Shakespearean Language: A Guide for Actors and Students

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 - Performing Arts - 269 pages

Shakespeare was a master of language, his sayings have become part of everyday speech, and his plays endure, in part, because of the beauty of his verse. Shakespeare's language, however, poses special difficulties for modern actors because many of his words seem unusual or difficult to pronounce, he employs rhetorical devices throughout his works, and he carefully uses rhythm to convey sense.

The relation of the modern actor to the Shakespearean text, the importance of understanding the nuances of his language, and the fundamentals of grammar are all thoroughly examined in this volume. Its heart is a detailed consideration of the iambic code, the metrical system that Shakespeare used to give so much power to his verse. O'Dell also examines the importance of formal rhetoric in Elizabethan England and Shakespeare's artful use of rhetorical devices in his plays. As a practical reference guide, this volume keeps in mind the particular needs of theater professionals.

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Shakespearean language: a guide for actors and students

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The goal of this trio of books by O'Dell (theater and English, Wilfrid Laurier Univ.), the text consultant for the Stratford Festival, is to help actors and students gain access to Shakespeare's plays ... Read full review

Contents

Sound and Fury
1
An Actors Guide to Shakespeares Verse
21
Scansion
31
The Sonnets
43
Developing the Inner Ear
67
The Flow of Thought and Feeling
81
Putting It on Its Feet
93
Messages in the Code
105
Rhetoric
117
Acquiring an Elizabethan Rhetorical Facility
127
Structuring Argument
175
Tangled Webs
193
Recommended Reading
251
Index of Plays and Characters
267
Copyright

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Page 148 - Such an act, That blurs the grace and blush of modesty; Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rose From the fair forehead of an innocent love, And sets a blister there; makes marriage vows As false as dicers...
Page xii - And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last! Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss A dateless bargain to engrossing death! Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide! Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark! Here's to my love! Drinks O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.
Page 177 - Ah me! for aught that ever I could read. Could ever hear by tale or history, The course of true love never did run smooth: But, either it was different in blood; Her.
Page 71 - Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all ? Thou 'It come no more, Never, never, never, never, never!
Page 76 - That I did love the Moor to live with him, My downright violence and storm of fortunes May trumpet to the world : my heart's subdued Even to the very quality of my lord : I saw Othello's visage in his mind, And to his honours and his valiant parts Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.
Page 47 - Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o'ersways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose action is no stronger than a flower...
Page 177 - Making it momentary as a sound, Swift as a shadow, short as any dream ; Brief as the lightning in the collied night, That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth. And ere a man hath power to say, — Behold ! The jaws of darkness do devour it up : So quick bright things come to confusion.
Page 189 - Though justice be thy plea, consider this, That, in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy; And that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy.

About the author (2002)

LESLIE O'DELL is Associate Professor of Theatre and English at Wilfrid Laurier University and Text Consultant for the Stratford Festival in Ontario.

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