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An introduction to R& J: The Style of Shakespeare

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1 An introduction to R& J: The Style of Shakespeare

2 First, in your journals:
- What I know about Shakespeare and his works, what I like and dislike about him and his works, and general reactions.

3 Fun Fact: He was the master of “Your momma’s so ______” insults

4 If you don’t like him, he might say:
"You should be women and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so.“ - Macbeth "Methinks thou art a general offence, and every man should beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe themselves upon you.“ - All’s Well that Ends Well

5 "I must tell you friendly in your ear, sell when you can, you are not for all markets."
- As You Like It "Thou art a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way“ - King Lear

6 "I'll beat thee, but I should infect my hands.“
- Timon of Athens "Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood.“ - King Lear “Foot-Licker” - The Tempest (If time allows): (will provide copies)

7 If Shakespeare were alive today:

8 Fun Fact: He didn’t bother trying to find a word by right clicking while typing: rather, he would just make up words and phrases for what he meant to say

9 The man made up hundreds of words:
Advertising (n) luggage (n) Circumstantial (adj) misquote (v) Cold-blooded (adj) numb (adj) Drug (v) outbreak (n) Embrace (n) partner (n) Employer (n) premeditation (adj) Epileptic (adj) retirement (n) Fashionable (adj) rival (adj) Glow (v) traditional (adj) Gossip (v) zany (adj)

10 Phrases Shakespeare is credited with creating:
(These are just a select few) “an eye-sore” “ay, there’s the rub” “For goodness sake” “green-eyed monster” “I have not slept a wink” “well-behaved” “Good Riddance” “shooting star” “Into thin air” “puppy dog” “Love is blind” “It was Greek to me”

11 But, why does he sound so weird?
Many words have shifted meaning since Shakespeare’s day, or have fallen out of use

12 What helps me is to consider slang over the last 30 years:
Skinney, Bogue’, Bootin, Lay a Gasser’, Phony, The Man, You Know, bunny, The Flip-side, backatcha, bad, bogard, Bogus, Dude, Whatever, Gnarly, Hot, Bodacious, Rad, Excellent, Party-on, Ace, Amped, B.F.F., Barf me out, Bomb, Book, Boss, Buggin’, CD, Diesel, Face, Grindage, Juiced, Legit, Mega, Narc, Noid, Sick, Spanger, Waver Sup, bama, beans, brutal, bunk, buzz, chillin’, crib, crunk, Fats, Home Skillet, Jack you up, Larey, Morph, Nce1, Not!, OMG, Phat, Dude, Buzz, Bull, Boo, Shotgun, Yo, Jump the Shark, Nuke the Fridge

13 Letters, syllables, or whole words were sometimes omitted. Examples:
'tis: it is o'er: over ne'er: never e'er / ere: ever oft: often e'en: even Word order was more flexible. Example: I ate the sandwich. I the sandwich ate. Ate the sandwich I. Ate I the sandwich. The sandwich I ate. The sandwich ate I.

14 Shakespeare wrote dramatic poetry most of the time, but sometimes included prose
Poetry was mostly in blank verse (unrhymed lines of iambic pentametre) Poetry was sometimes in rhyming couplets, sonnet form, etc. Poetry usually used for passages of high feeling and increased intensity Prose often used for wit and play, or lower-status characters

15 Some Quick Comprehension Tips:
Thou vs. You Thou = an informal address to one's friends or social inferiors You = a formal address to strangers and social superiors Forsooth = No kidding Marry!, By my faith = Wow Alack, Alackaday, Alas, Fie, Out upon it! = Darn it! God's wounds, S'wounds, Zounds = swearing Prating = Babbling, talking too much Perchance = Maybe Forswear = To lie or cheat Betimes = Very early in the morning

16 Fun Fact: Shakespeare never intended for his works to be studied…but rather, experienced and viewed in the theater (Think of him as the Michael Bay of his time, and that his plays are the Transformers of the time)

17 Fun Fact: Shakespeare is still read and studied and beloved by just about everyone in the theater world because his work is timeless. In 400 years, what, if any of the popular works of today will still be studied (Hint: Gremlins will, but I’m not sure about anything else)

18 It’s why they keep producing his works:

19 Best Modern Interpretation Ever?

20 Fun fact: the director of the new Avengers movie, Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Hunter, is putting the final touches on his next film: a modernized version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

21 A quick R & J refresher: For those of you who missed the play, fell asleep during it or have just completely forgotten it:

22 Well, to understand Shakespeare (or, any play), you must understand a couple of key terms/concept

23 The Elements of (Shakespearean) Drama
Terminology Guide

24 Dialogue Definition: A conversation between two or more people.
Examples in “R&J”: See almost any scene

25 Monologue Definition: A long speech made by one person.
Examples in “R&J”: (See the Prince’s speech in the first scene)

26 Soliloquy Definition: a speech in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener. Example: The Friar as he works in his garden.

27 Aside Definition: A piece of dialogue intended for the audience (or one other character in the form of a “whisper” and supposedly not heard by the other actors on stage) Example: Sampson and Gregory in the opening scene both have “asides”

28 Subtext Definition: a message which is not stated directly but can be inferred Example: Juliet not wanting to get married…

29 Pun (so important, it appears twice on the guide)
Definition: A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words Examples: a) “My attempt at starting a street market turned out to be fruitile.” b) " ..You have dancing shoes With nimble soles. I have a soul of lead" (I.iv.15-16)

30 Alliteration Definition: The repetition of the same sounds or of the same kinds of sounds at the beginning of words Example: Peter, Peter,Pumpkin Eater, had a wife…

31 Oxymoron Definition: figure of speech in which contradictory or opposite words or concepts are combined for effect Example: Jumbo Shrimp; Only Choice; Freezer Burn; In class homework; Unbiased Opinion

32 Paradox (Wait, is this term also so important that it merits two spots on the guide?)
Definition: A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true Example: Act 2, Scene 3, Line 198. "Yet I shall kill thee with much cherishing. Goodnight, goodnight. Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow."

33 Allusion Definition: a passing reference Example: “Queen Mab” in “R&J”

34 Comic Relief Definition: A humorous interlude in a serious literary work or drama, especially a tragedy, intended to relieve the dramatic tension or heighten the emotional impact by means of contrast Example: See Mercutio

35 Malapropism Definition: the unintentional misuse of a word by confusion with one that sounds similar Examples Dad says the monster is just a pigment of my imagination. Good punctuation means not to be late.

36 Foil Definition: A foil is a character who serves as a contrast to another perhaps more primary character, so as to point out specific traits of the primary character. Examples: Well…what do you think?

37 Tragedy Definition: Simply put, it is a drama with an unhappy ending…of course, that minimizes what it actually is…

38 Catharsis Hubris Tragic fault/flaw of pride
Emotional release after a tragic event.


40 Bibliography Best, Michael. Shakespeare's Life and Times. Internet Shakespeare Editions, University of Victoria: Victoria, BC, <>. Dunton-Downer, Leslie, and Alan Riding. Essential Shakespeare Handbook. New York, NY: DK Pub., Print. Hill, Wayne F., and Cynthia J. Ottchen. Shakespeare's Insults: Educating Your Wit. New York: Three Rivers, Print Kamen, Vittoria. "Need A Good Insult? Ask The Bard." The Huffington Post., 17 July Web. 29 Apr < html>. "The Language of Shakespeare." Shakespeare Resource Center -. Web. 29 Apr <>. 0007DD63/RJ_DOC/REGULAR10/RJ_Shakespearen%20Language%20with%20worksheet.pdf?FCItemID=S0 72C9956 Images and Youtube Clips to be added soon!

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