30 Comments

  1. These are just ingredients; each is part of multiple Shakespeare plays. No one-to-one mapping is implied or necessary.

  2. Unfortunately, once you type in that uppercase “password”, there is no way to revoke the viewing “permission” (short of deleting the entire browser history and cookies), so then you are stuck with the image on that device. I wish I hadn’t done that.

  3. Thanks, Powers. That was ultimately my conclusion as well, that it is not intended as a one-one mapping to the plays. (Or beyond the plays, as “tons o’ puns” could well apply to the Sonnets.) But I was hoping some fun could still derive from nominating matchings, even if it is more a bin-sorting exercise than a pairings result.

  4. Heck, even the “mismatched twins separated at birth that run into each other by chance” plot device was used in at least two plays. Some of them are essentially reboots.

  5. @ PS3 – It’s not quite kosher to discuss something(†) here that was in a different post, but in the not altogether vain hope of warning others who may also regret having had seen it: I thought that the drawing was both rude and crude, and not particularly funny. None of the inscribed “options” seem that humorous or unexpected. His best choice would be to walk away from the ladder.

    P.S. (†) – Note that I did not call it a “comic”. I will concede that it qualifies for an “IDU” (not to mention an “IDL”), but not for the “C”.

    P.P.S. If you compare that drawing to any of the images that Bill sequestered in his separate “Arlo page” (warning: decidedly NSFW!), it’s extremely clear what qualifies as “art” (or “comic”), and what does not.

  6. @padraig, on an “and it’s still popular today” note, I wonder if you’ve ever encountered the documentary film “Three Identical Strangers” or the magazine articles it was based on. (Though this was a case of identical, not mismatched, triplets separated early and unaware of each other.)

    For “poison plot” I have for a start R&J and Hamlet. Other suggestions?

  7. A couple of the less common ones: “vengeful spirit” works for HAMLET, of course, and also for JULIUS CAESAR (I will be with you at Phillippi) and RICHARD III (the nightmares/ghosts who tell Richard to “despair and die”).

    “Poison plot” as you way HAMLET again is obvious (twice over, in fact, Claudius’ murder of the elder Hamlet, and Claudius and Laertes plotting to kill Hamlet with a poisoned sword). I don’t think the poison element in ROMEO AND JULIET quite qualifies as a “plot,” but let it go. And in KING LEAR Goneril poisons Regan, but again I don’t know if that counts as a “plot.” If snake poison counts (and why wouldn’t it), add ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (Cleopatra, Iris, and Charmain all agree to die that way, and have the asps smuggled in by the Clown, so I think that works as a plot.)

    More later, maybe, gotta run right now.

  8. “. . . I wonder if you’ve ever encountered the documentary film “Three Identical Strangers” . . . ”

    Just watched the preview and interviews on YT, then ordered it from my library. Thanks for the suggestion.

  9. Here’s another Shakespeare thing: As you know, all of the women’s parts were played by boys. It appears that two boys of different ages, and consequently different heights, were regulars in the company, because may of the plays have a pair of female characters who are close friends, one tall and one short. For example, Hermia and Helena in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

    Hermia: Puppet? why so? ay, that way goes the game.
    Now I perceive that she hath made compare
    Between our statures; she hath urged her height;
    And with her personage, her tall personage,
    Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail’d with him.
    And are you grown so high in his esteem;
    Because I am so dwarfish and so low?

  10. The National Theatre (in London) shop sells this Shakespeare Plot image on posters, mugs, tea-towels…

  11. The National Theatre poster is cute, but it has at least two errors in it: Oswald in KING LEAR is beaten to death with Edgar’s staff, not stabbed (at least in any production I remember seeing), and the death toll in THE WINTER’S TALE also includes the child Mamillius, who dies offstage of Plot Device.

  12. A couple of other comments on the original poster: “thinking out loud” is just a wordy description of “soliliquy,” which is so very far from being a specifically Shakespearian “thing” that I doubt there are many/any plays of the period which don’t feature some (not to mention, of course, thousands of plays since then, up to the present).

    “Tons of puns” is I think a bit misleading; some characters (especially in the comedies) are certainly addicted to them, and probably almost all of the plays contain at least a few (I’m not going to reread all of the history plays and a couple of the drearier non-histories to doublecheck), but it’s certainly not the case that pretty much every play is crawling with them. I’ll admit that Dr. Sam: Johnson’s strictures upon Shakespeare’s overuse of them has something to be said for it, though I think Johnson goes a bit far:

    http://www.literary-articles.com/2010/02/samuel-johnsons-views-of-shakespeares.html

    Again, more later, maybe.

  13. Hmm… I would venture that Dr. Johnson would not be a fan of the English Asterix translations, either…
    (Exeunt, pursued by Mike P…) 😉

  14. I saw a sign once near the exit of a Tube station advertising a restaurant.

    ‘Bear left outside station’ it said.

  15. re: Shrug, would you go along with my note that the Sonnets have a “ton of puns”?

    I guess, though I’ve not reread the Sonnets in many years, just not one of my favorite Shakespeare things. But the “The expense of spirit [semen] in a waste [waist] of shame” sonnet is especially notable for same from line one.

    Anyway, time to wrap this up. “Angry families” doesn’t really strike me as a common Shakespeare theme, other than in ROMEO AND JULIET of course, and in the Lancaster vs. York (and earlier vs. Northumberland and his allies) in the history plays. I suppose if you squint really hard you can count the families of “Malcolm (and presumably Donalbain, though we don’t hear from him, plus MacDuff as the sole remaining member of his own family) vs. MacBeth and Lady MacBeth, but . . . nah. ‘Twere to consider too curiously to consider thus. It’s more personal than “family feud.”

