understand shakespeare


@litladiesnetwork’s second event  ➝  favorite minor female characters
    ↳  ophelia, hamlet

there’s fennel for you, and columbines. there’s rue for you, and here’s some for me. we may call it herb of grace o’ sundays. o, you must wear your rue with a difference! there’s a daisy. i would give you some violets, but they wither’d all when my father died.

I’m sick of hyper competent female characters with man-child leads who still manage to save the day (by being themselves)

give me a messed up female lead who’s super power is sometimes getting drunk and sprouting lighter fluid from her hands (her s/o is a flame demon)

give me a female lead who tries to rob banks with an uber

give me a female lead who hasn’t slept in 3 days and keeps hearing colors, she saves the day anyway by being the loser who solves sudoku puzzles

give me female assassins with a sense of humor, she yells ‘KILL MODE’ in a robot voice and then laughs when her colleagues almost wet themselves

Give me hyper-literal Shakespeare enthusiasts who don’t understand Shakespeare, she time travels and saves the universe through bad 90s rap music

Give me trash knights who are afraid of the dark, she’s awkward in front of girls but goes to save the princess anyway

Give me character-driven pieces, give me flawed but likable, give me powerful losers, down with girl power up with fun

guys get to be goofy, girls get to suffer and call that character development

When the signs read Shakespeare
  • Aries: I'm not even going to pretend that i understand this.
  • Taurus: Shakespeare speaketh to me on levels that thou couldst never comprehend.
  • Gemini: I don't speak vintage.
  • Cancer: *understands one sentence* oooOOOOOOoooh i could get a hang of this.
  • Leo: *Friends like it* this is awesome! *Friends dislike it* Yeah it's like whaaat?
  • Virgo: You can get that... yep that play script... and put it in a different building to me.
  • Libra: This just isn't my day.
  • Scorpio: Idk about you... but i'm pretty sure this guy is talking about sex.
  • Sagittarius: Wait we have to memorise this?
  • Capricorn: I wouldn't read this out of choice but since you're forcing me to... THIS IS GREAT. (
  • I really like Shakespeare)
  • Aquarius: Is this dyslexia?
  • Pisces: *starts imagining a melodramatic dance sequence to one of Romeo's monologues*
on struggling actors, the $200 pilot, and the queering of blue-collar masculinity on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

One of the keys to understanding It’s Always Sunny in Philadlephia is the original pilot – the notorious “$200 pilot.” According to this much-mythologized origin story, the original pilot wasn’t set in Philadelphia at all; it was set in LA, and all the characters were struggling actors. FX agreed to produce the show on the condition that they set it in a different location because nobody cares about struggling actors in LA; Rob McElhenney decided on his own hometown, and thus It’s Always Sunny on Television became It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

This decision, which I’m sure everyone viewed at the time as a mere concession to a minor network note, had HUGE repercussions. To understand why, let’s examine one particular scene: the scene in which Mac first meets and flirts with a trans woman named Carmen.

The original pilot would end up being reshot as the Season 1 episode “Charlie Has Cancer,” and on the surface, the differences between the two versions are minor. The basic arc of the scene is the same in both: Mac starts out transphobic toward Carmen, then immediately softens and warms toward her as she flatters his ego. In the pilot, struggling actor Mac has this exchange with her:

MAC: “Is that a penis in your pants?”
CARMEN: “Yes.”
MAC: “You lied to me.”
CARMEN: “No I didn’t. You lied to me. Pharmaceutical sales? Please! I saw you on that episode of Law and Order.”
MAC: “No, don’t turn this ar–Law and Order?” [beams] “You saw that? Yeah? Really? Did you like…?”
CARMEN: “You were really good, actually.”
MAC: “You think so? I thought I was a little over the top.”

(Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vfkNnBTUrY)

That’s the struggling-actor version. Now see how this scene was rewritten for the Philadelphia version:

MAC: “Is that a penis in your pants?”
CARMEN: “Yes.”
MAC: “You lied to me.”
CARMEN: “No I didn’t. You lied to me. You don’t work out? Please! I’ve seen you at the gym. You’re ripped.”
MAC: “No, don’t turn this around – wait.” [beams] “Really? You think so? I was afraid I was getting a little TOO ripped, you know?”
CARMEN: “No. I like it.”
MAC: “Wow.” [gazes at her, speechless]

What just happened here? In short, Rob/Charlie/Glenn have taken the vanity and insecurity of struggling actors – and instilled it instead in these blue-collar South Philly guys. The switcheroo is simple, but the effect is dramatic and destabilizing. We all know that struggling actors are always performing, always desperate for attention and validation – but suddenly, when you take the struggling-actor element out of the mix, it’s gender itself that becomes a performance. Mac’s goal in the LA version is to be a successful actor; his goal in the Philadelphia version is simply to be a man. All the men on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (but especially Mac and Dennis) constantly struggle to perform their gender, and when they fall short, the humor comes not from their lack of masculinity, but from the impossible demands of the gendered expectations to which they hold themselves.

