Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top Ten Shakespeare quotes :)

Welcome to a new year and more blogging from me. Leaving behind a hard year...and now I'm looking forward to a year of more writing than the year I left. I felt 2012 struggled hard leaving us behind, it rained and almost raged for having to go... but 2013 won, and we get to start over again.
Some of us have resolutions we know we most definitely are going to break. Some of us know for a fact that this is going to be our year. Some of us feel just the same as yesterday. And some of us make lists of their favorite Shakespeare quotes.
I was going to make this a big one, listing my favorite hundred quotes, but the task just grew and grew in my head to the point where I felt it wasn't fun anymore. And I want to have fun writing this... So, I'm going to list my ten favorite quotes, and I'm going to add a small "Why-this-quote" to them... This is not in any way based on expertise or knowledge, only a Shakespeare enthusiast finding some of the quotes that lingers in mind. And probably, when I think about it, I could have chosen differently, and one day, maybe I will (because let's face it, there's an awful lot to choose from...), but for now these are MY choices.

Yay, starting 2013 with a Much Ado About Nothing- List... what better way to start a year?

"... To sleep! perchance to dream: - ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: ..."

This quote comes from the well known To be, or not to be - speech, made famous by the Prince of Denmark, our Hamlet.
What he says here is pretty daunting to me, and it always makes me think about mortality, and what's on the other side, if there is an other side, and will I like it?
And also, I'm a fan of funny words, and this small quote holds many, maybe not funny, but certainly interesting words. Shuffled, perchance, coil, rub... And it makes sense.
I have gone in detail about To be or not to be in an earlier entry, so I won't do that here. But this was certainly one of the collections of thoughts of Shakespeare that had me take an interest in the complete works...

"... How did you dare to trade and traffic with Macbeth
In riddles and affairs of death;..."

This comes from The Scottish Play. I just love the supernatural twist in this story. And it will always be a bad thing to sell ones soul to the devil, or in this case, Hecate (The mistress of all charms). She comes to the earth to shout at the three witches... and in her monologue she really lets them have it in a true Shakespearian shouting match. It drips of evil. But what really bothers her is that she wasn't allowed to be a part of the fun. No worries, from this point she's in the game...
I love the tragedies. They can sometimes be silly funny :-)

"...Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire, burn; and, caldron, bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good."
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes:- ...."

Still in Scotland... And still in the supernatural world. The witches are standing over their caldron, mixing up their plans in liquid form... Just remember the time this was written, people feared God and Devil, people feared not believing... and here comes Shakespeare presenting evil and devilry on stage... awesome. Some voices in my life (my late fiancé for one) is certain that Macbeth has been written by two different authors, that there is such a big difference between the supernatural parts and the dramatic parts, that it cannot have been penned by the same man. I believe that that kind of duality in an author is perfectly possible. Though, arguing my case now is harder...I'm not giving up, though, I am a purist when it comes to Shakespeare, and no fabricated evidence hidden in rivers in America can convince me otherwise...Some of the people who want to believe that Shakespeare wasn't Shakespeare are out of line in their search for conspiracies and far fetched theories. It all boils down to one undeniable fact... the plays are here, and they have been written. They exist, and they are alive many hundred years after they were conceived, and Shakespeare or not, they were written. But, the unity in the complete works is in my mind completely present, and for these reasons alone, William Shakespeare is the biggest there ever was, and I have no doubt he was the man behind the words.

"Here's the smell of blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand..."

Last quote from Macbeth, promise. This is Lady Macbeth who has finally lost her marbles. And in my younger days I had a dream of becoming an actress, so I learned this scene by heart. Didn't quite know what I was going to use it for, but I figured I would be a brilliant Lady Macbeth, properly mad as a box of frogs, or a box of cats, or a box of badgers... imagine being locked in a box, and you would lose the plot too... I don't think I'll ever become an actress, but I still think I would present a brilliant Lady Macbeth :-)

"Good-night, good-night: heaven me such usage send,
Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!"

This is the scene in Othello, The Moor Of Venice, where his young wife understands that he will take her life. She is such a wonderful angel in the literary history, and I admire her. I would not go silently into the dark, but she knows and understands that her fate is to die by her husband's hands. She even prays for his and her own soul.
I think if I was asked to pick my favorite Shakespearean play, then it would have to be Othello. I do think it should have been called Iago, because he is really the protagonist...evil scum that plots and schemes and outlives the hero and heroine... But this play shows how dangerous lies can be. And every time I either read this play, or watch it... I cry when Desdemona prays for her soul, even now...

"It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue; but it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue. If it be true that good wine needs no bush, 'tis true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes; and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in, then, that am neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play! I am not furnished like a beggar;  therefore to beg will not become me: my way is to conjure you; and I'll begin with the women. I charge you, O women, for the love you bear to men, like as much of this play as please you: and I charge you, O men, for the love you bear to women, - as I perceive by your simpering, none of you hates them, - that between you and the women the play may please. If I were a woman, I would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me, complexions that liked me, and breaths that I defied not: and, I am sure, as many as have good beards, or good faces, or sweet breaths, will, for my kind offer, when I make curtsy, bid me farewell. "

As You Like It... Probably, in my mind, the best comedy...or is it Much Ado About Nothing, or The Tempest, or The Merchant Of Venice, or The Winters Tale... ok, I can't choose, sorry, but I really like As You Like It. It is romantic, and it wonderful, and I have always wanted to go to Arden. Hope to find my Orlando there...
I wrote this entry before I finding my Pete. I had met him at the time, and we liked how things were moving along, but he was then still my Orlando to be. Now he has passed away, and I am alone yet again. This makes for a bittersweet entry. I found the one I was looking for, but I lost him. But finding him makes me fully capable of understanding the love which Shakespeare was describing, and for that I am eternally grateful to my beloved Pete x and Shakespeare, obviously.

"If we shadows have offended,
Think but this - and all is mended,
That you have but slumber's here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentleness, do not reprehend;
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call:
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends.
And Robin shall restore amends."

A Midsummer Night's Dream is just that. A wonderful soup of imagination gone wild. Fantastic... I had many discussions about Shakespeare with my fiancĂ©. His favourite play was A Midsummer Night's Dream, and to him it was  dead serious. He compared Puck with the devil, and he read out Puck's last speech in a manner where he poured out malice and evil intent, and I could totally see his side. Pete was, among other things, a brilliant actor, and I can see a darker version of this play being put together in the future... I gave him a little book of the play, a pocket version I bought at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and he would actually keep it in his pocket at all times, and read in it every now and then. I think Puck is a trickster, and not the devil. He's not to be trusted, but he's not evil at heart, I think. But I see Pete's point.

"...O learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit."

This is a quote from sonnet 23. The rhyming couplet in the end of the sonnet, to be specific. I really love sonnets, and I do believe that they truly are the important poem. And to tell a story in 14 lines is simply genius.

"How can my muse want subject to invent,
Whilst thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse
Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
O, give thyself the thanks, if aught in me
Worthy perusal stand against thy sight;
For who's so dumb that cannot write to thee,
When thou thyself dost give invention light?
Be thou the tenth muse, ten times more in worth
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate;
And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
Eternal numbers to outlive long date.
If my slight muse do please these curious days,
The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise."

Sonnet 38.
I have written four books to with this sonnet in mind. This is inspiration personified...

"Peace, I will stop your mouth (kissing her)"

This is Benedict from Much Ado About Nothing, telling his wife to be to shut up...Now he has understood the whole thing...that's the way to do it. No fighting, no shouting...because you could love :)