Tag: WilliamShakespeare

william shakespeare

5 Dramas That Readers Who Dislike Dramas Will Love

I used to avoid reading works of drama because I didn’t think they were “my thing.” As a long-time reader of fiction, the format of traditional drama was a bit intimidating and not aesthetically pleasing to me. It wasn’t until I got to college and was forced to take a Shakespeare course, and other english courses that introduced plays, that I finally came to appreciate the genre.

 

While the format is indeed different than other genres, that very format has so many benefits in of itself that audiences can appreciate.  The messages, emotions, and stories behind the written words can echo much louder and clearer and when you discover a play you love, you wonder how you could have possibly missed out on the chance to be touched by it for so long. Maybe you’re also a reader who has hesitated to read plays, or hasn’t come across a drama naturally, but hopefully these 5 dramas will be enticing enough to give it a try.

 

 

 

1. Angels in AmericaTony Kushner

 

 

 

book

Image Via Amazon

 

 

Angels in America depicts an emotionally riveting tale of the AIDS crisis in 1980’s America. It conveys the complexity, fear, and rejection AIDS affected communities faced during the time and while it largely focuses on the history and experiences of the LGBT community, the story can speak to and impact a larger audience.

 

 

 

2. A Streecar Named Desire | Tennessee Williams

 

 

 

book

Image Via Amazon

 

 

This is a legendary play exploring sexuality, mental illness, and familial relations. A Streetcar Named Desire has delivered not only one of the most iconic American plays in history, but an equally acclaimed film adaptation, directed by Elia Kazan, that has earned a reputation as being an American classic. 

 

 

 

3. Titus Andronicus | Shakespeare

 

 

 

book

Image Via Penguin Random House

 

 

Titus Andronicus may not be the most well-known or studied Shakespeare work, but it’s certainly, in my opinion, one of the most worth reading. Though it’s advertised as a tragedy (and certainly has some dramatic and emotional scenes), this shocking story about a Roman soldier, whose family becomes involved in bad blood, has some bizarre and ridiculous moments that makes it wildly entertaining and certainly a page-turner. 

 

 

 

4. The Laramie Project | Moisés Kaufman

 

 

 

book

Image Via Amazon

 

The Laramie Project explores the tragic death of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who was brutally murdered in his small town of Laramie, Wyoming. Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project visited Laramie after Shepards death and conducted over 200 interviews with his neighbors, friends, family, and foes, cultivating in a powerful discussion of prejudice, rejection, and the worth of LGBT lives. The second half of the play sees the group returning 10 years later, observing the long-term affects of Shepherd’s tragic death and the lessons learned by the small town folk since.

 

 

 

5. The Normal Heart | Larry Kramer

 

book

Image Via Amazon

 

 

The onset of the AIDS epidemic is written about extensively, yet The Normal Heart nevertheless portrays it in such a unique and humanizing experience that it packs just as big of an emotional punch as any similar story that came before it. With moving dialogue,heart-felt messages, and an honest and emotional criticism of the social forces that failed to intervene in the AIDS crisis, The Normal Heart is an absolute must-read!

 

 

 

Featured Image Shows Mural of William Shakespeare Painted by James Cochran

Shakespeare

Why You Should Thank Shakespeare for Your Favorite Spooky Creatures

In Shakespeare’s time, many were toying with the ideas of superstition and reality and exploring the stage as a place of fantasy. Because of this we can see a lot of supernatural elements appearing in Shakespeare’s plays, like witches, ghosts, and fairies. Shakespeare’s ideas of what these creatures act like have resonated with us all. They have carried to our present day interpretations of the same beings in literature, film, and even our Halloween décor.

 

Witches

 

witches

Image Via Pyro-Energen 

 

Macbeth features three witches who seem to drive the entire plot of the play. Shakespeare’s images of the witches show them as three “weird sisters” who stand around a bubbling cauldron chanting creepy things in unison, which we all know makes it even creepier. They tell prophecies of Macbeth’s future. I hope I wasn’t the only one completely frustrated with the story because Macbeth wouldn’t have ever killed Duncan if he hadn’t met the witches and none of those prophecies would have come true and just…ugh.

 

Now, what I’m interested in is that the images we get of the witches in act one resemble the main things we expect from witches today. Witches in literature and film are often depicted as sisters making potions in a creepy cauldron. Their most powerful spells are always chanted in unison just like the prophetic sisters that Shakespeare created. The cauldron, specifically, has made its way into witchy décor around the globe, including some of my own childhood Halloween costumes.

