Tuesday, March 2, 2010


What’s now awry shall soon be rectified,
All maladies shall find their remedies,
Those rent by rifts shall be again allied,
And all the sick be healed of foul disease.
So runs the course of Doctor Shakespeare’s plays
In which all sundry illnesses abound
And souls are lost in foul miasmic haze
Till sight’s restored and spirits are made sound.
Some remedies are medical and some
Are remedies in law and governance,
For as the corporal body may succumb,
The body politic needs too the lance
That cleans its wound and lets what’s ill grow whole:
In either case, it’s physik for the soul.


Shakespeare’s insight into the nature of evil is implicit in our language—that evil is an illness, an ailment with which we are afflicted, but for which sometimes we may find a cure, a remedy for our malady.

Evil is a disorder that sometimes may be restored to order; a chaotic, erratic malfunction or misgovernance of systems which are properly integral, whole and healthy—when disease returns to ease and discomfort to comfort. To be in comfort is to be “with strength,” with wholesome health—a holy state.

Some evils, though, like some diseases, are past cure, if not past care. So virulent and entrenched are they—cankers gnawing on our bowels—that no remedies can extirpate them or restore order to a ravaged victim.

Such evils act like poisons disguised as cordials, sweet and savory to sip, which then destroy the heart of him who swallows them.

[Thou] mightst bespice a cup,

To give mine enemy a lasting wink;

Which draught to me were cordial.

Such rooted evils cannot be deracinated but consume the malefactors from within: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Claudius, Edmund, Goneril, Iago, Shylock—consumed by poisons they thought would nourish them, deluded in their fallacious follies, fallen into sin.

Come, cordial and not poison, go with me

To Juliet's grave; for there must I use thee.