Amph The Shakespeare Discussion Thread: "Anonymous"

Discussion in 'Community' started by JediNemesis, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. JediNemesis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2003
    star 4
    Welcome to the Globe!

    It's hardly original, but a thread dedicated to the Bard could scarcely be called anything else. Here we can discuss the body of work left by Mr William Shakespeare, Esq. - one hundred and fifty-four sonnets, several longer poems, and nearly forty plays. ( How many exactly is it, anyway? Do we include Thomas More - a collaboration by Anthony Munday, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Heywood and Henry Chettle as well as Shakespeare, of which Shakespeare probably only wrote one scene?)

    Hopefully we'll be able to cover his oeuvre play by play as well as engage in general discussion of his work. A provisional schedule exists for a format in which a play is discussed one fortnight, a general topic the next, then another play, and so on. As well as spacing the plays out, this should give (anyone who wants to) time to read the play scheduled for the following fortnight (or week, if things work out nicely.) Other people's thoughts on a possible schedule would be very useful.

    In the first instance it'd just be great to see how many Shakespeare-o-philes are about . . . and talk about how wonderful his work is.

    And if you don't like Shakespeare, I'd be interested to hear why . . .

    ***

    So, to start off on a general topic: why Shakespeare?

    Why does Shakespeare occupy such a pre-eminent place in English literature? He was far from unique in his time; the Renaissance bred dozens of playwrights as or more popular - some, like Ben Jonson, wrote many more plays than Shakespeare's estimated total of 'about 40'. His plots, like most of his contemporaries, he mostly took from historical accounts or volumes of short stories.

    So how is it that only Shakespeare's works have consistently maintained their popularity in the 400 years since he died? Some put it down to his extraordinary understanding of human nature and the way people think and feel. Some prefer to attribute it wholly to his mastery of the language; there's certainly no question that Shakespeare has become part of the fabric of English. Such familiar phrases as green-eyed monster, pomp and circumstance and foregone conclusion were supplied from a single play (Othello), and he wrote thirty-six (or 37) more.

    What made Shakespeare so unique? What do you particularly like about his work?

    Do you have a favourite character, scene, play or quote? Let's hear it. :) (Note: Where necessary, I'll be working from the Arden Shakespeare, second edition. I don't imagine the choice of editions will make much difference - just saying if anyone's interested.)

    In two weeks' time: Romeo and Juliet. :D


    ***

    Personally, I'm a great fan of Othello. This is probably because it's the most recent one I've done in-depth, and so all the nuances and quotes are still fresh in my mind. Familiarity notwithstanding, though, it's an unusual play. It has no real subplot - Cassio and Bianca maybe, but she barely registers - and the action drives straight through from start to finish. Very little pause. It also has Shakespeare's best villain. Who can forget Iago? :cool:

    In June I saw the video of the RSC production with Sir Ian McKellen as Iago (my dad has told me about 47 times now that he saw it at the theatre [face_frustrated] ... and got McKellen's autograph :_|) and it brought the play to life for me in a way that reading it in class, even with a superlative English class, just couldn't. It's now vying with Hamlet for my absolute favourite - I'm having trouble deciding.

    Like Hamlet, I guess :p


  2. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    An admission: I've never seen a live Shakespeare play. Read some of the plays in school, and some of the poetry, and seen the movie adaptations.

    Some theatre criticism helps, especially Kenneth Tynan's "He Who Plays the King" and his subsequent work.

    I take it you are not of the ilk that insists that a man of such genius could not possibly be the son of a glove-maker, and therefore was really the Earl of Oxford. I have never understood this notion, except that some people are snobs. :p
  3. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    The theories are ludicrous, yes, proof that the 'unimportant personal issues' style of celebrity journalism did not begin with Entertainment Tonight. I don't care if he was really Marlowe or Bacon or whatever.

    But the man was a genius. Why has he survived?

    I've always put it like this; he satisfies the three prongs: namely, his story is emotionally resonant and interesting, his style is beautiful and poetic, and his characters are archetypal and sympathetic.