 

Fairies

 

Fairies

Image Via Strange History 

 

Before Shakespeare, fairies were seen as dark and evil creatures that were often associated with black colors, as opposed to the bright colors we see in fairies today. Shakespeare changed how we depict fairies with A Midsummer’s Night Dream into creatures that only did mischievous things as something funny as opposed to evil, and who are small, forest-dwelling creatures that are not to be feared. The presence of fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream are basically the only reason my ten-year-old self enjoyed watching the play with family as their light-hearted, mischievous behavior made a Shakespeare play something entertaining and funny to watch. I’ve learned to love you, Shakespeare, but back in the day, I couldn’t stand ya. I would now like to thank Shakespeare for his genius brain because without him would we really have Tinker Bell? I think not.

 

Ghosts

 

Ghosts

Image Via Real Life in Phuket 

 

In Hamlet, when Horatio and Barnardo are investing the ghost of King Hamlet, they explain many things that we associate with ghosts today. They describe an apparition of the fallen king who is dressed in armor from an important event in the king’s life, as you see in many shows today like Ghost Whisperer when the ghosts would always appear in a spooky outfit and then, once they’ve come to terms with their death, are instantly comfy in jeans and a tee.

 

It is also mentioned that the ghost would only appear in the dark and not in well-lit places (do I need to explain this one?) Lastly, an intense cold falls over the boys when the ghost appears. Now, either Shakespeare had a lot of experience with real life ghosts or his imagination dives into the subconscious of people today because most ghost reports today talk about that chilling cold that falls over the room (and my spine right now).

 

There you have it, folks. Shakespeare was far too good for us all. When you inevitably see tons of witches, fairies and ghosts this Halloween, be sure to thank the playwright god himself. 

 

Feature Image Via Bio and World Mysteries 

Shakespeare

This Is What Shakespeare Sounded Like!

When we read Shakespeare, we might be a little skeptical of some of his rhymes. Does play really rhyme with sea? Slant rhymes are frequently used, so when a rhyme doesn’t seem quite right, it’s likely it wasn’t intended to be. However, there’s also the possibility that sea was pronounced differently in Shakespeare’s accent.

 

British Council has a wonderful demonstration of what Shakespeare’s accent would’ve sounded like (Shakespeare’s accent begins at 2:20):

 

 

It sounds very similar to an Irish or Scottish accent. If you were expecting an English accent similar to how contemporary Londoners sound, this probably comes as a surprise. Hearing Shakespeare’s words as he (and his actors) would have spoken them does somehow make them easier to understand. For one, this accent seems to encourage an almost southern-U.S. drawl. As the speaker points out, the accent makes him speak a little deeper.

If you’re wondering how experts figured out that this is how Shakespeare sounded, here’s another video that will offer some clarification.

 

 

Youtuber NativLang points out that Shakespeare wrote in Early Modern English, right around the time of the Great Vowel Shift. It was a peculiar moment in the history of the English language in that it is something of a bridge between Chaucer’s Middle English and what we now know as Modern English. How English speakers pronounced vowels was drastically changing in Shakespeare’s day, which contributes to the unique accent heard in these videos.

 

Take out your copy of Hamlet and give the accent a spin!

 

Feature image courtesy of Theatrikos Theatre Company

Chris Martin and William Shakespeare

Here’s Why Chris Martin from Coldplay Is Legitimately Better Than Shakespeare

Jay-Z made headlines when he told Guilty Pleasures, “Britain will look back at [Chris Martin] as a modern day Shakespeare.”

 

This statement is understandably controversial. William Shakespeare rose to fame as the husband of Anne Hathaway (not the Oscar winner). Some may also know him as a playwright. His comedies were gut-busters, and his tragedies were tearjerkers. Perhaps his best known work is “Romeo + Juliet,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carrie from “Homeland.”

 

Shakespeare was known for his gun battles. / via GIPHY

 

But, as Jay-Z has aptly pointed out, Shakespeare has finally met his match in Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin. Chris Martin has penned universally relatable lines such as, “I feel my heart start beating to my favorite song.”

 

Shakespeare

Photograph of William Shakespeare. / via Biography

 

Admittedly, I’m inclined to agree with Jay-Z’s statement, but the comparison merits a somewhat deeper exploration for the skeptics. I assembled a list of the times Martin bested Shakespeare at his own game. But that list was long, so I whittled it down. After some whittling, the list was double the size. But I have finally managed to condense the list down to five. Without further ado, prepare to be convinced:

 

5. “Trouble” (Coldplay) vs. “Hamlet” (Shakespeare)

 

Hamlet

via UCI

 

Shakespeare in “Hamlet”:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

 

What Shakespeare seems to be getting at is that “fortune” slings rocks and shoots arrows at our minds. Think in terms of lottery tickets. You buy a lottery ticket and “fortune” doesn’t work in your favor. You don’t make millions. Instead, you lose a dollar.

