Love

Top 5 “Romantic” (Meaning Crazy) Moments from William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare has been lauded with creating the most beautiful romantic moments of all time. Yet, as much as William loves marriage and romance, it seems most of his depictions of romance are also his depictions of total insanity. Here for this Valentine’s Day, here are Shakespeare’s most “romantic” moments; and by ‘romantic’, I mean delusional and very twisted.

5) Twelfth Night, Malvolio Dresses Crazy For Love (Act 3, Scene 4)
While Shakespeare may have fooled us into thinking it is the romance between Viola and Cesario that is the height of the play, it is clearly Malvolio who shows us the proper levels of passion for Valentine’s Day. When Maria sends him a letter pretending to be Olivia, Malvolio will do anything to impress her, including reading strange quotations from said letter and humiliating himself with a ridiculous outfit, crossed garters and yellow stockings. Love literally makes you crazy, and Malvolio is proof.

4) Macbeth, Lady MacBeth Councils her Husband Post-Murder (Act 2, Scene 2)

When you’ve got some stresses going on there’s no one better to help calm you down than your one and only. One of the possibly biggest stresses could come from your plan to murder the King in order to take over the throne, and thank god Macbeth has Lady Macbeth to help calm him down after this task. Essentially, Lady Macbeth just points out all the things he did wrong, and how she would’ve done this a lot better (and I don’t doubt that), but at the end, when he is feeling that guilt as he looks at his bloody hands, Lady Macbeth cleans them off for him. That’s probably the sweetest moment between the two… all in the middle of an insane murder plot.

3) Hamlet, Hamlet Calls Ophelia Many Things (Act 3, Scene 1)

Hamlet in general just seems like such a charmer; there’s nothing like existentialism to make a man seem attractive. Even more attractive is when, having done absolutely nothing wrong, you get called awful names. I think this is called “playing hard to get”. Ophelia runs into Hamlet and is not just insulted by Hamlet, but is insulted among all womankind. Not cool, Hamlet. And when Ophelia ends up throwing herself in a river, Hamlet acts all sad and that he loved her all along? Stop playing those games, Hamlet. To be or not to be a jerk, that is the question.

2) Othello, Othello and Desdemona’s Last Moment Together (Act 5, Scene 2)

Nothing like death to bring loved ones together, especially in Shakespeare. Does it count if death is being brought on by your loved one? By Shakespeare’s standards, essentially it’s the best you can do! And in the most romantic locations of all, one’s own marriage bed. Othello kisses his wife before attempting to smother her, and this death scene is ridden with romantic newlywed imagery. Thanks Shakespeare, that’s not creepy at all.

1) Romeo and Juliet, Balcony Scene (Act 2, Scene 1)
Well, what did you expect would be #1? This scene is the most talked about famous romance scene in Shakespeare, and it is pretty romantic to have your secret lover come to you in the middle of the night to profess his love to you… right? Some would say that’s trespassing, but we love that kind of stuff. Romeo and Juliet, however, are probably the most unstable of all of Shakespeare’s couples. First of all, they are 14, and probably going through many hormonal changes that would probably affect their decision making. Only knowing each other three days in the total time of the play, they end up dying for each other pretty much by accident. They literally could’ve waited an hour to see if the other were really dead and then made a rational decision on what to do next, but no, impromptu sacrifice is what Shakespeare encourages. Thanks Shakespeare for presenting the ultimate romance as ultimate insanity.

Don’t follow suit on your Valentine’s Day everyone.

By Yamini Coen

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Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids – A 9-year-old’s translation of Sonnet #29

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SONNET 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries

And look upon myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,

Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

 

9-YEAR-OLD’S TRANSLATION

I am a poor person being watched.

Alone, I cry out my feelings

and heaven doesn’t hear me.

When I look at myself, I look away.

I wish for hope, a better face, more friends,

talent, and power.

But when I hate myself,

I happily think about you and my feelings change,

just like a lark singing in the morning.

