Questions relating to William Shakespeare, an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.

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Did Macbeth already have the “seed” of ambition? Or did the witches sow it? [closed]

I ask this from a purely analytical perspective. Is there any proof of either written in the book? Any old-english words with double meanings that may suggest this?
6
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3answers
322 views

What does Macbeth mean when he says his heart is “seated”?

Here's the quote (from The Tragedy of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare): This supernatural soliciting Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success, ...
7
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4answers
247 views

“As I am wo/man” in Twelfth Night, II, 2 (Shakespeare): a case of indefinite article omission or no?

Are "As I am man" and "As I am woman" in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, II, 2 examples of indefinite article omission or not? This question is (e)specially directed towards those familiar with ...
0
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0answers
52 views

Murdered in cold blood?

In Shakespeare's Othello, would the murder of Desdemona be a "cold blooded murder"? When looking up the meaning of a cold blooded murder I find it means that the murder was premeditated or deliberate. ...
2
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2answers
109 views

Roaming and Coming in William Shakespeare's O Mistress Mine

William Shakespeare's O Mistress Mine, Feste's song from Twelfth Night, seems to have the rhyming scheme AABCCB. However, the first two lines are problematic for that scheme with modern ...
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0answers
29 views

A Winter's Tale Help, 'He something seemed…'

There is a children's copy of A Winter's Tale at work with a line I didn't understand (browsing whilst waiting for the microwave!). It says 'He something seemed unsettled' (Hermione talking about ...
1
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1answer
149 views

What is the meaning of: “If we offend, it is with our good will” [closed]

I was reading A Midsummer Night's Dream; Act-V, Sc.1 . There Peter Quince read the prologue: If we offend, it is with our good will. That you should think, we come not to offend, But with good ...
11
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5answers
3k views

Thank thou or Thank thee

How would Shakespeare have said "Thank you"? Can't decide if it is thee or thou, since it isn't really a sentence.
2
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1answer
64 views

Shakespare's Scansion: Elision: half-solved

This is, hopefully, the end of the saga: the third installment of the Shakesperean scansion series. The first two can be found here: Shakespeare's Scansion Shakespeare's Scansion: the Sequel I've ...
3
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0answers
90 views

Shakespeare's Scansion: the Sequel

Okay, so we seem to have established (with lots of great and generous help from StoneyB and Peter Shor) that: where it came to certain diphthongs, Shakespeare either elided syllables that didn't ...
7
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1answer
136 views

Shakespeare's Scansion

Here are lines from "Richard III": Farewell. The leisure and the fearful time Cuts off the ceremonious vows of love And ample interchange of sweet discourse Which so long sundered ...
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1answer
44 views

Yet Another (harmless) Shakespeare Question: Scansion

He was very fond of his pet words, some of which might seem oddly useless to some readers UNLESS scansion is considered. Specifically, "doth," "did," and "most" crop up with astounding frequency when ...
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1answer
61 views

Shakespeare and the tenses

In Anthony's speech there is a line that goes like this: "When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept." Why the present perfect?
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1answer
45 views

Word for imputing one's motives to another by putting them in their mouth (King Lear)

I am looking for a word to replace "declares" in this paragraph analysing Edmund's betrayal of his brother in Shakespeare's King Lear: Edmund begins his quest for power by setting Edgar up as a ...
3
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2answers
803 views

What did Shakespeare mean by “gild refined gold” [closed]

In the play King John by Shakespeare the following line is used: To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, To throw a perfume on the violet, What did Shakespeare mean by "gild refined gold"? ...
0
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1answer
219 views

Hamlet - what does “O heart, lose not thy nature” (Act 3, scene 2) mean?

In Hamlet's soliloquy at the end of Act 3, scene 2 What does the line, "O heart, lose not thy nature" mean? SparkNotes's No Fear Shakespeare interprets it to "Oh, heart, don’t grow weak." ...
2
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1answer
203 views

Second Person Singular conjugation of words ending in Y

I know that most regular verbs would be conjugated in Second Person Singular by adding "est" (Thou makest), and Third Person Singular by adding "eth" (She maketh), but what if the verb ends with a Y? ...
1
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1answer
132 views

Can someone explain this quote from 'The Tempest'?

I was reading a Russian translation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, when the queer word choice by the translator made me open the original work to see what the author actually wrote. And here it is: ...
2
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1answer
153 views

Number disagreement between subject and verb in Shakespeare?

I guess this is a quote from Shakespeare's Macbeth: Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. I'm confused about the subject-verb agreement in both sentences. AFAIK ...
0
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2answers
93 views

Explanation of a scene in Shakespeare's Hamlet

It is clear from my question that English is not my first language. I apologize if it sounds dumb. I am trying to understand the structure of the sentences in the following scene of Hamlet: But ...
22
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6answers
4k 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
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1answer
191 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 ...
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1answer
83 views

Shakespearian equivalent of 'very'

What would the early modern english/shakespeare equivalent of 'very'be in the sentence: 'That was very nice' ?
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1answer
129 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
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1answer
379 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 ...
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0answers
64 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 ...
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1answer
324 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 ...
3
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1answer
205 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
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2answers
1k 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 ...
30
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4answers
3k 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 ...
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1answer
216 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
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1answer
302 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
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1answer
226 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.
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9answers
3k 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 ...
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2answers
90 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
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1answer
626 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 ...
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3answers
192 views

Is this line from The Merchant of Venice metaphorical?

From "The Merchant of Venice", Act IV: The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Can we consider that a metaphor?
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3answers
2k 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
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2answers
381 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 ...
9
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6answers
49k 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
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3answers
650 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
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2answers
454 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
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1answer
265 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 ...
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2answers
489 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 ...
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2answers
631 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
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1answer
1k 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
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1answer
258 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
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1answer
192 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 ...
1
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1answer
365 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
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1answer
277 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 ...