In my office, there are two “movie” posters of Shakespeare as if he were living in the late 20th century — one is him wearing a casual suit, looking out from a plate-glass store window from some street shop, and the other is him wearing an opened collared shirt, an “A” shirt, and sunglasses in the “pachuco” pose of the inner city ghetto and barrio. My students who happen to look on the walls of my office are surprised by these contemporary images of Shakespeare, but then they get curious. “That’s Shakespeare?” “Yup.” “He looked like that?” “If he were alive today, maybe.” “Cool.”
Love him, hate him (and I know that Shakespeare is usually taught so *badly* in high school that some people have an allergic reaction to anything Shakespeare), one thing one can say about the man: he knew how people ticked.
So, in honour of Shakespeare’s Birthday /Deathday today, here are some Shakespeare quotes:
From _Hamlet_, Act 2, Scene 2 (Hamlet speaking):
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust?
From _A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream_, Act 4, Scene 1 (Bottom speaking):
I have had a most rare
vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to
say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go
about to expound this dream. Methought I was–there
is no man can tell what. Methought I was,–and
methought I had,–but man is but a patched fool, if
he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye
of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not
seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue
to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream
From _Henry V_ , Act 4, Scene 3 (Henry V speaking):
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
All quotes courtesy of “The Complete Works of Williams Shakespeare” http://the-tech.mit.edu/Shakespeare/