For the love you bring,

I wouldn’t change places with a king.

 

Give the gift of poetry this Valentine’s Day!

For more information or to purchase a sonnet, click here!

Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids – A 10-year-old’s translation of Sonnet #116

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SONNET 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error, and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

 

10-YEAR-OLD’S TRANSLATION

Never give up on someone you love.

Love is a lighthouse that guides a boat.

Love never dies; it keeps on trucking.

If you think I’m wrong, prove it!

Give the gift of poetry this Valentine’s Day!

For more information or to purchase a sonnet, click here!

Sonnets-by-Kids – A Unique Gift for Valentine’s Day!

Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day is celebrating its 5th year!

This Valentine’s Day, why not give the gift of poetry and let the Bard do the talking!

  • Visit http://www.shakespeareinaction.org/sonnets-by-kids.
  • Select and purchase your favourite Shakespeare Sonnet – 18, 29, 105, or 116. (Only $25 CDN)
  • On Valentine’s Day, between 2:30pm and 4:30pm EST, a talented and charming Shakespeare Kid will call your lucky Valentine and recite the sonnet with a heart full of love!
  • A Shakespeare Kid will also sign and mail a personalized copy of the sonnet for your Valentine!

SONNETS BY KIDS are available in Canada and the US until Friday, February 13, 2015 at 5pm EST, while quantities last.

Shakespeare in Action is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to introducing young people to the magic of Shakespeare, language and live theatre. All proceeds support our educational programs throughout Toronto – the kids are “graduates”!

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– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2011 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

 

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– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2012 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

 

 

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– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2013 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

 

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– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2014 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

 

 

Shakespeare in Action- 2015 at a glance!

Happy New Year, everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful and restful holiday season. The Shakespeare in Action team is officially back to work today, and we cannot wait to get started on all of the exciting projects we have lined up for the first half of 2015! Here is a sneak peak at what’s coming up!

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TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club

Winter Session- Saturdays, January 31 – March 7, 2015

  • free readers’ theatre program for kids ages 7-12!
  • Explore plays such as The Comedy of ErrorsMacbeth, A Midsummer Night’s DreamRomeo & JulietThe Tempest, and Twelfth Night.
  • Read aloud and play drama games and meet other Shakespeare fans!
  • Led by professional actors and educators.
  • Visit  the TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club page for locations and details!

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The Shakespeare Challenge

March 25, 2015 at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto

Purchase a ticket for the Shakespeare Challenge Gala Fundraiser and join us for:

  • An abridged version of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errorsperformed by a cast of courageous community members! (We have opened new spots in the cast, and the deadline to register is January 9th! Find out how to register here.)
  • Food, drink, and live music following the show!
  • A live and silent auction of fabulous items and packages!
  • The chance to give youth in priority neighborhoods across Toronto access to the arts through our subsidized ticket program!

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On the Mainstage: Hamlet

April 13-24, 2015

Our most recent production of Hamlet returns to the mainstage this Spring! This dreamlike production incorporates mask puppets and shadow play to create a visually rich and engaging show while staying true to Shakespeare’s text. Teen audiences will fall in love with our dark and brooding Hamlet as he perseveres to find the truth. Recommended for ages 12 and up. Visit our Hamlet page for prices and booking info!

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On Tour: Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop

May 4- May 15, 2015

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop is a vibrant, interactive presentation that demonstrates how modern hip-hop shares many similarities with the themeslanguage and rhythm used by Shakespeare. Both are full of poetry, word play and lyricism and both deal with what it is to be human.

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop brings alive the parallels between the world of the plays and their own contemporary experience. It’s the perfect complement to your in-class teaching of a specific play, in the beginning, in the middle or at the end. Visit our Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop page for booking info!

If you have any questions regarding our upcoming shows and events, please feel free to send us an e-mail, or call us at (416) 703-4881!

