quotes

Monday Mystery!

Can you identify the play from which this quote is taken?

And, for I know thou’rt full of love and honesty,
And weigh’st thy words before thou givest them breath,
Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more:
For such things in a false disloyal knave
Are tricks of custom, but in a man that’s just
They are close delations, working from the heart
That passion cannot rule.”

For bonus points, can you identify the characters in the scene?

“This day is called the feast of Crispian”

According to Christian legend, Crispin and his brother Crispinian were Roman preachers who spent their days trying to convert the Gauls, and their nights making shoes. The Emperor at the time, Maximian, didn’t take kindly to Crispin and Crispinian’s proselytizing ways, and had them beheaded on 25 October 285 AD. The brothers’ feast day has since been bumped off the liturgical calendar due to skepticism about their actual existence, but their names live on thanks to Shakespeare (and a few historically informed specialty shoemakers).

In Act 4, scene 3 of Henry V, King Henry and his army are on the verge of battle with the French. The British are vastly outnumbered by the French army, and defeat looks inevitable. To rouse the flagging spirits of his weary troops, Henry delivers what is often referred to as the St. Crispin’s Day speech. He spurs his men on with promises of the glory they will share in, whether they win or lose, and the stories that will be told back home of the brave “band of brothers” who fought for England on St. Crispin’s Day:

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Many will be familiar with Kenneth Branagh’s rousing version of the St. Crispin’s Day speech, but here is a budding Shakespearean who could give Sir Ken a run for his money:

Ok, so he leaves out a few key lines, but what vim! What vigour!

There are many ways to celebrate St. Crispin’s Day. You could cobble some shoes, avoid angry Romans, or, maybe just pull out your copy of Henry V and channel your inner warrior king for a dramatic reading.

This has been Genie the intern, reporting for Harry, England, and St. George.

Wordy Wednesday – “In my mind’s eye…”

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is ‘mind’s eye‘, uttered by Hamlet to Horatio:

Hamlet:
My father—methinks I see my father—

Horatio:
Where, my lord?

Hamlet:
In my mind’s eye, Horatio.

Hamlet Act 1, scene 2

In the scene, Hamlet’s use of the phrase contrasts and foreshadows Horatio’s sight of the deceased king by his own, bodily eyes. Although Shakespeare did not originally coin the term, its utterance in Hamlet likely popularized it. We use the phrase ‘mind’s eye’ today much in the same way Shakespeare had intended; that is, to talk about our ability to visualize images in our thoughts the way that Hamlet is likely haunted by mental images of his deceased father.

Philosophers and cognitive scientists have adopted the word to talk about consciousness yet more broadly as thoughts and perceptions occur to us mentally and at times, use the term more concretely to refer to some hypothesized part of the brain where perception is located.

For most of us, the mind’s eye is synonymous with mental imagery – much like how we may visualize a show on stage while reading one of Shakespeare’s plays!

Wordy Wednesday – “Full circle”

“Full circle” – King Lear

Full circle is a phrase spoken by Edmund in King Lear, Act 5, Scene 3. The Elizabethan use of the word ‘full’ in this context is to mean complete. In Edmund’s case, he means to say that his actions have completed their circuit and, as fate would have it, they have come around to him.

The current use of the phrase is not much different. We usually use the phrase to mean that an action or set of actions have gone through a cycle and returned to the starting point. The main difference between the Elizabethan context and our current context is that we don’t necessarily attribute the inevitable outcome to fate.

This Wordy Wednesday post is brought to you by Tiffany Chan.

Monday Mystery!

From which plays do these “Monday Mysteries” come?

Put your answers in the comment section!

 

I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players. Mark it. –
You say right, sir; a Monday morning, twas so indeed.

As, for proof now, a purse of gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night and most dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning…

‘That I believe,’ said she, ‘for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he foreswore on Tuesday morning; there’s a double tongue; there’s two tongues.’

Monday! ha, ha! Well, Wednesday is too soon,
O’ Thursday let it be: o’ Thursday tell her,
She shall be married to this noble earl.

