Richard III

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]

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Shakespearean Insults!

You juggler! you canker-blossom!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (3.2.293)

Away, you mouldy rogue, away!
Henry IV P II (2.4.117)

Hang him, swaggering rascal!
Henry IV P II (2.4.66)

I was lucky enough to get to observe a TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club session last Saturday morning at Oakwood Village Library, and the children there had a fantastic time hurling a variety of Shakespearean insults at each other! It was really great to see these 7-12 year olds bring so much energy to the lines and deliver them with such relish.

Shakespeare certainly knew how to write a good insult –

Thou sodden-witted lord! thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows.
Troilus and Cressida (2.1.41)

Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes.
Richard III (1.2.159)

Just this week there’s been a great link doing the rounds on social media – ‘17 Shakespearean Insults To Unleash In Everyday Life’ from BuzzFeed UK:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/lukelewis/shakespearean-insults-to-use-in-everyday-life

Here are some of my favourites – and just to make them even better – there’s some dramatic looking cats thrown in as well!

enhanced-buzz-19601-1365607093-20

Titus Andronicus [IV. ii. 1756]

enhanceinsult cat2d-buzz-10880-1365606373-8

Taming of the Shrew [IV. i. 1642]

enhanced-buzz-25914-1365604978-8

Henry IV P I [II. ii. 772]

enhanced-buzz-11964-1365606405-21

Two Gentlemen of Verona [I. ii. 249]

enhanced-buzz-28589-1365609238-5

Henry IV P I [II. iv. 1054-56]

By Linda Nicoll

References:

BuzzFeed UK ‘17 Shakespearean Insults To Unleash In Everyday Life’ Luke Lewis 11 April 2013  http://www.buzzfeed.com/lukelewis/shakespearean-insults-to-use-in-everyday-life [Accessed 17 April 2013]

(Original photos taken from Shutterstock for BuzzFeed link)

Open Source Shakespeare, ‘Advanced Search’ George Mason University 2013: http://www.opensourceshakespeare.com/search/search-results.php [Accessed 17 April 2013]

Wordy Wednesday – “Devil incarnate”

Medieval beliefs remained strong in Shakespeare’s era; the idea that real, literal demons haunted humanity is still believed by some today.

Lucius: O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devil
That robb’d Andronicus of his good hand;
This is the pearl that pleased your empress’ eye,
And here’s the base fruit of his burning lust.
–(Titus Andronicus, V.i.2163-67)

Nym: They say he cried out of sack.
Hostess Quickly: Ay, that a’ did.
Bardolph: And of women.
Hostess Quickly: Nay, that a’ did not.
Boy: Yes, that a’ did; and said they were devils incarnate.
Hostess Quickly: A’ could never abide carnation; ’twas a colour he never liked.
–(Henry V, II.iii.859-65)

Shakespeare’s use of the phrase “devil incarnate” – which he never actually put in those exact words in his plays – is the same as ours today. Unlike many of his sayings or catchphrases, there’s none of the drift in meaning by which, for example, “kill with kindness” has gone from an ironic implication of deliberate cruelty to a more modern torture – making a target worry that too much niceness must conceal a sinister hidden motive. A ‘devil incarnate” is still, as it was then, the worst possible human being – an irredeemably wicked individual to be avoided at all costs.

In Shakespeare’s day, of course, the reasons for someone to be so evil were considered different than ours. We tend to write modern villains as suffering mental illness – like sociopathy, or PTSD from childhood trauma – or with clear motivations of greed, lust, or jealousy. In short, they’re broadly realistic people with a strong urge to get something and no problem hurting and killing others who get in their way. We all know milder versions of that, and we can make the leap to more serious, intense villainy.

Elizabethans and Jacobeans had a different frame of reference. They were almost all Christians, and far more literal and severe in their beliefs than almost anyone alive today. They believed quite firmly that if God could incarnate himself in a human form, surely the Devil could do the same. As such, villainy in Shakespeare is generally internal and inexplicable – they’re just born that way, with a devil in them trying to get out.

