shakespeare is my one true love

OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

okay, brief thesis statement: as you like it is the play where you most directly see shakespeare trying to cope with marlowe’s death.

i’ll explain that in more depth, but first, a little bit about marlowe!

christopher (kit) marlowe was not only another playwright in the period—he began writing before shakespeare, and he basically created elizabethan theater as we know it. he was lower class (the son of a shoemaker), and had by some miracle managed to get scholarships to posh schools, starting with the king’s school in canterbury and continuing up through cambridge, where he studied classics. and by “studied classics” i mean “became the first person to translate ovid’s deeply filthy sex poems into english,” because that’s the sort of person marlowe was. he subsequently quit academia to go into theater, which was, as my prof put it, basically the equivalent of announcing today that you want to put aside your ivy league education for a career in porn.

let me give you a sense of the kind of person kit was

  • we know a lot about his life from his arrest record
  • he might have been a spy???
  • by which i mean he ~mysteriously came into money~ while at cambridge (we know because we have records of the moment when he started buying drinks for everyone. kit.)
  • he might have been an atheist???
  • whether or not he was, he definitely was fond of telling people (in 16th century england!!!) that jesus was gay
  • i’m not kidding
  • he’d walk up to people and be like: “so, jesus christ was totally fucking his apostles. thoughts?”
  • IN SIXTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND
  • so it is probably not surprising that he died violently at a young age (*quiet sobs*)
  • he got stabbed in the eye in a bar fight at age 29
  • but wait! even his death is mysterious!!!
  • twelve days before his murder, a warrant was issued for his arrest on vague charges of blasphemy. ten days before, he was called up in front of the privy council, but they didn’t meet for some reason. there were rumors that he was going to implicate some pretty high-up nobles in a SECRET RING OF ATHEISTS.
  • there’s more, but basically, there was SHADY SHIT going on, and in the coroner’s report, it says refers to the fight as being over “the reckoning,” which could either be SUPER OMINOUS or be about who would pay the check.

which brings me to as you like it! given the coroner’s report, the lines quoted in that post i reblogged read a little differently:

When a man’s verses cannot be understood, nor a
man’s good wit seconded with the forward child
Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a
great reckoning in a little room. (III.iii.9-12)

ha

hahaa

hahahajsdkh;aseljdlk;fgjehoirjasfd;lk

(and this comes in a scene where the characters discuss poets/poetry and whether to be “poetical” is to be honest, and how truth can be communicated through fiction aaaaAAAAAAAAAAHHH)

*muffled weeping*

see, shakespeare and marlowe were really, really close. they had a friendly rivalry and were having all the sex. their plays constantly reference/one-up each other. marlowe wrote the jew of malta, so shakespeare wrote the merchant of venice. marlowe wrote edward ii, so shakespeare wrote richard ii. and so on and so forth. in each other they each found an intellectual equal, someone who could not only keep up, but challenge them—something pretty rare for both of them.

and then, out of the blue, marlowe dies.

a lot happens out of the blue in as you like it. the plot moves forward with these lightning-strike revelations (suddenly, they’re in love! suddenly, a lion! suddenly, the duke goes to live in a monastery!). it’s comic, but also disorienting, and the characters struggle to keep their balance as their world shifts around them.

the through-line of love at first sight, which constitutes several of those sudden, shocking events, isn’t subtle, and is most clearly pointed out by phoebe when she says:

Dead Shepherd, now I find thy saw of might,
‘Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?’ (III.v.82-83)

want to know why that bolded line is in quotes? because it is a quote.

from marlowe.

specifically, from marlowe’s poem hero and leander.

so, shakespeare bases the main plot conceit of ayli on a quote taken directly from marlowe (ABOUT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT I’M GOING TO DIE) and then proceeds in the same play to reference the “great reckoning” and to write, in a speech by jacques: “the scholar’s melancholy, which is / emulation” (IV.i.10-11).

