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Meddling friars 
11:53am 13/08/2009
mood: curious
Hello everyone!

I was wondering if you had any ideas or book/article recommendations for me. I should point out that I am not an English student, I don't have any homework, and I am purely interested for the subject's sake! Because I don't come from a background of English scholarship (I'm a classicist) I'm not sure where to start looking to research a topic like this. So I thought I'd come on LJ. :)

Anyway, I was watching the wonderful Kenneth Brannagh Much Ado About Nothing and among many reactions I was struck by the role of the Friar in the plot by advising the company on how to proceed, and wondering how this compared with Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet. Both advise the heroine in distress to fake a death in a convoluted and unlikely-to-work plot to triumph romantically. It seems a strange and striking role for a priest to take, or is it? I also remembered how in Measure for Measure (a play I know much less well), the Duke disguises himself as a Friar in order to meddle.

I came away from these vague thoughts wondering the following things:

- Is the meddling priest a kind of literary trope in Shakespeare or even further afield? He seems to be playing the role here you might expect from the clever slave of Commedia dell'Arte.
- Does the fact that the plots seem to involve the fake death and then resurrection of the heroine (their Scheintod) and therefore containing potential religious symbolism influence the choice of a priest for this role?
- What, if at it exists, is the historical basis for the meddling friar?

Anyway, I wondered if any of you knew anything about this topic, had any intelligent comments or knew where I can start looking it up. I googled searched it but just came up with lots of Sparknotes stuff on the role of Friar Lawrence in R&J which isn't quite what I'm looking for. I have access to one of the best libraries in the world (Cambridge University) so can get hold of pretty much anything!

Thanks so much in advance.
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Game for Shakespeare lovers! 
08:24am 15/05/2009
I know this is a place more for discussion than this sort of thing, but there hasn't been much activity lately and I thought I'd post a little game that I created for my college's Shakespeare banquet. (I was Touchstone from AYLI, so I got to be witty and pick on the other characters).

Can you get them right? 

1. Clue: This character is from a well-known tragedy.

Take off his title and take off his clothes.

Released, he straight to the wilderness goes.

Assisting his blind-yet-seeing father,

A dutiful son, this exiled ________.

2. Clue: This character is from a history play.


Stooped and deformed, this York, Tudor King.

Women and Legions bow down to his scheme.

Kingdoms for horses, in battle absurd,

Not so in evil, this  _________ the Third.

3. Clue: This character is from a romantic comedy.

He penned tepid poem in gnarléd bark

And stumbled through love’s celestial dark

In Arden, he ‘scaped a brotherly foe 

Ganymede deceived lovestruck _______.

(I also posted them in my journal)
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Q.: What's in a name? - A.: A passionate pilgrim. 
07:23pm 02/01/2008
   Browsing Ariost's "Orlando furioso" (before taking a serious start), I stumbled over the word "romeo" (XLIII, 107), that is explained as: "one who had gone on pilgrimage to Rome."

Dante seems to play with this word in the following verse: "Romeo, persona umile e peregrina" (Paradiso VI . 135).

What an appropriate name for Juliet's luckless lover! ("Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?" - "Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.") Did Shakespeare expect us to notice?

Bonus: Joyce's versions in Finnegans Wake:
1.) Jolio and Romeune: Provencal, romeu = pilgrim*, jolio = jolly,
2.) rawmeots and juliannes: raw meat and julienne soup
3.) from Roneo to Giliette: copying machines and razor blades
4.) gregoromaios and gypsyjuliennes: Gregorian and Julian Calendar
5.) Formio and Cigalette: Provencal again, fournigo = ant, cigalo = cicada (The Ant and the Grasshopper)
*So I could have guessed the meaning by reading McHugh's "Annotations to Finnegans Wake".
Henry IV, Part I - Act I, Scene 2 (in modern setting) 
10:35pm 28/12/2007
The Shakespeare Revue - volunteer vacancies 
07:05pm 01/11/2007


The Shakespeare Revue is a webzine devoted to Shakespeare in performance.

