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Author Topic: Shakespeare  (Read 5282 times)

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Offline Parturition Squeeze

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2009, 10:49:06 AM »
I don't usually post here, though I read sometimes, but I hate when people do what TripeHound is doing, so I'm gonna.  Shakespeare can be very difficult, but is also EXTREMELY rewarding once you get used to it.  I mean, if it's not your thing it's not your thing, but keep him on hand (Shakespeare, not Tripe) and go back to him every so often.  Never know if it'll click, and when it does, it'll have been worth the wait.



The meaning in Shakespeare that you think are hidden were fairly apparent, even to the illiterate groundlings. Shakespeare, and indeed other  Elizabethan and Jacobean (not so  much Caroline) playwrights, created some of the most reference dense works ever performed and the great thing is the audiences generally understood those references.

Just because you aren't up on mythology or theology or history and any of other categories of reference used in a play doesn't mean the fault in you not understanding them lies with the plays.   
Claiming that the "illiterate groundlings" understood Shakespeare's language and allusions is pretty ridiculous.  In any century you'd require a thorough Classical education,  or at least an extreme love for his work and massive research, to appreciate all of Shakespeare.  Personally, I'm thankful for annotated versions.  Part of his brilliance was that he had plenty of entertainment for all classes -- he didn't seem shy about adding plenty of "kaboom, badow, badow!" for your "groundlings." (I'd apologize for the tone if it wasn't for your own.  In this thread, at least.  Maybe yesterday was just a bad day, I don't know.)   




  Oh and Shakespeare was writing in, and indeed contributed to, early modern English, it's really not all that difficult at all except for spelling changes.
Spelling?  With all the twists and turns and poetry that can be crammed so perfectly into a single paragraph of Shakespeare, I'd put spelling pretty low on the list. 

Then again, you pretty much lost credibility when you claimed Faulkner was not difficult.  It's like you're trying to make people feel stupid. 
Anyone out there trying Faulkner: He is extremely difficult--especially two of his most popular (and best), The Sound and the Fury and Absalom, Absalom!--so don't feel bad when you get lost.  Keep going, it will be worth it.  Even if you don't know who is narrating or exactly what they're talking about, keep reading.  Impressionism is a huge part of Faulkner, and the end of a book you thought you didn't understand can hit you like a hammer.


Towel, please.


Offline Tripe

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2009, 11:43:30 AM »
I don't usually post here, though I read sometimes, but I hate when people do what TripeHound is doing, so I'm gonna.
What, tell people that they shouldn't try to convince themselves that Shakespeare is difficult just because he's Shakespeare.?

"groundlings."
Groundlings is the actual name for the people who paid to stand and watch the performance. Before you post about this topic, do try to be informed about it, there's a love.

Spelling?  With all the twists and turns and poetry that can be crammed so perfectly into a single paragraph of Shakespeare, I'd put spelling pretty low on the list.
Care to reread that, you missed the point the first time. Here, let me underline it for you.

Quote
Oh and Shakespeare was writing in, and indeed contributed to, early modern English, it's really not all that difficult at all except for spelling changes
The statement is a response to DG saying Shakespeare is almost writing in another language:

it really is virtually a different language.

not about his usage of said language. I'm saying that aside from spelling changes, it's not a different language at all.

You really do need to read things for meaning, it's not difficult if you really try.

Then again, you pretty much lost credibility when you claimed Faulkner was not difficult. 
He's not

It's like you're trying to make people feel stupid. 
I'm saying literature is actually a lot easier to understand than people let themselves think it is. You, on the other hand, are saying that people will inevitably find it hard. I'd say it's you who is trying, nay willing, people to feel stupid. Shame on you.

I think the "hidden meaning" Mr Geek was reffering to is things like "Taming of the Shrew is a pro-feminist text because in Act 5 Scene 1, Katherine says 'the'". I also hate it when professors do that.
Those aren;t Hidden Meanings, they're readings of the text from the view point of a specific school of literary criticism. And yes those are utter bollocks.  "The Death of the Author" is one of the most useless intellectual innovations ever.


