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schrodinger's cat
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 8:30:44 AM
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I happen to have an exam on his plays tomorrow and I thought this would be a nice warm up.

Any opinions, ideas, plays you wish to discuss?

If not, there's something I've been wondering about. Shakespeare has based many of his plays on other sources (novels, plays, other written sources). How do you think this figures into the whole (one of) the greatest playwrights of all times?

Avonlea
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 10:20:30 AM
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Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was so well received, that it was turned into a film and Tchaikovsky turned it into music. I watched the ballet recently.
Isaac Samuel
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 10:49:59 AM
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King Lear and Othello were part of my English Literature class,when I graduated college in the sixties. I guess Shakespeare's plays are still a magnum opus in English literature.
schrodinger's cat
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 11:00:31 AM
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Many of Shakespeare's plays were turned into movies and there exists a variety of different adaptations, even some where certain characters or the setting were changed.

Shakespeare is considered THE playwright. I admit that he was good, especially his use of language is admirable but I still can't understand how he can be practically the only remembered. If you asked people to name, say 5 greatest playwrights, I don't know if they could manage that whole none would forget Shakespeare. He's been popularised in sort of a pop psychology way. Perhaps it was also a matter of luck, and not only talent.
Avonlea
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 11:04:22 AM
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Verdi wrote the Opera Otello in relation to Shakespeare's Othello.

Sorry if I am not helping. I never caught on to Shakespeare at High School, I know more about music!
schrodinger's cat
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 11:17:28 AM
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Any distraction is welcome. Anxious

can I assume that you know a bit about the story then? What do you think of Othello as character? Is he to blame for what happened because he was too gullible, or should I say blinded by jealousy? If you remember, he was manipulated by Iago (who is the true villain of the play). He made Othello believe that Desdemona (Othello's wife) cheated on him.
Avonlea
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 12:01:46 PM
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Thank you schrodinger's cat. What you wrote:- Is he to blame for what happened because he was too gullible, or should I say blinded by jealousy? If you remember, he was manipulated by Iago (who is the true villain of the play). He made Othello believe that Desdemona (Othello's wife) cheated on him.

This is the story of most opera's. There is a woman, a nice guy and a villain or a not so nice guy? The woman is pulled this way and that and sometimes all three, soprano, tenor and barritone are all dead by the end. In the case of La Traviata the soprano dies.

I haven't seen Otello for a very long time so I don't clearly remember the story but one thing I have noticed about plays, opera and ballet is that the stories are not very long. It is in the acting out, singing and dancing that we enjoy and don't nottice that the performance is long compared to the story.

Shakespeare was great with words but I personally feel there are too many words for what he was trying to say. If you are interested in Literature you are supposed to know all about Shakespeare. As I said before I don't know much about him. I think some people quote him or talk about him to boost their ego. This happens with Opera, certain people want to be seen at the theatre rather than being there to enjoy the programme.

I hope this may be of some interest.
schrodinger's cat
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 12:36:37 PM
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I agree wit you. People mostly just know bits and pieces about him (perhaps they have read some of his sonnets, read/seen some of his plays/movies) and they consider themselves experts on the matter.

I really don't know all that much about operas, but I suppose all tragedies are alike. For a good tragedy, the stage has to be littered with corpses at the end. This is the Aristotelian view of the genre. According to him, the audience is supposed to see themselves in the characters and achieve some sort of a catharsis in the end. The main protagonist is usually high-born, so that the fall is greater. The fall should also be caused by a tragical flaw. In Othello, this could be his jealousy, which was most likely caused by the fact that he was still seen as an outsider in the Venetian culture.

You've mentioned that the stories are usually not so long. Aristotle proposed 3 unities: of time, place and action, which basically means that a tragedy should be compressed. That is, the emotions and tension are very high throughout the play and then finally released in the end.

kaleem
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 3:53:09 PM
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Isaac Samuel wrote:
King Lear and Othello were part of my English Literature class,when I graduated college in the sixties. I guess Shakespeare's plays are still a magnum opus in English literature.


Do you mean "King Leir"?


oxymoron
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 7:41:44 PM
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schrodinger's cat wrote:
I agree wit you. People mostly just know bits and pieces about him (perhaps they have read some of his sonnets, read/seen some of his plays/movies) and they consider themselves experts on the matter.

I really don't know all that much about operas, but I suppose all tragedies are alike. For a good tragedy, the stage has to be littered with corpses at the end. This is the Aristotelian view of the genre. According to him, the audience is supposed to see themselves in the characters and achieve some sort of a catharsis in the end. The main protagonist is usually high-born, so that the fall is greater. The fall should also be caused by a tragical flaw. In Othello, this could be his jealousy, which was most likely caused by the fact that he was still seen as an outsider in the Venetian culture.

You've mentioned that the stories are usually not so long. Aristotle proposed 3 unities: of time, place and action, which basically means that a tragedy should be compressed. That is, the emotions and tension are very high throughout the play and then finally released in the end.



Applause "I really don't know much about operas" yeah right! I'm hooked, can I be in your class miss?Whistle
oxjox
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 9:04:50 PM
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kaleem wrote:
Isaac Samuel wrote:
King Lear and Othello were part of my English Literature class,when I graduated college in the sixties. I guess Shakespeare's plays are still a magnum opus in English literature.


Do you mean "King Leir"?