I’m sure Rob/Charlie/Glenn weren’t consciously thinking about any of this when they decided to set the show in a bar in Philadelphia. But I believe this is the crucial decision that allowed the show to become everything it is now. I even suspect that Mac would never have become a gay character if the show hadn’t established itself from the beginning as a universe in which gender is malleable and toxic masculinity is a dangerous mirage. This is also why the D.E.N.N.I.S. System reads not as a misogynistic fantasy but as a blistering critique of misogyny and rape culture, and why the character of Dennis Reynolds investigates and satirizes the “ladies’ man” sitcom archetype so devastatingly that I can pretty much never watch How I Met Your Mother ever again.

(You could even make the argument that this is also why It’s Always Sunny has never successfully dealt with the topic of race – because investigating the construct of race isn’t baked into the central premise of the show the way investigating the construct of gender is – but that’s a topic for another day.)

In short: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, just like Shakespeare, understands that ALL human beings are struggling actors.

i found the character list for a supposed “children’s adaptation of twelfth night,” and upon first cursory glance i didn’t even register anything weird

yeah yeah all good nothing to see here—whoa wait a sec—

hang on, why does fabian’s name suddenly have an “o” at the end—and he’s a steward now too? o…kay…

feste is now “festy”??? and he apparently has a twin named “jesty”?????

who the FUCK

…in conclusion, i’m now incredibly confused

Did Hamlet love Ophelia?

I’ve been chewing in this question for months, and I think I have the foundation for interpretation I like: No, he did not love her romantically. But he tried to.
Let me elaborate.
I imagine Hamlet, after his father’s death, looked to Ophelia for comfort. He tried to distract himself from his pain and the corruption around him by trying to pursue a romantic relationship. He did care about Ophelia, at least to an extent. This much I think is proven at her funeral. However, I don’t think he ever found it within him to truly love her the way he pretended to. Hence “I did love you once… I loved you not.” Each love has a different meaning. The first “I cared for you,” the second “I am romantically attracted to you.”
After his mother’s marriage to Claudius, Hamlet’s opinion of women takes a turn for the worse. He becomes prejudiced against Ophelia through no fault of her own. However little he cared about hurting her, the sentiments he expressed in the nunnery scene and other moments stemmed from his feelings toward Gertrude more than they did his feelings for Ophelia.
TL;DR: Hamlet tried to initiate a romance with Ophelia to distract him from his grief, but for whatever reason he never felt a true love for her.

anonymous asked:

I find the things you say about Romeo and Juliet very interesting, but do you really think that they're the innocent victims of the feud when it was their own actions that destroyed them? Romeo killed two people and Juliet fooled everyone into thinking she was dead. Was it really their families' fault that they screwed up?

What you need to understand is that our actions can seldom be divorced from the context in which we make them. In spite of the prevalence of modern Western notions about being oneself, the complete freedom of the individual is an illusion. Whether you’re aware of it or not, what might feel like a free decision or an individual choice is actually thoroughly socially conditioned (think of all the things you can’t do if you have no money, if you’re of a certain race, or if you’re born into a certain social class). You might be forced conscript as a soldier, for instance, and that wouldn’t happen if there were no wars, if there were no army, and if, on a really fundamental level, your society didn’t operate on an us versus them dichotomy. You might even realise that you don’t agree with this war, that what you’ve been taught to believe in is an avoidable circumstance, and that there is a peaceful way out if only those in control would see it. But despite your awareness you might have to kill someone, and some might say at that stage that you made the choice to kill, but the fact is that you’ve been placed in circumstances largely out of your control in which you are constrained to act in a certain way, whether you believe in it or not. You might not be innocent, exactly, but you are still the victim of your circumstances. 

I believe that Romeo and Juliet are victims of the feud, but I’ve never said that they’re innocent victims. Many of Shakespeare’s tragedies depict complex situations in which people are inextricably bound up in the forms of society they inhabit. They often don’t have a choice to be innocent. Romeo and Juliet have internalised the toxicity of the feud in their own ways. That’s why as soon as Romeo learns Juliet’s name, he sees her as an enemy: ‘Is she a Capulet? / O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt’ (I.iv.230-1) and Juliet likewise reacts by calling the Montagues her ‘hate’ (I.iv.251) and her ‘enemy’ (II.i.81). But the wonderful thing about the play is that these two discover, in their love for one another, that there is an alternative to the way of thinking that they’ve been brought up to believe. The tragedy is that circumstances force them to act within the constraints that their love overcomes.

