reading, speaking and enjoying shakespeare

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  • 1. Speaking, Reading and Enjoying Shakespeare An Elizabethan guide to acting, language, and punctuation


  • Meter:
  • Iamb:
  • Iambic pentameter:
  • I AM
  • I a m a p i r a t e w i t h a w o o d e n l e g .
  • I AM a PI rate WITH a WOOD en LEG
  • But soft: what light through yonder window breaks?
  • So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
  • Im hungry. Is it almost time for lunch?
  • Not yet the soup is heating on the stove.

3. Definitions

  • Meter=
  • a.The measured arrangement of words in poetry, as by accentual rhythm, syllabic quantity, or the number of syllables in a line.
  • b.A particular arrangement of words in poetry, such as iambic pentameter, determined by the kind and number of metrical units in a line.
  • c.The rhythmic pattern of a stanza, determined by the kind and number of lines.
  • Iamb=
  • a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables
  • Iambic Pentameter=
  • a common meter in poetry consisting of an unrhymed line with five feet or
  • accents, each foot containing an unaccented syllable and an accented syllable

4. How do I speak this?

  • Breathscome after a line, never in
  • the middle of one
  • So, this means that I treat each
  • line as the punctuation?
  • YES!!!
  • Do I need to breathe after every
  • line?
  • No , you mustSuspend the
  • Thought at the end of the line
  • (without a period) and
  • keep the intensity of the line but
  • you neednt breath.

5. Punctuation

  • Commas = little speed
  • bumps (a pause but
  • with a slight lift)
  • Colons = The statement
  • following the colon is one
  • step up from the statement
  • preceding the colon
  • Semi-colons = a passionate
  • burst of vocal energy

6. Lets try!

  • What do we assume this character is saying?
  • ARIEL Not a soul But felt a fever of the mad and play'd Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners Plunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel Then all afire with me the king's son, Ferdinand, With hair up standing, then like reeds not hair,Was the first man that leap'd; cried, 'Hell is empty And all the devils are here.'

7. So, what does this mean?

  • We, as an audience or
  • reader, can interpret a
  • characters thoughts
  • through the line breaks
  • and punctuation!

8. Question the Punctuation!

  • Modern editors add punctuation to text to help readers interpret Shakespeares intentions.
  • Sometimes, however, the editors add a layer of meaning that may be more theirs than Shakespeare's.
  • What do I mean?

9. What about the spelling?

  • When we look at the first folio, we can see that words are spelled strangely?Why?
  • First, Shakespeare is credited with creating over 1700 words!
  • Additionally, Shakespeare used spelling to help guide both actors and audience reaction.
  • What do I mean?

10. Spelling/Capitalization in the first folio

  • 1159:Iago. If I can fasten but one Cup vpon him1160:With that which he hath drunke to night alreadie,1161:He'l be as full of Quarrell, and offence1162:As my yong Mistris dogge.1163:Now my sicke FooleRodorigo ,1164:Whom Loue hath turn'd almost the wrong side out,1165:ToDesdemonahath to night Carrows'd.1166:Potations, pottle-deepe; and he's to watch.1167:Three else of Cyprus, Noble swelling Spirites,1168:(That hold their Honours in a wary distance,1169:The very Elements of this Warrelike Isle)1170:Haue I to night fluster'd with flowing Cups,1171:And they Watch too.1172:Now 'mongst this Flocke of drunkards1173:Am I put to ourCassioin some Action1174:That may offend the Isle. But here they come.

11. The same scene?

  • Modern text
  • ARIEL Not a soul But felt a fever of the mad and play'd Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners Plunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel, Then all afire with me: the king's son, Ferdinand, With hair up-staring,--then like reeds, not hair,-- Was the first man that leap'd; cried, 'Hell is empty And all the devils are here.'
  • First Folio
  • Ar. Not a soule323:But felt a Feauer of the madde, and plaid324:Some tricks of desperation; all but Mariners325:Plung'd in the foaming bryne, and quit the vessell;326:Then all a fire with me the Kings sonneFerdinand 327:With haire vp-staring (then like reeds, not haire)328:Was the first man that leapt; cride hell is empty,329:And all the Diuels are heere.

12. Fun with language

  • Shakespeare loves to play with words.
  • InRomeo and Juliet , we see this in the puns- especially among young male characters!

13. Not Rated G

  • If you think something might have a dirty meaningchances are youre RIGHT!!!
  • Why? Because you have a teenage mind-NO.

14. The audiences at the Globe

  • The Globe Theatre wasnt just the rich
  • Many of the people attending the theatre may have been illiterate.
  • Groundlings and the three tiers of seating.