Tag Archives: hamlet

400 Years After Shakespeare’s Death

The Cobbe Portrait, William Shakespeare

On April 23rd, 1616, it is believed that William Shakespeare passed away. While we don’t have records of his death, we do have records of his funeral which occurred two days later on April 25th, 1616.

At the age of 52, Shakespeare left behind a body of work that has captivated pop culture and has been the favored subject of academia (think of your high school literature classes) for the past 400 years. Shakespeare’s works have lead to an unparalleled phenomenon across cultures and well past his time.

This blog has continually looked for Shakespeare from searching for Shakespeare in bookstores in Taipei, Taiwan to visiting a bookstore with his namesake in Berkeley, California. Speaking of books, we’ve reviewed the Star Wars Shakespeare-style books, have shared our own stories about¬†Shakespeare, and have made so many freaking posts about Shakespeare loot it’s kinda ridiculous.

Literary Paraphernalia: Shakespeare Home Decor

To continue with our celebration of The Swan of Avon, I’ve found some really cool items to turn your ordinary, 21st century home into a Shakespeare extravaganza. It’s not quiet like The Globe, but hey, what in life is like The Globe?

Hamlet Mixed Media Print

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite nest, of most excellent fancy bird hats.

Lady Macbeth Soap Dispenser

You too can feel like a murderess cleaning her hands of her sins every time you go to wash your hands.

The Tempest Poster

Take a leap and stick this bold poster inspired by The Tempest up on your wall and see what devils come to play in your life.

As You Like It Stained Glass

This stained glass quote would look cool in any window or hanging out in a garden – wherever you may like it.

Literary Paraphernalia: Wearable Shakespeare

It’s no secret – I’m a fan of Shakespeare. And April is a special month for Shakespeare fans. April 23rd, 1616 is the day Shakespeare passed away. His final resting place is Stratford-Upon-Avon in the United Kingdom. Instead of mourning for someone we lost almost 400 years ago, I instead want to celebrate the work of his life. For the month of April, all of the Literary Paraphernalia posts will be Shakespeare themed in order to honor his memory and his work. Today’s post is all about wearable Shakespeare gear from Etsy.Com.

Hamlet Scarf

To be or not to be…cold. You don’t have to be with this.

Shakespeare Zombie Tank

What better way to celebrate Shakespeare’s death than to imagine what he’d be like if he were a zombie?

Ophelia Skirt

This skirt is the painting Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais, inspired by Ophelia’s death in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.

Hamlet “No” Quote T-Shirt

Well, that’s oddly specific. It’s also a pretty cool t-shirt.

In Which Amanda Riggle and Lauren Sumabat Geek-Out over Richard III

Benedict Cumberbatch and Judi Dench have been cast in an upcoming production of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Co-blogger Lauren Sumabat and I could hardly contain our excitement about the upcoming production and we’ve decided to share our conversation about why we are so excited with the readers of this blog. Enjoy!


Lauren: Aren’t you a little saddened that Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be all deformed? It’s like, ugh, what a waste.

Amanda: I think it’s his voice I’m most excited about. It’s good for a bad guy.

I’ve noted that Benedict Cumberbatch starts in a lot of book-related things.

Atonement was where I first saw him, then Sherlock, The Hobbit, and now he’s getting into some Shakespeare.

Lauren: He was also in August: Osage County, in some real fucked up family situations. That movie was ridiculous, really.

Amanda: I never saw that. I saw a clip from it, where he was singing. He has a lovely singing voice.

The first thing I saw him in was Atonement. I loved the book and I loved the movie. He was such a good bad guy in that.

Lauren: I’ve actually never read the book. I’ve seen the movie though.

Amanda: He did a great job playing the blue blooded pedophilic predator. I hated him in that movie, but he was supposed to be hated.

Lauren: Yeah. That’s how you know they’re a good actor, if they make you hate them enough.

Amanda: I think that skill will be invaluable in Richard III. Shakespeare’s Richard III is a bloody play with a bloody king. We get to see Benedict Cumberbatch be bloodthirsty in this one.

