Monday, July 10, 2023

there to meet with the Scottish play

Our four-person play reading group has returned to Shakespeare to do Macbeth because one of our number was thirsting to read the title role. That's OK: I'm waiting for us to get back to the history play cycle because next up is the role I want, Richard III. Villains are the best. (My first ever Shakespeare reading experience was as Cassius.)

We read the first half, up through the assassination of Banquo. Even half of this play seems to be more full of immortal lines than any other Shakespeare except Hamlet. It has such lines as:
Fair is foul, and foul is fair

Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it*
*Bet you don't remember that's from Macbeth! Without checking, now: who is it referring to, and who says it?

The milk of human kindness

The be-all and the end-all

Screw your courage to the sticking-place

Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care

In the catalogue ye go for men

We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it
Plenty more coming in half two.

And there's Mackers' famous speeches, which in this half include the ones that begin "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well / It were done quickly" and "Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand?"

There's the famous book and movie titles, like Steinbeck (The Moon Is Down), Fritz Leiber (Night's Black Agents), and Star Trek ("Dagger of the Mind"). Our mystery-reader noted that there are a lot of mystery titles also.

And of course one shouldn't forget the old New York Magazine contest which asked readers to create a quotidian piece of literature like a weather report in the style of a famous author, and one brilliant submission was a Shakespearean weather report:

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