First Day of School! (Faculty Edition)


Remote teaching in style! Unintentionally packed an apple for lunch, so it had to be in the photo. 🙂 

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.

I like to introduce the study of rhetoric in Shakespeare with this quote from Hardin Craig, found in Sister Miriam Joseph’s Shakespeares Use of the Arts of Language:
“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?”
We’re entering into debate season, so as you go out into the world (metaphorically speaking), I encourage you to examine both sides of controversies carefully, and listen with respect for the inherent dignity of those who think differently from you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s