Grace is one of the richest words in the English language. Layer upon layer. Grace appears in every play The Bard has written.
Who, What, or Why is Grace?
Grace is many things: A person. A presence. A noun. A verb. A memory.
Grace is also a blessing, that is unexpected and received without asking for it, such as, the beauty of the Earth. Or a special person.
It is the grace we say at mealtime when we pause to give thanks, and be mindful of the blessing and the source of our food.
It is an expression of humble awareness, “there but for the grace of god go I”.
Or, the obverse, “here for the grace of god go I”.
Some people are graceful; they radiate dignity, compassion, thoughtfulness…and the list goes on. Think of Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt, Chief Joseph (Nez Perce), and Rosa Parks.
And then there is the hymn, Amazing Grace.
Theologically speaking, some say you cannot fall from grace, but that it is always there for you, if you will but accept it.
Secularly speaking, we can fall from the “good graces of someone”.
And finally, the concept of “cheap” grace versus “costly” grace interpreted secularly as: costly grace is earned forgiveness, versus cheap grace which is granted without requiring a contrite heart or doing anything.
Grace in the Plays
Grace appears in all forms, becoming a ubiquitous enigma:
In The Knife and The Daffodil, she is the “inner essence” (of our tormented heroine, Gaia) that “graces the lives of all who know her” and inspired the sonnet, “The Canticle of Grace”.
In A Christmas Wish, grace is Suzy’s rescuer “by the grace of god”.
In The Times are a’ Changin’—LGBTQ+, grace comes in the form of the old cowboy, Tex, who understood the ways of the human heart.
In The Girl Who Fell From the Sky she is the antagonist, Grace, who receives an unexpected blessing (grace) in the form of 10-year old Maggie.
A Harsh Mistress
Is Grace the Bard’s muse who inspires him to become a better person and to seek a newer world through his plays?
Or, is Grace the Bard’s nemesis who beckons him towards the ever distancing horizon of forlorn hope?
The answer, dear friends, lies in the words and the works of the Bard himself!