Anne Hathaway Speaks

AnneHathawayAndShakespeare

My husband Will was not inattentive to me, though this is what most folk assumed. True he lived in London and I saw him scarce, but when he arrived back to Stratford, O then! Much welcoming and merrymaking there was and I greeted him with open arms.

Will’s true home was the theater, his soul poured forth from his quill and ink pots. When I married him I knew this. How could I not?  He spoke in rhyme when he wooed me. The sonnet sprung from his lips, a stretch of beat and iamb, beautiful words and I trust not a woman in all of Stratford would have resisted young Master Shakespeare. He was tall and handsome, quick witted, dark eyed.  And I?  I was the original summer’s day, Venus to his Adonis.

When he moved to London it was with  that very poem he acquired patronage from the Earl of Southampton.  He had since compromised his words, winking to the the faire youth and dark lady.  Leave gossip for the tongue wagers.  I suspected he had lovers, both women and men.  Of course he did.  After all, his time in London was long. Yet the green monster of envy raised not its head.

One must understand. He was but a boy of eighteen when I married him, and I a woman of twenty six. And though I was with child, I knew his wild oats were not yet sown.  Faithfulness was never expected.  Therefore we lived in harmony.

But I!  Yes I.  Was the mother of his children, the keeper of his hearth. More importantly, not a word of his plays did he scribe, not a scroll did he bring to the King’s Men without my approval.  That was my gift, though none knew of it.

“Anne,” he said to me, “thou art my Juliet, my Beatrice, my Titania in all splendor of the fairies.” His meaning more specific, I was his muse.

merchant of venice pd 2

Consider his play of Juliet. What a botched thing it was,  before I took my hand to it. “The lovers must commit suicide, Will,” quothe I. “Nothing less will do.”

“How so?” he asked.

“By poison of course. And a stabbing, the bloodier the better! In London they crave all means of violence, death, destruction and swordplay. You must give the public what they want, Billie Shakespeare! Else all is lost and the words for naught.”

The same was true of his characters Ophelia, Gertrude and Hamlet. My husband would have written it mildly, trippingly on the tongue as he liked to say. “O no Will,” I corrected. “There must be tragedy. Sweet Ophelia, tormented by madness, will drown herself in a river amongst the heavy flowers and willows that weep.”

“Another suicide?” He shook his head.

“Another, and many more. Trust me.”

Consider Macbeth.  A lame play until I corrected it, making Macbeth a milquetoast to a treacherous and evil woman! She was perhaps the most cunning of my creations.

“The Lady Macbeth must urge the man forward,” I insisted. “It is she who plots killing of King Duncan, she who will bloody her hands most.” His jaw hung and he turned a bit pale at this notion.

“She,” I continued, “will unsex herself, ruthless and scheming. She will drive herself to madness, never eliminating the the damned spots of blood that haunt her like Banquo’s ghost!”

macbeth

He argued with me. “Surely, wife, the gentry will loathe such a vile woman.”

“They will love to hate her,” I assured him. For what better entertainment than an evil femme fatale and what better place to lay blame?

I was correct.

And so it was the box office flourished. “Sell admissions cheap, not more than a penny,” I advised him.

“But Anne,” quothe he, “Baron Hundson will not have it. The Globe itself will be closed should we not turn a profit.”

“You’ll turn a profit and you’ll turn it handsomely,” I insisted.  When the groundlings poured in, seatless in the mud and mire, but not lacking to pay their penny, Will saw that I was correct. I was always correct.

The money pots scattered and we quickly made a fortune. “To tell and sell a story,” I told him, “is the noblest of professions. None will tire of it, for they seek desperately to escape the boredom of their mundane lives.”

And so it was, back home in Stratford, by our fortune I acquired land and houses. New Place was mine, a brace of animals and horses, thriving farms and plenty of servants to do my bidding. When we accumulated enough wealth I urged Will to purchase a Coat of Arms. The motto ‘Not Without Right’ were my own words, because indeed we were not without rights to our own status of Gentle.

shakesepare coat of arms

One day I waited for the clomp of horse hooves upon our pavement. ‘Twas the twenty third day of April, the day of his birth and Will returned home to celebrate. My cooks had prepared a great feast. There would be games and diversions. I smiled as I saw him ride up the road, clothed in boots and britches. He pulled a scribbled parchment from his doublet.

