Today’s selected Shakespeare word is ‘nakedness.’
Now although this is a state of being in which we aim to enjoy while accompanied by someone in that same condition, in Shakespeare, specifically the tragedies, the word is used in less jovial vein. In King Lear, Edgar, the Duke of Gloucester’s wrongly accused son, strips off his clothes and covers himself in dirt in order to disguise himself as a madman and avoid being recognized and apprehended. He mentions that he will, “with presented nakedness outface the winds and persecutions of the sky.” In Timon of Athens we hear the title character offer one of the most bitter tirades in all of Shakespeare. One the most emotional moments from this speech is when he completely disrobes and determines to seek perpetual refuge from society in the woods. He rants with unmitigated rage, “Nothing I’ll bear from thee but nakedness, thou detestable town!”
Although we might chuckle if we ever got the opportunity to use this word conversationally nowadays: like, “I’m gonna go home and take a shower after I metamorphose into a state of nakedness,” Shakespeare used this word with a natural skill all his own. In addition to Lear and Timon, he uses it in Much Ado about Nothing, “to cover with excuse that which appears in proper nakedness,” and Henry the Fifth, “in his nakedness, he appears but a man.”
My challenge to my readers!
Write a sentence using the word ‘nakedness’ with the intention of not having that word stick out like a sore thumb.
My brain shivers in nakedness when exposed to gusts of stupidity.