Monday, April 23, 2007

Shakespeare's Day

William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 and died on April 23, 1616.

We were reading "Romeo and Juliet" in 9th grade and Mrs. Ekholm brought in cupcakes to celebrate. To add a twist, she asked everyone to quote a line from Shakespeare in order to receive a cupcake.

Just about everyone went up and said, "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?" or "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?" I had to be different and chose, "He jests at scars that never felt a wound." Mrs. Ekholm actually gripped my arm and froze. She loved it! This was said by Romeo when the guys were making fun of his lovesickness. Ironically, I often think of that line when people make comments or make light of someone else's situation.

Another favorite line of mine from Romeo and Juliet was "See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!O, that I were a glove upon that hand,That I might touch that cheek!"

I always liked the following scene, more so after I saw the Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes performance in Baz Luhrmann's film. The way it was depicted was beautiful, as they started with their palms touching to their first kiss. The language is so full of double meaning, it's pure desire.

If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.

Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.

Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

You kiss by the book.

How hot is "give me my sin again"!?
Another powerful scene is the final death scene. Again, in the Baz Luhrmann version, as he dies and she awakens they see each other. Yet, it is too late. That makes it hurt even more.

What's here? a cup, closed in my true love's hand?
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end:
O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop
To help me after? I will kiss thy lips;
Haply some poison yet doth hang on them,
To make die with a restorative.
Kisses him

Thy lips are warm.

First Watchman
[Within] Lead, boy: which way?

Yea, noise? then I'll be brief. O happy dagger!
Snatching ROMEO's dagger

This is thy sheath;

Stabs herself.

I don't get entangled in the scholarly controversies of whether Shakespeare wrote his own work or not. I simply enjoy what the world has.

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