I’d actually argue that some of the worst villains in Shakespeare aren’t ‘Devils Incarnate’ in this sense. Richard III, nasty little ferret that he is, tends to have a reason for what he does – power, women, revenge, they’re not pretty but they’re fairly obvious. The real Devil works pro malo, to do evil because it’s their calling – in the above speech from Titus Andronicus, Lucius isn’t referring to the Goths as devils (they’re arguably no worse than the Romans by this point in the play) but the monstrous Aaron the Moor, who incites barbarity from all around him and, when asked if he’d like a last-minute chance to apologize, simply replies:

Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more. (V.i.2276-9)

Or we could look at King Lear‘s Edmund, who disdains any idea that he’s a victim of birth order, parentage, stars or fate, declaring that

This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are
sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make
guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars. (I.ii.441-3)

The really scary thing isn’t the person who’ll knife you for a dollar and a sandwich; it’s the person who’ll do it for no reason at all, when you least expect it, that should keep you up at night. Shakespeare got that, and that’s why the villains that stay with us are those, like Iago in Othello, who responds to the question of why he destroys others with an arrogant “Demand me nothing: what you know, you know” (V.ii.301) that echoes his ominous early admission that “I am not what I am”. (I.i.65) Someone entirely unpredictably evil, just for the sheer joy of it, with no reward other than having hurt someone else – truly that’s as close as we get to the Devil incarnate.

Shakespeare meets Game of Thrones!

game-of-thrones-characters-as-cats

 

The Shakespeare in Action office is currently in a state of excitement over season three of Game of Thrones (starting on March 31st)! I saw this gem today and couldn’t resist posting… Then it got me thinking, if the above were Shakespeare characters – who would they be?? There have been many parallels drawn between Shakespeare’s plays and George R.R. Martin’s epic series – A Song of Ice and Fire.  So just based on the first two seasons of Game of Thrones, here are a few musings…

(Based on the show – No spoilers if you haven’t read past the second book!)

Melisandre ~ Lady Macbeth

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it!

Macbeth [I. v. 388-97]

Tyrion Lannister ~  There really are a multitude of choices for Tyrion as he is such a multifaceted character.  Maybe the carefree and boisterous Mercutio from Romeo & Juliet,  who couples his bawdy sense of humour with a keen intelligence and an impressive way with words, might be a good match.

Daenerys Targaryen ~ Joan la Pucelle (Joan of Arc from Henry VI PI).  This beautiful female warrior is also thrust into a man’s world of warfare, and just like Daenery’s blood riders knelt before her and swore to follow her as part of the ‘Queensguard’, the French soldiers followed Joan la Pucelle into battle.

My courage try by combat, if thou darest,
And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex.
Resolve on this, thou shalt be fortunate,
If thou receive me for thy warlike mate.

Henry VI P I [I. ii. 286-89]

Sansa Stark ~ Blanch from King John.   As John’s niece, Blanch is also used as a bargaining tool to help the King gain further political power with an alliance with the French.  She is married to the Dauphin, although when war breaks out between King John and France, Blanch is stuck in the middle and completely torn as to where her allegiance should lie.  Sansa is propelled into a bitter battle and power struggle she does not understand between her father Eddard Stark and the mother of her betrothed – Cersei Lannister.  Just as Blanch kneels before her husband begging him not to go to war with her uncle, Sansa kneels before Joffrey and pleads for her father’s life.

Upon thy wedding-day?
Against the blood that thou hast married?
What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter’d men?
Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums,
Clamours of hell, be measures to our pomp?
O husband, hear me! ay, alack, how new
Is husband in my mouth! even for that name,
Which till this time my tongue did ne’er pronounce,
Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms
Against mine uncle.

King John [III. i. 1227-1236]

Margaery Tyrell ~ Katherine of Aragon.  Katherine of Spain was first married to Prince Arthur, the heir to the English throne in order to form an alliance between Spain and England.  After Arthur’s death, Katherine was then later married to Arthur’s brother when he became Henry VIII.  Katherine was a  valuable commodity and was bargained as such, just like through Margaery the House of Tyrell transferred their political allegiance from Renly to House of Lannister through her betrothal to King Joffrey.   Also as with Katherine in Henry VIII, there appears to be more to Margaery than a mere token bride.

