading. Bacon, too, associates war with noise (Life, I, p. 384); tells us "war is too outwardly glorious to be inwardly grateful" (lb., p. 383); that "the humour of war is raving" (15., p. 381); that "wars with their noise affright us" (Works, V, p. 272). Bacon disliked war as Shakespeare did; but what kind of war? Surely civil war, and here again Bacon and Shakespeare entirely agree. They both approve, too, of an energetic foreign policy calculated to distract people from internal politics; to "busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels". It is well known that Bacon was averse to civil war, religious or political, and he tells us the Greeks were full of divisions among themselves. Of these divisions Shakespeare, too, must have been aware, for he makes Ulysses say "Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength”.

Dr. Spurgeon quotes Timon's words: "beastly mad-brain'd war"; but Timon is dealing with civil war, and so is Ulysses. If Shakespeare hated all kinds of wars, why does he rail at peace? He says it breeds cowards, is a very apoplexy, is a kind of lethargy which expressions are echoes of Bacon's statement that "men's minds are enervated and their manners corrupted by sluggish and inactive peace" (De Aug., VIII, III).

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