    Hamlet is his masterwork, I think, but I read his thirteen tragedies all in one book and couldn't find a bad one in the mix; yes, I even liked Titus Andronicus. I mean, what he sets out to do, he does; he sets out to blow our minds in Titus Andronicus, not touch our hearts or engage our intellect, but, by God, he does it.

    I've read the thirteen tragedies, seen several films (Macbeth: Welles and Kurosawa, Hamlet: Gibson and Olivier and Branagh, Much Ado About Nothing: Branagh, Richard III: Olivier and McKellen and Pacino's docudrama). And read a smattering of the sonnets which are also pretty brilliant. Branagh, I think, does Shakespeare best, though McKellen's Richard III was amazing and Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, which I coincidentally just watched tonight for the third time, is great as well.

    He just captures something . . . I've often said Hamlet has wisdom on just about everything in life.

    I definitely look forward to this thread continuing and I'll try to look the plays over; there's always so much to say about each of them. You could spend all day quoting great lines.
  4. KissMeImARebel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2003
    star 4
    Why Shakespeare?

    I guess because he's just that good. Pure and simple.

    Or perhaps because his characters and themes are still able to compel and hold our understanding - times have changed, but Shakespeare's characters still impact us.

    Personally I like the characters and the language.

    I've read (does quick count - could be wrong) only 13 of the plays, but of those my favorites are King Lear and both parts of Henry IV. Not really sure why - maybe I like the idea of children who don't listen to their parents, or I find stories about twisted families more understandable and interesting than political upheavals or doomed lovers.

    And, for some reason, Richard II holds a special place with me - perhaps because I can't decide if the scenes are funny or tragic...or both.
  5. TheBoogieMan Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2001
    star 6
    As an aside - there is a new adaptation of Macbeth set in an Australian gang war (based on recent events) coming out soon, by the director of Romper Stomper. It looks like it'll be a very unique take on Shakespeare, sort of along the lines of Romeo + Juliet, but with more semi-automatics. :p
  6. PulsarSkate Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Nov 4, 2003
    star 7
    ^^ There's a preview of that next week that I'm thinking of going to, perhaps this thread being directly in my line of sight is a sign...


    I, personally, have a love-hate relationship with Shakespeare and his works. I have directed (nearly) two of his plays (all of R & J and parts of Macbeth), acted in Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing and Midsummers, seen numerous stage and screen versions and had to study his sonnets for about three years straight. I love his words, the musical quality of the prose and the beauty of the phrases he uses. The way the meter works in the plays, I found so excellent to work with, so easy to remember. It's like he dresses up the english language for a night on the town, then takes it out to McDonalds for dinner... If you get my meaning...beauty in simple things, I think. The plays work on grand and small scale, with a large cast or with a few key actors. They're stories everyone can find something familiar in and they play on the innate collection of stories we all carry around with us.


    But that being said, the way Shakespeare's works are pushed as the greatest of all time? Drives me batty! He was one of many writers, yet he stands out? Why? I have no idea. Possibly the accessibility I and others have mentioned puts him on top. That, and studying him for so long, I feel tired just thinking of reading his stuff :p


    Of my favourites, Twelfth Night tops them all. Maybe not for storyline, or for comedy (both of which I think are brilliant, but there is better) but for the dialogue - definitely.

    My favourite line? Well, close enough..

    "Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage." - by the Fool, of course!


    Great thread idea, I'm looking forward to rambling with you all :)


  7. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I think the power of shakespeare is in the realism of his characters. Sure, they speak in quotable quotes and need major therapy, but we can so often relate to them.
  8. JediNemesis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2003
    star 4
    Hi everyone :)

    First, nothing compares to Shakespeare live. Five years of Shakespeare in school couldn't have prepared me for the current RSC Antony and Cleopatra - Patrick Stewart, Harriet Walter and a superlative supporting cast. Even a power cut halfway through Act II couldn't break the spell; we waited a minute or two, the lights came back on, and Ms Walter just picked up where she'd left off. It blew me away.

