An Example of Emotional Insight (from Shakespeare)

Vik RubenfeldPlay0 Comments

Olivia Husssey in Zeffirelli’s Production of “Romeo and Juliet”

In the previous post, “Fundamentals,” we began talking about what it is that a work of art communicates: emotional insight. Let’s look at another example. This one is super-famous.

Romeo:  But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

That is pretty easy to get with.  Feel every word of that with your whole heart. Does it fill you with emotion and meaning? That meaning is the meaning of Shakespeare’s emotion.

Now let’s try to restate it, in merely intellectual terms, just to see how far we can get. Intellectually, he’s saying that in some way it’s as though she radiates light, turns night into day, yadda yadda yadda, etc. It’s just not very meaningful intellectually.

But emotionally, Shakespeares’s words here are tremendously meaningful, uplifting, glorious, and inspiring. As noted previously, art communicates something in addition to intellectual insight; art communicates emotional insight.

This is the heart of it, the key to it, the fundamental to the understanding of What Art Is. Stay tuned for more examples coming up!

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