I'll Drown my book
- Painting: oil on canvas
- Size: 42Hx56Wx2 inches
Any attempt to abjure power, as Prospero realized in the Tempest, will inevitably fail. Sadly, Nietzsche’s "knowledge is power" has almost become a cliché. But it is no less true, regardless of the dilution and oversimplification it has undergone. Even a modest effort to eliminate knowledge once acquired, will fail. Shakespeare, being a man of his times, and writing himself into his work, realized that no book, no knowledge can be drowned, it cannot be stamped out, cannot be removed. And even in its diluted form, as we have learned, thought, contemplation, will begin to fire the minds of followers, possibly by the fact that it once existed, possibly because it once throve in the power of another - in thoughts. Drowning waters will always stir. Minds will always search. Books will resurface. Knowledge will prevail. It will return on its own fire. Trying to destroy its thoughts will only in the end destroy the fool who attempts to drown the embers. In the subtext of Prospero’s words, Shakespeare forced us to acknowledge this.
"Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves. And ye that on the sands with printless foot Do chase the ebbing Neptune… - Weak master though ye be –
I have bedimmed The noontide sun, called forth the mutinous winds And ‘twixt the… sea and the azure vault Set roaring war; to the dread-rattling thunder Have I given fire and rifted Jove’s stout oak With his own bolt: The strong-based promontory Have I made shake, and by the spurs plucked up The pine and cedar; graves at my command Have waked their sleepers, ope’d and let ‘em forth By my so potent art. But this rough magic I here abjure; and when I have required Some heavenly music (which even now I do) To work mine end upon their senses that This airy charm is for, I’ll break my staff, Bury it certain fathoms in the earth And deeper than did ever plummet sound I’ll drown my book.”
The Tempest; 5.1.33 – 57
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