    Don't know if anyone here's particularly familiar with A&C, but there's a passage where Enobarbus, one of Antony's retainers, describes Cleopatra's arrival: "The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne / Burn'd on the water; the poop was beaten gold ..."

    The poetry's incredible. But seeing Ken Bones (an RSC stalwart) sitting on an upturned crate, in legionary uniform, speaking those lines ... utterly in character; it was as if he had wanted not to be fooled by all the glitz, but was drawn in almost against his will. That sense of spellbinding is so intense it draws the audience in as well, until you can practically see Cleopatra's ship shining. And all it is is three blokes in Roman costume sitting on a stage.

    On the Earl of Oxford question: there is one line of de Vere's (Oxford's) verse I have never succeeded in forgetting: "My life though lingering long is lodged in lair of loathsome ways ..." Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that is not the work of the man who gave us the section of Antony & Cleopatra quoted above. Aristo or no.

    In any case, the question is largely academic. Even if the plays were written by lobsters from the future, the quality of the actual work remains the same. :p But the bulk of the evidence points squarely to their having been written by the man they're attributed to, so why argue?

    I like the three-prong description; I'll remember that.

    On the character front, it's interesting that you say 'archetypal and sympathetic. Because, just thinking about it now, almost all of his characters are sympathetic to some degree. Even the real nutcases like Iago or Richard III tend to get the audience on their side to some degree, through soliloquy. Maybe it's just harder to detest a character into whose innermost thoughts you've just been admitted.

    I've heard Andronicus described as "Shakespeare's Pulp Fiction". Accurate? I wouldn't know, I've never seen it; isn't on much. I wonder why? [face_thinking] I should probably read it.

  9. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9

    Ah, ammunition. Thank you, and I agree.

    The real question about these nimrods is that they can't see that it's impossible. :p


    Best Shakespearean characters?

    Well, Falstaff. And the witches. And Cassius. Hotspur. Richard III.
  10. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    My favorites are Caliban and Prospero from the Tempest, Hero from Much Ado About Nothing, Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet, Hermione from A Winter's Tale, Henry (V) from Henry V, Hamlet from Hamlet and Nurse from Romeo and Juliet.
  11. Noelie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2005
    star 4
    I love Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing.
  12. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Exactly. Most of his great characters are deeply, deeply flawed, and yet, and yet, we somehow feel that they speak for us, that we have felt the way they have felt.

    People talk about how hyperreal Hamlet is and how contrived and how complicated a character Hamlet is; I disagree largely. He's the everyman. Most Shakespeare characters are.

    It's quite brilliant, if shocking. Some call it cartoonish, I just think it's sick. There's one scene in particular that is dark as any modern horror film.

    As for the films, you can't go wrong with Branagh and his Hamlet is by far the best Shakespeare film ever. And he brings real energy to Much Ado About Nothing. And McKellen's Richard III is his best performance to date, I think. And, yes, Throne of Blood is Macbeth. Kurosawa also did Ran, a take off of King Lear, but I haven't seen it yet.

    Iago is great; humorously enough, back in the old days, all the big stars put on blackface to play him. Olivier did it, Welles did it, etc. They miss the point, which Branagh gets. Of Iago and Othello, Iago is by far the better part.

    Oh, of note, anyone seen Ronald Colman's Double Life; it's about an actor who plays Othello on stage for so long that he goes crazy. Pretty cool and Colman is actually a darn good Othello in the brief scenes we actually see of the play.

    As for favorite characters, I find both Hamlet and Claudius close to my heart, Hamlet because I encountered him while grieving my father and he gave me a way to understand what was happening to me. Claudius, because, like him, I can't seem to shake guilt over the past.

