Tag Archives: Othello

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.

WWII: Not an Original Setting Anymore

I’m part of a book club at work. We enjoy getting together and discussing a book every two weeks over lunch. But, for some reason, more than half the books we read are set in WWII. All of the villains are, generally, Nazis.

This is the current book I’m working on for book club. It’s not bad, but I’m tired of WWII. Maybe if I hadn’t of read 6 other WWII related books for book club before, I’d be more into this one.

I was wondering if this was just related to the tastes of my book club – maybe they all are WWII enthusiasts or like, really hate Nazis.

But then I realized, maybe, just maybe, the reason we read so many WWII fiction books is because there are so damn many of them on the market.

When I do a search in Amazon, for example, for WWII under books, I get 20,203 results. If I narrow it down to non-history books, I still get about 5,000 books from literature, fantasy, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, teen, etc.

I hate to say it, but guys, WWII is an unoriginal theme. Don’t make it your setting. Don’t make your bad-guys stereotypical Nazis. It’s been done. It’s been done so many times. How many times? 20,203 overall, or, if you just want to go into the fiction realm, at least over 5,000 recently.

Bill, May I Call You Bill?

Dear Bill, also known as William Shakespeare,

We need to stop playing this game. You and I, we were meant to be. I’m glad you’ve finally realized it.

Thou are more lovely and more temperate. Look! We finish each others sentences!
Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Look! We finish each others sentences!

I know some people are going to look down on this post and say “Amanda, you and a 16th century playwright just can’t be, it’s simple math,” but they are wrong. Dead people don’t have Twitter accounts.

Just so you know, Bill, I’m a huge fan of your work. Now that you’re following my blog on Twitter, I can see that you’re a fan of mine, too.

Now that we both understand that we admire each other, let me tell you all the other ways we belong together. I could do it in sonnet form, but I feel that’s your area, so I won’t step on your toes.

You Might have Quoted Shakespeare Today

Shakespeare was more than just a wordsmith–he was also the inventor of many idiomatic expressions we commonly use today. Some of his most popular phrases that most people will recognize as his work are “green eyed monster,” “a plague on both your houses,” “a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse,” “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well, Horatio,” and so on. But there are many more idioms he coined that we use everyday that you might not recognize as Shakespeare’s work.

“As cold as any stone”
From King Henry V

This idiom is used generally to describe someone as being unfeeling, but in Henry V the phrase was used to describe the feeling of a dead man lying in bed.

“As merry as the day is long”
From Much Ado About Nothing and King John

This idiom is used to express being happy and Shakespeare used it in the same fashion, although usually in a negative comparison to actions other characters had taken. I could have been as merry as the day is long if you hadn’t done something stupid is the modern equivalent to how Shakespeare used this phrase.

“As good luck would have it”
From The Merry Wives of Windsor

I almost don’t need to describe this one. It just means that you’ve run into a bought of good luck, just as Falstaff had in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Amanda Got a Shakespeare Tattoo

Lo and behold, I said in my biography that I like tattoos, and here I have a post about my latest tattoo and first Shakespeare tattoo.

The sketch that would become my tattoo.
The sketch that would become my tattoo.

I guess the question is where did this quote come from? It’s from Othello, my favorite Shakespeare tragedy. The specific speaker of these lines is Iago, one of the most sinister and clever villains written by Shakespeare. The thing about Iago is that, by all appearances, he is a trustworthy man who has fought by Othello’s side in battles and has saved Othello’s life on multiple occasions. Everyone has reason to trust Iago, the lower class man who has risen as far as he can within the ranks of his society and is angry that, while he is stuck at his station, Othello, an outsider, can advance and marry well above Iago’s station. Iago’s sharp mind, golden tongue, and honest appearance bring down ruin on the others of the play.