• When students first encounter the
works of William Shakespeare,
one of the most daunting aspects
of reading his plays or...
• Early Modern English was fluid in structure
and vocabulary, and was in a constant state of
change. There were no diction...
• Prose is similar to everyday
conversation. It’s loosely
structured, and free-flowing, like
normal speech. Usually, he
re...
• Blank verse is a formal rhythmic style of
writing using iambic pentameter, which is:
• It has 10 syllables per line, and...
• The English language is naturally full of
rhythm, full of stressed and unstressed
sounds. Iambic pentameter is very clos...
• Shakespeare’s rhymed verse
uses the same iambic
pentameter as blank verse, but
adds rhymed words to the end
of each line...
• The English language has
changed a great deal over
the last few hundred years,
and it is still changing.
• Several words...
• Anon — right now, OR “I come right away”…….
“Anon, good nurse! Speak!”
• Art — are, OR skill……“Thou art dead; no physici...
Romeo & Juliet, Act 2 Scene 2, spoken by
Romeo
But, soft! what light through yonder
window breaks?
It is the east, and Jul...
Romeo & Juliet, Act 2 Scene 2, spoken by
Romeo
But, soft! what light through yonder
window breaks?
It is the east, and Jul...
Now, we’re going to break up into seven groups –
each group will have three or four lines to read
aloud. Choose the import...
• The power of the spoken word is
something that goes back to the Greeks
and Romans in an age before technology.
The most ...
A NUTSY THE SQUIRREL PRODUCTION
COPYRIGHT 2013 OAK HILLS MEDIA CENTER
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Shakespeare - Language
Shakespeare - Language
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Shakespeare - Language

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Shakespeare - Language

  1. 1. • When students first encounter the works of William Shakespeare, one of the most daunting aspects of reading his plays or poems is the language he used. • Shakespeare wrote in what is called Early Modern English – it’s a step removed from the language we speak today. • He also used poetic forms in his writing – known as: prose, blank verse, and rhymed verse. These can make reading or speaking his lines a challenge, even for experienced actors.
  2. 2. • Early Modern English was fluid in structure and vocabulary, and was in a constant state of change. There were no dictionaries or other fixed methods of spelling, and few people could read or write. • When Shakespeare began writing his plays, the English language was rapidly absorbing words and ideas from other languages due to wars, exploration, diplomacy and colonization. • With the accompanying expansion of philosophy, theology and physical sciences, many writers lacked the vocabulary to express these new ideas. • To accommodate this, writers such as Shakespeare invented, borrowed, or adopted words and phrases from other languages, known as neologizing. • Scholars estimate that, between the years 1500 and 1659, various languages added 30,000 new words to the English vocabulary.
  3. 3. • Prose is similar to everyday conversation. It’s loosely structured, and free-flowing, like normal speech. Usually, he reserved it for lower-class characters, but daringly, in Much Ado About Nothing, he wrote the entire play in prose! • Shakespeare used prose to create one of three effects in his plays: 1. To make dialogue more realistic. 2. To create a comic effect. 3. To show a character’s mental instability. I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore and upward, not an hour more or less; And, to deal plainly, I fear I am not in my perfect mind. (King Lear, Act 4, Scene 7) “I do love nothing in the world so well as you- is not that strange?” (Much Ado About Nothing, Act 4, Scene 1) “I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.” (Much Ado About Nothing, Act 1, Scene 1) Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly; they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves. (Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5, Scene 1)
  4. 4. • Blank verse is a formal rhythmic style of writing using iambic pentameter, which is: • It has 10 syllables per line, and syllables alternate between stressed and unstressed beats, creating this pattern: “de/DUM de/DUM de/DUM de/DUM de/DUM” • It’s sometimes referred to as the “rhythm of the heart” or as having a “galloping rhythm” – it propels the line forward. • Shakespeare played around with this structure to create different effects (for example, he changed the stress pattern and added syllables). • Generally speaking, characters born to the upper classes speak in blank verse; lower class characters speak in prose. But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou her maid art far more fair than she: Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. (Romeo & Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2) So, when this loose behaviour I throw off, And pay the debt I never promised, By how much better than my word I am, By so much shall I falsify men's hopes; And, like bright metal on a sullen ground, My reformation, glittering o'er my fault, Shall show more goodly, and attract more eyes, Than that which hath no foil to set it off. (Henry IV, Act 1, Scene 2) O, that this too too solid flesh would melt Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely. That it should come to this! (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2) Hal, if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face; call me horse. (Henry IV Part 1, Act 2, Scene 4)
  5. 5. • The English language is naturally full of rhythm, full of stressed and unstressed sounds. Iambic pentameter is very close to the natural rhythm of the English language, so it works very well. • Ten beats coincides nicely with the length of a thought. But Shakespeare becomes really exciting when you break that iambic pentameter rhythm. The energy in performance comes from when you go against the iambic. • You don’t need to study iambic pentameter – you just need to feel it, which will come naturally from speaking and listening to the text. • The most important thing is to speak Shakespeare, not read it. This is because you need to get it into your body. The words need to affect you though the sound and through the muscular activity in the mouth. The words can’t do that on the page! He rais'd a sigh so piteous and profound As it did seem to shatter all his bulk And end his being. That done, he lets me go, And with his head over his shoulder turn'd He seem'd to find his way without his eyes, For out o' doors he went without their help And to the last bended their light on me. (Ophelia – Hamlet Act 2, Scene 1) Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls, Our debts, our careful wives, Our children and our sins lay on the king! We must bear all. O hard condition, Twin-born with greatness, subject to the breath Of every fool, whose sense no more can feel But his own wringing! What infinite heart's-ease Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy! (Henry V, Act 5, Scene 1) If you were civil and knew courtesy, You would not do me thus much injury. Can you not hate me, as I know you do, But you must join in souls to mock me too? If you were men, as men you are in show, You would not use a gentle lady so; To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts, When I am sure you hate me with your hearts. (Helena - A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Act 3, Scene 2)
