T. Rachwał, W Kalaga (red.), "The wild and the tame : essays in cultural practice" (S. 54-72). Katowice : Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
There is a tradition of regarding Shakespeare’s talent and work in terms of
the opposition between the wild and the cultivated. In the Preface to his edition
of Shakespeare’s plays, S. Johnson evokes the platitudinous metaphor likening the
Bard’s ouvre to a wild forest where the flora of poetry grows unrestrainedly:
the composition o f Shakespeare is a forest, in which oaks extend their branches, and pines
tower in the air, interspersed sometimes with weeds and brambles, and sometimes giving
shelter to myrtles and to roses; filling the eye with awful pomp, and gratifying the mind
with endless diversity.
Milton’s couplet from L ’Allegro (11. 133-4), with the metaphor of the
unpremeditated Muse-nightingale, gives a finishing touch to the image: “sweetest
Shakespeare, Fancy’s child, / Warble[s] his native wood-notes wild”.
However, as there is more than one meaning to the word “wild,” there is also
another side of Shakespeare’s wildness, a more virulent and derogatory one for
a change. Titus Andronicus is the play that has long passed for a wild affair in
any meaning the word can carry.