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16
votes
6answers
3k views

What do we call 'Shakespearean trash-talk'?

A classic example: In the opening scene of Richard II, Henry Bolingbroke and Mowbray seeks the adjudication of the king. They hurl accusations of treachery and cowardliness at each other. They ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Adjective/noun for a situation that cannot be solved? [duplicate]

I am writing an essay on Act 3 Scene 5 in Romeo and Juliet where the romantic play takes the turn for tragic. Indeed, Juliet loses the support of her primary family and is left deserted, with no hope ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Shakespearian equivalent of 'very'

What would the early modern english/shakespeare equivalent of 'very'be in the sentence: 'That was very nice' ?
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Shakespearean equivalent of genuinely?

What would the word 'genuinely' as in: 'genuinely I am being really funny' be in early modern english, of Shakespeare era? ?
3
votes
1answer
98 views

What is an “aglet-baby” exactly?

This is a line from the Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare Grumio [to Hortensio]: Marry him to a puppet or an aglet-baby . . . Although 'aglet' is an extremely uncommon word, its meaning can ...
0
votes
0answers
62 views

A Question on Shakespeare's use of conditionals [duplicate]

The following is a big question, but I am really confused by the use of conditional in this Shakespearean excerpt. From The Taming of the Shrew, Act I, Scene I: 142 I am agreed; and would I ...
-5
votes
1answer
69 views

Where in Romeo and Juliet is Count Paris' relation to Prince Escalus stated? [closed]

The Wikipedia page for Count Paris, in addition to some other sources, states that he is related to Prince Escalus. I have searched the text, but all I can find is mention that he is a "nobleman" and ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

What's the meaning of I am well

In the context of the following quote (taken from "Much Ado About Nothing"), what does "I am well" mean? One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I ...
5
votes
2answers
684 views

Death's dateless night

What do you think Shakespeare meant by this expression, which occurs in one of his sonnets? “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh the ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

Why did English change so much between Chaucer and Shakespeare?

My inexpert perception of things is that the distance between The Canterbury Tales (end 14th century) and Romeo and Juliet (end 16th), from a language perspective, is vast, and vastly greater than the ...
1
vote
1answer
106 views

Help understanding a sentence/reference

The introductory paragraph of the book An Introduction to Mathematics, written for general audience by the great British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead goes like this: Chapter 1: THE ...
0
votes
1answer
106 views

Why will mothers smile when infants quarter'd with the hands of war? [closed]

From Julius Caesar (by Shakespeare) Anthony : Blood and destruction shall be so in use,        And dreadful objects so familiar, ...
0
votes
1answer
105 views

Please explain Portia's soliloquy from “The Merchant of Venice” [closed]

The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
1
vote
5answers
334 views

In “That patient merit of th'unworthy takes”, what does merit mean exactly?

In the famous Hamlet's soliloquy, I am not quite clear on the role/meaning of merit in the following: The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th'unworthy takes, My ...
1
vote
2answers
60 views

What does it mean to have “whipped top”? (Shakespeare/archaic usage)

e.g. in the Merry Wives of Windsor, Act V, Scene 1: Since I plucked geese, played truant, and whipped top, I knew not what it was to be beaten till lately. I assume it's some form of game or ...
0
votes
1answer
180 views

Meaning of the phrase 'out upon it'

I came across this phrase twice while reading the play Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare in the following contexts: 1 - "Out upon it old carrion, Your flesh rebels at these years?". A ...
0
votes
2answers
219 views

Is 'sluttish time' a metaphor?

The phrase 'sluttish time' is used by Shakespeare in one of his sonnets. Can it be termed as a transferred epithet as the word 'sluttish' here seems to be an epithet(adjective) or is it essentially a ...
0
votes
2answers
158 views

Interpretation of “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”

In sonnet 18, line two Thou art more lovely and more temperate What does the word temperate imply? I googled it up and found that it means less extreme., if so then why compare temperateness ...
8
votes
6answers
13k views

Is “worser” correct grammatically?

Is worser correct grammatically? I know it seems incorrect, but I stumbled upon the word when reading Hamlet: Oh, throw away the worser part of it, And live the purer with the other half. ...
2
votes
3answers
226 views

What is the grammatical construction in “Be but sworn”?

I have found several questions asking for the meaning, but the thing that troubles me here is the grammar actually and i haven't found anything on that. In Shakespeare's sentence "Deny thy father ...
2
votes
2answers
258 views

The meaning of “yet” in “Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes”

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. within a month; Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married: I'm wondering about the ...
1
vote
1answer
179 views

Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. within a month; Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married: I'm wondering about "Had ...
-1
votes
2answers
240 views

“A beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourn'd longer” in Hamlet

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. and yet, within a month,— Let me not think on't,—Frailty, thy name is woman!— A little month; or ere those shoes were old With which she followed my ...
-3
votes
2answers
419 views

Is “Like Niobe, all tears” an apposition? [closed]

From Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. and yet, within a month,— Let me not think on't,—Frailty, thy name is woman!— A little month; or ere those shoes were old With which she followed my ...
2
votes
1answer
368 views

That was to this, Hyperion to a satyr

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. But two months dead!--nay, not so much, not two: So excellent a king; that was to this, Hyperion to a satyr; I think I understand the meaning of ...
2
votes
1answer
163 views

