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6

The composition of Macbeth is usually dated to 1606, i.e. some time after the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605, to which it contains an allusion (see e.g. Braunmuller, page 6). (Arguments for an earlier date, even as early as 1601, has not been convincing. See Muir page xviii.) The earliest eyewitness account of a performance dates from 1610 or 1611 [1] and ...


31

tl;dr The superstition that Macbeth is unlucky and must not be named is often supposed to date from the very first performance, or very shortly thereafter. However, a documented belief in this alleged curse can be traced back only as far as the early 1970s. Background: What is the alleged curse on Macbeth? The Royal Shakespeare Company provides some ...


2

The Royal Shakespeare Company themselves anecdotally refer to legends regarding the first showing of the play, where Shakespeare had to take the part of Lady Macbeth, and the actor playing Duncan was stabbed, and killed, by a real dagger instead of a prop one. The site also refers to a riot in 1839 where 10 people died following animosity between two rival ...


3

In addition to the devices mentioned in the other answers, the phrase "milk of human kindness" also deploys two other devices: Paronomasia, or more simply, a pun. Kindness typically means gentleness, generosity, and/or helpfulness, which is the most readily accessible sense here. But kind can also mean category, as in: What kind of books do you ...


1

Below is the entry for "withal" in Skeat's glossary: withal = with, as placed at the end of the sentence. As You Like It, iii. 2. 238; used in the sense of likewise, besides, at the same time, Bible, 1 Kings xix. 1; Ps. cxli. 10; Acts xxv. 27; 'Though he be merry, yet withal he's honest', Taming Shrew, iii. 2. 25; Bacon, Essay 58; phr. to do ...


2

Prospero forbids Miranda from telling Ferdinand her name for two reasons: To keep Miranda's identity and his own secret so that his plan is not revealed prematurely. To strengthen Ferdinand and Miranda's love by making them overcome some adversity. First, Prospero's plot is to regain the dukedom of Milan from his usurping brother Antonio. The king of ...


4

De Quincey says that murder singularly focuses the attention on the instinct for self-preservation, which destroys any sense of distinction between human beings and animals: the primal law of self-preservation, is the same in kind, (though different in degree,) amongst all living creatures; this instinct therefore, because it annihilates all distinctions, ...


5

In this context, withal means something very close to with. Some context and a paraphrase would be helpful. Mercutio has challenged Tybalt to fight. Tybalt asks what Mercutio wants. Mercutio replies: Good king of cats! All I want is one of your nine lives. I intend to make bold with it. Depending on how you respond to that, I may also beat your other eight ...


-1

On the contrary, With all makes perfect sense in this context. The speaker is stating his intention to be bold in all future actions - With all future events. It is a declaration of self-improvement from now on.


3

The source of the quote is Eliot's Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca, an address to the Shakespeare Association in 1927 that was reprinted in the collection Selected Essays (1917-1932) (Faber and Faber, 1932). The address begins by discussing various studies of Shakespeare's work by critics such as John Middleton Murry, Wyndham Lewis (The Lion and the ...


3

Polonius advises his son to buy clothes ("habits") which are as good as he can afford but to avoid buying clothes that are showy ("gaudy"). The phrase "the apparel oft proclaims the man" means that the type of clothes one wears tell a lot about the wearer; showy clothes may suggest that the wearer is a superficial type of person....


1

In order to understand "scepter", one should first look at the few lines that have been left out (quoted from the MIT Shakespeare): It blesseth him that gives and him that takes: 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown; Portia says that the quality of mercy is strongest (or has the strongest effect) ...


7

In sonnet 151, "gentle" Shakespeare equivocates on the meanings of "love" and "conscience", which results in a poem that is unsuitable for readers with Victorian sensibilities. The equivocation begins in the first two lines: Love is too young to know what conscience is; Yet who knows not conscience is born of love? "Love&...


21

Just glossing the last two lines. No want of conscience hold it that I call Her love, for whose dear love I rise and fall. The main difficulty is with “No want of conscience hold it”. This is an anastrophe—a figure of speech in which the normal word order of subject, verb, and object, is changed. Rearranged into the usual order, it becomes an instruction ...


11

Shakespeare's Sonnet 151 is one of his most difficult sonnets. The meaning and logic of the poem are unclear even to scholars. It is also one of the most bawdy poems, not just of the sequence, but in the entire corpus of canonical English literature. As a result, it is hard to explain without some frank terminology. Be warned: this answer has some NSFW ...


5

Shylock acted pre-emptively to get Antonio arrested. In Act III, Scene I, Tubal brings assorted news to Shylock, of Antonio's bad luck with his ships and of Jessica spending her father's wealth. From the following quote (emphasis mine), it seems that at this point Antonio is not yet in a state of bankruptcy, but it's certain that he will reach that point and ...


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