Friday, August 27, 2010

Who Would You Be?

Here’s another open-ended question for discussion over the weekend.

I remember being at a party once, back in the college days, playing the “If…” game from that book where everybody was asked a hypothetical question and had to give a truthful answer.  The question was, “If you could be another person for a day, who would you be?” The guys chose Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Gates, among others. When it came to my turn I answered, “My brother, because I’ve lived with him all my life and really have no idea what life looks like from his point of view.”  Everybody, my brother included, found that lame.  Oh, well.

So here’s my version of that question : If you could be one Shakespearean character for the duration of the play, who would you be?

I don’t mean play the role – I mean pretend that the play is reality and be that character.  When the play ends, or when you die, you turn back into yourself.

Part two: There’s a couple different ways to approach this. You could either think that you’ll remain aware of who you really are, and basically wear the character like a puppet, trying to change the play the way you want it to go…or you could take more of a backseat and basically just watch how it plays out with no real control, but a better understanding of why certain things happen.

 

Make sense? For me I can think only in the second sense – it doesn’t make sense for me to think “change the course of the play.”  I’m trying to think of who I’d be, though, because if this were some sort of funky carnival ride I could see myself getting back in line again and again.  Maybe take Jaques for a spin, see what his deal is. I don’t think I’d feel much need to see what Benedick is all about (getting back to earlier Much Ado discussions), though I might take Prospero out for a drive and see once and for all whether he changed his mind or if he was always in complete control of what was going on.

Maybe that’s a spin on the question – which character keeps a secret that you’d like to learn once and for all?  Maybe find out whether Gertrude knew?

7 comments:

Mark said...

I like your ideas, but I think I'm going to go with Miranda. To live your entire life seeing one other human being and then, out of nowhere, seeing many more, must be some kind of wild experience. What must that be like? I can only imagine.

Just at first thought. There are many more possibilities.

Duane, you picked all male characters. Think outside your gender. If you had to be one of Shakespeare's women, who would it be? I'm curious.

Duane said...

Well, no, I mentioned Gertrude.

When I thought of Prospero, Miranda and Ferdinand did go through my head. But I did not think of the whole "brave new world" aspect, and without that they're both fairly typical young people in love. I don't think I'd care to be Caliban or Ariel, either, other then out of curiosity. They wouldn't be high on my list.

How about Kate, from Shrew? Not only could I learn what the deal is with the last speech, but I'd get to learn a little bit about why she's such a shrew.

Mark said...

You did mention Gertrude, but only as a possibility. I didn't realize you were saying you'd want to be her. My mistake, I misunderstood. That's definitely a good choice.

Between Miranda and Ferdinand, there's a deal of typical young love, but you have to wonder how legit it is. I always think, how in love with him can Miranda be? She's never seen another man her age. Could she just be bursting with hormones, and Ferdinand is the only object on whom they can set? Is she going to go back to Milan, see all the young boys, and dump Ferdinand on the spot? One wonders!

Kate is definitely an interesting choice. Hmmm...

Mark said...

By the way, I don't care what anybody else says. Your original answer about wanting to be your brother is excellent. I love it.

Ren du Braque said...

I think, it could be very dangerous, but I'd really like to know what Iago was up to. You get the feeling, or perhaps it's only suggested, that at some point he was a good and honest fellow, but then he turned into a monster. What made him snap?

My personal favorite is Helena of All's well that ends well.

Ty Unglebower said...

Henry V or Hamlet, probably. In both cases I'd want to know how I'd handle the extreme pressures and monumental responsibilities placed upon me.

catkins said...

I think I would like to be the Duke in Measure for Measure. He really seems to enjoy himself.