Recently I was talking to my students about Pericles (490-424 B.C.). In our public speaking textbook the Greek statesman is quoted saying, “One who forms a judgment on any point but cannot explain [it clearly] might as well never have thought at all on the subject.” This maxim serves as a motivation to present information clearly.
Pericles who gave us that maxim is the same person on which Shakespeare bases his play titled Pericles, Prince of Tyre? I describe the play Pericles as fiction about a real figure. The play is set in ancient times and in the ancient locales of Tyre, Antioch, Ephesus, all places that the historic Pericles probably visited. I cannot help but notice an anachronism in which Thaliard intends to murder Pericles with a pistol.
Who knows? A playwright or author might one day go through clippings of Vaughan’s Vocabulary and have a cacoethes to write a story about me. Just as Pericles would have probably been flattered by the story, I probably would too about mine.
1. anachronism (uh-NAK-ruh-niz-um)
A. an act of violence
B. a person or thing that belongs or seems to belong to another time
C. a primitive weapon
D. a person or thing that clearly reflects the time period
Shakespeare places the story in ancient times; a pistol is an anachronism because it was before such a thing was invented.
2. cacoethes (kak-oh-EE-theez)
A. bright idea
B. spiritual inspiration
C. an irresistible urge
D. None of the above
3. “Thou God of this great vast, rebuke these surges, Which wash both heaven and hell” is
A. a simile (SIM-uh-lee).
B. a cacoethes (kak-oh-EE-theez).
D. metaphoric (met-uh-FOR-ik).
No. 2 and No. 3 are C. The line in No. 3 is spoken by Pericles in Act III.
4. Which one acts as chorus and narrator and was named after the author whose work Shakespeare based Pericles?
The Cummings Study Guides website pointed out that Shakespeare based the play on a work by the fourteenth century author John Gower, resurrected by Shakespeare’s quill.
Last week’s mystery word is mediocre.
This week’s mystery word to solve can be found in Act I, scene 1; Pericles, as he takes hold of the hand of the princess, calls her this noun. It starts with the same letter as the first letter in the name of this column.
Contact Don Vaughan at firstname.lastname@example.org