THE SCHOLAR’S MELANCHOLY, WHICH IS EMULATION

THE SCHOLAR’S MELANCHOLY, WHICH IS EMULATION

*lies down on the ground*

*tries not to cry*

*cries a lot*

okay i’m losing the ability to talk about this coherently but basically shakespeare was devastated by marlowe’s death and as you like it is his tribute to kit and it destroys me

4

To the anon who messaged me, here are the photos you asked for. And to those who have not yet seen this card/letter, this is a card from my personal collection sent from Jeffrey Dahmer to one of his pen-pals in 1994 while he was incarcerated. The card folds out and on the inside there is a typed letter to his pen-pal, Mary; one of the very few people that Dahmer wrote to while in prison. The card itself is hand signed ‘Love, Jeff’. As you can tell from the letter, Dahmer was quite the sweet talker and is actually very charming. In the letter he quotes William Shakespeare and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  

♔Shakespeare Starters♔: HAMLET
  • This above all: to thine own self be true. 
  • There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. 
  • But never doubt I love.
  • To die, to sleep; to sleep: perchance to dream.
  • Frailty, thy name is woman!
  • For in that sleep of death what dreams may come?
  • Be all my sins remember’d!
  • He will never come again.
  • But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
  • One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
  • We are arrant knaves all, believe none of us.
  • God hath given you one face, and you make yourself another.
  • Tis the times’ plague, when madmen lead the blind.
  • Madness in great ones must not unwatched go. 
  • Remember me.
  • Something is rotten in the state of ________. 
  • Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. 
  • To be, or not to be: that is the question.
  • What a piece of work is a man!
  • He is dead and gone.
  • A little more than kin, a little less than kind.
  • ‘Tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart.
  • The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
  • I must be cruel only to be kind.
  • So full of artless jealousy is guilt.
  • The Devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape.
  • In my heart there was a kind of fighting that would not let me sleep. 
  • Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
  • Our wills and fates do so contrary run.
  • I shall not look upon his like again.
  • We fat ourselves for maggots.
  • By heaven, I’ll make a ghost of him.

Honestly if I could travel back in time and ask Shakespeare one question it would probably be “What the FUCK happens to Benvolio after Act III??”

Soulmate AU of my life in which I find that the words on my arm are the first line of a Shakespeare play, so I start going to all kinds of Shakespeare performances and events in hopes of meeting the actor who I will one day hear say that line. As the years go by, I still never meet that person, but I fall deeper and deeper in love with Shakespeare’s words. Eventually, I die without ever meeting my soulmate, but I’m not bitter, because I finally realize that my truest love was just Shakespeare all along.

The course of true love never did run smooth.

The course of true love never did run smooth.
- William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act I, Scene I

@glerasaurus  /  @aph-fedya
@aphmoonchild
@fearynnacosplayymc

I’m incredibly sorry that i couldn’t finish one picture for each of you so far (i hopefully will sooner or later) so for now one picture has to be enough
I’m so sorry

BTW America’s not wearing his bomber jacket; only his uniform mainly bc i accidentally saved only png and than SAI crashed and i realized that the bomber jacket had still been a hidden layer …so no bomber jacket…

Keep reading

Shakespeare Edition {Sentence Starters}
  • "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
  • "Now is the winter of our discontent."
  • "True is it that we have seen better days."
  • "To be, or not to be: that is the question."
  • "Parting is such sweet sorrow!"
  • "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
  • "Neither a borrower nor a lender be."
  • "This is the short and the long of it."
  • "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"
  • "Tempt not a desperate man."
  • "I have not slept one wink."
  • "But love is blind, and lovers cannot see."
  • "Men of few words are the best men."
  • "Brevity is the soul of wit."
  • "This above all: to thine own self be true."
  • "Out, damned spot!"
  • "Can one desire too much of a good thing?"
  • "There's daggers in men's smiles."
  • "Though this be madness, yet there is method in it."
  • "The course of true love never did run smooth."
  • "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."
  • "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"
  • "True nobility is exempt from fear."
  • "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions."
  • "I'll not budge an inch!"
  • "I will speak daggers to her, but use none."
  • "What's done is done!"

belinsky  asked:

OMG, WHERE IS IT IN MUCH ADO? i have. never paid much attention to that play. tbh. D: i like it, i do!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH. IT’S ACTUALLY TWO SUCCESSIVE PRONOUN CHANGES AND IT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT. (Also publishing this because I feel like lengthy Shakespeare metavomit belongs on my blog because FEELINGS.)

