We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Listening - and re-listening - to Saccio is a pure delight. A quote from the piece in Dartmouth Life:
On the day of the lecture, Saccio begins almost dispassionately. "The death of Falstaff," he says, "is a short passage, in prose, related by simple characters leading common lives."
And then he begins to act the parts of those characters, explaining between lines how Shakespeare employs biblical allusion, Elizabethan thought and culture, word play and stage direction. He describes how Falstaff, near death, plays with his bedclothes and examines his fingertips, noting that contemporary doctors tell him that what Shakespeare portrayed four centuries ago is grounded in the physical reality of death.
The room becomes electric.
Saccio continues, "For Falstaff, in his final moments the world is getting smaller and smaller. He is 'focusing down'—as dying people do." He points out a reference to the 23rd Psalm towards the end of the scene and begins, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want..." and the classroom becomes utterly silent, spellbound.
Breaking the silence, Saccio concludes, "I've been trying to enter into Shakespeare's imagination. He imagined a scene that was peaceful, hopeful, bawdy, silly, childish, drunken, lecherous and terrifying—terrifying both physically and spiritually. All at once, in only 40 lines. I put my cards on the table," he concludes. "The man could write."
Photo: Leon D. Black Professor of Shakespearean Studies Peter Saccio