Yes, Romeo does kill two people. But if it weren’t for the feud, would he ever have been in the situation where he would have had to? Tybalt’s beef with Romeo has everything to do with the feud, and even Paris’ ill-fated interception of Romeo is framed in terms of the Montague-Capulet divide (see this post for more). In trying to pacify Tybalt, Romeo acts from the viewpoint that has opened up for him through his love of Juliet, but Tybalt doesn’t have that perspective, and it leads to the death of a best friend, which forces Romeo back into the feud. A similar point can be made for Juliet’s mock death. If her love for Romeo could have been approved, she would have had no need to make the decision to escape through such drastic means. Juliet’s in a triple bind: Romeo is a member of the enemy house; he has just had to kill Tybalt, making him even more hated and unacceptable in the Capulet household; and her family have decided that the best way to cure her sadness (which they think has been caused by Tybalt’s death) is to marry her off to someone else. It’s the worst timing for her to confess her secret marriage, but there’s no easy way out. If Juliet is forced into a situation where she has to fool her family to do what’s right (honouring her marriage), then they’re to blame for causing that situation. You must not forget either that they are so young; these are difficult situations even for older, more experienced people.

So what you call Romeo and Juliet’s ‘own actions’ are actually caused by the feud, and I don’t think you can say they ‘screwed up’ when they had so little choice in the actions that they could take. It is the families’ fault because they were responsible for the continuance of the feud, and it’s not just me who thinks this. The parties in the feud admit it’s their own fault too. The Prince says ‘Capulet, Montague, / See what a scourge is laid upon your hate’ (5.3.291-92), and Capulet calls the lovers ‘Poor sacrifices of our enmity’ (5.3.304).

Imagine being on your way to A-Levels. Problem: For English, your first foreign language, you have to read and understand Shakespeare’s Othello. While everyday English is no problem, you struggle with the way Shakespeare uses the language.
You decide to summon your very own Tom Hiddleston to have him help and motivate you to finish Othello. Turns out, during the summoning something went wrong and instead of Tom you have Loki standing before you. It was not very helpful to let your mind stray during the summoning and think of Tom’s various roles.
Now you have to keep the god of mischief entertained and read Othello at the same time… But as Loki is where he is and likes reading he figures he might as well carry out for what he has been summoned and agrees to go through the play with you. You make your way through the piece, more or less seriously at times.

anonymous asked:

Loved that rant, but now I’m curious. Shakespeare how it is taught vs how it should be?

dude. My dude. 

ok. so. this is based on my experience in two different american states and with seven different teachers in high school, then another six professors at college. 

But my dude. 

They teach shakespeare and send the kids home to read it in their own heads. I just?? you what??? it’s a play! A play! With Actors! It’s meant to be aloud, all the time. It was transcribed just for record keeping, not for study! The performance is the part that can be understood. the way that actors will pause in their reading to accommodate the way it scans? The fact that even a bad actor will give personality to a line? The way that in your head, most people hear everyone with exactly the same voice? The text will force you to interrupt each other, it will force you to give it life just based on the scansion! But only if you’re reading it aloud with friends!

PLUS they teach shakespeare like its this exalted immaculate thing. 

My dude, the opening of R&J is dick jokes and sex jokes. 

Most of Midsummer is sex and flirting and nods to bestiality and watching girls fight each other. 

Taming of the Shrew is deeply inappropriate for young readers, and yet they teach it like it’s about the grand experience. 

In High school they told me I wasn’t allowed to do a scene for our final because it was lesbians. Being the little shit that I was a 18, I told them that instead I’d do a selection of scenes from Shakespearean plays. They didn’t even read the scenes, just assumed it’d be dry and boring. 

I did every vulgar fight scene and dick joke I could find. No through line, no coherency between them, just violence and sex. Bc I was vindictive. People thought I changed the scripts. They thought I invented this shit. Nope, thats what Shakespeare actually is. It’s blood and violence and rage and bad decisions and anger and lust and glory.

Shakespeare isn’t boring. So why the hell do english teachers make it so boring? It’s about emotions. It’s about the impact, the words are just the vehicle. 

