Daily Shakespeare

Your daily dose of Shakespeare quotes, pictures, sonnets, facts, and more. Always happy to answer questions and comments! see the links for more info.

Thou dost infect my eyes.
Anne (Richard III, Act I scene ii)
Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
And cry ‘Content’ to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
I’ll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I’ll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
I’ll play the orator as well as Nestor,
Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut, were it farther off, I’ll pluck it down.
Gloucester (Henry VI Part 3, Act III scene ii)

Regarding the question about religion during Shakespeare’s time that was asked yesterday, we’ve got two more responses! To the anonymous asker, I hope this helps!

capriciousflibbertigibbet: I’m just echoing the comment made by aeroncaris; while there is a possibility that Shakespeare’s family had Catholic sympathies/were Catholics, there is insufficient evidence either way to say with any certainty that they were/were not Catholics (though current evidence leads more to Protestantism). It’s an interesting line of debate in the scholarship though!

Anonymous: Hi! Re: faith in Shakespeare’s time: Catholicism wasn’t technically illegal, but due to threats from Spain, Mary Queen of Scots, etc, it became very dangerous to be Catholic or to appear to have sympathies. There absolutely was persecution, though often under the guise of crimes against the state. We don’t know if Shakespeare himself was Catholic- unlike Marlowe, he didn’t go round shouting about his beliefs. However, a document found in Stratford, if real, may show that his parents /were/.

So far I've only read Coriolanus and now I'm getting his complete works for eastern as a present. Is there any specific order you or your followers would recommend reading his other plays in? Like, start with his first one, or read the hollow crown series first...i hope you understand what i mean :)
asked by Anonymous

It would certainly help to read the history plays in sequence since some characters progress from one play into the next and it’s just easier to see the big picture and how events unfold chronologically that way.(the order is here). I would also recommend reading Julius Caesar before Antony and Cleopatra. As for the rest, I wouldn’t really say there’s a particular order you need to read them in, it’s all up to your personal preferences. :) Have fun! 

Shakespeare's parents were Catholics and had to hide it. Although Shakespeare never came out as a specific religion if his parents were Catholic he probably was too. You were not allowed to be Catholic in Shakespearean times and had to attend CofE mass on Sundays but yeah, the Puritans weren't so big that the theatres were shut down yet(still?). I'm not that great with History either, just love Shakespeare and also religion. Hope that was at all helpful :)
asked by Anonymous

Thanks for this! I’m so grateful that I’ve got followers who are willing to contribute when others ask questions. :’)

[Edit: There are many theories re: the religion of Shakespeare and his family since there’s such a lack of concrete evidence, so it’s hard to say if this is a definitive answer, either, but it’s certainly one point of view that some scholars support. (Thanks, aeroncaris!)]

could you explain what religion was like during Shakespeare's time?
asked by Anonymous

I’m not terribly good with history, but I’m pretty sure Protestantism was the queen’s religion and therefore considered the “norm.” Catholicism was outlawed, but Catholics weren’t violently persecuted during Elizabeth’s reign. Nevertheless, I think there was still quite a bit of discontent among some of England’s Catholic population. Puritanism was also a pretty significant movement during this time, when James I took the throne, it was generally considered as an acceptable form of Protestantism but many separatists weren’t satisfied with that for long, especially with the advent of the Thirty Years’ War. Then again, Shakespeare died a few years before the start of the war, I think, so tensions with the Puritans might not have risen that high quite yet in the period of time that we’re talking about. It’s not really known what religion Shakespeare himself adhered to, although I’m guessing he did have quite a bit of knowledge on the Bible since his plays are full of Biblical allusions. Some people think he/his family may have held Catholic sympathies, though. 

I’ve forgotten basically all of my history lessons from school (had to ask Google for a bit of help, ha), so this will probably explain it much better than I can. :P I wouldn’t be surprised if half of what I said up there turns out to be totally wrong. 

Congratulations to Rory Kinnear for winning the Best Actor award for his role as Iago at this year’s Oliviers! Well done, Mr Kinnear, and thank you for representing Shakespeare on stage this year. Here’s a video where he and his co-star Adrian Lester chat about their roles in National Theatre’s Othello

Can you recommend any website for watching various performances or other adaptations of Shakespeare's works? Reading them's great, but it helps to see the actors.
asked by fezofrassilon

You’re in luck - someone asked the same thing last week, and there were lots of helpful followers who shared where they like to get them from, aside from Netflix and such. You can see all of their suggestions here

Just an observation regarding tomorrow’s Olivier awards - there does seem to be quite a lot of Shakespeare in this year’s nominations, including…

  • Best Revival: Othello
  • Best Supporting Actor: Mark Gatiss (Menenius) for Coriolanus, Ron Cook (Pistol) for Henry V
  • Best Supporting Actress: Katherine Kingsley (Helena) for A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Best Actor: Jude Law (Henry V) for Henry V, Rory Kinnear (Iago) for Othello, Tom Hiddleston (Coriolanus) for Coriolanus 

Best of luck to all nominees…Of course, everyone deserves recognition for their performances, but who would you like to see take home an Olivier tomorrow (including those nominated for non-Shakespeare productions)?

You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face.
Albany (King Lear, Act IV scene ii)
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