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Why do we cringe when we hear "Shakespeare?"
If you ask me, it's usually because of his words.
All those thines and thous and therefores
and wherefore-art-thous can be more than a little annoying.
But you have to wonder, why is he so popular?
Why have his plays been made and remade more than any other playwright?
It's because of his words.
Back in the late 1500s and early 1600s,
that was the best tool that a person had,
and there was a lot to talk about.
However, most of it was pretty depressing.
You know, with the Black Plague and all.
Shakespeare does use a lot of words.
One of his most impressive accomplishments is his use of insults.
They would unify the entire audience;
and no matter where you sat, you could laugh at what was going on onstage.
Words, specifically dialogue in a drama setting,
are used for many different reasons:
to set the mood of the scene,
to give some more atmosphere to the setting,
and to develop relationships between characters.
Insults do this in a very short and sharp way.
Let's first go to "Hamlet."
Right before this dialogue,
Polonius is the father of Ophelia, who is in love with Prince Hamlet.
King Claudius is trying to figure out why Prince Hamlet is acting so crazy
since the king married Prince Hamlet's mother.
Polonius offers to use his daughter
to get information from Prince Hamlet.
Then we go into Act II Scene 2.
Polonius: "Do you know me, my lord?"
Hamlet: "Excellent well. You're a fishmonger."
Polonius: "Not I, my lord."
Hamlet: "Then I would you were so honest a man."
Now, even if you did not know what "fishmonger" meant,
you can use some contextual clues.
One: Polonius reacted in a negative way, so it must be bad.
Two: Fish smell bad, so it must be bad.
And three: "Monger" just doesn't sound like a good word.
So from not even knowing the meaning,
you're beginning to construct some characterization
of the relationship between Hamlet and Polonius,
which was not good.
But if you dig some more, "fishmonger" means a broker of some type,
and in this setting, would mean like a pimp,
like Polonius is brokering out his daughter for money,
which he is doing for the king's favor.
This allows you to see that Hamlet is not as crazy as he's claiming to be,
and intensifies the animosity between these two characters.
Want another example?
"Romeo and Juliet" has some of the best insults of any of Shakespeare's plays.
It's a play about two gangs,
and the star-crossed lovers that take their own lives.
Well, with any fisticuffs you know that there is some serious smack talk going on.
And you are not disappointed.
In Act I Scene 1, right from the get-go
we are shown the level of distrust and hatred
the members of the two families, the Capulets and Montagues, meet.
Gregory: "I will frown as I pass by,
and let them take it as they list."
Sampson: "Nay, as they dare, I will bite my thumb at them,
which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it."
Enter Abraham and Balthazar.
Abraham: "Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?"
Sampson: "I do bite my thumb, sir."
Abraham: "Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?"
Okay, so how does this development help us understand mood or character?
Well, let's break it down to the insult.
Biting your thumb today may not seem like a big deal,
but Sampson says it is an insult to them.
If they take it so, it must have been one.
This begins to show us the level of animosity
between even the men who work for the two Houses.
And you normally would not do anything to someone unless you wanted to provoke them into a fight,
which is exactly what's about to happen.
Looking deeper, biting your thumb in the time in which the play was written
is like giving someone the finger today.
A pretty strong feeling comes with that,
so we now are beginning to feel the tension in the scene.
Later on in the scene, Tybalt, from the House of the Capulets,
lays a good one on Benvolio from the House of the Montagues.
Tybalt: "What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee, Benvolio, and look upon thy death."
Benvolio: "I do but keep the peace; put up thy sword,
or manage it to part these men with me."
Tybalt: "What, drawn and talk of peace!
I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.
Have at thee, coward!"
Okay, heartless hinds.
We know that once again, it's not a good thing.
Both families hate each other, and this is just adding fuel to the fire.
But just how bad is this stinger?
A heartless hind is a coward,
and calling someone that in front of his own men, and the rival family,
means there's going to be a fight.
Tybalt basically calls out Benvolio,
and in order to keep his honor, Benvolio has to fight.
This dialogue gives us a good look at the characterization between these two characters.
Tybalt thinks that the Montagues are nothing but cowardly dogs,
and has no respect for them.
Once again, adding dramatic tension to the scene.
Okay, now here's a spoiler alert.
Tybalt's hotheadedness and severe hatred of the Montagues
is what we literature people call his hamartia,
or what causes his downfall.
Oh, yes. He goes down at the hands of Romeo.
So when you're looking at Shakespeare,
stop and look at the words,
because they really are trying to tell you something.