Lauren: And he’s the guy for it!

Kickstarter.Com is Weird, or An All Pug Production of Hamlet

Many of you may be familiar with Kickstarter.Com after a person’s project for potato salad went a little out of control, and by out of control I mean above it’s goal of $10 and is currently at $55,492.

Yummy?
(Image Source: Kickstarter.Com)

Now Kickstarter.Com has a proposed crowdfunded all pug production of William Shakespeare’s tragic play Hamlet.

(Image Source: Kickstarter.Com)

And Kevin Broccoli, founder of the project of Puglet, successfully funded his production and it is scheduled to be a live stage show in September of 2015. The production will also be released as a video after it leaves the stage.

Let me say this: I think pugs are all wrong for a production of Hamlet. There are animals much better suited to play Shakespeare, such as cats.

First, let’s compare the popularity of pugs to that of cats, using Google Trends:

See? There is absolutely no comparison between the two search terms. I’ve even extended the search to include anticipated future patterns of the search trends for these two items, pugs and cats, and pugs drop off the search grid entirely while cats continue to be one of the most searched for items on Google.

Close Reading Can Enhance Your Writing

This isn’t the first post I’ve written asserting that reading can lead to being a better writer, but today I want to explore a specific reading technique called close reading and how these skills can translate into strong writing skills.

Thank you for making it so clear, D. Fisher.

Now, there is nothing wrong with passive reading, or just reading straight through a text without actively engaging in it by asking questions. But there are readers out there that like to ask questions and explore the many possibilities a text holds rather than follow a given path that relies on passive assumptions made while following along with a text. This is called close reading. If you are a writer, you need to have a story that engages readers at the surface level for those that like to passively read as well as build a strong foundation and world for readers who engage in close reading to find the way the text you’ve created works.

In Dr. Edward Rocklin’s book, Performance Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare, he points to three specific questions for students to ask themselves when exploring Shakespeare’s text:

What is X?
What does X mean?
What does X do?

These three seemingly simple questions open up a world of possibility for readers who are trained to ask them of a text.

Hamlet Vs. The Lion King

Hamlet also lacked a scene with a wildfire blaring in the background.
Hamlet also lacked a scene with a wildfire blaring in the background.

I think most people are familiar with the idea that The Lion King, beloved Disney cartoon, is a modern, animal-kingdom-based version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. There are quite a few parallels between the two. For example, Hamlet is the story of Prince Hamlet and The Lion King is the story of Prince Simba. Both tales explore the loss of a father by some dastardly doing of the prince’s uncle. And while Hamlet ends in pretty much every character’s death, The Lion King is a little more forgiving (and aimed at children, after all) and only kills off the evil uncle.

Besides the different endings, there is one major thing missing from The Lion King‘s plot that makes it more akin to Hamlet and that is the story of Fortinbras. Revenge is a theme present in both Hamlet and The Lion King. Hamlet wants revenge for the death of his father. Simba want revenge along the same avenue. But Hamlet isn’t the only character in Hamlet seeking revenge, and Hamlet inadvertently kills Ophelia’s father, Polonius, whom he mistakes for his uncle behind a pillar in his mother’s closet. Simba’s revenge doesn’t hurt anyone, except for his uncle.

While The Lion King is about Simba’s justifiable revenge on his father’s killer, Hamlet’s journey within his play becomes less and less justifiable as the play progresses. Sure, Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, committed a crime and deserves punishment, but Hamlet makes a huge mess of his revenge that gets the whole court involved in his quest.

Hamlet Across the Globe

One of Shakespeare’s most celebrated and performed plays, Hamlet, is coming to a theater near you–performed by the Globe Theatre actors. This is the first world tour of Hamlet in the history of the play.

On April 23, 2014, the play will start touring the world and will perform in every nation over a span of two years.

Why April 23rd, 2014? It’s Shakespeare’s birthday–his 450th to be exact.

He looks pretty good for being 450.
He looks pretty good for being 450.

And when the company says they are going to perform in every country in the world, they mean it. The company plans on performing Hamlet in 205 countries, including North Korea and Antarctica.