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Questions tagged [william-shakespeare]

Questions about the workes of William Shakspeare, who writ many a famous plaie and poem. For questions about his plaies, may it please you to add a tag for the plaie (e.g. [hamlet]); for questions about his sonnets, may it please you to add the tag [poetry].

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Did Freud say that Hamlet is overreacting when talking to Queen Gertrude?

I remember as one of the arguments for Hamlet having an unconscious Oedipus complex was that when confronting his mother about her part in his father's death, and accidentally killing Polonius, Freud ...
user254694's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
632 views

Does Hippolyta love Theseus in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream?"

In Act 1, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theseus and Hippolyta speak about the four days before their marriage. THESEUS: Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour Draws on apace. Four happy days ...
Abhiraj Mallangi's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
88 views

Why are songs no longer performed as part of Shakespeare's plays?

Having studied Macbeth extensively during a course I took as a younger man, I was astonished to learn recently that it is thought to have contained two songs, which are also present in a related play ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Literary background of being poisoned via the ear?

Shakespeare's Hamlet famously features a character being killed by having poison poured into his ear. This unusual method of murder has been much referenced in other works since Shakespeare, but where ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
829 views

What does "Happy man be his dole" mean in The Taming of the Shrew?

In The Taming of the Shrew, after Baptista decrees that Bianca cannot marry while Kate remains single, Hortensio proposes to Gremio that they set aside their rivalry over Bianca and work together to ...
pygmalian's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
5k views

Does the phrase "Jack of all trades, often times better than a master of one" come from Shakespeare?

"A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one" is apparently a quote by William Shakespeare. I have searched through the complete works of Shakespeare ...
Ziarek's user avatar
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9 votes
0 answers
146 views

When and why did the spelling "Shakespeare" become standardized?

Six specimens of William Shakespeare's signature survive. In none of them does he spell his own name "Shakespeare". Three of the signatures abbreviate his name. Of those that do not, two use ...
verbose's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
305 views

Seeking origin and original wording of a quotation attributed to Shakespeare

During a Pub quiz early this week, a Shakespeare quote emerged in German translation, and I am keen to know the original wording and the work it stems from, or if it is possibly part of his notes. ...
Hanno's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
31 views

"Rest is silent" hamlet [duplicate]

So i got this ideea about it. It s something Socrates said when he died. He ask to give a sacrifice to the healing god because the poison worked. Well he was sentenced to death for not believing in ...
Vissani Ion's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
349 views

Meaning of "Bore many gentlemen" in Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure"?

In act I, scene 5, of Measure for Measure, Lucio says: Lucio. This is the point. The Duke is very strangely gone from hence; Bore many gentlemen (my selfe being one) In hand, and hope of action: but ...
John Smith's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does the clown mean by saying that brothels in the cities "shall stand for seed" in the second scene of "Measure for Measure"?

In act I, scene 2, of Measure for Measure, the clown uses the word seed: Clow. All howses in the Suburbs of Vienna must bee pluck'd downe. Bawd. And what shall become of those in the Citie? Clow. ...
John Smith's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
528 views

What does 'sheers' mean in scene 2, act I of "Measure for Measure"?

In act I, scene 2, of Measure for Measure, one of the gentlemen uses the word sheer: Luc. I, why not? Grace, is Grace, despight of all con-, trouersie: as for example; Thou thy selfe art a wicked ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,615
1 vote
1 answer
116 views

What does this "slow leave" mean exactly in Hamlet?

In Hamlet Act 1, Scene 2, Polonius said: He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave By laborsome petition, and at last Upon his will I sealed my hard consent. What does it mean by slow?
MT MTESK's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
129 views

Meaning of "Borne to uphold Creation" in "The Two Noble Kinsmen"?

In act I, scene 1, of The Two Noble Kinsmen, the second queen says: 2. Qu.                             Honoured Hypolita Most dreaded Amazonian, that ha'st slaine The Sith-tuskd-Bore; that with thy ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,615
3 votes
1 answer
78 views

Of whose calumny does Leontes speak in scene 2 Act 2 of "The Winter's Tale"?

In the first scene of act II of The Winter's Tale, Leontes says:                                     You (my Lords) Looke on her, marke her well: be but about To say she is a goodly Lady, and The ...
John Smith's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
193 views

What does Leontes mean by saying that he is blessed and cursed in scene 2 Act 2 of "The Winter's Tale"?

In the first scene of act II of The Winter's Tale, Leontes says: How blest am I In my iust Censure? in my true Opinion? Alack, for lesser knowledge, how accurs'd, In being so blest? There may be in ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,615
5 votes
1 answer
492 views

What are the "sneaping winds", and what is "put forth too truly", in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale"?

