A prayer in the dog pound

Over the course of the next few days, I want to take a closer look, a deeper dive, into a couple of related speeches in Timon of Athens.

Both are prayers of a sort.

Let us begin with our cynic, Apemantus…

Continue reading “A prayer in the dog pound”

Thought-Experiment: form v. meaning

[a lil’ break from the ol’ Timon…]

OK, so as I type this I’m listening to an interview with actress Indira Varma in one of GlobePlayer.tv’s snippets from the documentary Muse of Fire. I first saw her as Idris Elba’s wife in the first season of Luther. Loved her there. Then I saw her in the Globe on Screen production of Titus Andronicus playing Tamora. And now, of course, she’s Ellania Sand in Game of Thrones. Yeah, I guess I’m a fan-boy.

Anyway… (that’s not what this entry is about)

Continue reading “Thought-Experiment: form v. meaning”

So. Enobarbus…

I’ve now watched five of the six video versions of Antony and Cleopatra thus far, and between the viewings and the readings of the play I’ve done in the last month and a third, I’m fascinated by Enobarbus.

Continue reading “So. Enobarbus…”

Prose, verse, and rhyme: an Othello case-study

Much of any given Shakespeare play is poetry, mostly blank verse, unrhymed iambic pentameter (more on that here). Sometimes some of those poetic lines rhyme, but mostly not. And some of the play (just over a quarter by average; just over 16% in tragedies, though Othello has closer to 20%) isn’t even in verse; it’s just prose.

So, the question always comes up, “Why do this in verse and that in prose?” Well, the standard, cliched answer is the ol’ “verse = nobility :: prose = common man” trope. And while that may be true in many cases, it’s certainly not true all the time.

So what’s going on?

Continue reading “Prose, verse, and rhyme: an Othello case-study”

Scansion for acting clues (we pause this entry for…)

OK, so regular readers know that I love to dig through the text looking for acting clues in the scansion (as well as stage direction in the dialogue, but that, alas, is for another day… like tomorrow). And Troilus and Cressida is no different. Except that it is.

Lemme ‘splain…

Continue reading “Scansion for acting clues (we pause this entry for…)”

Twelfth Night: prose, verse, and rhymes (oh my)

In Twelfth Night, as with most of the plays in the Canon, Shakespeare uses multiple avenues to convey his content. In the past, we’ve spent time in this project on the differences between the uses of prose, poetry, and rhyming verse. And yes, we do get some of that nobility-speaks-in-verse/lower-class-in-prose stuff. But what I find interesting in this play are the transition points.

Continue reading “Twelfth Night: prose, verse, and rhymes (oh my)”

Julius Caesar: Short Lines, Revisited

Last month, as I started my deeper dive into Julius Caesar, I noted that I was noticing more short, non-antilabe, poetic lines than I remember seeing in the plays earlier in the project.

Now, I haven’t compared Caesar to those earlier plays (haven’t had the time, man!)… but looking at all these short lines–over a hundred by my count–I keep thinking these are clues to the director and actors.

But clues to do what exactly?

Continue reading “Julius Caesar: Short Lines, Revisited”

Podcast 90: Julius Caesar: the Mastery of Antony’s Funeral Oration


This week’s podcast continues off our two month-long discussion of Julius Caesar, with a deep dive into the mastery of Antony’s funeral oration. Plus, I’ve got the announcement of a contest.

Continue reading “Podcast 90: Julius Caesar: the Mastery of Antony’s Funeral Oration”

Julius Caesar Funeral Orations, Part Five: Brutus (Redux)

As I’ve spent the last few days diving deep in Antony’s oration in Julius Caesar, paying close attention to clues in both the diction and meter of the lines, I began to wonder: What if you took Brutus’ speech and tried to break down the 27 lines of prose into verse lines of some rough approximation of iambic pentameter? What would happen?

A headache. That’s what.

Continue reading “Julius Caesar Funeral Orations, Part Five: Brutus (Redux)”

Julius Caesar Funeral Orations, Part Two: Antony (the overview)

Yesterday, we started to look at the funeral orations that come hot on the heels of the assassination in Julius Caesar, beginning with Brutus.

Continue reading “Julius Caesar Funeral Orations, Part Two: Antony (the overview)”