“What’s this?” I kissed him on both cheeks, then took the parchment.

“My latest,” he answered. “It is called Othello.”

“And what story?”

“A marriage between a Moor and a Venetian. Their love will be the purest and they shall live happily ever after.”

I shook my head and tore the parchment to pieces.

“Their love,” I said defiantly, “shall be fraught with tension. The Moor black as jet and the Venetian white as pearl. She a young seductress, he a skilled soldier.   There will be coupling, the mounting of the beast with two backs, they insatiable in their lust!  There will be jealousy and betrayal, one named Cassio who will claim her…”

I narrowed my eyes, thinking of what would enhance this plot. “Add a handkerchief, the most intimate of objects.”

Will popped his eyes. “Surely not a handkerchief!”

“Yes, husband. And ‘twill end in a murder.  Othello driven to savage madness, kills his wife in her very own bed! Then he, driven to suicide, slays himself and falls next to her. Give the people blood and lust and lovers and yet more blood.”

“My dear, are you sure? Such a thing shall be most controversial.” He cocked his head.

“Trust me.” I answered. I then took his hand. “Let the birthday celebrations begin.”

That night we finished revisions. I predicted the story of the Moor named Othello and his wife Desdemona would be among the greatest of my husband’s many tragedies. I predicted the plays would last on into posterity, for hundred of years, maybe thousands, created anew by each generation, constantly revealing human truths, constantly entertaining each audience.

And I was always correct.

“She hath a way,  so to control

and rapture the imprisoned soul

and sweetest heaven on earth display

that to be heaven, Anne hath a way

She hath a way, Anne Hathaway,

To breathe delight, Anne hath a way.”

                                                          — William Shakespeare

Born April 23, 1564, Died April 23, 1616

Birthday-Shakespeare

 

 

Which Shakespeare Character Are You?

 

shakespare-to-thine-own-self pd

 

I am pretty sure that Shakespeare, in his writings, must have explored every possible personality type. His plays brought a blur  of notorious and memorable characters —  heroes, villains, wenches, fair ladies and noblemen.  Which one most represents you?  Here is a fun little quiz for all Shakespeare fans!

Which Shakespeare character are you?

Please post your results in the comments! Have fun 🙂

As it turns out, I am Portia from ‘The Merchant of Venice’. I have no objections —  after all she was a smart woman who knew the law 🙂

i-am-portia

 

If you have never seen ‘The Merchant of Venice’ you are in for a treat! This 2004 version stars Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons. Running time about two hours. Hope you get a chance to watch it.

 

 

 

 

 

Twelfth Night

 

12thnightgraphic

Viola is in love with Orsino.  Orsino is in love with Olivia.  Olivia is in love with Viola. Malvolio is in love with Olivia.  Antonio is in love with Sebastian. Sebastian is in love with Olivia.  Maria is in love with Sir Toby.  Sir Toby is in love with beer. (Here is where you say, “Love sucks!”)

But to complicate the situation — Viola (for personal reasons) has been dressing like a boy.  Sebastian is Viola’s twin brother.  Olivia (in love with Viola) takes one look at Sebastian and — well, you should watch the movie!

Twelfth Night is a farcical comedy, written by William Shakespeare in around 1601. It is a perfect play for the celebrations of Twelfth Night (January 6th) which mark the end of the Christmas season. Role reversals, mummers and merry-making were the Elizabethan order of the day. The Lord of Misrule came to rule. Servants were masters and masters were servants.  The play’s full title was ‘Twelfth Night or What You Will’, seemingly because Twelfth Night is a night to do precisely what you personally will.

I still say The Shakes was way ahead of his time, constantly delving into themes of gender identity, cross-dressing and homoerotic love, centuries before they ever became political or civil rights issues.

