HAFEZ and Shakespeare: on SMILING!


HAFEZ and Shakespeare: on SMILING!
by Hafez for Beginners

"Smile and the whole world smiles with you":

We went to see "The Taming of the Shrew" as part of a Shakespeare group here in Washington DC, that I have put together. Studying two masters at the same time - HAFEZ and SHAKESPEARE - seems to effortlessly go together.

The theme today is SMILES. The concept of being positive, of turning to mirth and merriment, especially when faced with adversity.

HAFEZ: Hafez tells us in today's Blog, to not forget to learn from the cup of wine - in which he would see a smile - to smile even when your heart is bleeding, like the red color of the wine itself, that continues to smile nonetheless. And in contrast,  not start an uproar and much hullabaloo, just as the noises a harp - chang -  makes the second it is plucked or scratched (ie. bothered) with a touch. 

با  دل  خونین   لب  خندان   بیاور   همچو  جام

نی گرت زخمی رسد آیی چو چنگ اندر خروش

Even with a broken heart, resolve to smile - as does the bleeding red wine of the cup

As opposed to breaking into an uproar, which does so the seond that it is plucked, the harp!


SHAKESPEARE: A messenger early in the play reminds us that we are about to watch a "Comedy" - The Taming of the Shrew - and goes on to explain that given that sadness leads to madness - laughter and merriment  protects you from a thousand harms, while lengthening your life:


And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy,

Therefore they thought it good you hear a play

And frame your mind to mirth and merriment,

Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life. - "The Taming of the Shrew": Induction - Scene 2.


In Hafez's example, there is an existing heart-ache, and he asks us to continue smiling while bearing  it. Shakespeare's quote here is asking you to avoid heartache and melancholy, by turning to merriment. In one, it's up to you to make the switch within yourself, in the other, you are told to turn to outside entities that would inspire a smile. 

Smile, and the world smiles with you! (from the Louis Armstrong song, I blelieve.)

PHOTO:The smiling wine - the masks of comedy and tragedy - and a photo of Elizabeth Taylor who starred in a movie version of "The Taming of the Shrew" opposite Richard Burton. 

Afsaneh Mirfendereski 


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Red Wine: Thanks for the interesting note. What stands true is that most of the English Renaissance stories of Shakespeare are routed in Italian tales - if you look into the plays, aside from the historical ones, they are all set in Italy with Italian characters. "The Taming of the Shrew" we just saw was set in Padua.

As an artist, I don't care as much about "labels" however, as I do about the actual created product. Our own culture, obsessed less with the "who" and focused also more on the actual artistic product. In architecture, we don't have the names of all the profound masters - not because we were "primitive"- but because an artistic creation is a spiritual channeling that occurs in a person - and WHO that person is, (his parents, his shoe size etc.) is not the focus, rather the art that was channeled from a different plane of consciousness. So, I continue to enjoy my Shakespeare. Whether he wrote them, his dog wrote them, the neighbor found the stories in a magic jar afloat on the English channel - it doesn't matter to me. Just as when I look at the dome of a beautiful mosque in Iran, or the exquisite harmony of a Persian Carpet: who created it is 2ndry to the creation itself. This obsession with documenting facts, is a Western one and I try to focus on the exquisite Play when watching Shakespeare, not whether he wrote it or someone else did. The Play is what lifts my spirit. 


Red Wine


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به طورِ حَتمْ شَراب تنها نقطه اِشتراک بینِ لِسان الغَیب و این مردِ ساده اندیشِ انگلیسی بوده است...با این تفاوت که حافظ ما وجود خارجی‌ داشته است و اما چند سالیست که شّکِ فراوان زده میشود که شکسپیری وجود نداشته و تمامِ این نوشته‌ها متعّلق به گروهی نمایش نویس تعّلق داشته است که این مرد نیز دران گروه نقشی‌ داشته است.

با سپاس .


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