My Year Of Shakespeare Shakepeare

My personal journey into the world of William Shakespeare

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I have always been aware that there was this dude named Shakespeare and that he influenced, well, everything. It seemed like a good time to read up on him and read what he wrote.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Rough times.....Indeed!

What a violent time Shakespeare wrote and lived in.
"Other than the Tower of London, which housed England's arsenal, about the only places to come by some of the larger weapons were the public theaters, where they were used to give a touch of realism to staged combat."
With friends such as actors who had access to the only other arsenal in England, who needed enemies?
Yet, there were quite a few enemies to be had. It seems a group of armed actors were headed to a theatre (not their own) to tear it apart and relocate it, against the will of the landlord. There was in fact a site all set for a theatre, but no building. Hey, let's go tear down that one, we don't like them anyway.
Rough times indeed.
Then there is the fact that many actors of the time were skilled at fencing. Many arguments among the actors, who spent long hours together in close quarters, were probably solved at the point of a very sharp blade. And, get this, there was a legal argument from medieval times that allowed a prisoner to escape hanging by reading his "neck-verse." This law allowed literate persons to escape the gallows by reading from the Bible in latin. A fairly easy task for classically trained actors of the time. This is what passed for entertainment in 1599. Go figure.


Blogger piksea said...

Best wishes on your challenging endeavor.

I am taking a Shakespeare class this semester at my local U and if you want to see Will at his violent best(?), you should check out Titus Andronicus. It's a bloodbath, his most violent of all.

11:49 AM  
Blogger James said...

Thanks very much for the suggestions. Its on my list, of course.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great undertaking. What play do you plan to start with? Also have you checked out the new bio by Peter Ackroyd?

5:41 PM  
Blogger James said...

I am very open to suggestions. I am looking to read the plays in chronological order. Hence, reading a bio or two to get my bearings straight. Yes, Ackroyd is next for me.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous iliana said...

Hi - Came over via Stefanie's blog. What a great project! I look forward to hearing more about your year of Shakespeare.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

Hello James. I came over via Sefanie's blog too. I'm intrigued by your idea and look forward to reading your posts throughout the year.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

I have read very little Shakespeare, so I will be watching your progress! It is one of my goals to read more of his work. In anticipation of reading one of his plays I found an interesting book of essays you might also find helpful--"Shakespeare After All" by Marjorie Garber. Good Luck!

9:09 AM  

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