Photo Friday – Playing with Shadow Puppets

Hamlet: "A dream itself is but a shadow." - II.ii, 1358 -

Hamlet:
“A dream itself is but a shadow.”
– II.ii, 1358 –

Puppetmongers' Ann and David Powell have been sharing their expertise with SIA! We're working on an adaptation of Hamlet for 2013/14. Ann and David are now off for the Humber Puppetry Intensive... but stay tuned for a full interview and season announcement!

Puppetmongers’ Ann and David Powell have been sharing their expertise with SIA!  We’re working on an adaptation of Hamlet for 2013/14.

Ann and David are now off for the Humber Puppetry Intensive…

but stay tuned for a full interview and season announcement!

 

To learn more about Puppetmongers, click here.

To learn more about the Humber Puppetry Intensive, click here.

Photo Friday!

panda 3

To sleep – perchance to dream
Hamlet [III. i. 1758]

Photo by Linda Nicoll

Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland – February 2012

Thought I’d post this in honour of the pandas finally arriving in Toronto Zoo 🙂 and to celebrate these beautiful animals who do love their sleep!!

And as my flatmate’s cat Jacob has such an expressive face, I thought I’d throw in a bonus picture as well!

jacob

 

Good king of cats 
Romeo & Juliet [III. i. 1756]

 

Animals playing at Shakespeare!

There’s some great animal photos being posted on BuzzFeedUK at the moment, and I just couldn’t resist creating some more Shakespeare animal memes!

Richard dog copy

1. Richard III [V. iv. 3881]

Macbeth pugs copy

2. Macbeth [I. i. 2]

polar R and J copy

3. Romeo & Juliet [II. i. 1049-50]

titus meerkats

4. Titus Andronicus [III. i. 1406]

squirrel benvolio copy

5. Romeo & Juliet [I. i. 254]

Romeo puppies copy

6. Romeo & Juliet [I. i. 255]

By Linda Nicoll

References:

1. Digital Bus Stop http://www.digitalbusstop.com/animals-riding-on-other-animals/ [Accessed 15 May 2013]

2. Buzzfeed UK Animals ’25 Animals Who Are Interested in What You Have to Say’ – via junkimages.com http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/animals-who-are-genuinely-interested-in-what-you-h [Accessed 15 May 2013]

3. Buzzfeed UK Animals ’25 Animals Who Are Totally BFFs’ – via interpnet.com http://www.buzzfeed.com/francescawade/animal-bffs [Accessed 15 May 2013]

4. Buzzfeed UK Animals ‘The 25 Happiest Animals in the World’ – via freakymartin.com http://www.buzzfeed.com/paws/happiest-animals-in-the-world  [Accessed 15 May 2013]

5. Buzzfeed UK Animals  ‘The 25 Happiest Animals in the World’ – via blogs.roanoke.com http://www.buzzfeed.com/paws/happiest-animals-in-the-world  [Accessed 15 May 2013]

6. Buzzfeed UK Animals ’20 Sad Puppies That Will Ruin Your Day’ via – freewallpapershere.com http://www.buzzfeed.com/paws/sad-puppies-that-will-ruin-your-day [Accessed 15 May 2013]

Quotes: Open Source Shakespeare, ‘Plays’ George Mason University 2013. 
http://www.opensourceshakespeare.com/views/plays/plays.php [Accessed 15 May 2013]

Wordy Wednesday!

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is ‘Band of Brothers’.  This famous phrase was coined by Shakespeare in 1599 and was first heard in his theatrical production of Henry V – which was one of the opening productions performed in the newly built Globe Theatre.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Henry V [IV. iii. 2291 – 2302]

Henry V delivers this rousing speech to his men just before the Battle of Agincourt.  Along with his “Once more unto the breach, dear friends” speech [Henry V, III. i. 1092], these famous lines capture the heart of the play and Shakespeare’s vision of the warrior King.