Okay, so Claudio has just been a COMPLETE DOUCHE to Hero on their wedding day. Beatrice is understandably upset, she’s freaking out with just her and Benedick standing there onstage and he’s being really awkward like WHAT DO I DO. I DO NOT APPROVE OF WHAT CLAUDIO’S DOING BUT HE’S MY BEST FRIEND SO. OH GOD PLEASE STOP CRYING. So he tells her he doesn’t want her to cry (awwww). And then says he thinks Hero’s been mistreated and asks if anyone can help.

They’re both using “you” at this point.

So Beatrice is all SOMEONE SHOULD DO SOMETHING BUT IT’S NOT YOUR JOB STEP OFF. And suddenly, out of the blue, Benedick says: “I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is that not strange?” Beatrice is thrown for a loop and her response is basically WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTT OH GOD ME TOO MAYBE SORT OF “I CONFESS NOTHING NOR I DENY NOTHING” ALSO THIS IS REALLY NOT THE TIME HERO IS BEING PUBLICLY HUMILIATED.

Benedick immediately latches on to her sort-of confession of similar feelings and starts using “thee” because SHE LOVES HIM TOO. *stars in his eyes* He presses her, she gives a full admission, he freaks out like I KNEW IT “BID ME DO ANYTHING FOR THEE.”

“Kill Claudio.”

*THE MOST AWKWARD SILENCE*

*EQUALLY AWKWARD LAUGHTER*

No, of course not.

OH OKAY BYE THEN.

NO WAIT STAY.

At this point she starts saying he doesn’t really love her because if he did he’d be willing to kill Claudio for what he did to Hero. She is still emphatically, pointedly using “you” against his thees and thous and thines. She wishes to be a man so she could kill Claudio herself (“I WOULD EAT HIS HEART IN THE MARKET-PLACE” dear gawd Beatrice I love you). She rants and raves, Benedick keeps trying to interject but gets cut off faster and faster each time while she keeps yelling about IF ONLY I WERE A MAN OR HAD A FRIEND WHO WAS ALSO A MAN AND NOT A COMPLETE WUSS.

F I N A L L Y  he gets a word in edgewise.

“By this hand, I love thee.”

“Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.”

And then.

AND FUCKING THEN.

(in my head!direction, the most pregnant and thoughtful of pauses)

“Think you in your soul that Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?”

“Yea, as sure as I have a thought or soul.”

“Enough, I am engaged; I will challenge him.”

THERE. In that moment, Benedick takes a second to realize that his SHOULDN’T WE TALK ABOUT HOW IN LOVE WE ARE approach is exactly the wrong one at this time; Beatrice is furious about the injustice done to Hero, she does not need romantic overtures, she needs action. He denies it for a while, he tries to act like the lovesick puppy he is, he tries to push aside the whole Hero thing because he’s so conflicted (he knows what happened was wrong and cruel, but Claudio’s his best friend, has always been his best friend), but with that pronoun change, that simple “thee” to “you,” he’s taking a step back and respecting her thoughts and feelings. HE ACKNOWLEDGES HER RIGHT TO BE UPSET AND THEN HE RESPECTS IT WITH FORMAL LANGUAGE. BECAUSE SHE IS TRULY AND DEEPLY CONVINCED OF CLAUDIO’S WRONGNESS HE WILL SUPPORT HER. In this moment, there is a studied consciousness of her feelings, her thoughts, her personhood, the value of her soul.

I. JUST. CANNOT.

zoopdeloop  asked:

i don't know a lot about marlowe but i really really like as you like it! could you talk about how you feel about as you like it and marlowe?

OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

okay, brief thesis statement: as you like it is the play where you most directly see shakespeare trying to cope with marlowe’s death.

i’ll explain that in more depth, but first, a little bit about marlowe!

christopher (kit) marlowe was not only another playwright in the period—he began writing before shakespeare, and he basically created elizabethan theater as we know it. he was lower class (the son of a shoemaker), and had by some miracle managed to get scholarships to posh schools, starting with the king’s school in canterbury and continuing up through cambridge, where he studied classics. and by “studied classics” i mean “became the first person to translate ovid’s deeply filthy sex poems into english,” because that’s the sort of person marlowe was. he subsequently quit academia to go into theater, which was, as my prof put it, basically the equivalent of announcing today that you want to put aside your ivy league education for a career in porn.