    Beatrice and Benedick are absolutely hilarious. And, in a rare departure, I found Timon of Athens very interesting; it's low key and his dilemma is not melodramatic, but his frustration was palpable and I really got into his dilemma. Same for Troilus and Cressida which I find a better plot (though not a better play) than Romeo and Juliet. Better ending, that's for sure.
  13. TheBoogieMan Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2001
    star 6
    Actually, no. They've kept the dialogue and changed the setting. Here's the wikipedia entry. :)
  14. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Forgot to mention that I saw Ethan Hawke's Hamlet which was great, the best modern times update I've ever seen. Hawke is perfect; his Hamlet is different from the others but equally valid. Bill Murray is pitch perfect as Polonius and Diane Venora is a truly sexy Gertrude.

    And Kyle McLachlan as Claudius; he just knocks it out. Best performance he's ever given, if you ask me.

    It uses the updated setting to great effect, but I won't tell you how; you need to see it. Scenes like Hamlet's father, played by Sam Shepard in a long black trench coat, seen walking the halls on security monitors . . . wow, it just gives you chills.

    It's the only adaptation that actually had a point in adapting it. In an odd way, the film becomes about the modern dilemma, the dehumanizing nature of technology.

    It is, I think, just behind Branagh's Hamlet as the best Shakespeare film.
  15. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The language of Hamlet seems to win out over even the worst possible film adaptation or live performance of the play. Even Mel Gibson's terrible Hamlet comes close to being redeemed by the magic of the text.
  16. JediNemesis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2003
    star 4
    Zaz: yes. The main argument against Shakespeare's not being the Earl of Oxford isn't anything to with working-class genius but the fact that Oxford couldn't write for toffee.

    Shakespeare did know him, though, and was familiar with the style of verse Oxford and a lot of other would-be poet-aristos wrote. The rude mechanicals' play in A Midsummer Night's Dream is a pretty good parody of that style:

    "But stay! O spite! But mark, poor knight, what dreadful dole is here?
    Eyes, do you see? How can this be? O dainty duck, o dear."

    No doubt there. Iago's got more lines, more stage time, much more of a relationship with the audience. He's the one they love. Although Othello's hardly a bad part; depends whether your interpretation of the play casts him as an honourable man undone by a truly diabolical villain, or as a gullible idiot who Iago simply takes advantage of.

    It's worth noting that Olivier also played Iago in his time. His rendering was one of the first to show the repressed sexuality that some critics read into Iago's character - Olivier's version was fairly clearly in love with Othello but didn't want to admit it to anyone, including himself, so went exaggeratedly the other way into irrational hatred. I've never seen this performance (I'm not sure a video even exists) but I've read about it.

    Everyone loves Beatrice and Benedick. Technically they're a subplot, but they upstage Claudio and Hero every time. Also, I love how they showcase Shakespeare's differing use of prose and verse: they bicker in prose, but once they actually realise they're in love with one another, they go into verse. It's rather subtle and rather great.

    Timon of Athens is another obscure one. I read that a small British theatre company (Cardboard Citizens?) are doing a production set in a boardroom - transplanting that feel of petty frustration to the office, which seems pretty apposite.

    Boogie, thanks for the Wikipedia link. That production of Macbeth looks genuinely interesting ... might have to check it out.

    I clearly need to do some serious DVD renting. :p That kind of slant on the film looks like it could open up some of the subtler aspects of the play - the CCTV monitors seem appropriate when you think that so much of Hamlet is related to spying and surveillance. It'd also fit well with the idea that some people have that ghosts show up on camera even though you can't see them.

    I've only seen it once, onstage, with Ed Stoppard (Tom Jr.) playing the lead. He wasn't anything to write home about, but you still got the shivers hearing all the timeless lines that seem to be instinctively familiar. I imagine the guy who reads the football results
  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Yeah, I've seen three film versions and four stage versions, including a German translation on stage with an overweight and over-old Klaus Maria Brandauer as Hamlet speaking his own and the ghost's lines (taking one step further the idea of Hamlet basically playing out the entire ordeal by talking it over with himself). Even in German the power of the narrative packs a powerful punch.
  18. Zombi_2_1979 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 4
    As far as film adaptations go, I absolutely love Roman Polanski's MacBeth "marked by realistic design, unflinching violence, and fatalistic atmosphere."

