Friday, March 22, 2013

Choosing Sides

Greg Smith has another thoughtful post. My thoughts are in addition to his. Read his post first.

This reminds me of a quote from C. S. Lewis in "The World's Last Night":
In King Lear (III:vii) there is a man who is such a minor character that Shakespeare has not given him even a name: he is merely “First Servant.” All the characters around him—Regan, Cornwall, and Edmund—have fine long-term plans. They think they know how the story is going to end, and they are quite wrong. The servant has no such delusions. He has no notion how the play­ is going to go. But he understands the present scene. He sees an abomination (the blinding of old Gloucester) taking place. He will not stand it. His sword is out and pointed at his master’s breast in a moment: then Regan stabs him dead from behind. That is his whole part: eight lines all told. But if it were real life and not a play, that is the part it would be best to have acted.
Lewis does not mention what the Servant says, his opening words are as follows:
Hold your hand, my lord!
I have serv'd you ever since I was a child;
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold. (Shakespeare, King Lear III.vii.73-75.)
We must take sides. To sit on the fence is to choose by default. As Pahoran writes to the man who censured him:
Therefore, my beloved brother, . . . let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words---yea, such as rebellions and dissensions---let us resist them with our swords (Alma 61:14).