let me give you a sense of the kind of person kit was

  • we know a lot about his life from his arrest record
  • he might have been a spy???
  • by which i mean he ~mysteriously came into money~ while at cambridge (we know because we have records of the moment when he started buying drinks for everyone. kit.)
  • he might have been an atheist???
  • whether or not he was, he definitely was fond of telling people (in 16th century england!!!) that jesus was gay
  • i’m not kidding
  • he’d walk up to people and be like: “so, jesus christ was totally fucking his apostles. thoughts?”
  • IN SIXTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND
  • so it is probably not surprising that he died violently at a young age (*quiet sobs*)
  • he got stabbed in the eye in a bar fight at age 29
  • but wait! even his death is mysterious!!!
  • twelve days before his murder, a warrant was issued for his arrest on vague charges of blasphemy. ten days before, he was called up in front of the privy council, but they didn’t meet for some reason. there were rumors that he was going to implicate some pretty high-up nobles in a SECRET RING OF ATHEISTS.
  • there’s more, but basically, there was SHADY SHIT going on, and in the coroner’s report, it says refers to the fight as being over “the reckoning,” which could either be SUPER OMINOUS or be about who would pay the check.

which brings me to as you like it! given the coroner’s report, the lines quoted in that post i reblogged read a little differently:

When a man’s verses cannot be understood, nor a
man’s good wit seconded with the forward child
Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a
great reckoning in a little room. (III.iii.9-12)

ha

hahaa

hahahajsdkh;aseljdlk;fgjehoirjasfd;lk

(and this comes in a scene where the characters discuss poets/poetry and whether to be “poetical” is to be honest, and how truth can be communicated through fiction aaaaAAAAAAAAAAHHH)

*muffled weeping*

see, shakespeare and marlowe were really, really close. they had a friendly rivalry and were having all the sex. their plays constantly reference/one-up each other. marlowe wrote the jew of malta, so shakespeare wrote the merchant of venice. marlowe wrote edward ii, so shakespeare wrote richard ii. and so on and so forth. in each other they each found an intellectual equal, someone who could not only keep up, but challenge them—something pretty rare for both of them.

and then, out of the blue, marlowe dies.

a lot happens out of the blue in as you like it. the plot moves forward with these lightning-strike revelations (suddenly, they’re in love! suddenly, a lion! suddenly, the duke goes to live in a monastery!). it’s comic, but also disorienting, and the characters struggle to keep their balance as their world shifts around them.

the through-line of love at first sight, which constitutes several of those sudden, shocking events, isn’t subtle, and is most clearly pointed out by phoebe when she says:

Dead Shepherd, now I find thy saw of might,
‘Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?’ (III.v.82-83)

want to know why that bolded line is in quotes? because it is a quote.

from marlowe.

specifically, from marlowe’s poem hero and leander.

so, shakespeare bases the main plot conceit of ayli on a quote taken directly from marlowe (ABOUT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT I’M GOING TO DIE) and then proceeds in the same play to reference the “great reckoning” and to write, in a speech by jacques: “the scholar’s melancholy, which is / emulation” (IV.i.10-11).

THE SCHOLAR’S MELANCHOLY, WHICH IS EMULATION

THE SCHOLAR’S MELANCHOLY, WHICH IS EMULATION

*lies down on the ground*

*tries not to cry*

*cries a lot*

okay i’m losing the ability to talk about this coherently but basically shakespeare was devastated by marlowe’s death and as you like it is his tribute to kit and it destroys me

citiesofcoinandspice-deactivate  asked:

OK this may be a strange ask but I'm a high school student (17) reading Hamlet and I'm having a really difficult time getting into it. It's not that I don't like Shakespeare, b/c I enjoyed Macbeth, TMOV, Henry V, Julius Caesar + others - I'm just really not enjoying Hamlet. Do you have any great insights or cool ideas that might make it more fun to study? Or any tips? I'm so sorry if this ask is weird and needy, but yeah, if you have any ideas, that would be GR8

wow, i’m really flattered that you’d ask me! i’m not sure i have an answer for you, but i can give it a shot. and if my response isn’t what you’re looking for, i’ll refer you to maddi, who is more into hamlet than i am.

hamlet is a difficult play in a lot of ways–famously difficult in terms of performance, but that’s largely because while it’s brilliant literature, it’s not shakespeare’s best dramatic work; it’s HUGE and unwieldy and places a massive burden on the lead by making hamlet himself so accessible to the audience (he has all these soliloquies and speeches, we’re really invited into his headspace, and making all of that musing into one coherent production is a challenge!)

