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Showing posts from 2014

Florizel: Those lovely words....

Their transformations
Were never for a piece of beauty rarer,
Nor in a way so chaste, since my desires
Run not before mine honour, nor my lusts
Burn hotter than my faith. There he got me. I am very vulnerable to sweet princes and sweet words. There he is. Florizel, The Prince of Bohemia. The young man is madly in love with Perdita, the lost (the clue is in the name) daughter of the King and Queen of Sicilia.

But at that time, nobody knew that.

So it's lovely to see his love for the "low-born" Perdita, and how he insisted that he would always be true to her. More impressive, he stayed true to his vows.
For I cannot be
Mine own, nor any thing to any, if
I be not thine. To this I am most constant,
Though destiny say no. I find the last line so beautiful. Not more nor less beautiful than this one:
What you do
Still betters what is done. (I think you understand why I still believe in Prince Charming.)

Wait, more vows.
And he, and more
Than he, and men, the earth, the heavens…

"Speak what we feel...."

In the end of King Lear, Edgar speaks this line:
"Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say." Simple as it may sound, I believe it is a perfect conclusion to all the things that have happened in the play.

The conflicts in the play, both in Lear's family and Gloucester's start when people don't say what they mean and don't mean what they say. Although it's clear that Regan and Goneril are the guiltiest party, Cordelia is not free from fault. What strikes me from Cordelia's choice of words is that it sounds so cold. Too cold.
"You have begot me, bred me, loved me: IReturn those duties back as are right fit,Obey you, love you, and most honour you." These words certainly wouldn't appeal any parent.

What Cordelia underlines in her speech is her duty as a daughter, but she doesn't express how she views that duty - whether she willingly does it out of love, or just out of obligation. It sounds more like something a daughter "ought to…

Reasons Why I Dislike Falstaff

I understand well enough that Falstaff is a funny comic character, that he provides more jokes than any other character in whole Shakespeare's canon except Hamlet, if those gloomy jokes are still counted as jokes. I also understand how he's an important character because he promotes the view so different than those considered as virtuous in his era. Nevertheless, I never consider him as a likeable character, no matter how much I laugh on him in the two Henry IV plays.

It's just that he's such a bad friend to Prince Hal. And my term "bad friend" means neither "a friend who robs and steals and pickpockets every once in a while" nor "an indifferently good man who doesn't really care about you" which would make him a good acquaintance. No. He takes both the negatives and combines them. Let me show you why I can't like this man despite all his witty lines.

1. He's a bad association to Hal Like this one is not obvious enough(!). I m…

"Cut the Boring Bits" - Excuse Me, Mr. Freeman?

In this article, the once-my-beloved-Watson states that Shakespeare has "boring bits" that should be chopped off in productions. This comment he made when he was talking about the new production of Richard III in which he plays the main tragic role.

Anyway. Is there any boring parts in Shakespeare?

Let's be honest. There are many, almost in every play we have boring bits here and there. They are plays. Shakespeare might have written them to give time for the actors to change clothes, to prepare props, or any other thing. But does it mean that they have no significance, at all? Most of Shakespeare's "boring parts" actually enrich his plays, add more roundness to his characters and plots, and cheer us up with the "useless" comedy.

If you want Shakespeare to appeal to the youngsters, watering it down is not the answer. You don't cut the half-naked women and leave the flowers in Botticelli's Primavera to attract 15 y.o teenagers to a museum. P…

Citing Scriptures: Prince Hal's "Damnable Iteration"

First time I read Henry IV Part 1, I couldn't help laughing at this terrible quoting of the Bible.
Thou didst well, for wisdom cries out in the streets and no man regards it Context: Falstaff was telling Hal that an old lord spoke about Hal, and very wisely too. But Falstaff "regarded him not, and yet he talked very wisely." Then the young Prince answered with the words above.

What a quote, though?

