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Much ado about triggers

Shakespeare's male rage

"The masses doth triggereth too much." -Shakespeare
  • "The masses doth triggereth too much." -Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing was the 21st Annual Free Classical production by The Coronado Playhouse. The show ran through August 13th and was presented free of charge. Next year’s Annual Free Classical will be Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The plot of Much Ado About Nothing has, like all Shakespeare comedies, several moving pieces. The story revolves around two couples: Beatrice and Benedict, and Claudio and Hero. It’s a comedy, so it has a happy ending, but that does not mean there is no drama along the way.

In Act IV, Claudio is deceived into thinking that Hero has been unfaithful to him. At the wedding altar, Claudio heaps shame upon Hero with the words, “There Leonato take her back again.”

Triggered Claudio goes off on Hero

Claudio’s feelings are true, but his facts are wrong. If there is a theme in Shakespeare which presents itself most often, it is misguided feelings of rage by a masculine character. We see it in the tragedies such as Othello and Romeo and Juliet. We also see it in the comedies such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.

So many of the woes in Shakespeare come from these misplaced feelings. If we take a moment to think about it, we see nothing changes faster than feelings. We have a feeling of one type or another, get some new information, and that feeling changes in an instant.

Shakespeare constantly warns us against acting on our feelings, because he understands that they are based on the whims of information and context. Our current culture rejects that wisdom and says that nothing is more valid than our feelings.

Being “triggered” is an actual term which is considered valid. The term could very well be Shakespeare's. Claudio was triggered by hearsay about Hero and publicly shamed her to such an extent that I’m always surprised they end up together.

Shakespeare tells us to take our finger off the emotional trigger. He’s warning us against reactionary behavior. Unfortunately many of us are triggered by being warned that we’re reactionary.

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Your genetics load the gun. Your lifestyle pulls the trigger.

--Mehmet Oz

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