Shakespeare, Autumn and Climate Change

The spring, the summer, The chiding autumn, angry winter, change ...“… The spring, the summer,
The chiding autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries; and the ‘mazed world,
By their increase knows not which is which.”

(Midsummer Night’s Dream act 2, sc. 1)

Comments. After months of seemingly interminable dryness, rain has returned to Portland and to what Alistair Cook called “the damp England of Oregon”. Change in patterns alters perception and even the raindrops of a calm rainfall sound louder than usual. The month of October, Portland and rain are inked in a kind of triad. Even a song made popular by Sinatra refers to a girl met in Portland who joined him for a walk along a fictional “October Hill” – but the song captures the mood. On an even more somber mood, that world climate is changing is obvious. Reactions or opinion on the matter reflect at large an individual’s character, orientation and political leanings. Probably the largest majority couldn’t care less –  which also explain why reforms in society are so incredibly difficult. The superstitious interpret unpleasant natural events as retributions of a vengeful God for the sins of his creatures. The cream of the crop of the greedy see climate change (for example the melting of the North Pole ice) as an opportunity for profit – quicker sailing of mega-ships to unload mountains of mostly useless and superfluous objects on the happily (or unhappily) careless consumers.

Tips for Use.  Comment on the vagaries of the weather, or as an anecdote or similitude to describe a confused situation. Or to attribute climate changes not to the clear and scientific evidence proposed by researchers but to more exotic and/or metaphysical reasons. Also, a good line for a weather forecaster who has blown his forecasting credibility.

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In the Play.  Titania offers an explanation to Oberon for the unusual turn of events, including a dramatic change in weather and weather patterns

Image source:   Month of October from “The Tres Riche Heures” of the Duc de Berry

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