Shakespeare was very much a rapper back in his time. Rappers tend to change the pronunciation and spelling of words to make them fit with the beat. Rap music also has a buttload of refferences.
This is a pretty good analogy. He was also quite fond of sampling, and re-purposing "beats", just ask Robert Greene. ;)
« Last Edit: November 29, 2009, 04:26:14 PM by TripeHoundRedux »


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2009, 11:37:29 AM »
Actually I think the Hidden Meaning thing might be closer to the root of the problem. I'm a writer and Tyrant's an artist, and early on in our relationship, we'd go to Museums, and I'd say something to the tune of, "I like this one. What does it all mean?" After years of walking me through the notion of, "It means react to it and see what you think about it." I realized that not all art has a bunch of hidden messages encoded in them.

I think people approach Shakespeare the same way, sometimes. They may read it and get the story, but because it's often put on a pedestal, people assume that there's a bunch of stuff going on that they don't grok because they're not part of that culture.

Shakespeare's easier to swallow when you realize there wasn't a whole lot of hidden iconography or anything like that in it. Sure, there were little parallels, like, "It's stormy outside, which reflects how the king feels right now." but nothing you have to sift through very much to understand. Once you get down with the rhythm, you realize most of his plays are, "Here are a bunch of characters. Here's a misunderstanding/scheme of some sort. Let's watch it unfold."


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2009, 12:30:22 PM »
I always wanted to see a variation on Hamlet where the King's ghost warns Hamlet about his brother usurping the throne, and then gets very frustrated watching his son mope around and do nothing, talking to himself and waxing on and on about existentialism. In the end the King's ghost just decides to haunt his brother instead, scaring the bejeesus out of him and making him confess. End of story. Noone dies except Hamlet, who takes a dive off the castle tower.



anais.jude

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2009, 05:33:41 AM »
I always wanted to see a variation on Hamlet where the King's ghost warns Hamlet about his brother usurping the throne, and then gets very frustrated watching his son mope around and do nothing, talking to himself and waxing on and on about existentialism. In the end the King's ghost just decides to haunt his brother instead, scaring the bejeesus out of him and making him confess. End of story. Noone dies except Hamlet, who takes a dive off the castle tower.


That would certainly have made the play a LOT shorter. Although without that, we wouldn't have the line "The play is the thing wherein I will catch the consciousness of the king" (possibly misquoted)
and without that, my fave riff from The Room would not have happened.....


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2009, 05:38:54 AM »
I always wanted to see a variation on Hamlet where the King's ghost warns Hamlet about his brother usurping the throne, and then gets very frustrated watching his son mope around and do nothing, talking to himself and waxing on and on about existentialism. In the end the King's ghost just decides to haunt his brother instead, scaring the bejeesus out of him and making him confess. End of story. Noone dies except Hamlet, who takes a dive off the castle tower.


That would certainly have made the play a LOT shorter. Although without that, we wouldn't have the line "The play is the thing wherein I will catch the consciousness of the king" (possibly misquoted)
and without that, my fave riff from The Room would not have happened.....
True. True. But the line "Who doest one call?" may have made good use as a riff.



Offline Pak-Man

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2009, 11:26:47 AM »


Offline mrbasehart

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2009, 11:28:27 AM »
"Who doest one call?"

GHOSTBUSTERS!

"But soft! What sprite through yonder window breaks?"


Offline Nergol

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2009, 03:57:27 PM »
Russell;

You're right, but not for the reasons you think. You should never read Shakespeare. No one should ever read Shakespeare. They're play manuscripts. They're not meant for people to sit in a room and read them. And - surprise - things that were never written to be experienced that way suck when they are experienced that way.

Try to imagine having never seen, say, Star Wars, and trying to enjoy it by sitting in a room somewhere and just reading the script. You get the idea.

So go see a good production of Shakespeare's plays. If you don't have a good Shakespeare company in your town, get some of the better film versions. I suggest the 1967 Taming of the Shrew starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, the 1999 Midsummer Night's Dream starring Kevin Kline and Stanley Tucci, and Branaugh's version of Hamlet to start. Maybe even throw in a reworking like Kurosawa's Ran, which is a remake of King Lear.

Stop reading Shakespeare, and start enjoying him instead.


Offline mike5150

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2009, 11:41:09 PM »
I think people don't like Shakespeare because they have to work hard to understand it, but that's what I like about it. It's also what I like about Lovecraft and Faulkner though
None of those are difficult to understand.
Yeah but you're from England, so you speak English and stuff.


Russell

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2009, 01:35:28 AM »
Later this morning I am doing a performance from Hamlet from 2.2.220-2.2.370... I surprisingly have most of it memorized. I frankly am a lot better at acting than I ever will be at writing essays about Shakespeare.