 

The Battle of Agincourt in 1415 went down in history as one of England’s most famous victories and Henry V’s crowning glory.  The English army was outnumbered more than four to one by the French and defeat seemed almost inevitable.  However, due in no small part to the unrelenting archers with their ferocious longbows driving the enemy back, the English managed to defeat the vast French force. England’s improbable odds before the battle give Henry’s impassioned words even more resonance.  Shakespeare endows his Henry V with the powerful skill of being able to stir the hearts of his men and inspire and rouse them into fighting bravely and fearlessly for him despite the odds.  Just like Joan of Arc’s battle cry to the French soldiers who later fight the army of Henry VI (Henry V’s son) – they were determined to “fight till the last gasp”. [Henry VI P I, I. ii. 326]

 

Henry proclaims that at that moment in time, they are all equals and they will stand shoulder to shoulder and fight as brothers.  They will fight and bleed together and many of them will die together.  This blood bond ties them together as family, and on this day they do not fight as kings, lords or foot soldiers, but as men, as equals and as brothers.

 

This notion of comradeship and blood bonds during combat is transcendental.   Lord Nelson evoked this powerful wartime bond in his speech after the Battle of the Nile, referring to his Sea Captains as a ‘band of brothers’. There are copious examples throughout history of soldiers fighting and dying together as a ‘band of brothers’.  One such example is that of the 101st Airborne East Company during World War II.  This unit fought fearlessly and heroically from the Normandy invasion through to the end of the war; united by the blood spilt on the battle field and the strength of the lifelong bonds they had forged.  Their story was immortalized in the HBO series, aptly named ‘Band of Brothers’.

bandofbrothers

An evolution of this is seen in Game of Thrones through the Dothraki blood riders fighting side by side with Khal Drogo and then Daenerys’ riders.  Daenerys calls these warriors “blood of my blood” as they have pledged their lives to her and their blood is now the blood of their Khaleesi.

185px-Daenerys_1x03

I was lucky enough to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Henry V twice during their two year/eight play History Cycle in 2007/2008.  It was the greatest theatrical spectacle I have ever seen, and Geoffrey Streatfeild’s Henry was passionate, rousing and utterly spellbinding.  Such is the power of Shakespeare’s stirring words in Henry V, that Streatfeild delivered his “Once more unto the breach” speech in the dressing room of the English rugby team, to rouse and inspire them before they stepped onto the field to do battle with the French team to fight for the glory of the Six Nations Championship in 2007.  An inspired England won the battle on the day; beating the highly favoured French team – (although France were ultimately victorious clinching the title against Scotland the next week).  This demonstrates the immense power and potency Shakespeare’s texts still wield today and how they have infused nearly every facet of our contemporary society.

henry v pic

By Linda Nicoll

References:

BritishBattles.com – ‘The Battle of Agincourt’, 2002 – 2013. Chalfont Web. http://www.britishbattles.com/100-years-war/agincourt.htm [Accessed 15 May 2013]

British Library – ‘Treasures in Full ~ Shakespeare in Quarto – Henry V Early Performances’. 2013 London. http://www.bl.uk/treasures/shakespeare/henry5.html [Accessed 15 May 2013]

Game of Thrones Wiki – ‘Bloodriders – Rakharo’. 2013 Wikia. http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Rakharo [Accessed 15 May 2013]

IMDb – ‘Band of Brothers’. 1990 – 2013 IMDb.com. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185906/ [Accessed 15 May 2013]

In depth Info – ‘Band of Brothers in literature and history’. Copyright 2005 – 2013. W. J. Rayment.  http://www.indepthinfo.com/band-of-brothers/ [Accessed 15 May 2013]

Open Source Shakespeare – ‘Play Search’, 2013 George Mason University. http://www.opensourceshakespeare.com/views/plays/plays.php

Royal Shakespeare Company – ‘Henry V Programme – Geoffrey Streatfeild as Henry V’. 2007, Dir. Michael Boyd – RSC Stratford upon Avon and The Roundhouse Theatre London, England.

Suite 101 – ‘Horatio Nelson and his Band of Brothers’, 1996 – 2013 Suite101. http://suite101.com/article/horatio-nelson-and-his-band-of-brothers-a221354 [Accessed 15 May 2013]