Understanding the Bard (Or, Really, Not) - Page 3


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Thread: Understanding the Bard (Or, Really, Not)

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    This may seem odd, but I love listening/watching Shakespeare but hate reading his works. The same can be said for poetry - particularly Shelley, Wordsworth, and Keats, I absolutely love listening to their works (https://youtu.be/uLBHmoSGcvE) but don't enjoy reading them.
    I can relate, definitely. I hated Henry V when I had to study it in High School but good goddamn does Kenneth Branagh do a good job here? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-yZNMWFqvM
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  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I can relate, definitely. I hated Henry V when I had to study it in High School but good goddamn does Kenneth Branagh do a good job here? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-yZNMWFqvM
    I wonder if this affliction has anything to do with not being able to write poetry? I just can't find that rhythm in my head - and if it isn't there it won't come out on paper.

  3. #23
    There is a modern translation of Hamlet, and in general I was impressed with it. If a reader's interest is in the story, it seems like a wonderful resource.

    There is a question as to whether it captures Shakespeare's skill as a writer. In his monolog, they have:

    Yes, that was the problem,

    That doesn't sound very Shakespearean, of course, but I am troubled only about meaning. Shakespeare wrote it as:

    ay, there’s the rub,

    The Oxford English dictionary has this definition of rub: "Any physical obstacle or impediment to movement, esp. one that is unexpected" It's obsolete. I am guessing a modern reader understands "rub" to mean problem or obstacle.

    So everything looks good. But what happened to "unexpected"? And do we care?

    I do. It is as if Hamlet has plotted out a smooth course, and unexpectedly encountered an obstacle. It is like he is responding to his own thought. (Which would make is a soliloquy instead of a monolog, methinks.) As a writer, I want my reader following his thoughts as they unexpectedly careen in a new direction.

    Rub also means: "An unevenness of the ground which impedes or diverts a bowl." Shakespeare knew that definition. So imagine you make a bowl, you think the lawn is smooth, but your ball hits a rub and it changes direction.

    So rub is not merely an obstacle, to slow one down, it is diverting Hamlet's thoughts into a new direction. Try rereading the soliloquy that way.

    They translated ay as an alternative spelling of aye, meaning yes. Who would not? But that implies Hamlet is agreeing with himself. I like translating ay as "surprise", which fits unexpected.

    Done with Shakespeare! (Unless I meet any rubs.) Thanks everyone.
    Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools not Rules is finally published and available for $3 Hidden Content . Should be mandatory for serious writers, IMO. Italics, Fragments, Disfluency, lists, etc. But also commas and paragraph length. Discussed use of adverbs, and ends with a chapters on the awesome moment and the grammar of action scenes. Description at my Hidden Content

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    There is a modern translation of Hamlet, and in general I was impressed with it. If a reader's interest is in the story, it seems like a wonderful resource.

    There is a question as to whether it captures Shakespeare's skill as a writer. In his monolog, they have:

    Yes, that was the problem,

    That doesn't sound very Shakespearean, of course, but I am troubled only about meaning. Shakespeare wrote it as:

    ay, there’s the rub,

    The Oxford English dictionary has this definition of rub: "Any physical obstacle or impediment to movement, esp. one that is unexpected" It's obsolete. I am guessing a modern reader understands "rub" to mean problem or obstacle.

    So everything looks good. But what happened to "unexpected"? And do we care?

    I do. It is as if Hamlet has plotted out a smooth course, and unexpectedly encountered an obstacle. It is like he is responding to his own thought. (Which would make is a soliloquy instead of a monolog, methinks.) As a writer, I want my reader following his thoughts as they unexpectedly careen in a new direction.

    Rub also means: "An unevenness of the ground which impedes or diverts a bowl." Shakespeare knew that definition. So imagine you make a bowl, you think the lawn is smooth, but your ball hits a rub and it changes direction.

    So rub is not merely an obstacle, to slow one down, it is diverting Hamlet's thoughts into a new direction. Try rereading the soliloquy that way.

    They translated ay as an alternative spelling of aye, meaning yes. Who would not? But that implies Hamlet is agreeing with himself. I like translating ay as "surprise", which fits unexpected.