Our aim is to examine the performance history of Shakespeare, by viewing and reviewing productions across the world.

We review all types of Shakespeare in performance: from internationally acclaimed companies such as the RSC to non-professional high school productions.

Whilst our current focus is on theatre we are also looking to develop our coverage of other media, such as film, books and music.

We believe that our site is an invaluable tool for anyone studying, directing or performing Shakespeare, as well as helping prospective theatre-goers to select a production appropriate for them to attend. Whilst our scope is large, it is our hope that The Shakespeare Revue becomes an invaluable tool for research and enjoyment.

All our staff are dedicated volunteers, working from their homes across the globe to bring together the pieces of this fun and informative website.

Visit the site at



We are looking for theatre reviewers across the UK and the rest of the world.

Reviewer positions are part-time. Performances usually take place on weekday evenings and reviews must be submitted the same evening or the following day.

These positions would suit students of Literature/Performing Arts/Journalism, although anyone with an interest in Shakespeare is welcome to apply.

Job description and duties:

• To set up and maintain professional channels of communication with theatres and theatre companies inside reviewing area in order to:

- promote The Shakespeare Revue and its work

- gain information on productions

- obtain free press tickets for productions

• To regularly view Shakespeare productions and submit reviews to the website

• To conduct research into forthcoming productions and other items of interest for inclusion on the website

• To maintain regular and professional contact with the website editor, dedicated liaison officer, and other reviewers

• Other reasonable related duties

Person specification:

• Genuine enthusiasm for William Shakespeare and his works

• Good level of knowledge of Shakespeare’s works

• Excellent level of written and spoken English

• Ability to work to deadlines

• Excellent people skills

• Confident and friendly telephone manner

• Computer literate

These positions are completely voluntary, and unfortunately no travel or other expenses can be covered. However, if we ask you to review a performance you will receive a complimentary press ticket for yourself, and occasionally for a guest.

This is an excellent chance to hone your analytic, writing, and people skills, and to see some free shows as well! You will also gain the satisfaction of having your review published on a widely accessed website as well as adding valuable experience to your CV.

For more information please contact UK Liaison Wendy Attwell at w.attwell@shakespeare-revue.com

To apply for a position as a Reviewer please send a letter of application, a recent review, and details of the geographical location you wish to cover, to UK Liaison Wendy Attwell at w.attwell@shakespeare-revue.com


We want to develop our website, and are looking to recruit a designer/programmer fluent in PHP and SQL.

The site needs a general overhaul, the coding needs updating and cleaning and any bugs ironing out. We then want to work on adding new features and modernising the look and accessibility of the site.

This is a long-term project, so we need someone who can commit to working with us for a minimum of 6 months (no maximum). We would like you to work several hours a week to begin with, whilst the site is overhauled, and then put in time as and when needed. As this is a voluntary position and you will be working from home, the actual hours you work will be to suit to you.

Ideally you will have an interest in Shakespeare but this is not vital.

Job description & duties:

To repair, maintain and develop The Shakespeare Revue website

To maintain regular and professional contact with the webzine editor, dedicated liaison officer, reviewers and other staff

Person specification:

Experience of creating and developing websites

Excellent working knowledge of programming languages, including PHP and SQL

Good level of written English

Ability to work to deadlines

• Good people skills

This is an excellent chance to hone your web development and design skills. You will gain the satisfaction of working on a widely accessed website as well as adding valuable experience to your CV. All positions are completely voluntary and unfortunately no expenses can be covered.

For more information please contact UK Liaison Wendy Attwell at


To apply for the position of Website Developer please send a letter of application, including details of of your skills and of websites you have worked on, to UK Liaison Wendy Attwell at w.attwell@shakespeare-revue.com


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Pericles, Prince of Tyre 
02:23am 05/04/2007
  Sooo silly, but fun. And I'm glad that the Recyclist of Avon reshaped parts of the drama in Winter's Tale (which also is kind of silly and fun) and Tempest.