as a result, the best way to really get hamlet as a play is to watch not one production, but many. which is time-consuming and difficult, i know! but the thing is that with so much material to grapple with, productions tend to be uneven, and they’ll get a few things right and a few things wrong, sometimes in surprising ways. like mel gibson’s hamlet, which is terrible–he’s terrible (though occasionally surprising on the comic parts) and they cut the text to shreds (it’s like an hour long, which is RIDICULOUS), but the setting is good and helena bonham carter as ophelia is pretty stunning. moreover, people who play hamlet tend to connect with one particular soliloquy over the rest, and which one varies. i have a special fondness for david tennant’s hamlet because the soliloquy he really gets is the first one, “o, that this too too sallied flesh would melt,” and that’s my favorite. (actually, you’d be well off watching interviews with david tennant–his performance is patchy, but man does he ever understand the play and the challenges of putting it on)

one thing that i find makes hamlet difficult to connect to is that it’s so ingrained in our culture. a lot of the lines are tired, and it’s hard to read “to be or not to be” as the raw, emotional material it is when you’ve heard it quoted emptily, even mockingly, a million and a half times. even the critical literature surrounding the play has undergone cultural osmosis–lots of people who have never engaged with the text know that there was a lot of talk of oedipus complex surrounding it. so it’s really really hard to divorce yourself from the cultural perception of hamlet and come to it on your own terms.

personally, i find the best way to do that is to read aloud. not only does it make the language easier, but it forces you to invest some of yourself in the lines, to find the emotional reasoning and feel the way the words are colored when voiced–i do believe it’s some of the best writing in the english language, and never is that more apparent then when you can taste it yourself.

for a start, some helpful links!

because that’s the thing–hamlet’s a big, dense text, there are a million ways to read it (as with everything, but intensified by the hazy history and motivations of everyone who isn’t hamlet and sometimes him as well), so sometimes you just have to come at it from a bunch of different angles until something pops

i hope this is helpful! if it’s not, i reiterate that maddi (and postcard, now that i think about it) are good resources. cheers!

anonymous asked:

If someone is just starting out reading Shakespeare (besides studying it for school), what do you recommend? What are your favourites? What ones are the best way to get a grasp on Shakespeare?

hmmm, this is a really good question! in truth the answer is going to be different for everyone–different people connect with different plays–but i’ll make an attempt to answer.

i’d say start with comedies! much ado about nothing and as you like it are two of my favorites. they have really fabulous ladies who talk circles around the menfolk who are besotted with them. there are a lot of shenanigans, quick banter, and sex jokes (well, with shakespeare there are always a lot of sex jokes). i also don’t think i’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like twelfth night, and there’s quite a good movie of that one (the 1996 trevor nunn adaptation).

in general, i’d say that’s a nice way to choose which plays to get at first–the ones with good adaptations available are going to be easier to really sink your teeth into. when it comes down to it, shakespeare is meant to be seen and heard, not read, and so i’d really recommend reading through a play and then watching it, because actual performances bringing the words to life add so much to the experience. with that in mind, some that you might consider:

  • henry v - kenneth branagh’s movie is really compelling, if you like war stories, the burdens of leadership, and patriotic speeches.
  • macbeth - patrick stewart and kate fleetwood (you can watch the whole thing legally online here). i actually haven’t seen this one, but i’ve been assured it’s one of the best productions out there. macbeth is a really well constructed play, and especially good if you like vicious scheming political wives, regicide, people going insane, and a lot of blood.
  • richard ii - THERE’S FINALLY A GOOD MOVIE VERSION!!!!!!!!! ben whishaw starring, the hollow crown bbc adaptation. slightly histrionic with the symbolism occasionally, but it’s chock-full of great performances, and the play is one that’s been relegated to obscurity for NO GOOD REASON. the fall of kings, resultant emotional breakdowns (richard’s and mine).
  • i’ve talked a bit about ways and means to get into hamlet (including filmed productions) here.
  • titus andronicus - julie taymor’s film, simply called titus. this is an enthusiastic recommendation because i love this play, but also a hesitant one because it’s weird and dark and potentially really triggering (lots of murder, mutilation, and rape).
  • the globe also has taken to filming their productions (JOY TO THE WORLD), which you can find online (… not so legally) with a little digging. particularly notable are henry iv part 1, othello (their iago is terrible, but to assuage that pain you can watch kbran’s movie version right after), and all’s well that ends well (aka a masterclass in fixing problem plays).

starting out reading shakespeare is hard! early modern english takes a little getting used to. use good editions (arden always and forever amen), take your time, read aloud when you can, and READ THE FOOTNOTES (after a while you’ll stop having to be quite so reliant on them, but they’re super important for getting the nuances of the language when you’re starting out).

