Shakespeare Without the Words

Isn’t that like saying Shakespeare without the reason he is Shakespeare?

Deutsch: Shakespeare Denkmal Sommer 2004 in Weimar

The Word Wizard

Ok, words may be feeble vehicles for carrying the full wieght of human passion but if you think about it, even people are feeble vehicles for carrying the full weight of human passion. We have so many feelings, so many values, so many experiences and we just want to show them to others somehow. The funny thing is, we don’t just struggle showing ourselves to other people but to ourselves as well. (And that’s when we get great songs like this.)

But words are powerful. Words on paper can change a persons life. Yes, in the sense that fiction can tranform our ideas but also the fact that paper contracts bind us in real ways that we don’t often even think about. Although I do rant about the Top Five Reasons I Hate Being Literate. The point is that words are really important.

I think Shakespeare is powerful because of his control over words. He can manipulate twisty turns of double meanings while keeping an internal rhythm which captures the hearts of the audiences even if they can’t define the rhythm. He is able to capture human passion,” Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” but he makes our cries and rants beautiful because he has not only captured human emotion but tied that to artistically stunning sounds.

Macbeth Consulting the Vision of the Armed Hea...

I wonder if I ranted in iambic pentameter if it would be more effective?….

What is the point of saying all this? Making Shakespeare “accessible” is running a huge risk of dumbing him down to the point of being worthless. His words are hard but people are hard to and sometimes struggles are worth it, when there is something so wonderful complex that you are trying to figure out. Struggling thorugh Shakespeare has proven to help your brain (duh), it gives you a sense of satisfaction, and it opens up new ways of understanding…not just understanding the broad concept of humanity but hopefully yourself as well.

Sketch of William Shakespeare.

Is dumbing him down fair to either him or the readers?


So the question becomes, is Shakespeare worth translating? The sublties of words can get marred when passed to a different medium. Tranlations of words always fall short. Is he worth dumbing down so kids can understand the basic story line before they can understand his tricky early modern english?

What do you think?


In Shakespeare’s Own Words

In Shakespeare’s “own” Words:

I am all my characters. A writer cannot help but pen his self-portrait through words, whether it is through the sweetest of souls or vilest of villains. Be as that may, I cannot help but see in certain players a clear mirror of myself for better or for worse, and find written in them my deeper parts, my truer desires, my voice. Let this be as the preamble to my claim I make in saying I am more of Harry than any other character in my recent play.

Like him, I use words as power, manipulating them to forge a meaning and by meaning cause action. I fight for my country and my beliefs through a veil. I can say what I want because I am the master of words. But like him, I have the nettles in my soul which surround my better traits. I also have my unmasked moments as he had when he wooed Catherine. The power of my words can soar upwards because they have the steady base of true character beneath them, and if I am not fully Henry yet, perhaps I wish to be for it is not simply the power of words, nor even the beauty of words, but the meaning inside them.

Although I know I have not noble birth.

I make my stand as hidden king of verse.

I am not full with lower though light mirth.

I wield my darker themes through plays diverse.

My words and wit are military hidden,

That siege men’s thoughts in a confuséd hour

But do within this vellum all as bidden.

Swaying men’s thoughts through pleasant words my power.

As if from Stratford is his simple soul,

Pomp hides by over-show like plays I write.

Uniting a torn country is our goal;

But I find in fine words and sounds delight.

The round’s the throne for my expression best.

Where wit and wonder pose the greatest test.


How was that for Shakespeare’s voice?

Presuming to write an assignment in first person is dangerous, especially when that person you are pretending to be is Shakespeare. I’ve mimicked other authors but this seemed a little extra daunting! Because…well…he’s Shakespeare, duh!

We were asked to talk about which voice in Henry V he is. I mean, he has all these different views in there and it would be nice to know what he really thinks. When he writes people saying all kinds of stuff, what would he say? Million dolla question right?

By the way, it’s my first sonnet I’ve ever written! Excitement!

Need Motivation?

Do you need inspiration while a army of assignments assail you? In your mind eye, transform your pile of books and impending papers into a wall that you must siege. Be brave! And fight hard! And watch this to be inspired:

Just got done reading this part of the book (King Henry V) and was thrilled to find such a good rendition of it online (thanks to my awesome roomie!)!

BTW’s does it just blow anyone else’s mind when they find out that Loki makes one really BA king of England? I just love that actor!

Watch here for more cuteness! (It’s the scene when he tries to woo Catherine…Dawww so cute!)


