Tag Archives: English

The Elephant In The Room: Ajax

elephant, n.
1. b. fig. of a man of huge stature.
1609   Shakespeare Troilus and Cressida ii. iii. 2   Shall the Elephant Aiax carry it thus?

The elephant; noble, beautiful, and calm, gracefully shuffling forwards on four tree-stump legs that crush anything that may so unfortunately find itself beneath them—bugs, small mammals, human toes. It’s a fait that can’t be avoided because, as we know, elephants can’t bend their knees.  Continue reading

What’s the deal with Owain Glyndŵr?

Owain who? Don’t you mean Owen Glendower? Well, not quite. Ask any Welshperson about Owen Glendower and they’ll probably look at you blankly. You see, Owain Glyndŵr is a large part of our history and, well, we’re not too big on the Anglicisation of our country’s greatest heroes.  Continue reading

Translating the Bard

Shakespeare is unquestionably an icon of English literature.  His plays and poems are, seriously, SO ENGLISH.  He is estimated to have contributed at least 1700 words to the English language (or at least to have been the first to write them down), and he coined dozens of phrases that we still use today.  His plays drip with allusions to the Bible and classical mythology, topics that would have been well-known to his Elizabethan audiences.  His plays are full of contrasts between English dialects, and his wordplay and puns are knife-sharp, slicing through his dialogue in every play.

It is interesting then, that the works of Shakespeare–the most popular English author of all time–have been translated into at least 80 different languages, including Klingon.

Continue reading

Those Who Forget The Past

June 7th 1594—ten years before the first performance of The Merchant of Venice. Dr. Rodrigo Lopez, who some suspect inspired the character of Shylock, awaits his execution. His formal charge is treason against the Queen—attempt to poison, supposedly. His second, more subjective charge is obvious to the angry crowd delighting in his death. Lopez probably didn’t attempt to kill Queen Elizabeth; he did, however, convert from Judaism to Christianity—neither of which the public believes. The crowd and court ignore his pleads of innocence on both religious and criminal charges. Continue reading

Still Dreaming: Senior Shakespeare & Thespian Therapy

To an Alzheimer’s patient, the confusing world of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream may seem more like their reality than we know it. For patients and carers, the idea of embarking on a project that lasts more than a day may seem impossible, but the documentary film Still Dreaming highlights the benefits that a long-term project can have on elderly citizens dealing with not just Alzheimer’s, but also dementia, depression, and the many physical effects of aging.

Continue reading