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Thread: shakespeare

  1. #31
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    Perhaps one of the things that makes Shakespeare great is that he didn't take his plays half as seriously as critics have (the Bardolatry of Bloom, e.g.). Hence him chucking it all in and his friends having to publish his plays posthumously.

    The opening of ToTShrew reminding me of the tavern scenes in Henry IV - again, the collision of high and low culture, the wit, the japery, the theatricality

  2. #32
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    also to state the obvious - his grasp of the manners of human psychology is so clearly and unpretentiously displayed, and is centuries ahead of its time...

  3. #33
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    Falstaff embodies something of Shakespeare's spirit in that he's a spectacle of the inventiveness of amorality. 'Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.' (And of course Henry represents the flipside of that coin, the order that needs to be in place to reign in inventiveness and create art - the magic circle that Luka's referred to on here before.)

    Compare Iago's comparatively arid amorality vs. Othello's naive granduer.
    Last edited by Corpsey; 13-07-2018 at 10:02 AM.

  4. #34
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    Shakespeare is also the patron saint of puns.

    If he was writing today he'd be drawing inspiration from The Sun and Buzzfeed.

    I've read somewhere that Shakey mixed latin and saxon in a quite innovative way. Where did I read that? I can't remember.

    Wherever I read it, they used this speech from Macbeth to exemplify it:

    'Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
    Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
    The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
    Making the green one red.'

    The bathetic fall from the third line to the fourth.

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  6. #36
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    Come, you spirits
    That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
    And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
    Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood,
    Stop up th’access and passage to remorse,
    That no compunctious visitings of nature
    Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
    Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts,
    And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
    Wherever in your sightless substances
    You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
    And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
    That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
    Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
    To cry ‘Hold, hold!’


  7. #37
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    "The best actors in the world, either for Tragedy, Comedy, History, Pastoral, Pastoral-Comical, Historical-Pastoral: Tragical-Historical: Tragical-Comical-Historical-Pastoral: Scene individable, or Poem unlimited."

  8. #38
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    Watched a few of the BBC's Hollow Crowns recently and it confirmed me in my love of Henry IV Part 1.

    The scene in which FALSTAFF plays HAL's father and then visa versa (and all that takes place before it and after it) is about as good as anything gets - the writing, I mean, though I really like both performances.

    Then later on, Falstaff excuses his cowardly behaviour (playing dead) with sheer force of wit:

    FALSTAFF
    ... The better part of
    valour is discretion; in the which better part I
    have saved my life.
    Last edited by Corpsey; 23-04-2019 at 10:05 AM.

  9. #39
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    Everything and Nothing by Jorge Luis Borges


    There was no one inside him, nothing but a trace of chill, a dream dreamt by no one else behind the face that looks like no other face (even in the bad paintings of the period) and the abundant, whimsical, impassioned words. He started out assuming that everyone was just like him; the puzzlement of a friend to whom he had confided a little of his emptiness revealed his error and left him with the lasting impression that the individual should not diverge from the species. At one time he thought he could find a cure for his ailment in books and accordingly learned the "small Latin and less Greek" to which a contemporary later referred. He next decided that what he was looking for might be found in the practice of one of humanity's more elemental rituals: he allowed Anne Hathaway to initiate him over the course of a long June afternoon. In his twenties he went to London. He had become instinctively adept at pretending to be somebody, so that no one would suspect he was in fact nobody. In London he discovered the profession for which he was destined, that of the actor who stands on a stage and pretends to be someone else in front of a group of people who pretend to take him for that other person. Theatrical work brought him rare happiness, possibly the first he had ever known–but when the last line had been applauded and the last corpse removed from the stage, the odious shadow of unreality fell over him again: he ceased being Ferrex or Tamburlaine and went back to being nobody. Hard pressed, he took to making up other heroes, other tragic tales. While his body fulfilled its bodily destiny in the taverns and brothels of London, the soul inside it belonged to Caesar who paid no heed to the oracle's warnings adn Juliet who hated skylarks and Macbeth in conversation, on the heath, with witches who were also the Fates. No one was as many men as this man: like the Egyptian Proteus, he used up the forms of all creatures. Every now and then he would tuck a confession into some hidden corner of his work, certain that no one would spot it. Richard states that he plays many roles in one, and Iago makes the odd claim: "I am not what I am." The fundamental identity of existing, dreaming, and acting inspired him to write famous lines.

    For twenty years he kept up this controlled delirium. Then one morning he was overcome by the tedium and horror of being all those kings who died by the sword and all those thwarted lovers who came together and broke apart and melodiously suffered. That very day he decided to sell his troupe. Before the week was out he had returned to his hometown: there he reclaimed the trees and the river of his youth without tying them to the other selves that his muse had sung, decked out in mythological allusion and latinate words. He had to be somebody, and so he became a retired impresario who dabbled in money-lending, lawsuits, and petty usury. It was as this character that he wrote the rather dry last will and testament with which we are familiar, having purposefully expunged from it every trace of emotion and every literary flourish. When friends visited him from London, he went back to playing the role of poet for their benefit.

