Happy 448th birthday of everyone’s favourite playwright, poet and quote generator, William Shakespeare!
Of course its regarded as his birthday but that may just be a neat trick orchestrated by the Stratford Upon Avon tourist board as his christening was on 25th April and his deathdate was also 23rd and he allegedly died on the way back from his birthday party.
What a way to go.
Anyway today is the celebration of the world’s most famous bard and one of my favourites. And yes, yes, he is everyone’s favourite, the King of the over- and often mis-used Dinner Party Quotation. It has become a pretentious cliché to cite Shakespeare as one of your favourite authors however maybe that’s because he is so awesome. I never used to understand the appeal when I was younger, when I was 14 studying Macbeth seemed like such a drag. However about two years late when I was studying Romeo and Juliet (Michael Gove probably should take note that English GCSE syllabuses really need to be more imaginative) I started to understand the way he used language is different from nearly everyone else. Its so simple and yet he got it right, nor is it as pretentious as everyone says. If you see it performed it begins to sound almost natural and more like the language of people five hundred years ago than the poetical drivel it turns into when someone attempts to quote a line or two.
People who pretend they know Shakespeare, I’m not expert on the subject but I’ve pulled out a few quotes from the period. Can you guess which of them are fake? And where the real ones come from? Comment below and you could win a prize.*
1. “Off with his head!”
2.”Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once.”
3. “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
4.”I will not make windows into men’s souls.”
5. “Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving.”
6. “Let them call it mischief: When it is past and prospered t’will be virtue.”
7. “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.”
8. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
9. “Who could refrain that had a heart to love and in that heart courage to make love known?”
10. “Condemn the fault and not the actor of it?”
*Your prize will be the knowledge that you got it right and are therefore awesome.