understanding 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).

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.

anonymous asked:

What do you think of No Fear translations?

I’m not very keen on them. I don’t think a modern-language translation is ever a match for the original because there’s no way of changing the wording and keeping all the nuances. It won’t be possible to judge how you feel about Shakespeare based on those translations. My worry is that the so-called ‘translations’ of No Fear Shakespeare are so misleading and dumbed-down that if you start with it, you might actually end up having to relearn the plays when you come to read it in early modern English.

I think it’s worth just jumping in at the deep end and tackling the text using a well-annotated edition (footnotes, not endnotes, for your sanity and comfort) instead of depending on a translation. You’ll familiarise yourself quicker with Shakespeare that way, and it’s more rewarding in the long run because you’ll actually acquire the language skills that will help you enjoy his writings. If you need help, it’s better to watch productions and listen to someone who knows how to speak the verse: it’s more helpful than an approximate translation.

Having said that, if No Fear Shakespeare does help someone to get into Shakespeare, use it by all means. No one can tell you what’s right for you personally, and it might be just the thing that gets someone into the plays. I would only warn people to use it with caution, and with the understanding that what you’re reading might not be entirely accurate.

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 :)

Sonnet 130 (Punk Luke)

So this was supposed to be a smut but then it just became a ball of fluff so there will but two more parts to this so I can put the smut in - Gigi

You were sitting in the local library reading through a text book; studying for your next exam. Your muscles in you bum and legs were all but frozen from sitting in the same position for hours.

“Hey, we are closing in fifteen minuets,” the old librarian said on her way past.

You closed the text book feeling pretty happy with what you had learnt. Once you had all your things you made your way out into the car park. It was just your car and a sleek black antique car.

You were lost in a world of equations and biology that you did not notice the figure standing in your path. He had his back turned to you, inhaling his cigarette.


“What the f-,”

You had ran into the back of Luke Hemmings, one of the toughest kids in the area. At only eighteen he had almost covered his whole body in tattoos and piercings, there was even a rumor that he had his penis pierced.

“I am so sorry,” you say before all but running away to your car.

Next Day

You had finished school for the day and was walking through the car park of the library when you saw the same black sleek car as last night.

Once in the library you saw a very odd sight. There sitting at the table in the middle of the room was Luke Hemmings. He was frowning at a book absently turning its pages. You walk past over to where you normally sit and started to study. Luke stayed until you left later that afternoon.

The next few days passed just the same Luke would be sitting at the table in the middle of the room frowning at his book and would leave at about the same time as you.

A week later you walked in and Luke was sitting at the chair across from where you sit; still reading his book. You took your seat, eyeing him carefully before starting to study. Occasionally you would glance up at him and he would be frowning; he was always frowning.

“Good book?” after hours of silence you finally ask. You assume the worst that could happen would be him telling you to fuck off.

“Umm.. sorta…” Luke looked up at you and your breath stopped, his eyes were beautiful, such an electric blue.

“What book is it?” you ask glancing down at it and you notice that he had been reading the same book for almost over a week.

“Shakespeares sonnets,” Luke left his finger the mark where he was at and showed me the cover. The tough boy Luke Hemmings was reading Shakespeares sonnets.

“So, you like Shakespeare?” you ask.

“I like listening to it. Though it is quite umm…difficult to read,” he said looking down embarrassed.

It was common knowledge that Luke had dropped out of school at the ripe age of fourteen and that even when he was at school he did very little; so his inability to read Shakespeare was understandable.

“I could help,” you offer quickly adding “if you want,”

He looked down at his book and then back up at you considering you offer.

“That-that would be nice,” he said.

You walked over and took the empty seat on his right and he laid the book between you both.

“Read out loud and I will help you with the words you don’t know,” you say and he starts to read.

“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses…”


“red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music…”


“a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
  And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
  As any she belied with false compare.”

Whenever Luke paused you were filled in the word. You could just listen to his deep voice for hours…and that is what I did.

“We are closing in fifteen minuets,” the librarian said as she walked past holding a book.

We had been sitting there for hours reading through Shakespears sonnets.

Luke silently walked you out into the parking lot which was empty save for the black car.

“You shouldn’t walk home in the dark,” Luke stated “I’ll give you a lift,”

You follow him towards his car, climbing in once he had unlocked it. It was very close to the ground…it looked like Dean Winchesters car.

“Just let me drop you on the corner or something, you don’t have to tell me where you live,” Luke said once the car started.

You gave him directions to the corner right near your house.

“Thank you for helping me,” Luke said sheepishly.

“I had fun,” you said smiling before climbing out of his car.

Karamel Fanfic #33

WARNING! Milld spoilers from Supergirl 2x17

Title: these violent delights have violent ends

Prompt: Kara and Alex watch over as Mon-El finishes Romeo & Juliet.

Word Count: 1574

Also posted on AO3

Notes: SURPRISEEEEE!!!! Guess who’s written a Karamel fanfiction at literally the middle of the night. But in my defense, I so was not planning to write any one-shots, so I started writing this after a split second decision and I just finished it at like 3:30, so if there’re any mistakes, I apologize dearly, it’s probably because of my sleepiness lol. But once my beautiful Karamel fam put this idea in my mind, I just couldn’t get rid of it and I HAD TO write it. Sooooo I wrote it.

Anyway, this was inspired by this post by @myfangirlinghq, who had a freaking amazing idea (you’re awe-and-some sweetie :D). I also wanna thank @thoughtsfromaclutteredbrain for tagging me and @contygold86 who gave me an idea and motivated me to write this at 2 a.m. in the morning, and also @stygian-omada-fan who was so excited for it and wanted to be tagged :) I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!

Kara couldn’t take her eyes off of Mon-El. She didn’t know for how long she’d been watching him from her spot at the DEO. It was probably longer than what would be considered normal, even getting to the point of stalking, yet she couldn’t help herself. He looked just so cute reading the last few pages of Romeo and Juliet.

Even after their conversation from the previous day, and Kara reminding Mon-El a second time that neither Romeo nor Juliet survived at the end, she knew he still held hope for the both of them. He didn’t want to believe, in his exact words, that “a love like that could end in such tragedy.” Apparently now he’d come to the part that said love ended in, well, tragedy.

Honestly, what did he expect? The play was in its name a tragedy.

Keep reading

I really don’t understand people’s elitism around Shakespeare, or any of the early modern playwrights really.
Take, for example, Will TNT. Yeah, it’s not accurate, it’s not true, but it’s fun. And if it gets people who otherwise wouldn’t have even thought about it interested, does it matter?

Does it matter if someone starts reading the complete works of Christopher Marlowe because they fancy him in the show? No. They’re still reading it, still learning and appreciating.

I fell in love with the works of William Shakespeare when I was twelve years old. Because I heard/saw something that captured my attention and I wanted to know more.
That “something” was a one man show of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in Swedish. I didn’t speak Swedish! But come September, I’m starting a Masters degree in Shakespeare studies. It would be hypocritical of me, of any of us I think, to belittle those who are finding the works of these wonderful playwrights through a tv show.

It’s a fun tv show? I, for one, am watching with enjoyment!