    The story goes that shortly before or after his death, when he found himself in the presence of God, he said: "I who have been so many men in vain want to be one man only, myself." The voice of God answered him out of a whirlwind: "Neither am I what I am. I dreamed the world the way you dreamt your plays, dear Shakespeare. You are one of the shapes of my dreams: like me, you are everything and nothing."

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  11. #40
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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_(2015_film) was on during 1/2 term - also an account of the lost years, really quite a good laugh, lots of jokes

  12. #41
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    I was looking at Lear for quotes about eyes for the eye thread and I was stopped in my tracks by the cruelty of this line:

    REGAN Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
    His way to Dover.


    Yesterday evening, it being Shakey's birthday, I dutifully read Prospero's famous speech

    You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
    As if you were dismay'd: be cheerful, sir.
    Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
    As I foretold you, were all spirits and
    Are melted into air, into thin air:
    And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
    The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
    The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
    Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
    And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
    Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on, and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vex'd;
    Bear with my weakness; my, brain is troubled:
    Be not disturb'd with my infirmity:
    If you be pleased, retire into my cell
    And there repose: a turn or two I'll walk,
    To still my beating mind.


    What occurred to me, frowning over this, is how difficult it is to read some Shakespeare due to overfamiliarity.

    It's easy to miss the emotional modulation here - from "be cheerful sir" to a melancholy reflection on life's transience, to "my brain is troubled... a turn or two I'll walk, To still my beating heart".

    But also, the words themselves are so familiar - "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep". It's easy to pass over the poignancy of refering to life as "little". (Noticing now too that "rounded" might be related to "the great globe itself".

  13. #42
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    Also 'thin air' - a phrase you don't even think about when you use it, but how economical a way to suggest substancelessness.

  14. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenks View Post
    I always loved this from Othello:

    Soft you, a word or two before you go.
    I have done the state some service, and they know't.
    No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
    When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
    Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate,
    Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak
    Of one that loved not wisely, but too well;
    Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought,
    Perplexed in the extreme; of one whose hand,
    Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
    Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
    Albeit unused to the melting mood,
    Drops tears as fast as the Arabian trees
    Their med'cinable gum. Set you down this.
    And say besides that in Aleppo once,
    Where a malignant and a turbaned Turk
    Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
    I took by th' throat the circumcised dog
    And smote him--thus. [He stabs himself.]
    I would like you to explain in some detail why you have always loved this.

  15. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    I would like you to explain in some detail why you have always loved this.
    Hi - long day actually teaching Y7s Shakespeare so don't expect total lucidity at this point

    so...this speech is the end of a bloody, gruesome and quite unpleasant play where all kinds of base and vile things are said and here the title character has hidden a dagger from his captors. he knows he is going to kill himself and he is trying to write his own epitaph - he is trying to explain to the authority what kind of man he thinks he is - he's not the wife killing ogre of racist imagination instead he is someone who stood up for Christians - slew the base Turk in Aleppo - of course he killed him for traducing the state, unconsciously reinforcing the violence that litters the play.

    It is a self serving and piteous epitaph that, if taken on its own, might be persuasive but in the context of the play is shot through with irony - why say 'and no more of that' - he wants it acknowledged even when saying eh doesn't. Unlucky here also has overtones of unhappy - the two were related in Elizabethan times but there is that idea that Othello was 'unlucky' to be played by Iago so completely - but was it luck? Othello had that capability within him. What would it mean for these rich white Venetians to speak of Othello 'as I am.' ?

    in simple terms it's the beauty of the iambic at work that allows for the appearance of normal conversational speech but it is heightened by the appeal to the exotic - the simple simile of 'The base Indian' which reminds us of the way Othello wooed Desdemona with his exotic tales of travel and danger. The use of the syntactic parallels in 'of one' used four times to create a heft of rhetorical weight in his summing up of himself. The use of the lovely assonance in 'whose subdued' and 'mood' followed by the alliterative 'm' in the 'melting' 'mood' and 'medicinal' all used to give this long low sonorous howl of loss that then is undercut but 'remember this' and the violence.

    There is so much going on - from a plot point of view, from a character point of view (even in his death he doesn't know himself and thinks he can control a narrative he has never been in control of) from a pure poetical point of view but maybe most from a dramatic point of view - as a piece of script for an actor to deliver - the pauses/ full stops in the middle of lines, suggesting him having to stop, possibly break down before moving on.

    hope this is kind of what you wanted.


    Soft you, a word or two before you go.
    I have done the state some service, and they know't.
    No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
    When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
    Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate,
    Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak
    Of one that loved not wisely, but too well;
    Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought,
    Perplexed in the extreme; of one whose hand,
    Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
    Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
    Albeit unused to the melting mood,
    Drops tears as fast as the Arabian trees
    Their med'cinable gum. Set you down this.
    And say besides that in Aleppo once,
    Where a malignant and a turbaned Turk
    Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
    I took by th' throat the circumcised dog
    And smote him--thus. [He stabs himself.]

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  17. #45
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    I didn't expect ANYTHING, especially not that fast, so thanks!

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