 

Chris Martin in “Trouble”:

And I never meant to cause you trouble.
And I never meant to do you wrong.
And (ah) well if I ever caused you trouble.
Oh no, I never meant to do you harm.

 

Martin skips the whole “fortune” thing when he’s talking about trouble. For Martin, trouble is all about sadness and regret. “I never meant,” the speaker says again and again, and it tears my heart out. Martin never sinks to Shakespeare’s level of metaphor, and analogy.

 

The verdict? Yeah, Chris Martin.

 

 

4. “The Scientist” (Coldplay) vs. “Romeo and Juliet” (Shakespeare)

 

Romeo and Juliet

via Wikipedia

 

Shakespeare in “Romeo and Juliet”:

Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, 
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

Okay, I have to give it up to Shakespeare. This is pretty clever. Usually when somebody says “good night,” they mean it as synonym for “good bye,” or “so long.” But, this time, Shakespeare turns “good night” on its head. Instead of leaving after saying “good night,” he keeps talking. Very clever.

via GIPHY

 

Chris Martin in “The Scientist”:

Running in circles,
Chasing our tails,
Coming back as we are.

Martin’s also using familiar phrases here, such as “running in circles,” or “chasing our tails,” or “coming back as we are.” But, unlike Shakespeare, he doesn’t see the need in subverting their meanings. “Running in circles” means “running in circles.” In terms of familiar phrases: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

 

The verdict? Gotta give this one to Chris.

 

 

3. “Clocks” (Coldplay) vs. “Twelfth Night” (Shakespeare)

 

Twelfth Night

via Rossetti Archive

 

Shakespeare in “Twelfth Night”:

Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.

While I agree with the sentiment, Shakespeare’s making some elementary school-level mistakes here. You never have to repeat words…never!

 

Chris Martin in “Clocks”:

You are, you are
You are, you are
You are, you are

This line really eschews analysis. The beauty here is the ambiguity. You are? You are what? Martin refuses to provide a simple answer. It’s left to the listener to find out what they are.

 

The verdict? Christopher. Anthony. Martin.

 

 

2. “Viva la Vida” (Coldplay) vs. “Julius Caesar” (Shakespeare)

 

Julius Caesar

via Den of Geek

 

Shakespeare in “Julius Caesar”:

Of all the wonders that I have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

The content here really is potent. Talking about “death” and “fear,” Shakespeare clearly isn’t afraid of tackling serious issues. The thing is, it’s a little on the nose. Let’s see how a master deals with these themes…

 

Chris Martin in “Viva la Vida”:

One minute I held the key,
Next the walls were closed on me.
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

Check out Martin’s metaphors. The speaker’s “castles” (i.e., his life) are built on “pillars of salt and pillars of sand” (i.e., impermanent materials). By being indirect when talking about “death” and actually using metaphors, Martin proves himself as the superior writer in regards to the topic of death.

 

The verdict? It’s Chris.

 

 

1. “Fix You” (Coldplay) vs. “Taming of the Shrew” (Shakespeare)

 

Taming of the Shrew

via Wikipedia

 

Shakespeare in “Taming of the Shrew”:

Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance; commits his body
To painful labor, both by sea and land;
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou li’st warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks, and true obedience-
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince,
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And no obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel,
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?

Take a breath, Shakespeare!

via GIPHY

 

Chris Martin in “Fix You”:

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you 

This is a classic example of “less is more.” To be honest, I don’t even know what Shakespeare’s quote says above. But how about Martin’s image of “ignite your bones.” It summons this picture of exploding bodies, and then he follows it up with the touching, “I will try to fix you.” Try. That’s all he can do. Try.

 

 

And the final verdict…

Look, it’s almost unfair to compare the two. Not many people even knew Shakespeare wrote plays, whereas Coldplay has sold over 90 million records worldwide. And that’s what this comes down to. Shakespeare might have written a bunch of plays and sonnets in his lifetime, but more people listen to the words of Chris Martin.

 

So, no, Jay-Z. Chris Martin is not a modern day Shakespeare. He’s better.

 

via GIPHY

 

Feature images courtesy of GQ and The Mary Sue.