  6. 6. • Shakespeare’s rhymed verse uses the same iambic pentameter as blank verse, but adds rhymed words to the end of each line. • Rhymed verse in Shakespeare's plays is usually in rhymed couplets, i.e. two successive lines of verse of which the final words rhyme with another. • While most rhyming verse in Shakespeare's plays is in couplets, songs typically have a more complex rhyme pattern, as in the following passage from Ariel's song: Full fathom five thy father lies; ("a" rhyme) Of his bones are coral made; ("b" rhyme) Those are pearls that were his eyes; ("a" rhyme) Nothing of him that doth fade ("b" rhyme) But doth suffer a sea change ("c" rhyme) Into something rich and strange. ("c" rhyme) (Arial - The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2) Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; ("a" rhyme) And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. ("a" rhyme) Nor hath Love's mind of any judgment taste; ("b" rhyme) Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste: ("b" rhyme) And therefore is Love said to be a child, ("c" rhyme) Because in choice he is so oft beguiled. ("c" rhyme) (Helena - A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 1, Scene 1)
  7. 7. • The English language has changed a great deal over the last few hundred years, and it is still changing. • Several words in use during Shakespeare's day either have different meanings today or have been nearly forgotten. • Here is a list of some of the most common words in Shakespeare with which you might not be familiar:
  8. 8. • Anon — right now, OR “I come right away”……. “Anon, good nurse! Speak!” • Art — are, OR skill……“Thou art dead; no physician’s art can save you.” • Dost or doth — does or do……“Dost thou know the time?” • Ere — before……“We must leave ere daybreak.” • Fain — gladly……“I fain would bake my teacher cookies if I could get an A.” • Fie — an exclamation of dismay or disgust……“You cheated? Fie upon it!” OR “Fie! Are you mad?” • Hark — listen……. “Hark to the owl,” OR “Hark! The herald angels sing!” • Hence — away…..“Get thee hence, beggar!” OR “We must hence before the army arrives.” • Hie — hurry……“Hie thee hence, or lose your life!” • Hither — here…..“Come hither, young lad.” • Thither — there……“Look to the east—thither doth the sun arise.” • Hath — has……… “He hath killed many a man.” OR “He hath a horse.” • Ho — hey (roughly equivalent). “Lucius, ho!” *Brutus calling his servant] • Mark — pay attention to…….. “Mark my words.” • Marry — indeed……“He says I should respond quickly; marry, I want to.” • Pray/prithee — a polite way of asking something……“I prithee answer the question.” • Saucy — cheeky; sassy……“Hence, thou saucy boy!” • Sirrah — a term of address used for inferiors……“Sirrah, bring the letter over here.” • Thee — you……“When will I see thee next?” • Thou — you……“Thou art a villain.” • Thy — your……“Thy name is more hateful than thy face.” • Whence — from where…….. “Whence came that news?” OR “Return to whence you came.” • Wherefore — why……“Wherefore dost thou leave?” OR “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” *As in, “why can’t you be someone else, whom my family doesn’t hate?”+
  9. 9. Romeo & Juliet, Act 2 Scene 2, spoken by Romeo But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou her maid art far more fair than she: Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love! • Looking at the first two lines, what are the important words?
  10. 10. Romeo & Juliet, Act 2 Scene 2, spoken by Romeo But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou her maid art far more fair than she: Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love! • Can you create actions to illustrate each of the important words?
  11. 11. Now, we’re going to break up into seven groups – each group will have three or four lines to read aloud. Choose the important words in each line, then make up an action to perform as a group to illustrate that word. Let every person in the group create at least one action. He jests at scars that never felt a wound. But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she. Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love! O, that she knew she were! She speaks yet she says nothing; what of that? Her eye discourses; I will answer it. I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks. Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, Having some business, do entreat her eyes To twinkle in their spheres till they return. What if her eyes were there, they in her head? The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven Would through the airy region stream so bright That birds would sing and think it were not night. See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O, that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek! If you need help with what a word means, ask for help.
  12. 12. • The power of the spoken word is something that goes back to the Greeks and Romans in an age before technology. The most powerful thing is the spoken word. • There’s a real need for voice and text work because we don’t live in an aural culture anymore. Instead, we live in a visual world where children are educated through the eyes from primary school onwards. In Shakespeare’s time, you would go to “hear” a play, not “see” one. • Shakespeare uses the power of language – and so, actors must use their language actively and expressively to drive the play. The thing about Shakespeare’s plays is that they weren’t driven by scenery, they were driven by the language and it’s important to get back to that idea.
  13. 13. A NUTSY THE SQUIRREL PRODUCTION COPYRIGHT 2013 OAK HILLS MEDIA CENTER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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