I here impórtune death a while, until
Of many thousand kisses the poor last
I lay upon thy lips.
Cymbeline, Act II scene III by Alfred Joseph Woolmer
I’m over here, but please do let me know who you are so I can follow you back!
Definitely! I can’t physically follow back with the Daily Shakespeare tumblr because it’s a “side blog,” but if you link me to your tumblr I’ll be very happy to follow you back on my main blog.
I’m afraid you may be in for a disappointment, though, cos I’m actually not that cool. :’(
I have mixed feelings, honestly! Casting popular actors does invite some wild behaviour from fans that are perhaps a bit too enthusiastic about that actor. For instance, a friend of mine was complaining about bad etiquette from some fans at Coriolanus with Tom Hiddleston, apparently they kept screaming and laughing during the performance.
Of course, not all fans are like this at all. And it’s not the actor’s fault, either - many of these popular ones have a lot of classical training and are very logical choices to play Shakespearean roles. I also do think that it’s very cool that popular actors are getting some young people more into Shakespeare, sort of like…a gateway drug that draws you into the world of Shakespeare and gets you addicted…which is probably a pretty terrible way of describing it, but you know what I mean (I hope)! Sometimes you need a popular actor to draw attention to a less commonly read Shakespeare play - and again, I’ll cite Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus as an example.There’s some people who never would have even known that play existed otherwise.
I know a lot of people will disagree with me and say that it’s getting people interested in Shakespeare for the wrong reasons, but anything that helps people see that Shakespeare is much more than something stuffy and boring you had to read in school is a good thing to me. (Although that’s not always the case and there are still people who go to see such productions and still have zero interest in Shakespeare when they leave, but I’m sure nobody wants me to blab on forever, and this response has already gotten far too long, so I’ll just stop now…)
Long story short - there’s good things and bad things, but I personally prefer to look on the bright side. :) It’s an interesting topic to debate, isn’t it?
If only my friends were as good at giving birthday presents as your wife! I’ve only seen one production of Othello before (the National Theatre production with Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear) and am dying to see another.
Thanks for the ego boost, and happy birthday! That was indeed awesome and in need of being shared.
And here I thought I was the only one who finds myself to be funny…
Don’t worry! Shakespeare definitely isn’t easy to read. It takes quite a bit of practice to be able to understand his language more easily, I think.
To start you off, here’s a handy guide to the thou/thee/thy/thine question.
There’s also things like No Fear Shakespeare that could be helpful, and lots of editions will also have the “modern translation” printed next to the original text. If you ask someone at your local book shop, I’m sure they could direct you to some good ones. There’s no shame in using these, of course, but I would advise against reading just the translations alone. And footnotes are always immensely helpful in explaining stuff like allusions or outdated words. Most editions (with or without translations) should have lots of footnotes.
Don’t be intimidated, nobody starts reading Shakespeare and is able to understand 100% right away, and anyone who says otherwise is either trying to show off, or time-travelled from the 16th century. The best thing to do is keep reading so you can get accustomed to and comfortable with the language! Some people think watching productions/film versions also helps because you can hear the lines actually spoken out.
The simplest way I can think of to describe prose is “everyday writing” without any particular rhythm or accents.
Shakespeare uses both verse (which I suppose could be thought of more of your typical “poetry,” there’s rhymed verse and blank verse, but that’s a wee bit of a tangent) and prose and his plays. Unless we’re looking at Richard II, which is entirely in verse, but again, I digress.
Back to your question - “prose poetry” is a bit of a hybrid. While it doesn’t have the structure that immediately comes to mind when you think “poem,” it still does retain poetic elements such as elevated sensory details, emotion, lots of imagery, etc.
I’m a theatre student, not an English student, so I’m not too good at explaining this sort of stuff! Nevertheless, I hope this was helpful, and if any other kind followers want to offer their wisdom (or correct me if I’ve said anything wrong), that would be lovely!