    Stabbings? As that National Theatre poster notes, all of the tragedies other than TIMON OF ATHENS can count a few good stabbings. (Many/most of the history plays as well, but I’m not feeling inspired enough to do the research.) And add Patroclus and Hector in TROILUS AND CRESSIDA. And Cloten in CYMBELINE is beheaded; I don’t recall if he’s stabbed first or not. (Ragozine in MEASURE FOR MEASURE is also beheaded, but 1. only after he dies of natural causes, and 2. he’s only a convenient/offstage character anyway.)

    “Prophecy” overlaps with “vengeful spirit” a bit, which I’ve already covered. It’s mostly a MACBETH thing, but add the “Ides of March” and “I will be with you at Phillipa” prophecies in JULIUS CAESAR, and the brief mention in RICHARD III of a prophercy that “G of Edward’s brother shall his nemeiss be” or somesuch wording (poor George, Duke of Clarence, is imprisoned for this, while Richard — Duke of Gloucester — is overlooked). I think there are are a couple more in the other history plays somewhere also, but again, not rereading/skimming them today just to refresh my memory. I’m assuming “prophecy” is meant to be more serious than a mere “prediction” (like Cleopatra grumping that in Rome boy actors will soon be protraying her on stage).

    Which leaves “mistaken identity.” Certainly a lot of instances, but some definition needs to be thunk about, and this has gone longer than I intended. So, one more post later today or tomorrow to wrap this up for me. (Pause for sound of CIDU readers assembled crying out with one voice “And about time, too!”)

  16. Kilby – My Teddy Bear village is very liberal. They allow all sorts of other bears to live there as long as they are not going to attack any of the residents. There is a family of Panda bears who run, of course, the Panda, Panda restaurant – vegan and fish (Teddy Bears do NOT eat meat, but some eat fish). Several black bears live there.

    Back a year before the big fires in Australia a family of Koalas came to visit (they, especially the dad, looked like tourists) for the summer and then “went home” The following summer they returned and have remained since due to the fires that happened – luckily they had stayed late that year as they wanted to see “The American” Thanksgiving Teddy reenactors that come to the village to for same. The Teddy bears and other bears have accepted them despite them being marsupials and have they lived here since.

    Yes, we are very silly with the Teddy Village – but when we were stuck in the house during the pandemic the village was a place “to visit” when we could not go out!

    (Bears are up to about 6 inches in height – toys, figurines and some small stuffed bears. They started as a Christmas village and now get redone more or less monthly for what is going on in life. They have also expanded from one area of downtown on top of a wicker trunk to 4 sections – also having an area with “a pond”, an area with a “hill” and Silver Bears stand (senior bears sell hot drinks in winter, cold drinks in summer, and rent skis and sleds in winter). And the latest area is a residential section that is adjacent to the hill area. Robert wants to make the 2 sections join and has found a diner (bird house at Michaels) for that spot.

  17. Time to wrap this up, with notes on “mistaken identity.”

    As described, a “mistaken” identity would mean one character is mistaken for another known character (as opposed to just being in disguise, or claiming to be “Joe from Kokomo” or equivalent). Obvious examples: COMEDY OF ERRORS (two pairs of twins); TWELFTH NIGHT (one pair of twins); JULIUS CAESAR (Cinna the Poet is slain by mistake for Cinna the conspirator); CYMBELINE (whatshername assumes the headless body of Cloten is someone else); MEASURE FOR MEASURE (Angelo believes the bodiless head of Ragozine is someone one, plus, the bed trick); ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (the bed trick); HAMLET (Hamlet stabs Polonious thinking he is Claudius); and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Hero’s smoochy chambermaid is taken by Claudio to be Hero, and later his “new” bride, supposedly a stranger, turns out to be Hero). And perhaps MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, when Falstaff is in disguise as a local woman, though not one we actually see in the play.

    If we broaden it to “characters in disguise as someone not otherwise depicted” we can add at least all of the “women dressing as men” characters in TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA; AS YOU LIKE IT; TWELFTH NIGHT; and (two) MERCHANT OF VENICE, plus Kent as “Caius” and Edgar as “Poor Tom” in KING LEAR; Henry as “just this guy” hanging out with his troops in HENRY V; Hermione as a statue of herself in WINTER’S TALE; Master Ford in MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR as whatisname; Nick Bottom as a monster in MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM; and maybe whoever the Third Murderer is in MACBETH (if anyone we are supposed to know, which depends on the staging. And there’s that passing reference in ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA about how they did some kinky stuff putting on each other’s clothes/armor for funsies. Again, I’m sure I’m forgetting some examples, but I think the ones above are the main ones.

    As an overall comment, the poster seems to be mostly conflating MACBETH; HAMLET; ROMEO AND JULIET; and COMEDY OF ERRORS. And, for the record, I think it’s cute and was happy to see it (and be inspired to bloviate on this.)

  18. Don’t know why the Goon Show add-on got added on, but I guess “It’s all in the mind, you know.” Sorry.

  19. And now I don’t know why my whole long comment on mistaken identiy in Shakespeare apparently got deleted after I saw it appear for a moment, while my comment on that appearance (with the Goon Show reference) got posted. But I guess I’ll just go to bed and try not to think about it.

  20. And we know from THE WINTER’S TALE that if you put on a disguise, your own son won’t recognize you.

    Even if your disguise is nothing but a pair of sunglasses, as I saw in one production.

  21. “Even if your disguise is nothing but a pair of sunglasses, as I saw in one production.”

    And why not? It’s theatre.

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