If you have never seen Twelfth Night, you are in for a treat! This 1988 version, made for television and produced by Kenneth Branagh is one of my favorites. Running time is about 2.5 hours. Hope you get the chance to watch it, or — do What You Will!

 

 

 

Quote Challenge: Day 3

 

There-is-nothing-either-good-or-bad

 

For the third day of my Quote Challenge I have chosen these words from the Bard. The metaphysical nature of this quote is very, VERY deep.  It is one that changed my life.

The line is taken from Hamlet. Prince Hamlet, in deep depression and much mental anxiety, describes his native country of Denmark as a ‘prison’. His friends, college buddies Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, disagree. Hamlet then replies:

“Why, then ’tis none to you; for there is nothing either good
or bad but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.”

Of course, Prince Hamlet has good reason to see his country as a prison. Hamlet’s uncle  Claudius has recently murdered Hamlet’s father, taking over the crown  (which should rightfully belong to Hamlet.)  His mother Queen Gertrude  has married Uncle Claudius in what was then considered an incestuous relationship. Talk about injustice! Oedipus complex! Fratricide, regicide and Hamlet being tormented by the ghost of his father…

Hamlet ghost pd

No wonder the poor guy is half insane, depressed and contemplating suicide. (The famous soliloquy “To be or not to be” quickly follows.)

But back to the quote. One man’s trash is another’s treasure; the glass is either half empty of half full.  However, true wisdom comes in recognizing that there is innately nothing good nor bad in anything, but what we BELIEVE about it makes it so.

If, for example, I have a peanut allergy, then I better not eat peanuts. Unless I want to swell up, break out in hives and possibly die.   But if I am a vegan, peanuts might be my life blood. Unless I want a  protein deficiency and the myriad of diseases that go with it.  I would actually take this idea one step further and say the peanut allergy ITSELF is a result of fear based thinking. The adherence to vegan principle ITSELF is  also a result of fear based thinking. “The thinking makes it so.”

We live in a dichotomy (not to mention a propaganda machine)  that teaches us to believe in the well defined nature of GOOD and BAD.  For example —  Life GOOD: Death BAD.  Justice GOOD:  Crime BAD.

Fair enough.

However, death might be good for one who is suffering a disease, or better still, one who recognizes that in the bigger metaphysical picture, there actually IS no death. Regarding crime and justice, who defines it?  A lot of stupid laws have been written and a lot of innocent people have been wrongly punished. Conversely, a lot of criminals with great lawyers have committed heinous crimes and gone free.

Take politics. (I realize this is a dangerous limb, and  the views expressed are NOT my own.) But let’s just say.  Guns GOOD: Enemy BAD.  Fetus GOOD: Abortion BAD.

Fair enough?

But what if a gun gets into the hand of a child who accidentally shoots himself?  Abortion might be a good choice for one who knows she cannot adequately support a child in the current economic system. (Or better still, one who recognizes that in the bigger metaphysical picture, there actually IS no death.)

However, if you are not going to be able to sleep at night without a gun beneath your pillow, then by all means, keep a gun!  If having an abortion will cause you emotional anguish for the rest of your life, then by all means, have the baby!  Even the Bible itself quotes Jesus as saying ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ Because, the TRUTH is:

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

 

hamlet pd

 

sign pd

 

Quote Challenge – Day 1

 

banner shakespeare pd

 

I would like to thank Married With a View  for nominating me for this challenge. I love quotes and I think this will be a lot of fun 🙂

Rules for the Quote Challenge:

Thank the person who nominated you.
Post 1-3 quotes a day for 3 consecutive days.
Nominate 3 bloggers to do the same. 

My quote for Day 1 is:

shakespare-to-thine-own-self pd

 

I am a huge fan of the Bard and I have always loved this quote. The line is from Hamlet. It is spoken by  the character Polonius as advice he gives to he son Laetres just before Laetres leaves for France.  (Actually, Polonius is a bit of a wind bag — taken completely in context the speech was possibly meant to be more annoying than profound. Plus Polonius has some dirty dealings of his own, like sending a spy to France to keep an eye on Laetres…)   But no matter. They are still great words and they fit well into the sound byte world of today!