No, it is spelt "King Lear" at least everytime I have seen it.
I'm rather fond of Akira Kurosawa's interpretation of King Lear called "Ran", especially with that Toru Takemitsu score.
saintvivant1
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 10:59:59 PM
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Shakespeare's command of the English language is unparalleled by any other writer. The sources for the plays are well documented but there is little question that his dramatizations of these stories far exceeded the artistic merit of the original stories. The plays have stood the test of time and stand on there own.
Romany
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 1:05:21 AM
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Shrodinger's Cat,

By now your exam is over and you have prolly put WS behind you until next semester but I only just saw this thread. As an actor, playwright, student with degress in Drama and Literature and a teacher, I have studied Shakespeare for literally years, and, as you can see, from many different perspectives. I am not, btw, a particular fan.

The question as to WHY his plays have gained the reputation and recognition they have is one posed by many scholars. The latest book I've encountered that delves into this is called Becoming Shakespeare and was written by Jack Lynchin 2007 - so its not the most recent. However, if you are interested, its one of the better ones.

As to his not writing original plots or stories:- that's the way plays were written in his time. One took a story that was well known in the public arena and dramatised it. As to the length - which someone else mentioned - what survives are mostly the actual prompt or actors scripts: - the originals would have been far longer!

The first original (i.e. a story line that came from the writers imagination) play was written by a woman called Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle, born in 1623. She was also the first person to introduce satire into literature. She was the first feminist writer. (And so many people think feminism only began with the Suffragist movement). In her time she was treated like a modern "Star" today (which Shakespeare was not!)with people mobbing her, camping outside her house hoping for a glimpse of her, and following her wherever she went.

An amazing woman and, as I say, far more famous (infamous?) than WS during her lifetime. Even Ben Johnson was better known than WS in his day. Yet Jonson dies in poverty, Margaret was deliberately suppressed and Shakespeare was the one whose memory lives on. English literature is a fascinating subject, isnt it?
kaleem
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 5:39:15 AM
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oxjox wrote:
kaleem wrote:
Isaac Samuel wrote:
King Lear and Othello were part of my English Literature class,when I graduated college in the sixties. I guess Shakespeare's plays are still a magnum opus in English literature.


Do you mean "King Leir"?



No, it is spelt "King Lear" at least everytime I have seen it.
I'm rather fond of Akira Kurosawa's interpretation of King Lear called "Ran", especially with that Toru Takemitsu score.


Yes, you are right. However, in TFD you may find "King Leir" as well.

"King Leir is an anonymous Elizabethan play, published in 1605 but believed to have been written c. 1590.[1] The play has attracted critical attention principally for its relationship with King Lear, Shakespeare's version of the same story." - Courtesy TFD.




oxymoron
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 7:15:07 AM
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oxjox wrote:
kaleem wrote:
Isaac Samuel wrote:
King Lear and Othello were part of my English Literature class,when I graduated college in the sixties. I guess Shakespeare's plays are still a magnum opus in English literature.


Do you mean "King Leir"?



No, it is spelt "King Lear" at least everytime I have seen it.
I'm rather fond of Akira Kurosawa's interpretation of King Lear called "Ran", especially with that Toru Takemitsu score.


Thoroughly reccomend Ran, excellent.
schrodinger's cat
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 10:28:14 AM
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Well, now my exam really is over but I'm still interested in the topic. Oh, it went quite well, I just wish we had more time.

Romany, thanks for the book recommendation. Perhaps I'll look into it during summer break when I start getting bored and missing the lectures. :)

Of course, I agree with you about Shakespeare's originality. What made him great was his use of language and how he transformed the stories into something of his own. However, he's the only playwright of that time that I've read, so I can't really compare him to anyone else.

oxymoron wrote:


Applause "I really don't know much about operas" yeah right! I'm hooked, can I be in your class miss?Whistle

Though mockest me, oxymoron? Not talking

It seems that Kurosawa was fond of Shakespeare adaptations. He also made one of Macbeth called The throne of blood. I've seen neither yet, but I will as soon as I get some time. I'm interested in Japanese culture and I think it would be interesting to see his take on the plays.

If anyone is keen on continuing this debate, what do you think about different cultures, time periods' take on Shakespeare's plays? Should we try to read them as they were intended by the author, that is in view of the Elizabethan period or rather reinterpret them in view of our own as Kurosawa did. The same goes for literature in general.
oxymoron
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 8:48:32 PM
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Me, mockest thou, thine mistress, nay thou wouldst rather be in pox ridden delerium than taint the sweetness of thine essence. I troth thee thine Morphy Richards toaster [deepest aqua marine]. Thou art welcome, bewarest thou, lest ye be overawed by sleek design, shouldst such finery bedazzle eyes of such tender years, defenestration be thine only course. It needeth a 13 amp fuse.Whistle

As for updating material, absolutely, the only constant is change. Any ways you can always revert to the staus quo should one so desire.

Mislim, da bo izjemen učitelj, veliko sreče, čeprav nekako mislim, da boste lahko svoje.
HWNN1961
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 9:08:52 PM
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Hamlet, Henry V, Julius Caesar.

He is the standard the rest are judged by.
marylamb
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 9:18:33 PM
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"Shakespeare has based many of his plays on other sources (novels, plays, other written sources). How do you think this figures into the whole (one of) the greatest playwrights of all times?"

I think he drew inspiration from other's writings. People who don't draw inspiration from other's works draw inspiration from their own colorful life.
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