Today was my first day of school as part time faculty at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University. While adjusting to Zoom will be an ongoing process, it’s truly a joy share the juiciness and wonder of rhetoric with a new batch of students.
“Elizabethan literature is alive with debate. […] It is no wonder that drama flourished, which is in itself an art of contest, dialogue and debate, agreement and disagreement. The reason for this preoccupation with controversial utterance…arises from the conception of logic (or rather dialectic) as an instrument for the discovery of truth. […] The syllogism, supplemented by an acute knowledge of the fallacies, was the chosen and obvious instrument for the discovery of truth–by deduction and induction….every question has two sides, and…the acutest minds would habitually see both sides. Now, drama itself, as just said, is debate, and the issues it loves to treat are debatable issues. Shakespeare, the acutest of Renaissance thinkers, has…an ability to see both sides of a question, and a sympathy with all sorts and conditions of men….No one can tell whether Bolingbroke or Richard II is in the right. Is it not fair, then, to regard Shakespeare as an exemplification of controversial broadmindedness in an age of advocacy?”