“To thine own self be true.”  It means do what is right for YOU regardless of what others think.  Be yourself.  Your cup of tea is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and that is fine. That is actually necessary. Imagine what a boring world it would be if everyone were homogenized.

“And it must follow, as the night the day; thou canst not then be false to any man.”  If you are true to yourself, it will follow that you are honest and authentic with others.  People will be able to trust who you are. This has something to do with directness.  People who are authentic then  give others permission to be themselves as well.

Words of wisdom from Mr. Shakespeare, the master, Bard, swan of Avon,  playwright pontificate and keeper of all keys 🙂

For my 3 bloggers I will nominate:

Mad as a Hatter

Sinister Dark Soul

Harmony Autumn Wood

 

Shakespeare’s Words and Wisdom

“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”  – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

real

 

No one knows the exact actual date of Shakespeare’s birth. We do, however, know through church records that he was baptized on April 26th, 1564.  It was customary back then to baptize babies within three days of their birth. (This was done so they wouldn’t end up in Limbo, which was NOT, btw, a dance —  but rather a state of suspension in which one’s soul was not fit for Heaven, yet not bad enough for Hell.  It all had to do with that pesky original sin, which could be expunged with baptism.)   We also know, through death records, that Shakespeare passed away on April 23rd, 1616 at the ripe old age of 52. (This reportedly following a drinking binge with Ben Johnson and some theater buddies, come down to Stratford for some merry making.  Maybe celebrating his birthday!)   Imagination and poetic license allow us to say, within reason, that Shakespeare’s birth date and death date both fall on April 23rd.

Therefore, TODAY marks the  400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and the 452nd anniversary of his birth.  Yay Will!

Birthday-Shakespeare

In honor of my all time favorite writer, I would like to submit a compilation of some of his most profound quotes.  I mean, he covered everything —  birth, death, love, sex, men, women, music, good, evil, humanity itself.  It’s worth looking into –  maybe even worth considering as part of  our own life philosophies. Let me know what you think!

 

“Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;

    Men were deceivers ever;

One foot in sea and one on shore,

    To one thing constant never.”  –  Much Ado About Nothing

Arthur Hughes - The Pained Heart (aka 'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more')

Ah, yes, pretty maids.  Be not bothered by those jack-a-nape rogues you call boyfriends who refuse commitment and wedding rings, all the while drooling over the latest porn posts.  Listen to the immortal Bard.  ‘Constant to one thing never.’  What did you expect?  Instead best get your career in track, use birth control and invest in a good 401 k.

 

“Thou know’st the first time that we smell the air we wawl and cry. When we are born we cry, that we are come to this great state of fools.” – King Lear

Newborn-baby-after-a-home-001

Well, after all now.  We know this planet earth is a rather silly place, don’t we?  Of course little babies coming in here are gong to be upset.  Especially considering a lot of them now are Indigos and Crystal children from the constellation Sirius and such outermost regions. The cradle-grave journey is a short stay, so heed the Bard’s advice and know this is but a state of fools.

 

 

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”  – Hamlet

day-and-night

As Abe Lincoln once said, ‘You can’t please all of the people all of the time.’ So you may as well please yourself. They are going to criticize you anyway, so heed this great seed of wisdom  from the Shakes and be your own original self at all times.

 

Well, if Fortune be a woman, she’s a good wench for this gear.” – The Merchant of Venice

pirate wench

Need we say more?  Just don’t mess with any swashbuckling wenches 🙂

 

“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” – Macbeth

fairy

And watch out for them wicked witches!  They just might make some dire predictions that may or may not come true, depending upon your own ambition.

 

“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” – Macbeth

walking-shadow

As I mentioned before, it’s a short stay here on planet earth, begging the immortal question,’What’s the point?’

 

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Hamlet

Good_vs_Evil_by_Saibel

Everyone knows this.  Hasten not to make those moral judgments, ye foolish mortals,  for one man’s trash is another’s treasure.  If you don’t believe me just check out ebay 🙂    It is the thinking that makes it so.

 

If music be the food of love…

play on