Cappy Cahtah Kohenum: Shakespeare as Poet for the 'Brain Police'
You think that you like Shakespeare, but your eyes have yet to be opened by the devilishly clever Cappy Cahtah Kohenum, antihero of Carter Kaplan's novel Tally-Ho, Cornelius!, who tells us -- in the guise of a precocious little boy calling himself "Capricorn" -- precisely why "Shakespeare stinks":
Well, in Shakespeare's universe people are supposed to play their role. And when people don't play their roles the social equilibrium is upset. Then the people who don't play their roles all die -- maybe it's tragedy, but somehow they deserve it -- and then the people who sheepishly play their roles take over and the social equilibrium is restored. End of story. Every one of his stupid plays follows the same formula.All you Shakespeare fans are thus dupes of lovely language written to lull you into accepting a hierarchical cosmos in which you really ought to know your place and simply stay there . . . or else. Perhaps D. H. Lawrence had it about right when he read Shakespeare:
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Look at poor Cordelia. She tells her stupid old dad that he's playing the fool -- and he is -- but in Shakespeare's universe she is in the wrong because telling the silly old goat he's a fool means she's gone outside her role as daughter. So, even though she's right, Shakespeare has to kill her off because that's his code. By the middle of King Lear they're all acting outside their silly roles, and the silly Bard of Avon has the temerity to suggest this is a bad thing -- all those stupid allusions to witchcraft, old wives tales and madness -- then equilibrium is restored and everyone who transcended his or her role has to die -- all so Shakespeare can make his point that everybody must confirm to the status quo. Same thing with Hamlet. He dies and the person who is willing to play his role takes over; and as in the play Henry V, the people who correctly play their roles and who restore the social equilibrium are mass murders who wear crowns. (Kaplan, Tally-Ho, Cornelius!, page 125)
How boring, how small Shakespeare's people are!I confess that I've never quite suspected Shakespeare in this hermeneutic-of-suspicion fashion, though there's something to it, but does Carter Kaplan truly expect us to trust his alter ego Cappy Cahtah Kohenum, who's possibly a stand-in for Satan, likely stained by transworld depravity, and certainly a trickster?
Yet the language so lovely! like the dyes from gas-tar.
More another time . . .