Antecedent of “whose common theme is death of fathers” in Hamlet

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1. Scene 2 Claudius: Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven, A fault against the dead, a fault to nature, To reason most absurd; whose common theme Is death of ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Original pronunciation of “kind” in “A little more than kin, and less than kind”

I'm wondering about the original pronunciation of "kind" in the famous line "A little more than kin, and less than kind" by Hamlet. Was it like "keend" or the present-day "kind"? If the great vowel ...
2
votes
1answer
150 views

“My dread lord” or “Dread my lord” in Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 [closed]

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 What wouldst thou have, Laertes? Laer. My dread lord, Your leave and favour to return to France; This text is from the second quarto(Q2). In the ...
0
votes
1answer
166 views

What wouldst thou beg, Laertes, That shall not be my offer, not thy asking [closed]

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 And now, Laertes, what's the news with you? You told us of some suit; what is't, Laertes? You cannot speak of reason to the Dane, And lose your ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. and we here dispatch You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand, For bearers of this greeting to old Norway; Giving to you no further personal power ...
-2
votes
3answers
142 views

Does not divide the Sunday from the week [closed]

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1 Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task Does not divide the Sunday from the week; It is easy to guess the meaning of: Does not divide the ...
5
votes
1answer
250 views

Stage direction like “Enter Hamlet”

I'm wondering about the grammatical structure of a stage direction "Enter Hamlet". Is "Enter" in the imperative mood or the present subjunctive mood? If it is in the imperative mood, who is the person ...
2
votes
3answers
149 views

“To reason most absurd” in Hamlet

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 (The Arden Shakeseare edited by Harold Jenkins) Fie, 'tis a fault to heaven, A fault against the dead, a fault to nature, To reason most absurd, whose common ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

“And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?” [closed]

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 (The Arden Shakespeare edited by Harold Jenkins) Hor. Hail to your lordship. Ham. I am glad to see you well. Horatio, or I do forget myself. Hor. ...
1
vote
3answers
238 views

Did Shakespeare really mean meat pies by baked meats?

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2(The Arden Shakespeare edited by Harold Jenkins). Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral bak'd meats Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. Jenkins ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

“which had return'd to the inheritance of Fortinbras”

Here are some lines from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1 (The Arden Shakespeare edited by Harold Jenkins) Against the which a moiety competent Was gaged by our King, which had return'd To the ...
1
vote
2answers
203 views

“No, faith, not a jot, but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it.” [closed]

Here are some lines from Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 1 (The Arden Shakespeare edited by Harold Jenkins) Hamlet: To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why, may not imagination trace the noble dust ...
1
vote
3answers
242 views

Is “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” correct English?

Shakespeare’s play is called A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So is A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream correct English? If not, what would be the correct English?
6
votes
1answer
165 views

Shakespeare's “slow as the elephant”

I am reading Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, in Act 1 Scene 2 Alexander gives the following portrait of Ajax: "[...] he is as valiant as the lion, churlish as the bear, slow as the elephant; ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

“Small Latin and Less Greek”

About a third of the way through his poem "To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare and What He Hath Left Us," Ben Jonson writes: And though thou hadst small Latin and less ...
3
votes
2answers
427 views

Why does Hamlet not say, “ere he rots?” [closed]

How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot? The quoted line is Hamlet's. I wonder why the "rot" is not "rots".
2
votes
2answers
182 views

Is Shakespeare really the source of our modern meaning for odd?

In a recent article, the Guardian states that Shakespeare is also responsible for the modern meaning of "odd". What is the evidence for this? The textual evidence alone is thin and unconvincing. ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

“Upright he held it, lords, that held it last”, meaning?

In Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus when asked to become emperor Titus refuses answering that the sceptre to control the world (i.e., power) "upright he held it, lords, that held it last". What is the ...
0
votes
4answers
632 views

How to punctuate “To be, or not to be, that is the question”

What would be the correct way to punctuate this line from Hamlet? Should there simply be commas or should a colon be used? e.g.: To be, or not to be: that is the question.
5
votes
3answers
512 views

Middle English or Elizabethan English as a second language? [closed]

Are there books, web sites, or language courses designed for English speakers who want to learn Middle English or Elizabethan English in the same way that they would learn a foreign language? It would ...
3
votes
2answers
326 views

How/When did English transform to the modern version we use today? [closed]

I know that a language evolves with time and constantly keeps itself up to people's needs. But when I read a bible or a poem of Shakespeare, I can see English was very different by then with sentences ...
1
vote
1answer
154 views

What does “playus nigh” mean in Cockney?

Quotation from A history of the cries of London ancient (p23). Refer to What does “him as writ plays” mean?
2
votes
2answers
262 views

What does “him as writ plays” (etc.) mean in old newspaper clipping?

Quotation from A history of the cries of London ancient (p23). ... famous theatre afterwards to be so widely known. The sunshiny time of our literature and life, making a red-letter period in ...
6
votes
1answer
413 views

What does the phrase “Lady-Macbethed” mean? [closed]

Colonel Hampton snorted contemptuously. Senile dementia! Well, he must have been senile and demented, to bring this pair of snakes into his home, because he felt an obligation to his dead ...
4
votes
1answer
290 views

Does Shakespeare use the word “whence” incorrectly? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “from whence” correct? Or should it be “whence”? From the Shakespeare's Sonnet XLVIII, ... From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part;  And ...