Shakespeare on Madness, Love and Poetry

The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet“The lunatic, the lover and the poet,
Are of imagination all compact.
And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them into shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.”
(Midsummer Night’s Dream, act 5, sc. 1)

Tips for use.  These famous lines lend themselves to a variety of applications. For example, if she says, “Are you mad?” after you have made a suggestion shocking or amusing enough to prompt the question counter with “The lunatic, the lover and the poet, are of imagination all compact.”
Alternatively, this is also a good answer to the question, “What do you do for a living?”,…As my imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, my pen turns them into shapes….a name.” Now, he or she may expect that you have a glamorous profession, e.g. surgeon, trial lawyer, Wall Street executive etc. If you are none of the above or if your profession is inherently unglamorous or if you are unemployed, you have the same options as when dealing with age, deflect the question by uttering these line. Your response may sound nonsensical but it is certainly elegant.
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In the play. Theseus, in conversation with Hippolyta makes some important philosophical considerations.

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