The New Globe Theatre!

A version of Shakespeare’s 16th Century Globe Theatre in London as a 21st Century New Globe Theatre In New York. Sounds awesome! I just found out about The New Globe today and I’m really excited.

BUT! It’s just an idea at the moment and the idea needs more support. I won’t usually promote things like this on this website but I am a firm supporter of the arts and anything I can do to help – I will do. So check out the New Globe Campaign so that this cultural arts center can exist. Tell your friends too!

WOTD: Weal

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Antithesis: Playing With Opposites

To be or not to be…

You’ve heard it so many times that you may have forgotten to listen to the significance of these words. In these six words Shakespeare gives us two complete opposites: existing and not existing. This use of a word (or sentence) being placed against another to form a balanced contrast is known in rhetoric as ANTITHESIS.

Antithesis is a huge part of Shakespeare’s language. Nearly ever character uses it. Shakespeare was well educated in the art of rhetoric and forming an argument. Naturally, this is reflected in his character’s speech.

In antithesis you must “set the word itself Against the word” (Richard II, V.v) for a variety of different effects. A comparison of two antithetical or opposite thoughts can show a lot to the actor and audience alike. Two opposing ideas in a line can show a the scope of thought in a characters mind. Hamlet in the above quotation is contemplating two very serious ideas. Antithesis also very clearly and precisely illustrates though words the character’s meaning.

In MacBeth the witches chant “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” And later MacBeth comments on the occasion, “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” Foul and fair are two opposites and set against each other. What kind of day is it? You’d think this doesn’t make sense, but think to some of your own experiences. Have you said anything like that?

“She’s so mean, but I love her anyway.” “That class is great but I hate going.” “I shouldn’t eat it, but I can’t stop!” These all have antithetical elements in them. Each of these sentences are very dramatic. Explanation can be had for all of these but it isn’t necessary. When you put the two antithetical thoughts together in such a short phrase, you get drama. “I really enjoy our relationship together on occasion because we do fun things together such as swimming, shopping, watching movies and other things but you really have some habits that thoroughly annoy me at time as well and I’m conflicted with how I feel about you.” Where’s the drama there? How about “I love and hate you.” Whoa. NOW I want to know more about this relationship. DRAMA!

Shakespeare is great at crafting these concise and dramatic sentences together to create something the audience and actor alike can really sink their teeth into.

Not all are complete opposites though. “Our father’s love, is to the bastard Edmund / As to th’ legitimate” (King Lear, II.i). The opposite ideas here are the legitimate versus the bastard son. But Edmund us comparing his father’s love between them. One, or the other. When Marc Anthony says “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him,” (Julius Caesar, III.ii) he is setting bury and praise against one another even though they’re not opposite ideas.

Some acting books could go on for chapters about antithesis and rightly so. It’s pretty darn important for being able to play Shakespeare’s text. It’s a tool that the author has left you to use EVERYWHERE YOU CAN. Don’t neglect it. Antithesis will serve you well.

WOTD: Beldam

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Now showing: “The Bard Files”

Unfortunately it’s not a new Shakespeare based mystery TV show that I’m making – not yet at least. If you’d like to see that, please click the “Donate” button in the sidebar and contribute several thousand dollars.

It was worth a shot, right?

“The Bard Files” is a new section of posts I’m adding to the site. This is the section where the real facts will be posted. The Word of the Day section will slowly grow into a nice Shakespearean glossary; the Bard Files will eventually be a good first stop when doing some research. My goal is to answer common questions about Shakespeare with research, unlike my rants and raves in other posts.

Do you have any questions? Something you’d like to see answered on the site so you don’t have to do your own research? Feel free to ask. For starters I’ll be checking Google’s most common Shakespeare related research searches, and writing my own article on the subject.

The first in the series is How Many Plays Did Shakespeare Write? You can probably guess what the article is about.

Enjoy!

How Many Plays Did Shakespeare Write?

Shakespeare most likely wrote more plays than you think; some that aren’t included in your Complete Works of William Shakespeare. There isn’t a lot of original writings that have survived from Elizabethan England and dramatic literature is no exception.

Some of Shakespeare’s works were published in Quartos during his lifetime, about 18. Later on in 1623, the First Folio was published with 36 plays in it and was considered the first accurate source for Shakespeare’s text. Since then scholars have found evidence to attribute more plays to Shakespeare.

Your average Complete Works contains 37 plays, the First Folio only 36. The extra one is Pericles which was not yet published. Now we’re up to 37 plays without much argument. Two Noble Kinsmen was originally credited to Shakespeare and John Fletcher when first published in Quarto in 1634. Many accept that is was a joint effort between the two, but it isn’t included in some complete works editions. So far we’re at 38.

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WOTD: Giglot

It sounds like a laughing little pig. It’s a nice image, isn’t it?

giglot IPA Pronunciation: giglot
(n.) harlot, strumpet, wanton

ESCALUS
Away with those giglots too, and with the other confederate companion!
- Measure for Measure (V.i)

(adj.) whorish, fickle, giddy

QUEEN
The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point–
O giglot fortune!–to master Caesar’s sword,
- Cymbeline (III.i)

Mmm… more Shakespeare disses!

Green Eggs and Hamlet

I found this online and it made me smile.

I ask to be, or not to be.
That is the question, I ask of me.
This sullied life, it makes me shudder.
My uncle’s boffing dear, sweet mother.
Would I, could I, take my life?
Could I, should I, end this strife?
Should I jump out of a plane?
Or throw myself before a train?
Should I from a cliff just leap?
Could I put myself to sleep?
Shoot myself, or take some poison?
Maybe try self immolation?
To shudder of this mortal coil,
I could stab myself with a fencing foil.
Slash my wrists while in the bath?
Would it end my angst and wrath?
To sleep, to dream, now there’s the rub.
I could drop a toaster in my tub.
Would all be glad, if I were dead?
Could I perhaps kill them instead?
This line of thought takes consideration-
For I’m the king of procrastination.

Dr. Seuss and Shakespeare working together. We’ll get such great works as Horatio Hears a Who, Hop on Puck, and more.

Leave a comment with your favorite Seusspeare literature!