What on earth did Shakespeare (?) write that story about Antiochus and his daughter at the beginning for? As the play is filed under Tragedies I half expected Pericles to unwittingly perform incest with Marina at the end of the drama - just to fit to the beginning. That would have been horrible and laughable in a Titus Andronicus style, but without this corresponding part, it's just an unbelieveably pointless mixture of Thyestes and Turandot.
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Quoth the starling: Mortimore 
04:33pm 11/03/2007
mood: tracyanney
Hotspur: I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak
Nothing but Mortimer, and give it him [i.e.: to King Henry],
To keep his anger still in motion.

(King Henry IV, Part One, Act I, Scene iii)
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01:14am 11/03/2007
  Hi! I'm new here, and have a question...
(If this post is unallowed, feel free to nix it.)
I'm in the process of writing a novel, and I was wondering if anyone could direct me to a comprehensive list of the characters who die in Shakespeare's plays.
I would conisder this a great personal favor, and I thank you in advance if you could help me.
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Recycling Life's Tedious Tale 
08:06pm 03/03/2007
  LEWIS: There's nothing in this world can make me joy:
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
(King John, Act III, scene iv)

MACBETH: Life (...) is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
(Macbeth, Act V, scene v)
Recycling Two Weddings and Two Funerals 
01:37pm 03/03/2007
  CAPULET: All things that we ordained festival,
Turn from their office to black funeral;
Our instruments to melancholy bells,
Our wedding cheer to a sad burial feast,
Our solemn hymns to sullen dirges change,
Our bridal flowers serve for a buried corse,
And all things change them to the contrary.
(Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, scene v)

HAMLET: Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
(Hamlet, Act I, scene ii)
recycling of a phrase 
04:37pm 01/03/2007
  "Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from wreck,
Which cannot perish having thee aboard,
Being destined to a drier death on shore."
(The Two Gentlemen of Verona)

"I have great comfort from this fellow: methinks, he hath no drowning marks upon him; his complexion is perfectly gallows." (The Tempest)

I wondered if this was a Rabelais quote: "By this dignified frock of mine, said Friar John to Panurge, friend, thou hast been afraid during the storm without cause or reason; for thou wert not born to be drowned, but rather to be hanged and exalted in the air, or to be roasted in the midst of a jolly bonfire." (Gargantua and Pantagruel, 4. Book, 24. Chapter)

majolika's annotated Shakespeare says it's a common proverb of the time, "he that's born to be hanged need fear no drowning".

And un_related reminded me of this: ..."I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water."
(T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land; here the Hanged Man is also a tarot card)
Titus Andronicus 
06:53pm 28/02/2007
  Titus Andronicus is incredibly badly written. I've read it for the first time today and am pretty sure never to do so again ever!

Any other opinion? Please convert me if you can.
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Teaching Shakespeare Survey 
02:32pm 20/02/2007
  Hello all!

I am doing a survey for a university course on “Teaching Shakespeare” regarding the way his plays are taught everywhere around the world in foreign language- and native learners’ classrooms. Now, I am looking for people willing to answer the questions below in as much detail as possible for me to use them as a basis for my paper. Anonymously, of course. All I am planning to do is a statistic evaluation of which methods are actually used to convey this rather complicated topic to learners between the age of 10 and 19. Meaning if you had lessons of any kind dealing with one or several of Shakespeare’s plays during your High School (secondary school) years this survey is for you.
If you would like to participate, please answer all the questions (as far as possible) either by replying here or by sending them to me via e-mail, which has "Crocky-Wock" before and "web.de" behind the @. I will be extremely grateful for any answer you can give me. If you feel lazy or don't think you will have enough time in near future for all of this, feel free to answer 1 - 4, 7, and 8 only.


PS: Please reply until March 31st, 2007


These are my questions:

1. How old are you now and how old were you when you took your Shakespeare class?

2. In which country and/or language was this class taught?

3. Which play(s) did you discuss?

4. Please describe briefly your teacher’s overall approach to the topic of Shakespeare. What did you have to do during the lessons that you found particularly good, interesting, annoying, stressful, or in any other way noteworthy?

