Eye Candy (31)

By: Peggy Nelson
April 21, 2020

When this whole thing began, Eye Candy heard from several quarters that Shakespeare, while quarantined at home during the plague, wrote King Lear. And Isaac Newton, while quarantined at home during the plague, discovered the law of gravity ! These obviously tragic overcompensations are clearly a result of being under siege during a time before the wonders of modern medicine, such as Netflix.

Nevertheless, we’ve got the wrong play.

Despite the quality of microbe that was hanging about just outside the mullioned windows in any particular turn-of-the-16th-century year (and there were plenty, always), we don’t want the tragic Lear. We don’t want The Scottish Play. We don’t even want Hamlet creeping the boards (and Eye Candy sincerely loves us a little Hamlet…): No. The play that is our companion here in Year One of the Coronavirus is none other than Coriolanus. The fêted yet flawed general is our familiar at this time.

It is proper that a fellow scribe would be the one to notice this. Poet Chris Kerr has created a wonderful Twitter bot, @coriolavirus, that mashes up current public health advice and queries with lines from the play. The results are often so apropos as to be uncanny.

More than just the theme (a bewildered politician who rages as he rises to his level of incompetence), the lines of the play could not be more apt. As a current un-bewildered politician has it, listen to the words; words matter.

Eye Candy strongly recommends you follow @coriolavirus on Twitter.


Chris Kerr: website, Twitter, code-poetry
@coriolavirus: Twitter
Coriolanus starring Ralph Fiennes (2011): trailer