【TED-Ed】莎士比亞的侮辱 (Insults by Shakespeare - April Gudenrath)

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VoiceTube 發佈於 2017 年 4 月 6 日


相信大家對大名鼎鼎的莎士比亞 Shakespeare 並不陌生,從現代流行歌曲到戲劇到電影再到許多其他的文學作品等等都不難見到莎士比亞與他作品的身影。但是你知道莎士比亞最厲害的是什麼嗎?就如標題所說,莎士比亞「損人」功力真的是超高啊,令讀文學的小編佩服得五體投地。今天就讓我們一起透過 TED-ed 來向這位大文豪學學如何說話不帶髒字的功力吧!

playwright 指的是「劇作家、寫劇本的人」,也可以稱為 dramatist
Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Eugene O'Neill are considered the most important and influential playwrights in American drama in the 20th century.
Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller 和 Eugene O'Neill 被視為 20 年代美國戲劇最重要並極具影響力的劇作家。

TED-Ed:莎士比亞是否真的寫了他的戲劇? (Did Shakespeare write his plays? - Natalya St. Clair and Aaron Williams)

dialogue 是「對話、對白、交談」的意思,發音為 [ˋdaɪə͵lɔg],小至兩個人的對話到兩個國家的對話都可以用 dialogue 這個字。而我們常在戲劇中會看到的「獨白」則是 monologue
Two countries initiated a dialogue based on boosting economy and bilateral cooperation of both countries.

The dialogue between both parties has remained unclear to the public. Nobody really knows how it went.

The protagonist's monologue about pursuing happiness touches the audience.

animosity 的意思是「敵意、仇視、恨惡」,發音為 [͵ænəˋmɑsətɪ],要注意重音是在第三音節唷!
After a long period of recovering from her heartbreak, she no longer feels animosity towards him.

全世界最重要的觀點 (The Big Picture)

fisticuffs 意思是「拳鬥」,也就是用拳頭來幹架一場;要注意這個單字是單複數同形唷!這個字聽起來很可愛但意思卻很不可愛哈哈哈哈。
Fisticuffs can't solve your problem. You guys need to sit down and talk.

言論自由: 政府與政治速成班 #25 (Freedom of Speech: Crash Course Government and Politics #25)

provoke 是個很好用也很實用的單字,它的意思是「激起...、煽動、挑釁」;八九不離十都是用在負面情緒的時候。
Though she keeps telling me how bad my boyfriend is, I refuse to be provoked.

Don't provoke the stray dogs! You never know how they'll react to your silly behavior.

而形容詞 thought-provoking 則和煽動某人的情緒有完全不同的意思唷!thought-provoking 可以解讀成「激發思考」,意思就是「發人深省」。而當一個人很會激發人們思考、腦力激盪,我們可以稱他為 thought-provoker 唷!
This thought-provoking book has made me consider choosing a totally different life path compared to what I'm doing now.

What's new on TED-Ed...

6giving someone the finger4:26
give someone the fingergive the finger 其實就是「對某人比中指;比中指」的意思。在口語上蠻多年輕人不想要罵髒話(動詞為 swear)的時候他們就會用這個俚語。
He's such an irritating arrogant person and he's done so many things that I can't help wanting to give him the finger everytime when I see him.

【吉米秀】媽媽也會罵髒話?What is the Worst Thing You Ever Heard Your Mommy Say?

小編看到咬大拇指的片段時真的是笑到快起笑(咬大拇指不是只有小北鼻會做的事嗎?還是純粹是小編笑點太低 XD?)雖然文學歷史上依然有許多人對是否真的有莎士比亞這個人抱持懷疑的態度,但不可置疑的是他一部部令人驚艷的戲劇都深植人心啊~還沒有讀過莎士比亞作品的人小編大推可以從他的喜劇《仲夏夜之夢》開始!

文/ Sabrina Hsu




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