Presentation on theme: "How to Read Shakespeare Sometimes, the language of Shakespeare can seem overwhelming. Break it down into segments and handle each one individually."— Presentation transcript:
How to Read Shakespeare Sometimes, the language of Shakespeare can seem overwhelming. Break it down into segments and handle each one individually.
Let’s try breaking it down… “I had been happy if the general camp, pioneers and all, had tasted her sweet body, so I had nothing known.” (Othello, III.iii.345-347) Huh?!? This is a pretty tough line, so let’s cut it up, shall we?
Lets try breaking it down… “I had been happy…” We know that “had” could be “would have,” It’s probably, “I would have been happy.”
Let’s try breaking it down… “…if the general camp, pioneers and all…” Your notes should tell you that “the general camp” is all regular people, and that “pioneers” are lower-class laborers.
Let’s try breaking it down… “…had tasted her sweet body…” A.K.A.: Had slept with her.
Let’s try breaking it down… “…so I had nothing known.” We’ll have to apply a couple of our previous concepts here. “So” probably means “so long as.” And “nothing known” is one of those awkward word switches. It’s probably, “known nothing.”
Now let’s put it back together… “I had been happy if the general camp, pioneers and all, had tasted her sweet body, so I had nothing known.” “I would have been happy if everybody, even laborers, had slept with her, so long as I knew nothing.”
Let’s get started! First identify the rhyme scheme of the prologue…
Two households, both alike in dignity, a In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, b From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, a Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. b From forth the fatal loins of these two foes c A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; d Whose misadventured piteous overthrows c Do with their death bury their parents' strife. d The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love, e And the continuance of their parents' rage, f Which, but their children's end, nought could remove, e Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage; f The which if you with patient ears attend, g What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. g
Now identify the parts of the sonnet How are the first 12 lines organized?
They are divided into three quatrains with four lines each.
Meter The rhythmical pattern of a poem. It is determined by the number and types of stresses, or beats, in each line.
Scanning a poem for meter Scanning is to mark the stressed and unstressed syllables.
Iambic pentameter An iamb consists of one unstressed and one stressed syllable. If you read music, it is similar to a measure. It is also called a foot. Feet are divided by a vertical line according to syllable. Pentameter refers to the number of iambic feet in a line. There are ten syllables, making up five iambic feet per line. We mark it with ﬞ (unstressed) and ′ (stressed)
ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ Two house|holds, both| alike| in dig|nity, ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ In fair| Vero|na, where| we lay| our scene,
Modified iambic pentameter Remember that Shakespeare used the words the way we say them. We don’t say houseHOLD. It’s HOUSEhold. Sometimes the meter doesn’t quite match the formula. We call it modified.
ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ Whose mis|adven|tured pi|teous o|verthrows ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ ′ ﬞ ﬞ ′ ﬞ ′ Do with|their death|bury|their par|ents' strife. Notice that the symbols are reversed on bury because we pronounce the word with the stress on the first syllable.
Independent Practice Now you will finish the iambic pentameter for the rest of the prologue on your own. I will be around to help you if needed.
Prologue Vocabulary Dignity – wealthy; respected Grudge – constant conflict Piteous – pitiful; disgraceful Mend – to put right; repair Misadventured - misfortune; unlucky Strife – conflict; trouble Mutiny – rebellion; an uprising; fighting Loins – offspring Toil – work hard; labor; strive Naught – nothing But – except for
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