    Done with Shakespeare! (Unless I meet any rubs.) Thanks everyone.
    "Ay, there's the rub" is pretty normal, modern English. 'Ay' (or 'aye') is more British, but 'there's the rub' is a common colloquialism for 'there's the snag' or 'there's the problem'. I've heard it a lot of times. Not sure why they felt the need to translate it as I believe most modern audiences would at least understand it. Pretty weird, and not a great example of 'Shakespeare is confusing'.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    "Ay, there's the rub" is pretty normal, modern English. 'Ay' (or 'aye') is more British, but 'there's the rub' is a common colloquialism for 'there's the snag' or 'there's the problem'. I've heard it a lot of times. Not sure why they felt the need to translate it as I believe most modern audiences would at least understand it. Pretty weird, and not a great example of 'Shakespeare is confusing'.
    To be clear, there is a word "aye", meaning yes, which can be or at least was sometimes spelled as "ay". Going the other way, the dictionaries do not mention that the word "ay" (to mean, say, surprise) can be spelled "aye". see here, where the listed synonyms for ay are alack, alas, woe, and the Irish wirra.

    Right, this is not a good example that Shakespeare is "confusing". it's an example of how Shakespeare's writing abilities disappear with normal translations. And it's not my best example of that, either, and, ay me, it only works if we agree on which version of the scene is better.
    Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools not Rules is finally published and available for $3 Hidden Content . Should be mandatory for serious writers, IMO. Italics, Fragments, Disfluency, lists, etc. But also commas and paragraph length. Discussed use of adverbs, and ends with a chapters on the awesome moment and the grammar of action scenes. Description at my Hidden Content

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    To be clear, there is a word "aye", meaning yes, which can be or at least was sometimes spelled as "ay". Going the other way, the dictionaries do not mention that the word "ay" (to mean, say, surprise) can be spelled "aye". see here, where the listed synonyms for ay are alack, alas, woe, and the Irish wirra.

    Right, this is not a good example that Shakespeare is "confusing". it's an example of how Shakespeare's writing abilities disappear with normal translations. And it's not my best example of that, either, and, ay me, it only works if we agree on which version of the scene is better.
    If you want examples of Shakespeare that is genuinely confusing or generally poor in modern translation, I would say the humor is the best place to look. Shakespeare's comedies, like comedy generally, has probably aged the poorest of all his work.

    Consider this joke...


    HAMLET Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

    OPHELIA No, my lord.

    HAMLET I mean, my head upon your lap?

    OPHELIA Ay, my lord.

    HAMLET Do you think I meant country matters?

    OPHELIA I think nothing, my lord.

    HAMLET That’s a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.

    OPHELIA What is, my lord?

    HAMLET Nothing.
    The above exchange doesn't make any sense in today's language. It certainly isn't funny.

    But what if I told you that in Elizabethan England 'nothing' was commonly understood slang for a vagina? Suddenly, the scene is very obscene.

    It's even more obscene when you consider the weird term 'country matters' and that this would have been pronounced, in the speech of the time, closer to 'cunt'y matters'.

    But even beyond the comprehension gap, there is a humor gap as well. Even if we know that 'nothing' means 'vagina', the scene still isn't particularly funny to most modern audiences I imagine.

    For me, Shakespeare's biggest problem is and will always be in comedy (not necessarily his Comedies, but comic lines as featured in almost any play) because comedy is something that changes so hugely over time. Most 1950's comics aren't even considered that funny anymore. Watch a successful TV comedy from the 90's even and it may not 'work'.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Shakespeare's comedies, like comedy generally, has probably aged the poorest of all his work.
    I thought (and summarised to my daughter today) that Shakespeare's comedies were simply the lighter of his plays where the MC doesn't die or go nuts and the tragedies were where they do. Not necessarily belly-laugh material but not total heaviness either.

    Wait ... was I thinking of Greek plays?


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  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    I thought (and summarised to my daughter today) that Shakespeare's comedies were simply the lighter of his plays where the MC doesn't die or go nuts and the tragedies were where they do. Not necessarily belly-laugh material but not total heaviness either.

    Wait ... was I thinking of Greek plays?
    I was referring to small-c comedies not Shakespeare’s Comedies. See my last paragraph for clarification.
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