Questions tagged [shakespeare]

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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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?
8
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1answer
462 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; a ...
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3answers
9k 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 ...
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2answers
740 views

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

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
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2answers
346 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. ...
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2answers
118 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 ...
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4answers
4k 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.
6
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3answers
2k 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 ...
5
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2answers
713 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 ...
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1answer
226 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?
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2answers
404 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 happy ...
6
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1answer
534 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 brother'...
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1answer
995 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 even ...
3
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2answers
4k views

Meaning of “I would there were…”?

What is the meaning of "I would there were", as in this quote from Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale"? I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Twelfth Night: Why does Olivia call Sir Toby “cousin”?

I’m reading Twelfth Night, where in Act 1, Scene 5, Olivia says to Sir Toby Belch: Olivia: Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this lethargy? How come she’s calling her uncle “cousin”?
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1answer
3k views

Searching for a literary term for “if this, then I’m a this” statements

I’m reading Shakespeare’s Henry IV (Part 1) right now and I’m noticing that Sir John Falstaff has a propensity of saying “If this, then I’m a this” sort of statements. A few examples to clarify: … ...
18
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2answers
811 views

Pronunciation of 'host' in Shakespeare's time

Listening to the recent film production of Macbeth with Patrick Stewart, I noticed that Duncan says: Give me your hand. Conduct me to mine host. Obviously, it's in the text (Act 1, Scene 6). I'm ...
6
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1answer
2k views

What does “Would he had blotted a thousand!” mean?

I come across this passage in Bill Bryson's book, "Shakespeare": "His mind and hand went together,' they [John Hemings and Henry Condell] wrote in the introduction to the First Folio, 'and what he ...
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2answers
2k views

How to cite Shakespearean Blank Verse or Free Verse in an MLA Paper [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to quote multiple lines of verse inline If I am using a quote that is only one line, I would not need a / between lines. But, when do I use a / - for free verse or blank ...
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1answer
876 views

Is there a Shakespearean, perhaps even Romeo and Juliet-like quote for asking someone to work out with you? [closed]

It'd be awesome if someone knew the answer to this.
3
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2answers
2k views

Is Shakespeare proper English? [closed]

"Divides one thing entire to many objects; Like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon show nothing but confusion..." - William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Richard the Second I read plenty of ...
5
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2answers
3k views

Is this an example of litotes?

In Macbeth's Tomorrow speech To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted ...
6
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3answers
20k views

What does this mean: To be thus is nothing; But to be safely thus

This is taken from Shakespeare's Macbeth, and I am having difficulty comprehending what this means. Can someone please put it into normal English, with all explanations?