Friday, October 19, 2007

Shakespeare


Our family has been recently exploring Shakespeare as part of our kid's education. I'm embarrassed and sorry to confess that my own education included little, if any, of Shakespeare. I hardly know any of the plot lines of his plays. . . . But it's never too late.

I am fascinated by the "Bard of Avalon" . . . . his little known life, his incredible insights into human nature, and his amazing use of the English language. (Obviously, I am intensely in the last two topics!)

Shakespeare made up many of the words that we still use today, including . . .

mimic
excitement
shudder
zany
partner
mountaineer
fortune-teller
manager
watch-dog
employer
football
schoolboy
shooting star
dew-drop
glow
radiance
moonbeam
alligator
critic
luggage
eyeball
love-letter
gloomy
useless
quarrelsome
worthless
lonely
birth-place
bedroom
farm house
soft-hearted
upstairs
downstairs
forward
lower
far-off
never-ending
snail-paced
blushing
Shakespeare gave us phrases and figures of speech that have become embedded in our Western consciousness. Though I have never formally studied Shakespeare, I know and use numerous Shakespearisms. Here are some of the gifts of Shakespeare. . . .

too much of a good thing
pomp and circumstance
wild-goose chase
one fell swoop
not budge an inch
to be or not to be
for goodness' sake
a sorry sight
there's the rub
in my mind's eye
the be-all and end-all
we have a seen better days
good riddance
neither rhyme or reason
eaten me out of house and home
bated breath
I had no idea. Did you?

We're reading Hamlet as a family, and to get a headstart and a visual context, we watched Mel Gibson's Hamlet circa 1990. Gibson is great. The story of Hamlet is awesome. Visuals are compelling.

If you, like me, have been deprived of Shakespeare, perhaps Hamlet is a good place to start. Consider this a formal movie recommendation!

3 comments:

Jeannett Gibson said...

Gibson IS great. HA!

Wish we were somehow related...but alas...

Jacquelyn said...

is "tiptoe" on your word list (St Crispin Day speech from Henry V)? And I have to say the Kenneth Branaugh version of Hamlet is far superior.

Carrie Haughey said...

I second Jacquelyn's opinion. I found the Gibson version to be a little risque for my taste, just how they read into some of the plot...

If you want a funny take on Shakespeare, I recommend watching The complete works of William Shakespeare abridged. By the Reduced Shakespeare company. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0301126/

As a Theatre major, I approve... :0) My husband thinks that because he has watched it, he now knows Shakespeare. Not really... :0)