Although I’m known as a Bardinator, I confess I’m a bit of a poser in actuality.
I truly know a handful of his plays, primarily the ones I teach, the usual: Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, Othello, Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet. I do have a working knowledge of other plays: King Lear, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing , The Tempest, Merchant of Venice,Twelfth Night. And I have a nodding acquaintance with the Henrys and Richards. I tend to shudder and ignore the more violent plays where body parts and pies and such are a featured plot focus.
As for William’s sonnets–let’s just say while I’m not adverse to his verse, I prefer to revel in his plays.
So, my goal is to become more than a dabbler and get cracking at becoming better in my Bard. This will involve some serious study since Shakespeare is not for sissies. He provides stout meat and drink once at the table of literature feasting. I will *sigh* set aside some (not all) of my leisurely summer reading forays and bite off, rather than nibble, sizable portions of Shakespeare works.
Here is a beginning goal list:
- Select at least five-ten sonnets, mainly the ones we refer to in our current curriculum, and really study them beyond the quick note referring I usually do. Study what other critics have come up with in their analysis.
- Move beyond my comfort zone and learn at least one play of William’s that I’m not familiar with. I’m still squeamish about reading about revenge pie, so perhaps I will look into a comedy not well known to me–maybe The Merry Wives of Windsor or As You Like It.
My basic Bard facts are decent: birth, death, family life, supposition of lost years. I even have Renaissance and Elizabethan knowledge down pretty well as it relates to Shakespeare. I could start committing more to memory and really dazzle the crowds.
Why take on Shakespeare this summer? I could just lounge and read for fun and drift and not work so hard. Didn’t I just get out of school?
One reason to push myself in this endeavor is that Shakespeare is so fascinating. I knew relatively nothing about him until I began teaching his works. For the past fifteen years I’ve learned so much more about the Bard and it makes me realize I have so much more to go. But, I’m in no real hurry.
Another reason is that if want to really become a Bardintor, not just pretend I know my Bard stuff. Please don’t expect me to spout off reams of memorized quotes and speeches. Memorizing, is unfortunately, a real problem. Short term gaps and all that.
One other reason is that I want to be THAT teacher, the one whose enthusiasm for Shakespeare overflowed into the curriculum and into the hearts and minds of my students. I still treasure that moment when one of my struggling students came up to me after class and said, “I will will studying Hamlet.” He got involved in our study of the melancholy Prince of Denmark, and that’s why I will learn more about Shakespeare.
Anyone out there desire a bit more Bard in your life?
You go girl… ‘Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners. So that if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with many—either to have it sterile with idleness, or manured with industry—why, the power and corrigible authority of this lies in our wills.’
But you knew that already…
The cool thing about Billy is that you can be all up in the work, and still take a deep dive another direction and have lots ahead of you. I’ve always been a sonnet day, hearkening to my romantic days. Midsummer Night’s Dream also has enough to have carried me through decades of appreciation.
I will start the school year off a sonnet from MND or Romeo and Juliet. The students can relate since they studied these in 8th and 9th.
Good call – Sonnet 55 is my favorite. I still have it memorized, CM!
Memorization is not my strength. I’m impressed when people can cite poems or passages of literature. Oh, to be that teacher…
The Merry Wives of Windsor?! Pfft.
Richard III is all that and a bag of chips. Study that one! That play seems to have the greatest influence on contemporary drama (Breaking Bad, House of Cards, etc.)
But, of course, it is rather murder-y.
Richard truly is Tricky Dicky. He is sooo evil. I’ve watched both Ian McK’s version and Benedict’s. Nasty, rotten is that Richard #3.
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Richard III is all that and a bag of chips. So that if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with many—either to have it sterile with idleness, or manured with industry—why, the power and corrigible authority of this lies in our wills.
I’m not quite sure I understand what you said and how it relates to Richard, but I welcome your input.
Richard III is all that and a traveling bag of chips. The cool thing about Billy is that you can be all up in the study, and still take aim a mysterious nose dive another counseling and receive lots ahead of you.