5. If you can remember, please write down the order in which you discussed the following topics in your course, if they appeared at all, and mark those, on which your teacher put some emphasis:
a) the story/content of the play
b) the language (Early Modern English, typical Shakespeare terms, etc)
c) rhetoric/poetic devices
d) Shakespeare’s biography
e) universal topics in Shakespeare (love, hate, vengeance, jealousy, etc.)
f) Renaissance culture and life/how to stage a Shakespeare play

6. Which of the following teaching methods would you say were applied? Please sort them according to frequency:
a) students reading the dramatic text out in class
b) teacher reading the text to you, possibly giving translations of individual words or phrases in modern English or their respective native tongue
c) students developing one or more scenes in groups and then performing it for their classmates
d) image-supported learning, i.e. visualisation of the play in form of pictures or a movie adaptation
e) discussion in class concerning individual passages or overall themes of the play
f) students work individually on a given task (e.g. analysis of first act, translation of a few lines into modern English, work sheets, multiple choice, etc.)
g) students work in groups of three or more, possibly teaching each other (not counting performance groups as in c)

7. Which activity during class found you most useful for your understanding of the play and Shakespeare in general? (Not to be confused with how much you liked the activity, as in 4.)

8. Which did you think the least useful?
Audio books/radio plays 
03:05pm 11/10/2006
  Has anyone got any recommendations for Shakespeare-related audiobooks? Good versions of the plays, interesting biographies, reliable histories - or, in fact, anything else you might wish to recommend, as long as it's mostly spoken word, is in CD format and is available in the UK.

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Etymology of "Dunsinane" 
08:13pm 06/10/2006
  Hello! I'm trying to figure out what "Dunsinane" means -- all my Googling has brought me to the same article about how it's in the Sidlaw Hills and it's 1,084 feet high and that there are the remains of an ancient fort on top. The Macbeth Wiki isn't helping either. I've got that dun means "fort," but I can't parse or figure out "sinane." Can anyone out there rock that Brythonic Celtic dialect?

I offer up, as an act of preemptive graditude, the existence of a Macbeth concept album by Jag Panzer called Thane to the Throne. I, for one, was astonished and delighted at this discovery.
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Shakespeare's words 
02:31pm 17/09/2006
mood: anxious
I was wondering if any of you knew of a good resource for finding out as many as possible of the words that Shakespeare actually created himself. Also, one for all the sayings he used that have come into everyday speech.

Thank you.
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hi, quick question--- 
10:40pm 12/08/2006
  do you know what play has a character named Cedric?

my handyman's name is cedric, and i asked him about it; he said his mom took it from a shakespeare play, but he couldnt recall which. i told him i would look it up and let him know, but google is getting me nowhere! and he's coming again on monday, so if you can let me know before then i'd really appreciate it =]
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Titus Andronicus 
09:32pm 07/06/2006
mood: contemplative
Interesting thread on it here. Seems like as good a topic as any for this comm too . . .
03:12pm 27/04/2006
  So because I've been bored at work, I've started a wiki on Hamlet. So far I have three microessays complete, which will eventually add up to a much larger thesis. I'm curious what you guys think so far about these essays in particular and the idea of wiki-essays in general:

Win Theatre Tickets 
02:55am 15/03/2006
  I write for a site called The Shakespeare Revue, and we have a competition running at the moment to win tickets to a production of Hamlet starring Ed Stoppard and Anita Dobson, at the New Ambassadors Theatre, London, UK.

To enter, go to http://www.shakespeare-revue.com

The Shakespeare Revue is kept alive by a handful of Shakespeare enthusiasts across the world. Its mission is to examine the performance history of Shakespeare. You'll find lots of reviews on there, updates on anything Bard-related that we deem sufficiently interesting, and random other useful snippets.

Good Luck!