BONUS: here are some fun other approaches to shakespeare!

  • slings and arrows, a canadian dark comedy about shakespearean actors, light of my life, quite possibly my favorite tv show ever.
  • 10 things i hate about you, a wonderful movie adaptation of taming of the shrew.
  • kiss me kate, same as above, but a stage musical! there’s a really good production of it that’s on youtube, starting here.
  • she’s the man, a movie adaptation of twelfth night.

i hope this helps! if any of my followers have suggestions, let me know and i’ll post those too. good luck in your quest, anon!

anonymous asked:

how come you like shakespeare so much? don't you think the importance of his contribution to english literature is a little bit inflated?

Well, you’re certainly timely, anon! All of my grad school apps are asking me the first question, so now is a good time to sort out my thoughts on that matter.

The second question is actually a separate issue in my opinion, so I’ll answer it first. The short (but unhelpful) answer is yes, probably. I think it’s fair to say that as a whole, the works of white men in English literature have been systematically emphasized and elevated so that our picture of what constitutes the important, influential canon is skewed. Shakespeare has undeniably benefited from that bias.

As dead white men go, though, I’d argue that Shakespeare’s about as deserving as you get. Obviously, his works are enduring–it’s not simply the academic community that’s obsessed with them. They persist in theater, in popular culture. They’ve helped shape our language to an astonishing degree (I’m sure you’ve seen the quoting Shakespeare poster, and that’s just phrases he coined, let alone popularized). Plenty of people more educated and intelligent than I have attempted to understand why exactly this is, so I won’t hazard a guess, but the mere fact of it speaks to something special, I think.

I will not argue with the contention that Shakespeare is idolized and placed on a pedestal to often absurd degrees–in fact, I think this is one of the major problems in Shakespeare criticism. There’s a lot of elitist, often classist bullshit that accompanies praise of him, to the point where Oxfordians and other conspiracy theorists actually believe he didn’t write his own plays because such works couldn’t possibly have been created by anyone middle-class. That’s fucked up! People have also tried to oust one of my favorite plays, Titus Andronicus, from the canon simply because it’s bloody and disturbing and awful and they can’t contemplate their ~pure pristine genius~ writing such a thing.

So no, I don’t believe Shakespeare was the ~pure pristine genius~ much criticism makes him out to be.

But he was a genius.

The man was so adept with words that hundreds of years later we’re still finding puns. Whole scenes can turn on a change of pronoun. He was an excellent dramatist, and his best plays are structurally almost flawless (which is not to say he didn’t write structurally bad plays). He was a master of marrying form and content–that is to say that the minutia of his writing often reflects the larger themes. I’ll give you a couple examples my Shakespeare prof used to demonstrate. 1) There’s a moment in As You Like It when Celia is arguing that Rosalind’s banishment deeply affects them both, and she says “Rosalind lacks then the love/Which teacheth thee that thou and I am one.” The emphasis is mine, because I cannot stress enough that she breaks grammatical rules–using a singular verb form for two people–in order to reinforce the statement that they’re a singular entity. 2) Once, a test question I had to answer was “what play are all these phrases from, and how can you tell?” The list was HUGE and intimidating and they were all only two words, without any context. So what was the trick? They were all oxymorons (bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, etc.), and you could thus infer that they were from the play that’s all about oppositions drawn together: Romeo and Juliet. Even on such a small scale, the language mirrors the larger concerns of the play!!! That is so fucking cool.

This is sort of seguing into why I love Shakespeare, which is a little bit harder to explain. What it boils down to is that I love Shakespeare because he speaks to me. I find his characters compelling, his poetry transcendentally beautiful. Even reading aloud Richard II’s  "Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs" soliloquy usually brings me to tears. I find his writing by turns funny, horrifying, profound, heartrending, joyous, filthy, inspiring, and endlessly intelligent. I’ve seen many of his plays in production and they have the power to move me–I’ve walked out of a theater bouncing with glee and smiling from ear to ear, just as I’ve risen for applause only to find that my knees are weak and my whole body shaking (no, really, I’ve had this experience).

