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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7 votes
1 answer
358 views

Historical King Ina and Shakespeare's King Lear in the writings of Thomas Hardy

In Thomas Hardy's short(ish) story "The Withered Arm", one of his descriptions of the Wessex countryside features the following cryptic allusion: It was a long walk; thick clouds made the ...
3 votes
1 answer
119 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,...
12 votes
3 answers
5k views

Do Guildenstern and Rosencrantz deserve to die?

In Shakespeare's play Hamlet (which you can read online), Hamlet is on a voyage with his two friends, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, to give a letter to a foreign ruler. However, Hamlet discovers that ...
6 votes
1 answer
172 views

Where did Edmond Malone place the Tempest in the chronology of Shakespeare's plays?

In an excellent answer to one of my previous questions, verbose writes: Since The Tempest is the first play printed in the First Folio, it was often assumed to be an early play. Scholars such as ...
8 votes
2 answers
808 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 ...
10 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
97 views

What is the myth-making school of Shakespeare criticism?

In Inga-Stina Ewbank's essay "The Triumph of Time in The Winter's Tale" (Review of English Literature, 5 (1964); reprinted in Shakespeare: The Winter's Tale. A Casebook, edited by Kenneth ...
29 votes
2 answers
4k views

Since when has Shakespeare's "Scottish play" been considered unlucky?

In theatrical superstition, Shakespeare's play Macbeth is considered to be unlucky, to the extent that even saying its name more than necessary may bring bad luck: hence the tradition of actors ...
3 votes
1 answer
114 views

Is there any evidence that William Shakespeare influenced Lope de Vega?

During the Spanish Golden Age of the arts, one of the key figures in Spanish literature was Lope de Vega, a prolific author of plays, poetry, and novels. He was approximately contemporary with William ...
1 vote
1 answer
3k 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 ...
8 votes
0 answers
134 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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
14k views

What does "nature" mean in "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin"?

When I first saw this quote on p. 139 in National Geographic's photo book Sublime Nature: Photographs That Awe and Inspire, I interpreted "nature" to mean flora and fauna. I interpreted ...
2 votes
1 answer
297 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. ...
5 votes
0 answers
593 views

What caused the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues?

As I understand it, the scholarship has so far not compellingly answered a significant question of the text of Romeo and Juliet; namely, why the Capulets and the Montagues are at war. I am convinced ...
4 votes
1 answer
402 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. ...
0 votes
0 answers
30 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
344 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 ...
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. ...
5 votes
1 answer
518 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
100 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?
6 votes
2 answers
799 views

How does the quote from Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona connect with Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles?

Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles begins with the epigraph ... Poor wounded name! My bosom as a bed Shall lodge thee.—W. Shakespeare. The source of this quote is one of Shakespeare'...
4 votes
1 answer
123 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 ...
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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
179 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
70 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 ...
13 votes
2 answers
12k views

How old is Romeo?

While answering a different question, I wanted to find out Romeo's age in the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet. It's well known that Juliet is 13, and generally assumed that Romeo is older (hence the ...
5 votes
3 answers
804 views

Is Othello being deceptive when he says, “This only is the witchcraft I have used” (Act 1.3.184)

When Othello is brought before an “ad hoc” court of law for surreptitiously marring Desdemona, Brabantio essentially accuses him of using “witchcraft” as a means of seducing his daughter suggesting, ...
5 votes
2 answers
333 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
485 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, ...
1 vote
2 answers
327 views

Why do we get some explicit references in Shakespearean plays that are meant for something else?

First of all, by “explicit contents” I really mean the that thing. In Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Brutus had planned everything and the night before the assassination he was in his room ...
5 votes
0 answers
103 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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
337 views

Is there any evidence that Shakespeare studied or read classical rhetoric?

Several characters in Shakespeare's plays have strong skills in rhetoric and oration: for example, Mark Antony in the play Julius Caesar, who is able to sway the fickle populace of Rome from ...
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 ...
4 votes
0 answers
87 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
292 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 ...
16 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why does the murderer call Macduff's son "egg"?

When Macduff's son defends his father's honor when the murderers sent by Macbeth call Macduff a traitor in Macbeth, they wind up stabbing the son: Enter Murderers. FIRST MURDERER: Where is your ...
2 votes
0 answers
71 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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
250 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
313 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
397 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 "...
10 votes
1 answer
725 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
220 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 ...
10 votes
3 answers
1k views

In Macbeth, why is Fleance 'scaped?

I've always been curious about the precise phrasing of this line from Macbeth, spoken by the First Murderer: Most royal sir, Fleance is 'scaped. The meaning of this, and as far as I can tell the ...
3 votes
1 answer
400 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 ...
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

How many children had Lady Macbeth?

In Macbeth, when the eponymous hero is hesitating to kill Duncan, Lady Macbeth urges him forward to the murder. She memorably says:      I have given suck, and know How tender 'tis to love the babe ...
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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
69 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 ...
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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
125 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 ...
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 ...

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