Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The "We Love Shakespeare" Tag

This are my answers to the We Love Shakespeare Week Tag hosted by Hamlette's Soliloquy.

1. When and how did you first encounter Shakespeare's plays?

In jr. high.  We read "Julius Caesar".  And I vaguely remember going to see a performance of some play on a school outing.  (But I can't remember which one it was.)

2.  What are your favorite Shakespeare plays?  (Go ahead and list as many as you like!)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (see below for more clarification), Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew,  Hamlet, As you Like It, Twelfth Night.

3.  Who are some of your favorite characters in his plays?  (Again, list however many suits you.)

Puck is my favorite.  In case you are unfamiliar, Puck is one of the fairies in the woods in "A Midsummer Night's Dream".  In it Puck is a rascally character who, just for fun, casts a spell on Bottom, giving him the head of a jackass.  In 1992 I was working at a grocery store and in the lobby was one of those crane machines.  I went to work one day, with only $1.50 to my name until payday (still 2 or 3 days away).  I spotted a teddy bear in the machine which had a long-haired teddy bear which looked like a paint factory had exploded on him, streaks of green purple and yellow hair, with a bright red bow tie with white hearts on it.  I decided I must have it since it seemed a perfect metaphor for my personality.  It took me two tries to get it, but I got it, and it sits on top of my computer monitor to this day.  I of course named him "Puck".  Wish I had a picture of it to post here. If you are interested, I wrote a poem about him which you can view  here.

4.  Have you seen any of his plays performed, whether live or on film?

As stated above I saw one live in jr. high, but I don't remember which one.  That's all for live performance.  But I have watched a few films, including one with Brando as Marc Anthony in "Julius Caesar".  And one from a few years back of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"  with a hilarious portrayal of Puck by Stanley Tucci.

5.  Have you read any of his plays?

Yes.  In school (both secondary and college). Read "Julius Caesar",  "Macbeth" and "Hamlet".  Also "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on my own initiative.  And when I was researching material for a role-playing game, I got into "The Merchant of Venice" so I could incorporate parts of Shylock into the character I was playing.

6.  Share a dream cast for one of your favorite Shakespeare plays.

Do they all have to be living?  An all-star cast of both living and dead comedians doing "A Midsummer Night's Dream"  which would include Robin Williams as Puck, George Carlin as Oberon and Richard Pryor as Bottom

7.  What draws you to Shakespeare's plays?  (Language, themes, characters, the fact that they're famous, whatever!)

Mostly because I found out that a movie or TV show I liked derived some inspiration from it so I go to the source to see the parallels.  I read "The Tempest" because it was told to me that Forbidden Planet had a connection to it plot-wise.

8.  Do you have any cool Shakespeare-themed merchandise, like t-shirts or mugs or bookmarks, etc?  Share pictures if you can!

Does this count?

9.  How do you go about understanding his language?  (Do you prefer copies with translation notes, look things up online, or just read so much stuff written in Elizabethan English that you totally know what everyone's saying?)

I use Shakespeare for Dummies to help me figure it out.

10.  What are some of your favorite lines from Shakespeare?  (Maybe limit yourself to like ten, okay?)

How about just one?  But a really long one.

"If we are mark’d to die, we are enow  to do our country loss; and if to live, the fewer men, the greater share of honour.  God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.  By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; it yearns me not if men my garments wear; such outward things dwell not in my desires.  But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive.  No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.  God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour as one man more methinks would share from me  For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!  Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,  That he which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart; his passport shall be made, and crowns for convoy put into his purse;  We would not die in that man’s company that fears his fellowship to die with us.  This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.  He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d, and rouse him at the name of Crispian.  He that shall live this day, and see old age, will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, and say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’  Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, and say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’  Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, but he’ll remember, with advantages, what feats he did that day. Then shall our names, familiar in his mouth as household words-  Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester- be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.  This story shall the good man teach his son; and Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remembered- we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition; and gentlemen in England now-a-bed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day."

 It's enough to make one want to charge the battlements.

Thus ends the tag.



  1. There's nothing quite like the Agincourt speech! I would fight for the king who gave me that speech. I've read Midsummer's Night Dream in school, but have not seen that one. I should give it another chance! I was really hoping somebody would review Forbidden Planet and its origins in The Tempest, but alas, no one did that this go-around. Maybe next blogathon!

    1. I did Forbidden Planet already or I might have taken that route. I'm striving hard not to do double duty on films I've already reviewed even if a new angle opens up. Thanks for reading.

  2. Puck is so fun! Our drama dept. did Midsummer Night's Dream when I was in college, and the guy playing Puck was AWESOME. (Actually, he's gone on to act in movies -- even had a small role in the newest Lone Ranger movie that I adore.) Totally made me a fan of Puck.

    And your bear does sound extremely Puckish.

    Things with that "To quote Hamlet..." thing on them always crack me up :-)

    And the St. Crispin's Day speech is just one of the best things ever written in the English language. I got goosebumps reading it here. Good, good stuff.

    1. THe Puck story is one of my favorite memories.

      As far as the speech, there is a scene in "Renaissance Man" in which Gregory Hines' drill sergeant is trying to ridicule the recruits taking Danny DeVito's class. He demands of his recruits to quote Shakespeare to prove its not a waste of time. (They are actually studying "Hamlet") Only Lillo Brancato's recruit character puts Hines in his place by quoting the second half of the Henry V speech. I wanted to post a piece on the movie for the blogathon, but I don't have it and neither does my library.


I'm pretty liberal about freedom of speech, but if you try to use this blog to sell something it will be deleted.