I will admit that at the beginning of the semester I was a bit skeptical of the event analysis assignment. The idea that almost once a week of the semester I would be attending an event that was most likely not something that I would otherwise not go too. Admittedly, I was apprehensive about finding an event that would peak my interest enough to enable me to write a decent reflection about it. In the end I found the experience of going to the many events, for the duration of the semester, to be worthwhile and engaging. Without a doubt I learned and experienced the most during the Indian Powwow at Patterson High School. However, the most memorable and unique event was Odds Bodkin’s reenactment of Homer’s story, “Odyssey.”
Bodkins retelling stuck with me because he managed gain my respect for his undeniable skills. I was familiar with Odysseus and his tale because of high school. I read many of Homer’s stories, and fortunately for Bodkin the story he retold was my favorite. I had the delight to here the story where Odysseus leads his men across the sea in search of cities to sack, before heading home to Ithaca. Bodkin, with the accompaniment of his guitar, retold this story in a dynamic way. He would jump back and forth between Odysseus’s, the narrator’s, and soldier’s voices with exceptional ease and grace. It was a spectacle to watch, and that was a significant reason for why my attention never waivered. In addition, Bodkin has such spectacular control of his voice that he is able to change the tone to put emphasis on parts of the story that were more dramatic. It was quite fun to watch and hear! I found myself even more engaged because of it, and looking back I also noticed that my imagination was stimulated in away that it rarely is while studying in college.
Bodkin’s was able to maintain and excite my imagination in a way that I seldom can, during fully loaded college semester. I was able to carve out enough time in the summer to read the first two books of the “Game of Thrones” series by George R.R Martin. I noticed that the reason I became so addicted to those books was due to their ability to completely engross my mind in the world they so vividly describe. In retrospect, I had this exact same reaction to the story telling by Bodkin. He was wonderfully descriptive, and knew the story so well that he was able to emphasize certain points of the story. In the end, this helped the audience experience his story in the best possible way. For example, when Odysseus and his men stabbed the giant spear, into the eye of the Cyclops, Bodkin added sound effects to literally make the audience shriek in disgust. It felt as if we were there along side Odysseus while he was ramming the spear into the Cyclops’s eye. That attention to detail and ability to grab the audiences’ complete attention is a huge part of what made Bodkin’s story telling so unique. Bodkin placed helped to place me in the world that Homer so vividly painted, and when it was all over I felt far more relaxed. This imaginary reality that I constructed is in many ways similar to the false realities that Shakespeare’s characters fall into in the play, “Twelfth Night.”
In the play, “Twelfth Night” Shakespeare demonstrates how easy it is for humans to imagine themselves into a false reality because of the way love can obscure all humans’ realities. There is a level of chaos apparent in the final two Acts of Shakespeare’s play. Shakespeare fools around with the way that love can drive a man or woman into a reality that others deem insane. For example, when Sebastian is in Olivia’s home Olivia gives Sebastian pearls to demonstrate her love for the person she perceives to be Cesario. Olivia is so in love with Cesario that she is blinded by her love, and cannot see that Sebastian isn’t even the same person. Based off the level of bewilderment that Sebastian displays towards Olivia, any human grounded in reality would notice that he is not the same person. Olivia’s vision is so obscured, because of her love for Cesario(whom she thinks is Sebastian), that she cannot tell the difference. This complete mayhem, which has occurred due to love, is a common reality for individuals in real life. In fact, this phenomenon is arguably universal. Malvolio, the epitome of a rational person, becomes engulfed in a self-projected reality of Olivia’s love for him. Because he has convinced himself that Olivia desires him, he believes that her love letters are true, and he fallows them as a result. This is what eventually lands him in a dark cell where the Clown and Maria continue their practical joke on him. In the cell Mavolio says to the clown, “ Good fool, help me to some light and some paper: I tell thee, I am as well as in my wits as any man in Illyria.” (58) Malvolio is certain that Olivia is in love with him, and is confused as to why no one else believes him. Shakespeare effectively eliminates all credibility that had previously surrounded Malvolio, and turns him into a madman. The message of this is that there is a level of universality to the destructive and encompassing nature of love. It can engulf even the most rational minds, and transform their realities into something far from actuality.
Shakespeare certainly had his fun playing with the way that love can transform humans. He puts a lot of emphasis on the haze that love can put people into, and the way that it can drive them into borderline insanity. The love that Malvolio and Olivia imagine is similar to the fantastical imaginations that I felt during my experience listening to Bodkin. It is fascinating that the same imagination that produces the fantastical worlds we make up when dreaming or fantasizing is the exact same template that our mind uses to convince ourselves of love. In some form Shakespeare understood this property, and was able to utilize it in his play.