    Polanski's first film after the grisley death of his wife Sharon Tate. And notably dark and violent.

    The film divided critics by it's stunning fight scenes and fine acting, particularly Jon Finch and Francesca Annis as MacBeth and Lady.

  19. JediNemesis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2003
    star 4
    I believe there was a version fifteen or twenty years ago with Jonathan Pryce as Hamlet where he did the Ghost's lines - making the Ghost more of a personal, internal demon, I suppose.

    Speaking of translated versions, it must be monumentally hard to translate poetry as densely allusive as Shakespeare's. Even more so if the languages involved have different grammar and/or natural rhythm (English seems to fall naturally into iambic pentameter; Italian likewise, but with almost universal weak endings; French seems to go naturally into hexameter).

    I've seen that one. I thought it worked very well - certainly in terms of the realistic nastiness involved with the multiple murders. I also liked the way Polanski handled the soliloquies, having them on the soundtrack but not spoken by the actor. (I think several films have used that since, but I saw it there first). Good movie.
  20. darth_frared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 5
    i love shakespeare very much. can't say i have even read much by him in any way, but what i did read, got stuck and has stayed with me. the thing which is being held against the poetry is that we now assign too much importance or whatever? WTH? what has that got to do with the poetry in the slightest sense or that awful idea that the wrting is overrated? if we don't allow ourselves to discover new playwrights, that's not his fault, is it?

    anyway, my absolute favourite play of course is hamlet, macbeth a close second (too many characters, too much plot for little old me) and then some. there is great musicality to the language and part of the magic is saying the things out loud.

    as for the translations into german, i can't say they are bad. but overall i prefer reading in english.
  21. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    It's definitely not the same in German. Some of the translations are great but still the translations will never be Shakespeare.
  22. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    It's not the same in French, either. For example: when the witches greet Macbeth, they say, instead of, "Hail, Hail, Macbeth!"..."Bonjour, bonjour, Macbeth!" Not quite the same.
  23. JediNemesis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2003
    star 4
    My favourite quote about Shakespeare (as opposed to by Shakespeare) is what Robert Graves said on much the same point: "The thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he's very good."

    I think a lot of people are scared away from Shakespeare by the small but loud minority who claim him as the answer to all the ills of the modern world and lament the fact that 11-year-olds don't have to study 14 plays a year anymore.

    But it is a shame that that happens, because the mastery of his work is perfectly able to speak for itself.

    Going by Jabbadabbado and Zaz's posts, I'd say that's generally true. I suppose it comes down to the fact that it's hard to find an exact translation for a lot of Shakespeare's vocabulary, and that's before you even get onto the problems of translating poetry. Somehow I doubt that there's an equivalent in any language for things like 'exsufflicate'.

    I had a look for translated Shakespeare. Here's some examples.

    "To be or not to be"

    HAMLET

    To be or not to be; that is the question,
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
    And by opposing end them? To die; to sleep
    No more; and by a sleep to say we end
    The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
    The flesh is heir to? Tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish'd.


    ***

    "Être ou n'être pas"

    HAMLET
    Être ou n'être pas, voilà la question.... Qu'y a-t-il de plus noble pour l'âme? supporter les coups de fronde et les flèches de la fortune outrageuse? ou s'armer en guerre contre un océan de misères et, de haute lutte, y couper court?... Mourir.... dormir.... plus rien.... et dire que, par un sommeil, nous mettons fin aux serrements de coeur et à ces mille attaques naturelles qui sont l'héritage de la chair! C'est un dénoûment qu'on doit souhaiter avec ferveur.

