11: Shakespeare Sunday

I have been reading mad amounts of Shakespeare, and, of course, loving it all just as madly. Today I shirked my other academic duties to participate in a readthrough of Henry IV pt. 2. Because I am showing worrying signs of coming down with the current November Plague (sore throat, runny nose, general congestion), I requested and received only very small parts (Bardolph, pages, messengers) — but still, what fun to put Shakespeare into the air! I am constantly planning to memorize more Shakespeare. Aside from To Be or Not To Be, the only speech I have memorized is this one:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.
— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 19-27)

If you’re going to know any Shakespeare by heart, this is about the most useful, dramatic, and tragic speech to have memorized, though I think my friends are sick of me droning it out at any and every apropos moment that presents itself. Which is why it is imperative that I learn more.

So, fair audience, I turn to you. Let’s talk about the Bard. Have you got any Shakespeare inscribed upon your minds and souls? What are your favourite plays, passages, sonnets, lines? Do tell.

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~ by Not Alice on November 11, 2007.

6 Responses to “11: Shakespeare Sunday”

  1. When I was a young teenager, I loved The Comedy of Errors:

    Am I so round with you as you with me,
    That like a football you do spurn me thus?
    You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither:
    If I last in this service, you must case me in leather.
    (Act 2, Scene 1)

  2. First of all, PRETTY new template!

    Second, the only Shakespeare I have memorized is “To be or not to be” and a couple of sonnets: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds” (#116) and “When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes” (#29). This may cause me to lose respect with other English teachers, but Shakespeare just never inspired rabid love in me. I have the proper admiration and respect, to be sure, but I don’t read him for fun.

  3. Oh my! I haven’t checked your blog in over a week so I have a lot of catching up to do.

    I have the whole of “To be or not to be” memorized, the prologue to Romeo and Juliet, and…maybe some other bits of speeches from R&J, “But soft! what light through yonder window breaks” etc…just the stuff I had to learn in high school, in other words. It is still useful to recite to myself at times when I’m trying not to cry (which doesn’t happen much anymore, admittedly).

    Still nothing absolutely conclusive on The Move, but I am pretty sure it’s going to happen. J. is supposedly giving notice to his boss today. We shall see.

  4. I think “All the world’s a stage”from As You Like It (which, if you ask me, doesn’t have a lot else going for it) is good value and “I have done the State some service” from Othello is great though ruined for an Irish audience by Charles J. Haughey (notorious former prime minister, genius or crook or both – depends to whom you listen) using it when he bowed out.

  5. Oh, oh! And I love the O, for a muse of fire bit at the beginning of Henry V. It’s not all bad football puns, my love of Shakespeare.

  6. I wonder if the U.S. title (it was first published in England as: Adonis and the Alphabet) of Aldous Huxley’s book “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” (1956) was inspired from the lines you quoted above? I just finished a biography of Huxley by Sybille Bedford, and recall the title.

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