In the second scene of The Winter's Tale, Polixenes says: Sir, that's to morrow: I am question'd by my feares, of what may chance, Or breed vpon our absence, that may blow No sneaping Winds at home, ...
John Smith's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
4k views

Is there really a bawdy pun at the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet?

Romeo and Juliet is listed as one of Shakespeare's tragedies and, personally, I found it one of the more affecting ones. With that in mind I was gobsmacked to learn that there's apparently a dirty ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
105 views

How have attitudes toward "plagiarism" in literature changed since the Elizabethan era?

It's generally well-known that many of Shakespeare's dramas were "inspired" by, "plagiarised" from or otherwise "copies" of existing works. I use these terms advisedly ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
93 views

Is the "dear Brutus" speech ironic?

After reading Shakespeare I'm never certain if I've understood it correctly. An example is the Dear Brutus speech in Julius Caesar. Cassius: Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world Like a ...
Pete's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
371 views

What is the point of Feste’s final song?

The play Twelfth Night famously finishes with a rather melancholic song, sung by the character Feste. What is the significance of this song? Why end the comedy on a melancholic note? Why specifically ...
Vivaan Daga's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
78 views

Silence in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" and "The Tempest"

I'd like to know what silence means in those two plays, especially when performed by Leontes and Antonio. Does it have a particular meaning, is it a sign of redemption or regret? (The Winter's Tale ...
Linda's user avatar
  • 21
-1 votes
1 answer
387 views

Where did this quote come from: "What is money / tis something tis nothing"

What is money tis something tis nothing tis mine tis yours tis been a slave to thousands and will be a slave to thousands hence He who takes my purse takes naught He filches from me my good name ...
Mike hullihan's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
363 views

Hamlet III.IV: "Then what I have to do will want true colour"

In Hamlet Act III Scene IV, Hamlet says to the Ghost, Do not look upon me, lest with this piteous action you convert My stern effects. Then what I have to do Will want true colour; tears perchance ...
apg's user avatar
  • 349
5 votes
1 answer
401 views

Role of Duke of Bedford in Shakespeare's "King Henry VI, Part I"?

In Shakespeare's play King Henry VI, Part I, the Duke of Bedford(or Bedford) is given the following role: Duke of BEDFORD, the king’s uncle, and Regent of France In other words, Bedford is the "...
codexistent's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
733 views

Can I trust that Shakespeare's sonnets will always be published with the same numbering system?

Can I trust that Shakespeare's sonnets will always be published using the same numbering system? Will Sonnet 30 always be published as Sonnet 30; sonnet 29 always as 29? Was the current order and ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
262 views

Was the island in Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" inspired by any real islands?

In Shakespeare's play The Tempest, characters sailing from Tunis to Naples are shipwrecked on an island. Sycorax had been banished there from "Argier", which is an old name for Algiers. Did ...
tell's user avatar
  • 202
0 votes
1 answer
75 views

Shakespeare's "Mrs" Anne Page

In The Merry Wives of Windsor, why is the unmarried daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Page referred to as Mrs. Anne Page? I have two editions using this term in 'PERSONS REPRESENTED', published by Springs ...
Jomiddnz's user avatar
  • 101
13 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why would Henry want to close the breach?

Henry exhorts his men to attack the city of Harfleur (Henry V - Act 3, Scene 1) Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 4,763
3 votes
1 answer
500 views

Literary devices in "Thou wouldst be great" et cetera in Macbeth

From Macbeth, Act I Scene V: Lady Macbeth: Thou wouldst be great; Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it. I understand what the quote means, but which literary devices ...
Lmnop's user avatar
  • 39
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why does Shakespeare write "is" instead of "are" in this passage from Richard II

Each substance of grief hath twenty shadows, Which shows like grief itself, but is not so; For sorrow's eye, glazed with blinding tears, Divides one thing entire to many objects: Like perspectives ...
Yeats's user avatar
  • 263
0 votes
1 answer
128 views

Is this line from "Stalker" an allusion to Shakespeare?

In Tarkovsky's Stalker one character states: Well done, citizen Shakespeare. It’s frightening to go forward; it’s a shame to go back. This further reminded me of the passage from Hart Crane's ...
bobsmith76's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
120 views

Why does Georgia connect so well with the clown's song?

In Alice Oseman's Loveless, after several failed scenes where Georgia has difficulty acting romantic roles, Pip gets her to try being the clown in Twelfth Night. This goes swimmingly: "Come away,...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,824
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Would "most unkindest" have been considered poor grammar in Shakespeare's time?

