Thursday, 5 August 2010

Much Ado About Dante

On reading something of Dante I have come across the figure of Beatrice.

Without wishing to provide a synopsis of Dante’s writing – even if that were possible – or of Shakespeare’s play, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ I am asking whether it is reasonable to assume that Shakespeare read Dante’s, ‘Divine Comedy’?

As I understand ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ features two pairs of lovers including Beatrice and Benedick.

Dante is reputed to have loved a woman named Beatrice. Though it is widely understood that they hardly met, it does seem to be a delightful coincidence that Shakespeare wrote a play featuring the name of Dante’s love, Beatrice.

In further reading of Dante’s spiritual autobiography it can also be found that:

“Benedict tells Dante that his wish will be granted when he reaches the Empyrean, where the pilgrim finds the saint seated between St. Francis and St Augustine in the celestial rose.” (William Wilson)

From Benedict to Benedick, from Beatrice to Beatrice; did Shakespeare have Dante’s, ‘Divine Comedy’ in mind when he wrote, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’? Was Shakespeare inspired by Dante?

Shakespeare is most unlikely to have been able to read Italian and it is true that a translation of the Divine Comedy into English did not yet exist in 1600. Yet the publication of The Merchant of Venice suggests a greater knowledge of Italian culture and society reflected in Shakespeare’s writing.

My guess is that Shakespeare had read Dante.

The David Frost Interview

What Powell said on the matter of racism is well documented. Since you are young I will take the time to post it again here which is the recorded exchange featuring David Frost and Enoch Powell in 1969 or thereabouts:

David Frost: " A lot of people say you are a racialist: will you admit to being this."

Enoch Powell:

"It depends on what you mean by the word 'racialist'. If you mean being conscious of the differences between men and nations, and from that, races, then we are all racialists.

However, if you mean a man who believes that one race is inherently superior to another, then the answer is emphatically NO."