Do I think you have to personally enjoy Shakespeare? No. I might be sad about it if you don’t, but I’m not going to say that you lack taste or wit or education. It’s not everyone’s thing. But it is my thing, on intellectual and emotional levels. There are lines I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hear without being affected by them (“How can you say to me, I am a king?” “Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?” “Sorrow concealed, like an oven stopped/Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is”), and I would be perfectly happy to immerse myself in these texts doing pointless minute analysis for the rest of my life.

God, I don’t know if I’ve even remotely begun to answer your question, but this is what I have. I find a beauty, an elegance and depth in Shakespeare’s writing that continues to astonish me even after years of study. That’s why I love him.

hotelsongs  asked:

So, Sidonie, how 'bout that Hiddles!Hamlet fancast?

ajfsd;lkjaweo;fijnmgfj;lasdj;ldj;lkejdflse MADDI IS A LIFE-RUINER BASICALLY

I sent most of the asks back right away with “NO STOP I HATE YOU” so let’s see if I can remember them all.

Hamlet: Tom Hiddleston
Horatio: Eddie Redmayne
Ophelia: Natalie Dormer
Laertes: Rob James-Collier
Polonius: Alfred Molina
Ghost: Stephen Dillane
Marcellus: Josh Dallas
Gertrude: Michelle Fairley
Fortinbras: Scott Handy

ummmmmmmmmm the only one I can’t remember is our Claudius

but suffice to say

maddi ruins lives

ETA: PAUL GROSS IS OUR CLAUDIUS HOW DID I FORGET?!?!?!

So I sent an email to my Shakespeare prof about the cast list for the BBC Histories

I said “I’m not sure I’ve ever been this excited before,” and he wrote back that he too is psyched, but hopes I’m being at least a little hyperbolic.

What if I wasn’t, though.

What if my Shakespeare professor, you know the one who gets excited about Shakespeare for a living is telling me I obviously can’t be that excited about Shakespeare and

I kind of

am?

What does that say about me?

anonymous asked:

Hi! First I have to say you are my most favorite blog! Your ASOIAF and Shakespeare feelings are the most perfect of all things. I also loved your Richard II meta and was wondering if you have any feelings about Shakespeare's Richard III. I'm reading the play right now for a course I am taking and would be fascinated to hear any of your thoughts!

Oh my goodness, thank you anon! You are the sweetest, and I’m so glad you enjoy my ramblings. <3 As to the question …

DO I HAVE RICHARD III FEELINGS.

HA.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

Considering it was one of the plays I wrote about in my high school senior paper and I performed a monologue from it in my Shakespeare class here at college, I think it’s safe to say yes. Yes, I have a lot of feelings about Richard III.

First, I would like to recommend that if you like the play and want to understand it better (so helpful for your course, I promise you), watch Looking for Richard, which is a documentary-ish thing about Al Pacino’s production which examines historical context, does some textual analysis, and shows you both workshopping and finished scenes with the actors. It is the most beautiful thing ever to be, and Pacino’s Richard is S T U N N I N G.

Because I haven’t actually reread the whole play in three years, I feel I can only talk with any authority about Richard himself, but lbr, he is the point. I mean, I feel like there are other interesting characters, but Richard. First of all, he’s a villain protagonist, the answer to the question “what if Othello were a play about Iago?” and therefore endlessly fascinating to me (villain stan here). His first soliloquy is one of the most glorious examples of a ZERO FUCKS GIVEN manifesto in literature; he calmly lays out the circumstances, lists his grievances, and decides to be the antagonist. DECIDES. BECAUSE THAT IS THE ONLY THING HE BELIEVES HE CAN DO WELL AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME IN THAT POLITICAL CLIMATE. UGH YES.