Here's what Proverbs 1:20, 24 says, in the Bishops' Bible.
Wisdome cryeth without, and putteth foorth her voyce in the streetes:...Because I haue called, and ye refused, I haue stretched out my hande, and no man regarded: There. It's not the striking resemblance that has impressed me, but the aptness of Hal in saying it - misusing it. No wonder Falstaff said that the young prince had "damnable iteration."

On the other hand, it shows just how much he knew the Bible. Another way to think about it, eh? To be able to quote it so aptly and effectively (for his…

Citing Scriptures: Shakespeare can cite scripture for his purpose

Actually, I was going to call this kind of article, "The devil can cite scripture for his purpose," or at least, "Shakespeare can cite scripture for his purpose," but it's too long for an article title. So I satisfy myself with "Citing Scripture." I hope it will be a good feature in this blog, since I will write more articles about Shakespeare and the Bible.
So, firstly, what Bible did Shakespeare have? Certainly it's not the renowned King James Bible, because it was first published in 1611. Shakespeare might have used the Bishops Bible, or Geneva Bible as his source, both in English already.
Whatever the Bible he chose as his source, he used it in the way he used every thing - anyway he liked. In Merchant of Venice, Antonio said about Shylock: "The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose." Maybe he was thinking about Matthew 4:6, when Satan used a Bible verse to justify his offer. It's interesting to notice, though, that Shakespe…

We (Can't) Defy Augury: Alexander (the Pig?) vs. Henry V

"Ay, he was porn at Monmouth, Captain Gower. What
call you the town's name where Alexander the Pig was born!" Thus started the playful comparison between Henry V and Alex the Great. It was funny the first time I read it. It was, really. The Welsh Captain kept saying the word wrong, the comparison couldn't be more absurd, especially the way he tried to find similarity between Monmouth and Macedon.

The second time I read it, I wanted to cry.

I am the one to blame for my sheer ignorance of English history. Reading Henry V, I was full of expectation that the king would live long and prosper, he would be the best Shakespearean character ever, and would stay high, live eternally, and be a living literary legend like Sherlock Holmes, for instance. I had no idea that the king would die. I mean, I know he would, but not that fast. As soon as I knew that he died shortly after Agincourt, Alexander was no longer a joke.

Fluellen might be happy that his king was as young as Alex…

Henry V: Self-Punishment on the Death of Bardolph

Prince Hal, and later, the king, Henry V is a complex character with volumes to think, say, and analyse about. Following his character development from Henry IV part 1 through Henry V, it's hard not to relate to him when one comes to what people call 'conflict of interests.'

For me, the worst part of it in Henry V is when he heard that his (former) friend, Bardolph, had been executed for thievery. In many productions, the directors let Henry either see the execution, or at least the hanged man. Kenneth Branagh and Hollow Crown versions even take time for a little flashback, therefore show us that the king remembered Bardolph and all things they had done together in their former days. Both also, through acting, show that the king was sad about it, yet could do nothing.

Reading the play, however, it was quite shocking that the king made no comment upon the hanging, except that it was just and necessary.

Why didn't he say anything about it? Knowing Shakespeare, he could h…

Number 1 Fanboy of Shakespeare: Tom Hiddleston

How encouraging is it to find that one of your favourite actors is a Shakespeare fanboy?! For me, it's amazing.

One example is David Tennant. I love him as the Doctor, but when he gets all excited over Shakespeare I can't help blushing. It's just so sweet. But we're not talking about him today.

A couple of months ago, I fell in love with Tom Hiddleston's Loki. I said it right. I don't really know about the man, but I sure sympathise with the character he played, in this case the naughty brother of Thor Odinson - Loki.

And he's just a Shakespeare fanboy. Anybody wants evidence?

He radiates happiness touching the First Folio as if he's a pilgrim touching the Holy Grail. Well, more videos below.

I don't see the God of Mischief, only a fan talking about his idol.

I don't really know Tom Hiddleston that much to speak more about him, but one thing for sure: Shakespeare's fan is always my friend. Maybe I like him now more due to the fact that he lo…