Tolkien and Dangerous Fairies

I told you I was taking a Tolkien class; there are obviously going to be a plethora of topics that  I can tie into my own writing journey. As I am very interested in the topics concerning myth, I found it fascinating what he said about fairy stories.

“I propose to speak about fairy-stories though I am aware that this is a rash adventure. Fairie is a perilous land and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. And overbold I may be accounted, for though I have been a lover of fairy-stories since I learned to read, and have at times bought about them, I have not studied them professionally. I have been hardly more than a wandering explorer (or trespasser) in the land, full of wonder but not of information.”

Dream Fairy

In what way is a myth/fairy-tale true?

Tolkien sees myths as a new realm of the human imagination that is not true in the sense that science can measure it but is much more true in the ideas that it conveys. Our  skewered ideas of fairy tales being mainly for children comes from our pathetically watered down versions that we are familiar with. Ideals of good, evil, desirability, and identity are found in myths and myths are essential to understanding the world around us.

“He sees no starts who does not see them first

of living silver that sudden burst

to flame like flowers beneath the ancient song

whose very echo after-music long

has since pursued. There is no firmament,

only a void, unless a jeweled tent

myth-woven and elf-patterned; and no earth,

unless the mother’s womb whence all have birth.”

Fairy Tale

Our World is Enchanted to You Know

It is true that child-like wonder draws young people to good stories (haha, I know I’m still too young to be talking about “young people” in a generalized way, but bear with me!) but even as the experience life and grow hardened up, they need to keep the fundamental wonder and ideals that we can learn through fantasy. The idea that the scientific version of reality excludes the mythic reality is complete rubbish! We understand scientific reality better perhaps when we are older but it should be the same for the mythic reality. We should better understand and want to explore ideals and grow in wonder through myths when we are adults and able to get more from the stories, not dismiss them. When we loose a sense of the enchantment of reality then we loose a beautiful, essential part of who we are.

What do you think myth is? What kind of story do you want write? In other words, how will you portray reality?


I want to eventually be able to write fairy-tale in the sense of “adult myths.” People deserve to again get fantastic literature which challenges them to think, illustrates realities that we cannot see, and is rewardingly dangerous.

Writing as an Art

What is art??

The dictionary on my computer says “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty of emotional power.” That sounds pretty authorish to me! Well, it sounds more like it would apply to writing poetry slightly more than writing text books….but I think that writing does involve painting pictures of scenery and emotions and human relationships in ways that are really incredible and unique. Often it does involve an aspect of beauty which is a crucial aspect of art.

As a writer I really want to make something beautiful. I would love to write beautiful poetry, inspirational essays, and new worlds which suck people in. This isn’t to say that my worlds are all going to be butterflies, sunshine, and ice cream, but I think other kinds of beauty are important in stories such as the beauty of perseverance, loyalty, truth, and love. It doesn’t have to be a perfect world, but I would like there to be some goodness in it.

On a bit of a tangent: during my bike ride in California I experienced beauty in a really powerful way. Waking up with the sand in my toes and the sound of the waves not only brought a lot of peace but was also healing…inspiration… And it wasn’t just nature that really changed me but also the man made beauty we saw–the art. So basically I learned first hand that beauty and art can change people a lot; if it’s the right kind of art it can change them in really wonderful ways. Elaborate statues, swelling music, brilliant gardens, colorful ancient paintings, and books can really impact people.

Just something to keep in mind as a writer or any other kind of artist:)

Freakin’ Genius

I’ll admit it. If anyone is a genius, it’s Shakespreare. If people don’t like him, it’s probably just cause they don’t get him. After studying thirteen simple lines for about 8 hours my brain feels fried. I’m not planning on writing like shakespeare but even just seeing someone write like that can be just…wow.

Really? I read him and I’m lost for words?! Would that be ironic or just plain stupid?

But really, seeing the absolute power he has over words, which are incredibly formidable in themselves, is just a source in inspiration. It also makes me feel like I really need to learn more words. Lets try that again, I need to enlarge my vocabulary. Or even better: I need to escalate my lexicon.

But anyways, I thought I would share the soliloquy that has ruled my life the last few weeks (I’m sure you’ve heard of it but you should hear it again). Enjoy this linguistic (and very angsty) masterpiece.

She should have died hereafter;

There would have been time for such a word.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

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 our upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

Spring Rain (my first poem to see the light of day)

Each bright green of spring seems to be made deeper by the wave of silver washing away the cold of the past…

Each drop dying into the earth brings each seed reviving into a bright new birth.

The life inside me, frozen by snow, is the life that now, at last, I know.

Why love only flowers when each blade of grass hold its own glory.

They are crying with joy as the rain brings the stream.