Thought of the day?

Shakespeare: The greatest entertainer who ever lived.    

Marlowe: The greatest scholar who ever lived.         

Is there anything more powerful than fusion…


Textual Misunderstanding In Measure For Measure

Wikipedia states that: “It is generally accepted that a garbled sentence during the duke’s opening speech represents a place where a line has been lost, possibly due to a printer’s error.” It goes on to aver that because the folio is our only source for the play, there is no possibility of recovering that lost line. Here is the speech which starts at line 3.

Of government the properties to unfold
Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse
Since I am put to know that your own science
Exceeds in that the lists of all advice
My strength can give you. Then no more remains
But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able, 
And let them work. 

In any of the Norton Shakespeare editions it comments that: “The referent of them is unclear. Perhaps a line is missing.” This edition is looking to qualify which persons are are being referred to in the last line And let them work. But this is a misunderstanding of the complete usage of the word them.

If we lookup the definition of them in the Merriam Webster, it may clear up the confusion.

Them: used to refer to certain people, animals, or things as the objects of a verb or preposition

: him or her
: those

To your sufficiency and As your worth is able are prepositional phrases, and Sufficiency and Worth are the objects of the two prepositional phrases. If we replace Them in line 9 with Those from the Webster definition [a reasonably fair substitution in English Grammar] it makes perfect sense. Now we are not looking for a Who as with Them but a What as with Those. The referent is crystal clear as he is simply saying let your sufficiency and worth work for you.

Just because the first folio may seem opaque to us as modern readers, we shouldn’t “jump to conclusions” about there being mistakes in the mother text until we have exhausted every possible reading. The compositor of this play, Ralph Crane, is the same one that gave us The Tempest, a very reliable text. Shakespeare used conventions that authors at the time considered grammatical heresy, but he still managed to become the immortal author that he did…not merely in the English language but in every living language extant in the Globe.

Sonnet no. 18 & related material

But thy eternal summer shall not fade…

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Then happy I, that love and am beloved

Where I may not remove nor be removed.”

Love is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

Love is not Time’s fool,

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

William Shakespeare

Twelfth Night Memories From Long Ago!

One of the things I love about Shakespeare is that every presentation of any given play is unique in its own way. Directors make choices how the given narrative will unfold based on the actors involved and a creative vision which will they feel will connect with their audience. Along those same lines, I love the fact that with each and every person, different things stick out in their mind when describing what they feel is the essence of the story. This gives the potential for every retelling to be an exciting adventure that feels as fresh and unpredictable as the first time we discovered it. This was one of the first Shakespeare shows I ever saw, I was around 14 or 15 when my dad took me to Shakespeare Santa Cruz in California, so it has a special place in my heart. I remember reading the act and scene summaries to dad, quizzing him on who loved who, as he was a self-proclaimed Shakespeare virgin. Sitting at the kitchen table for hours , we went round and round, laughing at our inability to get the story right; it seemed to him like an unsolvable riddle trying to figure out the storyline: something like, “the Duke loves Olivia, Olivia loves Cesario, the Duke sends Cesario, who is really Viola, to woo Olivia, but feels bad because he, who is really a she, loves the Duke herself.” After we realized that we had understood the story as much as we could, we finally put the printed notes off the internet aside and drove off to see the play. Although I remember being overjoyed seeing this play for the first time, the memory with dad stuck with me even more and left me with holding this play very near my heart. My dad has remained supportive of my efforts with this blog and has been a prominent source of inspiration for many of my posts. Love you Dad!