One of the best and worst attractions of Shakespeare is, in my opinion, the fact that he coined so many new terms in his plays. No wonder we can have a hard time figuring out exactly what the playwright is trying to say!
My favorite Shakespeare play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a perfect combination of romantic comedy, ancient stories, and fantasy. I mean, come on:
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgement taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste.”
That’s pretty good!
Funny enough, this play is chock-full of Shakespeare’s infamous phrases. Here are just a few that you might recognize:
- Fancy free: MSND Act II, Scene I
- Swift as a shadow: MSND Act I, Scene I
- Critical: MSND Act V, Scene I
- Flowery: MSND Avt IV, Scene I
- Manager: MSND Act V, Scene I
- Mimic: MSND Act III, Scene II
- Moonbeam: MSND Act III, Scene I
- Rival: MSND Act IV, Scene I
You might not be a big linguistics fan, but you’ve got to admit, that’s so cool!
No wonder Shakespeare is taught so much in schools! If only making up our own languages was as lucrative as it was back then.
Okay, I totally didn’t plan to write this down, but I just thought, “Wow, so like Shakespeare is basically the ‘Selfie’ and ‘Bromance’ person of his day.” 😀
Here’s a few more Shakespearean words that just blew my mind:
-Gloomy: Titus Andronicus
-Laughable: The Merchant of Venice
-Bedroom: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
-Majestic: The Tempest
-Hurry: Henry VI
-Courtship: The Merchant of Venice
I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this is pretty cool. What other words should we thank Shakespeare for?
So, yeah, it’s okay if you don’t get Shakespeare at first. I’m sure his contemporaries didn’t completely get him back then, either. If someone came up to you and said, “O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?,” wouldn’t you want to say, “Chill! He’s right over there.” I get it.
But don’t give up! That’s my first tip for reading Shakespeare. I’m going to share a few more tips in my next post.
In the meantime, what are some of your favorite Shakespearean plays? I’m sure there’s at least a half dozen words in it that Shakespeare coined himself.