One of the famous lines from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, describing Brutus's stab to Caesar, is: This was the most unkindest cut of all Nowadays, it would be considered incorrect grammar to combine ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.5k
4 votes
1 answer
473 views

Hamlet - swear on my sword part - why the sudden shift in tone?

So the text of Hamlet is on MIT's servers. This is during Act 1, Scene 5. Hamlet, Horatio and Marcellus are running around swearing on the sword multiple times. I find this scene extremely confusing. ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
237 views

Are there any literary techniques in the following quote from Othello other than metaphor?

Whilst re-reading Othello, I came across the following quote from Iago. I understand that there is metaphor within the quote, however, can anyone identify any more interesting techniques within the ...
John Elliot's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
2k views

Meaning of "none so poor to do him reverence" in Shakespeare's "Julius Cæsar"

I am wondering about the meaning of the word "poor" in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 2: Antony But yesterday the word of Caesar might Have stood against the world; now lies he ...
Smerdjakov's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
331 views

What is the meaning of "Or feed upon such nice and waterish diet" and "Or breed itself so out of circumstances" in "Othello"?

In William Shakespeare's Othello, Act 3, Scene 3, Desdemona assures Cassio that Othello's anger at him is only dictated by wise policy and that Othello will restore him to his position in the future. ...
BeatsMe's user avatar
  • 217
-1 votes
1 answer
164 views

Why could Banquo see the three witches?

If the three witches were a figment of Macbeth's own imagination, why was Banquo able to see them at the beginning of the play as well?
Kashish's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

How was the possessive used in Elizabethan literature?

I've been listening to a podcast called 'The History of English'. In the latest episode it touches on the use of the possessive. In Chaucerian English the possessive was written with an '-es-' suffix, ...
Naj's user avatar
  • 171
0 votes
1 answer
111 views

What is it called when the true villain of the story is revealed later on?

In Star Wars, the audience is meant to believe Darth Vader is the villain of the story, but later on it becomes apparent that the Emperor is the true villain of the saga. What is this called? I really ...
Jake Jackson's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
782 views

How were plays in Shakespeare's time advertised?

How were plays in Tudor or Jacobean England advertised (e.g. did they use posters, street-hawkers, etc.)? And how much information would these advertisements have contained? Would an advertisement ...
IglooMaster's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
657 views

Shakespearean Sonnets within his plays

The prologue to Romeo and Juliet is a sonnet. Are there other moments, sections within the plays that are sonnets? I'd like a list of Shakespearean sonnets which appear in his plays (not in the 154 ...
rosends's user avatar
  • 353
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

"Sly frantic wretch, that holp'st to make me great" what is the meaning of "holp'st"?

The Twitter bot Willy Shakes tweeted these lines earlier today: Sly frantic wretch, that holp'st to make me great, In hope thyself should govern Rome and me. [Enter AEMILIUS] — Titus Andronicus I ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
16 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why does the prophecy imply Macbeth has to murder the king?

I’m reading Macbeth for the first time. The witches prophecize that Macbeth will become king. He and Lady Macbeth immediately jump to the conclusion that this means he has to assassinate Duncan, the ...
GMoss's user avatar
  • 271
3 votes
1 answer
685 views

Who is 'he' in 'He has no children?'

In Act 4, scene 3, Macduff is talking with Malcolm. He has just heard the news that his wife and children have been murdered by Macbeth's forces. Then he says, He has no children. Who is "he&...
Typewronger's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does "royalty in nature" in Macbeth mean?

In Macbeth (Act 3, Scene 1), Macbeth says about Banquo: in his royalty of nature Reigns that which would be feared. What does "royalty of nature" mean here? Surely, Banquo is no "king ...
Typewronger's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
5k views

When did Macbeth kill Duncan's chamberlains?

In Macbeth, at the end of Act 2, Scene 3 Macbeth reveals that he killed Duncan's servants: O, Yet I do repent me of fury That I did kill them However, doesn't this appear as a plot hole when we take ...
neel g's user avatar
  • 192
5 votes
2 answers
362 views

Actual meaning of Shakespeare's sonnet 30

Sonnet 30 is commonly believed to be talking aboutt 'How Shakespeare's mood gets lifted when he thinks of his friend' (common believed to be fair youth). So while reading on the topic I came across an ...
Ammu's user avatar
  • 59
3 votes
2 answers
80 views

The meaning of "to his love and tendance / All sorts of hearts" in Timon of Athens

In Shakespeare's Timon of Athens, I found a difficult passage in 1.1.57-60: (Their services to Lord Timon): his large fortune, Upon his good and gracious nature hanging, Subdues and properties to his ...
J. Wu's user avatar
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