Shakespeare’s Light: Or Desdemona’s Dream
While the interplay of light and dark is familiar in literature, Shakespeare employed the contrast in remarkable ways—to describe atmosphere, emotions, and even transcendent states. Consider this scene from Romeo and Juliet, so widely reproduced, one could be forgiven for skimming past it. However, slowing to take in the words, who could be unmoved?
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she . . .
In total, there are nearly three hundred references to “light” between All’s Well That Ends Well and A Winter’s Tale. Here, for the first time, is a compilation of nearly all the passages from Shakespeare’s works containing the word “light.”
If you enjoy periodic encounters with Shakespeare or like to read a poem from time to time, this is for you…