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Hi, I need some assistance with translating a Shakespearean passage.. (1 Viewer)

A

Aspirations

I need to turn the following passage from Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' into language that would be found in 1920's Italian-American mafia society. I thought this would be the best place to ask such a question. Thank you muchly for any assistance.

"Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood, stop up the access and passage to remorse, that no compunctious visitings of nature shake my fell purpose nor keep peace between the effect and it!"
 

AirTime

Member
In the 1920's we were in a Great Depression but the mafia was in power. Especially in regards to the local unions and also drug trafficking.
Tony Soprano would never use the word 'unsex' I think we can agree on that.
He would bring in someone from the "old Family" and speak of this only as laying a carpet or taking care of surplus inventory. And as to the stoppng up of passages of no remorse...
"This couldn't be helped. Whatta you gonna do? They wouldn't come to the table and talk -so here we are".
This looks interesting. What are you working on?
 
A

Aspirations

This was actually spoken by Lady Macbeth in the play 'Macbeth'. I'm trying to change the dialogue into such that would be acceptable in 1920's Italian-American Society, but I can't for the life of me think of it.
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
tony wouldn't have been alive back in the 20s... sicilian immigrants in nyc wouldn't have spoken with what you hear on tv and in movies as a ny mobster accent... and the 'mafia' was called 'the black hand' back then...

i'm a native-born noo-yawka, but never got stuck with the accent, thank goodness, since my sicilian/calabrese mom and irish/german dad moved us out to the westchester suburbs before i was so 'tainted'... however, i sure heard plenty of it from my sicilian aunts and uncles, who were alive and adults in the 20s... they'd gather at my nonna's for sunday dinner and if there were two, there'd always be an argument... if there were more, you'd have a non-stop verbal war!...

here's how i'd deal with that passage in what i think would be close to what you need:

"Mother of God, make me as cruel and uncaring as any man! Give me the strength to do what I have to. Don't let me be a weak woman, who hasn't the coglione to carry out the vendetta my Sicilian blood calls for!"

hope that helps...

abbracci e bacci, maia
 

WordWeaver

Senior Member
How do you alter Shakespeare?! Proposterous! It's fine just the way it is!

I sincerely hope you're not converting MacBeth into "Modern" times. For one, it's been done before, two, they don't change the dialogue, and three, you can't alter Shakespeare, there's just no way.
 
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Linton Robinson

Senior Member
Sure you can. George III got "barrioized" for Street Kings (interesting flick). Romeo and Juliet got NYCized for "West Side Story"...the list is a long one.

The less you stick close to the original the better off you'll be. Copping the characters and plot works great: transliterating the language doesn't. And not just because of words: there's a different consciousness involved. How many people do you hear invoking spirits?
 
W

WhtTheDickens

lin said:
Sure you can. George III got "barrioized" for Street Kings (interesting flick). Romeo and Juliet got NYCized for "West Side Story"...the list is a long one.

The less you stick close to the original the better off you'll be. Copping the characters and plot works great: transliterating the language doesn't. And not just because of words: there's a different consciousness involved. How many people do you hear invoking spirits?


w0rd.
Shakespeare is probably the most oft-quoted, translated, and...well...bastardized author in the english and non english-speaking world. That is part of the beauty of shakespeare...When it is done effectively that is. I once saw a beautiful version of King Lear as performed in Nigerian tribal society. Then again I also saw a horrible version of Hamlet where they switched genders to prove a point that they ended up disproving...total disaster. Plus the stories he used aren't entirely origional...just the language he used to tell them. So in this sense I don't think he would be spinning all that much in his grave if we were to milk one more story one more time.

That being said, I agree with Lin; use the story and the functions of the characters, but trying to translate directly (i.e: shakespearean dictionary in one hand, oxford dictionary in the other) may just cause more convolution and confusion than you want. So take a more wholistic approach: What is the story saying, how does this speach work within that story, and how would it function in a different time setting?
 
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