Tuesday, April 23, 2013

'Tis "Talk Like Shakespeare" Day--Didst Thou Know?


Today is Talk Like Shakespeare Day. William Shakespeare, "The Bard of Avon," was born on April 23, 1564, and coincidentally he died on the same date in 1616.

 As someone who was raised on the King James Bible, I have little difficulty "talking like Shakespeare"..even without the instructions of rappers The Q Brothers:

(If you don't want to subject yourself to that little ditty, it's OK...I'll give you the tips right here, courtesy of TalkLikeShakespeare.org:)

How to Talk Like Shakespeare

Instead of you, say thou or thee (and instead of y’all, say ye).

Rhymed couplets are all the rage.

Men are Sirrah, ladies are Mistress, and your friends are all called Cousin.

Instead of cursing, try calling your tormenters jackanapes or canker-blossoms or poisonous bunch-back’d toads.

Don’t waste time saying "it," just use the letter "t" (’tis, t’will, I’ll do’t).

Verse for lovers, prose for ruffians, songs for clowns.

When in doubt, add the letters "eth" to the end of verbs (he runneth, he trippeth, he falleth).

To add weight to your opinions, try starting them with methinks, mayhaps, in sooth or wherefore.

When wooing ladies: try comparing her to a summer’s day. If that fails, say "Get thee to a nunnery!"

When wooing lads: try dressing up like a man. If that fails, throw him in the Tower, banish his friends and claim the throne.

Mel Gibson contemplating a skull in the movie version of Hamlet

Seriously, that Will Shakespeare...

Could he write, or what?

When I was a little girl and my family spent some time in New York City waiting for a longshoreman's strike to end so we could sail to Lebanon, we spent some time in bookstores.  Among the books my parents bought was a handsome volume of the complete works of William Shakespeare.

I confess that I didn't read them at the time (I had just been introduced to Louisa May Alcott), but I spent a of time in that book...scanning the pages and looking at all the pretty names. (I was fascinated with names even then.)

Knowing that William Shakespeare was a great writer is a given...even knowing that we owe a lot of sayings to him.  But you never really realize it until you actually read or see one of his plays.  I remember how that fact really hit me when I watched "Hamlet," with Mel Gibson.

Elizabeth Taylor in "The Taming of the Shrew"
Instead of just talking like Shakespeare, why not try reading one of his plays or watching one of the many movie versions?

Here's a list of the best Shakespeare-to-Screen adaptations.

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