    ***

    "Sein oder Nichtsein"

    HAMLET
    Sein oder Nichtsein; das ist hier die Frage:
    Obs edler im Gemüt, die Pfeil und Schleudern
    Des wütenden Geschicks erdulden oder,
    Sich waffnend gegen eine See von Plagen,
    Durch Widerstand sie enden? Sterben - schlafen -
    Nichts weiter! Und zu wissen, daß ein Schlaf
    Das Herzweh und die tausend Stöße endet,
    Die unsers Fleisches Erbteil, 's ist ein Ziel,
    Aufs innigste zu wünschen.


    ***

    Of those, the French looks a bit rubbishy, mainly because it looks as though they haven't even tried to render it in any kind of metre. The ellipses also look suspicious, and the use of "plus rien" as a translation of "no more" confines said phrase to one meaning, whereas the ambiguity in English between "never again" and "nothing else" works very well IMO.

    I like the German version at first glance because they've nailed the metre, but being totally unable to speak German can't really comment on the translation. Anyone feel inclined?



  24. darth_frared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 5
    i feel inclined :D

    august wilhelm schlegel wrote that translation (he translated most of the other plays as well, i should think) and it's the one that is most widely read. we dub our movies :rolleyes: and it's also the version they use for the films and on stages. when i read hamlet in school i glimpsed at wieland's translation.

    Seyn oder nicht seyn - - Das ist die Frage - - Ob es einem edeln Geist anständiger ist, sich den Beleidigungen des Glüks geduldig zu unterwerfen, oder seinen Anfällen entgegen zu stehen, und durch einen herzhaften Streich sie auf einmal zu endigen? Was ist sterben? - - Schlafen - - das ist alles - - und durch einen guten Schlaf sich auf immer vom Kopfweh und allen andern Plagen, wovon unser Fleisch Erbe ist, zu erledigen, ist ja eine Glükseligkeit, die man einem andächtiglich zubeten sollte

    apart from the slightly different spelling, wieland also chose not to translate the metre.
    what's funny is that heartache turned into headache and generally i think wieland doesn't get the powerful imagery right. that's just opinion, though, i'm sure wieland had his own ideas about the text.
    what i simultaneously love and hate about schlegel is that he basically gets all the credit for the translation and that his is generally the most romantic. (that's to do with the times that we discovered shakespeare)

    generally, as i said, i prefer reading the stuff in english as i feel that i miss less things (it's more work in the log run, of course as i'm having to look up MORE rather than less as i go along)

    also, i learnt that by translating myself and also talking with people who professionally translate their way around, the translation will by sheer necessity not be what the original is. that's alright, though, as someone reading translation i just keep in mind that the particular person who wrote the text, might have a different tone of voice.

    I think a lot of people are scared away from Shakespeare by the small but loud minority who claim him as the answer to all the ills of the modern world and lament the fact that 11-year-olds don't have to study 14 plays a year anymore.

    that's very true. i found that about some of our german national treasures as well, that they are underappreciated because they have to be read in school. the authors almot get stigmatized with being educational and valuable. and it's a shame.
    i guess the best thing is to teach these texts without the enormous cultural baggage and focus on the writing. i found that helpful for wordsworth and the like, to forget that there's all sorts of things being attached to the poetry to make it look important when actually it wasn't intentionally written to last forever and be for everyone.

    i ramble[face_blush]

    [rant]

    i recently sat through a macbeth performance and they put my favourite soliloquy, they had them shout that in unison at the end of the play!:eek: i hate coming across as a conservative here, seriously, but this really bugged me. i didn't like the performance overall and thought the saving grace will be the deliverance of

    She should have died hereafter;
    There would have been a time for such a word.
    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
    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.


    and they screwed that up!

    [/rant]
  25. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    There are all sorts of potential difficulties in a translation of Shakespeare: archaic language, specific imagery, metre, and the fact that English has 159,000 words that mean roughly--but not quite--the same thing, so that it is difficult to convey precise meanings. That's a legacy of the days when it was four (or so) separate languages.

    I generally hate reading translations unless the translator is on the same level as the translatee. In Shakespeare's case, damn difficult.

    A case where the translator does rise to the occasion: Robert Graves and "The Twelve Caesars". Granted it's history, which makes it easier.