Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Twelfth Night | Shakespeare Quotations

To celebrate Twelfth Night tonight, I thought I would share with you all some of my favorite quotes from the play Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

Admittedly nothing in Twelfth Night actually has anything to do with the feast of the Epiphany or Twelfth Night except that, apparently, the play was meant to be performed as part of Twelfth Night celebrations - this view, though endorsed by the Internet, the footnotes in my Arden edition seems to doubt, speculating the play was first performed in the summer, had nothing to do with the holiday, and that Shakespeare simply chose the name for "general festive associations."

Really Shakespeare probably picked it just for the pleasure of leaving centuries of future readers to puzzle why the heck Twelfth Night is called Twelfth Night.  It wouldn't surprise me.  It is Shakespeare.

I happened to be reading the play recently and simply wanted to share a few of the word gems I've been enjoying, so tonight seems as good an occasion as any.

Why don't people talk like this?  I think we all need to use words as outrageously as Shakespeare...

When you're telling someone a secret:

"Thou know'st no less but all: I have unclasp'd
To thee the book even of my secret soul."

When you're talking about what everyone is gossiping about:

"Twas fresh in murmur."

A polite way of saying leave me alone:

"I myself am best when least in company."

When you want to sound fancy, just make up a philosopher and start quoting him.  Shakespeare does it too:

"For what says Quinapalus? 'Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.'"

For when you're telling someone to "Make it Happen!"  Can't you just see Aerosmith saying this in the pre-show of Rock n' Roller Coaster??  Ok, maybe not...

"Be clamorous and leap all civil bounds,
Rather than make unprofited return."

When you want to say appearances are deceiving.  The Latin means "the hood makes not the monk:"

"Lady, cucullus non facit monachum: that's as much to say, as I wear not motley in my brain."

When you're feeling better than everybody else...

"You are idle, shallow things
I am not of your element."

Last one because I just love it...

"To be generous, guiltless, and of free disposition is to take those things for bird-bolts that you deem canon-bullets."

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