First exposure to shakespeare shouldn’t be in written form. It should be performance. Bring in live actors to do a reading of it if you can. Or take them to a play. Or if you have no other way, show them one of the better movie versions. Fuck. Show them the Baz Lurhmann R&J and let them actually frick-a-fracking understand the story! 

if shakespeare was alive today he’d probably be doing reality tv shows, or working on SNL. He was not this immaculate thing. some of his plays suck. Seriously, Coriolanus is terrible. Titus Andronicus is pretty much a snuff flick. But use those to explain to kids why the others are good! Use Hamlet and Othello to talk about how if the characters were in each others place, it wouldn’t be a tragedy. Use the plays to talk about how the audience knows from the start that R&J are gonna die and thats the damn point! They’re watching to see how these two idiots got themselves dead. Yes there are sweet moments, but the man set it in Italy for a reason. They are babies for a reason. He is calling out their bullshit. 

PLUS, students are smarter than most teachers give them credit for. If they have an interpretation of a play and can back it up? Thats as valid as anyone else’s opinion bc that’s how theater works! A Play is 40% actors, 40% audience and 20% script. 

It’s like asking music students to learn music by only reading the score. They can technically understand what it’s going to sound like, but for 99.999% of them, it’s going to have no impact bc music only exists on a page as a record for the next group performing it, that isn’t how its meant to be experienced. 

Shakespearean Sonnet

Originally posted by oliverqueennnx

Summary: Cheryl has never felt love from her parents, her friends, or anyone in that manner, so she doesn’t know what the big fuss is. But then you walk in.

A/N: I freaking love happy requests, so thank you anon!

Pairing: Cheryl x reader

The first day of school was always a bummer. The air was hot and sticky, the classrooms were humid, the chairs stuck to everyone’s thighs. And, of course, the teachers thought the first day would be a good time to drill knowledge into our sweaty minds. 

She passed out Shakespeare, different sonnets and stories to different groups. Cheryl looked at her sonnet, Sonnet 18, and noticed she was the only one with eighteen. When the teacher got to the front of the classroom, she clapped her hands to get the student’s attention.

“So, those with sonnets are going to read them aloud to the class then describe how the sonnet can be connected to real life. Let’s start with… Reggie.”

As Reggie walked to the front of the class, to crappily read the poem and his half assed interpretation, Cheryl looked over hers. Love, sappy love. Confusing, irrelevant love. Undeniably utter crap, no purpose love. The thought of love sickened Cheryl, it was something she never felt and never will. Cheryl looked up to see the class clapping for Reggie.

“Thank you Reggie. Let’s continue with Cheryl.”

She flipped her hair over her shoulder and stood at the front of the class. With a slight cough, she started.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
  So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
  So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Cheryl looked up from the page and looked at the teacher.

“I don’t understand how Shakespeare can make love sound so amazing when in reality, love is just a concept. Love is this imaginary concept that the human race created to make us not feel so alone all the time. Alone in the universe. To put it in simple terms, love is a cheesy gimmick and we are all dumb enough to believe it’s real.”

Then the classroom door opened, and a cold gust of air swept throughout the room. Cheryl looked over at the door to see you. She stopped breathing, heart thumping harder. She couldn’t move, she just stared at you. In your beauty.

That day, Cheryl felt love for the first time in her life.

boostudies  asked:

hi i just wanted to ask how do you study for Shakespeare?

Good dawning to thee, friend. The works of Shakespeare are infamously hard to read, but I actually took a semester of a Shakespeare-centered class in 11th grade, so here are some tips that I’ve learned!

1. Do not skim. In some books, the wording is fairly simple and the meaning is straightforward. When we read these books, we tend to go through the sentences really quickly, and eventually “zone out”/start skimming. However, when reading Shakespeare, if you don’t understand something, you can’t just skim over it! I suggest looking up the passage on No Fear Shakespeare (it’s very helpful–just make sure to read the translation AND the original passage). When I didn’t understand a sentence, I literally just went through it word by word and tried to piece it together–75% success rate.

2. Active vs. Passive Reading. This is kind of related to the previous paragraph, but it’s important to use active reading when you’re trying to understand Shakespeare! There are SO many instances of wordplay, and literary techniques are around every corner. Pay attention to small details!

3. It’s a play. (Not a novel) Read it as a play–pay attention to location, stage directions, etc. Remember that when a character is speaking in rhymes, that means they’re speaking more formally. When a character is speaking in prose, they’re speaking informally. Also, my English teacher used to tell us the entire plot of the story beforehand, so we could focus more on the telling of the story.

4. Pay attention to character relationships! In the beginning of the play, there’s always a character chart. Pay attention to that–there are often many, many characters in Shakespearean plays, and it’s really important to understand the characters’ relationships to each other! 

Just like studying any normal novel, I think the most effective thing is simply understanding all aspects of it. So once you understand it, just review the plot line, character arcs, some literary devices–and you’re all set! :)

Edit: I saw the tags in some of the reblogs and a lot of people also said get an edition with good footnotes! Footnotes are very very important for understanding obscure words and/or wordplay :)