Sam Tarley ~ Snug the Joiner from the Rude Mechanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Again, there is a lot more to Sam than meets the eye, but I thought Snug’s endearing shyness and inherent lack of confidence in himself parallel that aspects of Sam’s character.

Joffrey Baratheon ~ Emperor Saturninus.  Joffrey is also a hard one, as he really doesn’t have any endearing qualities, nor does he possess the scheming intellect of a master Shakespearean villain such as Richard III.  Even though he is controlled by a stronger and more cunning woman in his mother who orchestrates his path to the throne, I would still not equate him to Macbeth.  Another Shakespearean villain and ruler with a stronger, more vicious and astute woman by his side is Saturninus from Titus Andronicus who marries Tamora – Queen of the Goths.  His childish petulance and sadistic nature is more akin to that of Joffrey Baratheon.

Jorah Mormont ~ The Earl of Suffolk.  In the Henry VI plays, Suffolk orchestrates Margaret’s marriage to Henry VI and remains by the warrior Queen’s side.  They are both in love with the Queen they serve and are men with dubious pasts and ulterior motives.

These are only a few loosely drawn musings.  If you can think of better matches based on the show so far, please let us know and comment below.

By Linda Nicoll

Picture:

Dorkly,’ Games of Thrones characters as cats’, Connected Ventures 2013: http://www.dorkly.com/picture/50988/game-of-thrones-characters-as-cats [Accessed 20 March 2013]

http://www.hbocanada.com/gameofthrones/

Wordy Wednesday!

Today’s Wordy Wednesday is the phrase “Up in arms”.
The phrase can be found in two of Shakespeare’s History Plays, which first appeared in print in the 1590s.

In both History Plays the phrase refers to the literal meaning of the term – to take up arms with the intent to use them in battle. To be ‘in arms’ referred to soldiers being equipped for combat; the extension of ‘up in arms’ implies they are not only equipped with weaponry, they are also in a state of readiness to fight.

March on, march on, since we are up in arms;

If not to fight with foreign enemies

Yet to beat down these rebels here at home

 Richard III [IV. iv. 3361-63]

Here the term is used in its most literal sense.  In this extract Richard III is declaring that as they are all armed and equipped – they are ready to march into battle to quell the rebels.

The princely Warwick, and the Nevils all,

Whose dreadful swords were never drawn in vain,

As hating thee, are rising up in arms:

And now the house of York, thrust from the crown

By shameful murder of a guiltless king

And lofty proud encroaching tyranny,

Burns with revenging fire; whose helpful colours

Advance our half-faced sun, striving to shine,

Under the which is writ ‘Invitis nubibus’

The commons here in Kent are up in arms:

Henry VI Part II: [IV. i. 2247-56]

In this Henry VI Part II extract, The Captain is taunting his captive, The Earl of Suffolk, and refers to Warwick and the Nevils as ‘rising up in arms’. They are rallying for battle and arming themselves in a state of rebellion and protestation.  This foreshadows the figurative use of the phrase, which first appeared in the 1700s – to be ‘up in arms’ over a particular situation in a state of protest.

The Phrase Finder classifies the contemporary meaning of the phrase ‘up in arms’ to be ‘roused or incensed’.

Today the modern usage of the phrase to be ‘up in arms’ over a current situation implies outrage and indignant protest. It is most commonly used to mean that a group are ‘roused’ or ‘incensed’ to the point of which they are willing to take action and stand up for their cause.  Of course, a population being ‘up in arms’ can still denote an armed rebellion in the literal sense. [Dictionary.com]

“The workers are ‘up in arms’ over the proposed pay cuts”.  The fact that they are ‘up in arms’ indicates they are not just aggrieved; they are also ready to take action.

