Squirmishes and Beslubbering

January 28th, 2016 → 5:55 am

    “Yea, and to tickle our noses with spear grass to make them bleed,
    and then to beslubber our garments with it
    and swear it was the blood of true men.” – Henry IV, Part I

I’m reading Henry IV, Part I right now, and I just finished Act 2, of the comedic sparring of Falstaff and Prince Hal scene.  In it was the line above with the word “beslubber,” meaning “to smear or cover.”  I realize that there were some different words in use in Shakespeare’s time, but beslubber?  It just seemed like such a squirmish to me I had to blog about it.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

ShakeDic: taffety punk

November 22nd, 2015 → 6:13 am

    “As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney,
    as your French crown for your taffety punk.” – All’s Well That Ends Well

“Taffety punk” is a prostitute that is finely dressed.  So much more evocative than “a prostitute that is finely dressed.”  I love it!  Was Julia Roberts the best taffety punk ever, or what?

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

Angel Street (Gaslight)

November 8th, 2015 → 6:41 am

    “‘Tis but the shadow of a wife you see;
    The name and not the thing.” – All’s Well That Ends Well

I went to a production of the play Angel Street (Gaslight) last night.  It portrays a woman psychologically abused by her husband.  I knew I was supposed to feel sympathy for her as I watched the play, but I just kept thinking, stand up for yourself already!  Believe in yourself!  Thank goodness the majority of women today aren’t so dependent on their husbands, as they were 100+ years ago.  Kudos to progress, however slow and marginal it seems at times!

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

Feminist Shakespeare

November 2nd, 2015 → 5:50 am

    “Good grows with her:
    In her days every man shall eat in safety
    Under his own virtue, what he plants; and sing
    The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours:
    God shall be truly known; and those about her
    From her shall read the perfect ways of honour,
    And by those claim their greatness, not by blood.” – Henry VIII

I just finished reading Women of Will by Tina Packer, a book that follows the feminine in Shakespeare’s canon.  It’s not an easy read, but it was interesting.  And it claims that Shakespeare was something of a feminist in his writings – generally showing their strength, insight, and most importantly love, as always the better alternative to war, fighting, and aggression.  I’m not sure I buy all the arguments in the book, but I’m all for love, not war, so call me a feminist too!

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

Shakespeare Porn

October 20th, 2015 → 5:18 am

The following is ostensibly about a horse:  😉

    “Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds,
    And now his woven girths he breaks asunder.
    The bearing earth with his hard hoof he wounds,
    Whose hollow womb resounds like heaven’s thunder.
       The iron bit he crusheth ‘tween his teeth,
       Controlling what he was controlled with.
    His ears up-pricked, his braided hanging mane
    Upon his compassed crest now stand on end;
    His nostrils drink the air, and forth again,
    As from a furnace, vapours doth he send.
       His eye, which scornfully glisters like fire,
       Shows his hot courage and his high desire.  – Venus and Adonis

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s English “Translations”

October 11th, 2015 → 5:54 am

    “Mincing poetry.
    ‘Tis like the forced gate of a shuffling nag.” – Henry IV, Part I

Apparently the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has decided that Shakespeare is too difficult for most people.  So they have decided to “translate” all of his plays and perform them in modern English.  Can I barf now please?  The little that has been leaked about these translations is so far awful.  Why do we keep dumming down the world?  Let’s maintain higher standards, please, and have faith in the ability of our fellow human beings to understand verse with just a little bit of effort.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

ShakeDic: lethe

October 7th, 2015 → 5:25 am

    “Here didst thou fall, and here thy hunters stand,
    Signed in thy spoil and crimsoned in thy lethe.” – Julius Caesar

Lethe refers to the river of oblivion in the underworld.  In classical Greek the word means oblivion, forgetfulness, or concealment.  This comes up in the play just after the senators have murdered Caesar and are covered (“crimsoned”) in his blood.

What a great river to imagine: Lethe.  I wish I could take a dip in the river Lethe every time I do a stupid thing, or a stupid thing is done to me.  Whenever I can not sleep at night, fretting over something ultimately unimportant, I wish I could get up, sip from the river Lethe, and let it all slip away…

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art


September 25th, 2015 → 5:52 am

    “The Devil Quotes Scripture” – The Merchant of Venice
    “Out, Damned Spot” – Macbeth
    “Unto the Breach” – Henry V
    “Die But Once” – Julius Caesar
    “Poor Yorick” – Hamlet

Has anyone else noticed the huge number of references to Shakespeare in the TV series Empire?  From the pilot episode where one of the son’s asks his dad, Hey, are you King Lear’ing us?, to practically every title of every episode so far (see episode list above)?  I love it!  I’ve just started watching the show and it is quite good – very engaging.  It’s like Glee, but for the mafia crowd.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

Julius Caesar

September 9th, 2015 → 5:12 am

I’ll be leading an online discussion of Julius Caesar in about a week – feel free to join the conversation if you can:  https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/303-shakespeare-fans. In the meantime, a favorite quote from the play:

“Et tu, Brute?” – Julius Caesar

This quote runs through my mind rather more often than it probably should, as I am, and always have been, innately distrustful of people.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art & Self/My Life

The Fault in Our Stars

August 31st, 2015 → 5:24 am

    “Men at some time are masters of their fates.
    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” – Julius Caesar

I’m not really a fan of teen romance movies, but I am a fan of Shakespeare references wherever they appear!  And I just realized, after seeing a production of Julius Caesar  the other day, that the title of the above referenced movie is based on the dialogue between Cassius and Brutus where Cassius speaks like a conservative Republican running for president and says – our fates are up to us, man! Take some responsibility!  The truth, of course, is that sometimes our fates are not under our control as in, for example, if you get cancer or not.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art