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Jon Snow

7 Jawbreaking Resurrections in Fiction

From powerful wizards to vengeful lovers, when fictional characters we love die in an untimely fashion, it is only natural that we as readers go through stages of serious grief. Authors have a way of giving us a punch in the gut only to reveal that your beloved character has been brought back from the grave. In fiction, writers dare to imagine the impossible by reversing the irreversible. Whether its a hero or a villain, a walk through the limbo always grants them with greater strengths to gain vengeance from whoever was responsible for their first deaths.

 

Warning: SPOILERS ahead. Advance at your own precaution.

 

 

7. Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

 

Aslan Via Goodreads

Via Goodreads

 

As a noble leader with a marked sense of duty, Aslan bravely sacrificed himself to save Edmund Pevensie. In dying, Aslan finally put a halt on the Deep Magic that governed the Narnia universe. His glorious return on the next morning as facilitated by the emitting rays of light signifies the revival of hope. On his epic come-back, he whirls into action as if nothing treacherous had happened at all. Phew!

 

6. Gandolf in The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Via Tenor

Via Tenor

 

Much like C.S. Lewis, Tolkien was an avid Christian that exhibited his beliefs in his works. In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf’s physical death at the Battle of the Peaks not only failed to terminate his life, but also enabled a powerful resurrection that changed his hair from grey to white and granted him with greater strengths to stay for good.

 

5. Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

 

Harry Potter in limbo

Via Harry Potter Wiki

 

During the ultimate battle between Harry and Lord Voldemort at Hogwarts, Harry is severely injured and suddenly sent into a limbo. As he finds himself at King’s Cross Station, he meets Dumbledore who walks him through a passage of indefinite length. Forced to dwell between life and death, Harry chooses the former and returns to life, stronger and more resilient against the Dark Lord. Thanks to authors of fantasy fiction such as Lewis and Tolkien, readers have been spoiled into believing that their beloved character will somehow return from the ashes and they will soon see an epic come-back of the hero through intermittent light beams. Though Rowling was not willing to use this clever gimmick on Dumbledore, we are extremely grateful that she pulled Potter back into the most intense battle in the history of magic.

 

 

4. Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, by William Shakespeare

 

Romeo and Juliet tomb scene

Via Playbuzz

 

In one of Shakespeare’s most heart-breaking tragedy, Juliet Capulet strikes a deal with the friar and plots a dangerous escape by faking her death; all in the name of love. Unfortunately, her seemingly genius idea went haywire after the grief-striken Romeo committed suicide by her so-called deathbed. When Juliet wakes up to find Romeo dead in her arms, she immediately stabs herself to follow after him. In short, a pair hasty lovers, some awful timing and a lot of inefficient communication led to this couple’s fateful deaths.

 

3. Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

 

Benedict Cumberbatch

Via Hidden Remote

 

In The Final Problem, Holmes and his arch-enemy Professor James Moriarty engaged in an intense combat and are believed to have fell to their deaths at Reichenback’s Falls. Although no footprints were to be seen and Watson had been 100% certain of their deaths, Holmes somehow survived the heights and came back to Baker Street. In the first book within The Return of Sherlock Holmes series, The Adventure of the Empty Home, Holmes’ astonishing reappearance startled Watson, as one can only imagine.

 

2. Jon Snow in A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

 

Jon Snow

Via Screener

 

Game of Thrones Season 5 was full of its unpleasant surprises, especially the jawbreaking cliffhanger that left Jon Snow dead at the hands of his own sworn brothers. However, we’ve noticed that the portrayal of Jon’s death on TV and his death in the pages are not entirely in accordance. The biggest discrepancy lies in the culprits behind his downfall; while on the show Ser Alliser Throne is the initiator and Olly is the one to complete the finishing blow with one final stab, in the book Lord Steward Bowen Marsh is responsible for delivering the mortal stab. Jon’s death scene as depicted by Martin’s words is deeply sentimental and poignant because Marsh has been a longtime supporter of the King of the North and his ruthless betrayal left himself in a pool of tears. Nevertheless, everything is put back into place after Melissandre successfully revives Jon. All we can hope for is that he should stay alive and healthy because as special as he may be, a lucky return from the grave does not signify immortality.

 

1. Catelyn Stark in A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

 

Lady Stoneheart

Via http://bit.ly/2veXyO9

 

In the book, Catelyn Stark is murdered and her body tossed into the river after the Red Wedding. However, a follower of the Lord of the Light, a.k.a. the male version of Melissandre, sacrifices his own life in order to bring her back from the grave. Following her resurrection, she travels in disguised form and refers to herself as Lady Stoneheart. Though there is no sign of Lady Stoneheart in HBO’s adaptation so far, there remains a slight possibility of her appearance in the current season.

 

Featured image courtesy of Vanity Fair