An interesting aside about the historical usage of the phrase ‘in arms’ is not only would the knights be bearing arms as in weaponry, they would also be bearing a crest of arms on their armour.  Heraldic arms or a family’s ‘Coat of Arms’ was an integral component of organising feudal battles as the particular crest adorning soldiers’ armour denoted who their liege Lord was and what side they were fighting for.

George R.R. Martin’s epic world in A Game of Thrones recreates this heraldic tradition.  Each house has their individual ‘Crest of Arms’ and motto.  While House Stark has the direwolf as their sigil along with the words “Winter is coming”, the Lannister lion is their House’s sigil with the motto “Hear me roar”.

game-of-thrones-stark-house-sigil-WIDEwallpaper-lannister-sigil-1600

As I am from Scottish decent, my last name ‘Nicoll’ is from the Scottish clan MacLeod and our motto is ‘Hold fast’.

coat-of-arms-macleod

By Linda Nicoll

References:

The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition. 
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw Hill.

The Free Dictionary, ‘Idioms’, 2013: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/up+in+arms [Accessed 20 March 2013]

Dictionary.com, ‘References’, 2013: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/up+in+arms [Accessed 20 March 2013]

The Phrase Finder, ‘Meanings, 2013: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/up-in-arms.html [Accessed 20 March 2013]

Musee Missisquoi Musuem, ‘Family History’, 2013, http://www.museemissisquoi.ca/index.html [Accessed 20 March 2013]

HBO, A Game of Thrones, ‘Sigils’, 2013, http://www.hbo.com [Accessed 20 March 2013]

What if Shakespeare…were a WEATHER FORECASTER? (January Edition)

For Toronto, Ontario, Canada – January 7-13th

MONDAY:  Hideous winter… / Sap checked with frost and lusty leaves quite gone / Beauty o’ersnow’d and bareness every where (1). When clouds appear, wise men put on their cloaks (2).  High 0.

TUESDAY:  The blushing discontented sun / …perceives the envious clouds are bent / To dim his glory (3).  The more fair and crystal is the sky / The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly (4).  High 2.

WEDNESDAY:  Adding to clouds more clouds (5).  The winds grow high (6), the winds and persecutions of the sky (7).  High 5.

THURSDAY:   The sun breaks through the darkest clouds (8). To the brightest beams / Distracted clouds give way; so stand thou forth / The time is fair again! (9)  High 5.

FRIDAY:  A hot January (10) – This goodly summer with your winter mix’d (11).  The childing autumn, angry winter, change / Their wonted liveries (12). High 9.

THE WEEKEND – SATURDAY, SUNDAY:  Our day is gone; / Clouds, dews, and dangers come (13), cloud of winter showers (14), winter’s drizzled snow (15).  High 4 and 2.

1)  Sonnet 5

2)  Richard III, 2.3

3)  Richard II, 3.3

4)  Richard II, 1.1

5)  Romeo & Juliet, 1.1

6)  Henry VI, Part II; 2.1

7)  King Lear, 2.3

8)  Taming of the Shrew, 4.3

9)  All’s Well That Ends Well, 5.3

10)  Much Ado About Nothing, 1.1

11)  Titus Andronicus, 5.2

12)  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2.1

13)  Julius Caesar, 5.3

14)  Timon of Athens, 2.2

15)  Comedy of Errors, 5.1

Shakespeare re-arranged by Laboni

Animals playing at Shakespeare!

Good morning all!

I saw this little guy getting all pensive and asking the big question and couldn’t resist posting!

Hamlet Eagle                                                                                                   Fig. 1

Here’s a few more cats I came across getting into character!

DiscontentNow is the winter of our discontent                                                        Fig. 2

 

CaesarEt tu, Brute!                                                                                      Fig. 3

romeo catBut, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?                          Fig. 4

Fig. 1  Hamlet [III. i. 1749] http://funnyanimalpicturescat.com

Fig. 2  Richard III [I. i. 2] http://shakespearecat.tumblr.com

Fig. 3  Julius Caesar [III. i. 1286] http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/shakespeare-kitty

Fig. 4  Romeo and Juliet [II. i 846] http://invisiblecats.com/

Posted by Linda Nicoll