A Course, A Course! Shakespeare is all around me

Well, so much for blogging every few days. Once again I have gone silent, but I swear , this time it is not my fault! I had planned on doing at least two posts last week, but as you know, I didn’t even manage one. I am not sure if the fates are against me, but it seems every time I sit down to write, something happens.

Since my last post, I have had my car worked on, unexpected company, plumbing issues and a birthday that lasted days. My boyfriend surprised me by whisking me away for get away weekend, no computers allowed. It became so absurd that each time I sat down to write, the phone would ring or a neighbor would stop by. Tonight I am sitting here in the silence determined to ignore the phone and door bell.

So, after a month of reading and watching all things Shakespeare what did I learn? Surprisingly, the biggest thing is that I learned Shakespeare is all around me.

I have a large wish list on Paperback Swap, so it is not surprising that this month I would end up with one or two books in my mail box. But it is a little surprising that a book that has sat on my list for about two years showed up. And that this book Martyr, by Roy Clements, has as its main character, John Shakespeare, William’s fictional older brother.

I took a small break from the bard to read the new mystery novel Revenant , by William Meikle. I had to laugh because in it, I found two quotes from (by the way my phone is ringing) Shakespeare. Because of my studies I not only know which plays they are from, but who said them! It turns out Meikle likes to quote Falstaff “discretion is the better part of valor“.  I have now read two Meikle novels and both quote Falstaff. Cleaning out my book shelves I found some unread comics from the Kill Shakespeare series. I bought these for my son about three years ago.

As I look around my house I find Shakespeare in most every room. I have books in my office, living room and bedroom. I now even have some novel Shakespeare insult gum in my kitchen.  A visitor may think I had quite the obsession with the man. I would like to think I am a discriminating collector. Okay, the gum is not classic, but hey, we all have to  have a quirky side.

The other eye opener was that in order to fully enjoy the works of Shakespeare, one does not need to read about him or listen to podcasts (though this was fun and enlightening). No, all you need is the understanding that Shakespeare’s plays are rhythmic art. The reason they stand the test of time is because he plays on our emotions much like music does. His use of rhymes and rhythmic prose ensures that that we feel the story. We are sucked in and taken in by all his characters, both vile and heroic, due to his masterful use of prose. His plays are poetry in motion. We may not understand some of his archaic language but we understand their meaning because we understand the emotion behind them.

You could take the time to learn about the Elizabethan Era to better understand the world in which Shakespeare lived and worked. For this I would recommend Will in the World. You could listen to podcasts in order to develop  a deep understanding of the plays . Try Chop Bardfor a crash course of his plays. But the best piece of advise I can give, is to load up your Netflix queue, make some popcorn and sit back and enjoy the plays. it will only take about 10 minutes before you pick up the rhythmic dialog. Soon the flow of the play will sweep you away to far off lands and unforgettable characters.  Be prepared to fall in love as  you too may see Shakespeare all around you.

Well, so much for blogging every few days. Once again I have gone silent, but I swear , this time it is not my fault! I had planned on doing at least two posts last week, but as you know, I didn’t even manage one. I am not sure if the fates are against me, but it seems every time I sit down to write, something happens.

Since my last post, I have had my car worked on, unexpected company, plumbing issues and a birthday that lasted days. My boyfriend surprised me by whisking me away for get away weekend, no computers allowed. It became so absurd that each time I sat down to write, the phone would ring or a neighbor would stop by. Tonight I am sitting here in the silence determined to ignore the phone and door bell.

So, after a month of reading and watching all things Shakespeare what did I learn? Surprisingly, the biggest thing is that I learned Shakespeare is all around me.

I have a large wish list on Paperback Swap, so it is not surprising that this month I would end up with one or two books in my mail box. But it is a little surprising that a book that has sat on my list for about two years showed up. And that this book Martyr, by Roy Clements, has as its main character, John Shakespeare, William’s fictional older brother.

I took a small break from the bard to read the new mystery novel Revenant , by William Meikle. I had to laugh because in it, I found two quotes from (by the way my phone is ringing) Shakespeare. Because of my studies I not only know which plays they are from, but who said them! It turns out Meikle likes to quote Falstaff “discretion is the better part of valor“.  I have now read two Meikle novels and both quote Falstaff. Cleaning out my book shelves I found some unread comics from the Kill Shakespeare series. I bought these for my son about three years ago.

As I look around my house I find Shakespeare in most every room. I have books in my office, living room and bedroom. I now even have some novel Shakespeare insult gum in my kitchen.  A visitor may think I had quite the obsession with the man. I would like to think I am a discriminating collector. Okay, the gum is not classic, but hey, we all have to  have a quirky side.

The other eye opener was that in order to fully enjoy the works of Shakespeare, one does not need to read about him or listen to podcasts (though this was fun and enlightening). No, all you need is the understanding that Shakespeare’s plays are rhythmic art. The reason they stand the test of time is because he plays on our emotions much like music does. His use of rhymes and rhythmic prose ensures that that we feel the story. We are sucked in and taken in by all his characters, both vile and heroic, due to his masterful use of prose. His plays are poetry in motion. We may not understand some of his archaic language but we understand their meaning because we understand the emotion behind them.

You could take the time to learn about the Elizabethan Era to better understand the world in which Shakespeare lived and worked. For this I would recommend Will in the World. You could listen to podcasts in order to develop  a deep understanding of the plays . Try Chop Bard for a crash course of his plays. But the best piece of advise I can give, is to load up your Netflix queue, make some popcorn and sit back and enjoy the plays. it will only take about 10 minutes before you pick up the rhythmic dialog. Soon the flow of the play will sweep you away to far off lands and unforgettable characters.  Be prepared to fall in love as  you too may see Shakespeare all around you.

Author: sarij

I'm a writer, lifelong bibliophile ,and researcher. I hold a Bachelors in Humanities & History and a Master's in Humanities. When I'm not reading or talking about Shakespeare or history, you can usually find me in the garden discussing science or politics with my cat.

Talk to me

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