Marriage in the Elizabethan Era

A friend of mine is soon to be married! I am excited to have the honor of attending and celebrating this special occasion with her, her fiance, their family and friends.

The upcoming wedding led me to wonder if any traditions or customs from the Elizabethan era are currently practiced in Western culture.

In Elizabethan times, marriages were frequently arranged to benefit both families with greater prestige and wealth. In some cases, the couple would meet for the first time on the day of the wedding!

In order for a couple to marry, they had to announce their intention to marry. The Elizabethan custom was to announce it in church three times on three consecutive Sundays or holy days, to allow for any objections. This is called “crying the banns”. Our modern day announcements include obtaining a banns from the church, or a marriage licence from the local government.

A significant part of the wedding day included the signing of the wedding contract, which set out the terms of the dowry, jointure, and other elements for the financial security of both parties. The dowry is an amount of money, goods, and property the bride brings to the marriage. It can also be called her marriage portion. The jointure is an agreement by the groom ‘s family to guarantee specific money, property and goods to the bride if her husband dies before she does, aside from or in addition to what is in his will. Sometimes this agreement is assured by promises from the family’s friends.

In today’s culture, the wedding licence is signed by the bride and groom on the wedding day, usually during or immediately after the ceremony. Agreements and contracts that are similar to jointure include pre-nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, and marriage contracts. These agreements and contracts can be drafted and signed before, during or after the marriage itself takes place.

The bride’s dress was not necessarily white; it could be any color or cut. Often times, the bride would choose the best dress from her existing wardrobe, and have it freshened up with new ribbons or flowers. The groom also wore his best garments. In today’s culture, some couples may choose to do this. It depends on the nature of the wedding the bride and groom choose to have. To my knowledge, the groom often rents a tuxedo or suit for the day of his wedding.

One thing that came up a few times that I find amusing is that single women were considered to be witches! However, since I have yet to discover a reason for such a statement, more research must be done.

As marital customs vary depending on cultural beliefs and religious beliefs, this blog post offers a glimpse of some of the similarities and differences between marriage in the Elizabethan era as compared to marriage today.

Shakespeare Relationship Stats- Hermia and Lysander

Our next installment of the Shakespeare Relationship Stats series belongs to Hermia and Lysander from A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

Occupation

Lysander: star-crossed lover
Hermia:  rebellious daughter

Family status
Lysander: young nobleman
Hermia: daughter of Egeus

Reputation
Lysander: “I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possess’d; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius’;
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right?” Lysander’s opinion, Act 1, Scene 1

Hermia: “Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue’s sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd’s ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching: O, were favour so,
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I’d give to be to you translated.
O, teach me how you look, and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart.” Helena’s opinion, Act 1 Scene 1

What they wanted from this relationship

Lysander:
“A good persuasion: therefore, hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child:
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues;
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me then,
Steal forth thy father’s house to-morrow night;
And in the wood, a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.” Act 1, Scene 1

Hermia:
“My good Lysander!
I swear to thee, by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burn’d the Carthage queen,
When the false Troyan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke,
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.” Act 1, Scene 1

Top 3 bumps on the way to true love
1. Demetrius’s love for Hermia poses a problem when Egeus chooses him as suitor for Hermia, despite her wishes to marry Lysander.

2. In response to Hermia’s refusal to marry Demetrius, Egeus invokes an ancient Athenian law whereby a daughter must marry the suitor chosen by her father, or else face death.

3. Lysander, falling victim to a miscast love spell on the eve of his elopement to Hermia, falls in love with Helena when she wakes him.

Happily ever after
When the love spell is removed from Lysander, he declares his love for Hermia. As Demetrius loves Helena, Theseus overrules Egeus’ request to invoke the Athenian law, and arranges a group wedding!

Will it last?
Hermia’s love is withstanding, even when she believes Lysander has fallen for Helena. Once the spell is removed from Lysander, he declares that he loves Hermia. As long as no other misdirected love spells are cast, I think this one will continue to be happily ever after.