At the beginning of the play, Richard is methodical and accurate in the estimation of his strengths–because of his form (hunchback) he has never fit in with polite society, so he has to antagonize someone (and since there’s no war on …), and furthermore his strength lies in his words, not his body. And oh dear lord, his words. In the face of outright justified hostility and vitriolic hatred, he is so silver-tongued as to convince Lady Anne a) that he is not as bad as she supposed and b) to marry him, and he does it literally over her husband’s dead body. LITERALLY. He plays upon her emotions and twists her words so thoroughly that he convinces her of the falsity of her own feelings FOR THE MAN WHO ADMITS TO MURDERING HER HUSBAND AND HER FATHER.

WHAT.

W H A T.

And then.

AND FUCKING THEN.

The vast majority of my Richard feelings are concentrated in his last soliloquy, which imho is the perfect villainous breakdown, everyone else can go home.

Give me another horse: bind up my wounds.
Have mercy, Jesu!–Soft! I did but dream.
O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!
The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight.
Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.
What do I fear? myself? there’s none else by:
Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I.
Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am:
Then fly. What, from myself? Great reason why:
Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself?
Alack. I love myself. Wherefore? for any good
That I myself have done unto myself?
O, no! alas, I rather hate myself
For hateful deeds committed by myself!
I am a villain: yet I lie. I am not.
Fool, of thyself speak well: fool, do not flatter.
My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale,
And every tale condemns me for a villain.
Perjury, perjury, in the high'st degree
Murder, stem murder, in the direst degree;
All several sins, all used in each degree,
Throng to the bar, crying all, Guilty! guilty!
I shall despair. There is no creature loves me;
And if I die, no soul shall pity me:
Nay, wherefore should they, since that I myself
Find in myself no pity to myself?
Methought the souls of all that I had murder’d
Came to my tent; and every one did threat
To-morrow’s vengeance on the head of Richard.

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH. LOOK AT THIS. LOOK AT THIS GLORIOUS HEARTBREAKING OPAQUE PERFECT TEXT. I JUST. CAN I JUST. I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS.

This is a speech that has to be acted, you have to act the everloving fuck out of every moment just to make the slightest bit of sense of it. You have to chew on it, savor it, wring the emotional content from it (and there is SO MUCH). Because look at these blatant contradictions! In one line, you get: “Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am.” WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT. From uncertainty to assured “of course not” to considering self-reflective pained "yes, and it’s me.“ IN. ONE. LINE. The extent to which you have to engage your face and body to communicate the meaning here, the extent to which you have to utilize pauses and silence and show your thoughts on your face is completely absurd. This continues throughout the speech, this dichotomy of his confidence versus his conscience ("I am a villain: yet I lie. I am not.”), and it is tearing him apart. This speech is a battlefield, far more than the actual physical war he will fight on the morrow, and it culminates in that moment, that perfectly situated perfectly worded perfectly simple perfectly destructive “I shall despair.”

I

shall

d e s p a i r.

Nine times out of ten when I do this speech, I am genuinely crying by that point, because this is Richard, who believes most strongly in himself, who spends the whole play praising himself for his cleverness, who rejoices in his sins and takes ugly pleasure in the pain of others, who sits at the center of this tragedy with blood on his hands and a smile on his lips until suddenly he doesn’t. Suddenly he can’t muster up the walls he used to divide his head from his heart, and the result is a moment of complete understanding, a recognition of the horrid truth of his situation that completely and utterly destroys him.

He is alone.

He is unloved.

He is guilty.

I


shall


despair.


That is all.

so playing feste is an absolutely ridiculous amount of fun

we just finished the twelfth night reading! it was rough around the edges but also ridiculous and silly and wonderful

everyone was pretty fab and had a blast with it (sebastian and antonio milked their scenes for all they were worth, it was perhaps less touching than i’d like an actual production to be but also hysterical)

probably the best ad lib that happened was when, as the pace picked up when everything was being revealed, olivia and orsino started stumbling over each others’ lines (bc at the faster comedic clip the names are hard to differentiate on the page)

and at one point this happened:

SIR ANDREW: The Count’s gentleman, one Cesario. We took him for a coward, but he’s the very devil incardinate!!!
OLIVIA: My gentleman–
ORSINO: [with a jealous glare at Olivia] MY GENTLEMAN, CESARIO?????

everyone fell over laughing, it was beautiful

:D :D :D

man, scholarly writing about titus andronicus is the weirdest shit

‘And Make Two Pasties of Your Shameful Heads’: Medicinal Cannibalism and Healing the Body Politic in Titus Andronicus

u r beautiful 2 me