It’s Shakespeare by the Bow time again here in Calgary, and this year the chosen play is Hamlet. Produced by Theatre Calgary, it’s an opportunity for talented newly graduated drama students to gain professional experience, performing in a glorious setting.
According to Shakespeare Online, Shakespeare invented over 1,700 words that we commonly use today, including: addiction, amazement, bandit, blanket, cater, elbow, gossip, label, luggage, moonbeam, pedant, secure, swagger, zany. (Zany?!? Who knew? I always assumed that was a 1960s word!!)
It’s a long time since I’ve seen Hamlet, so I was surprised by the number of phrases I recognised that we use in our everyday language. The following is just a tiny sample:
In my mind’s eye.
I shall not look upon his like again.
All is not well.
The air bites.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
The time is out of joint.
This is the very ecstasy of love.
Brevity is the soul of wit.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
The play’s the thing.
To be or not to be, that is the question.
Get thee to a nunnery.
Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.
The lady doth protest too much.
I must be cruel, only to be kind.
There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.
The rest is silence.
Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angles sing thee to they rest.
When it’s well done, Shakespeare remains alive, vital and very – very – relevant. And it can be fun too. Check out the various interpretations of one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines – To be, or not to be, that is the question… – performed by the RSC during celebrations for Shakespeare’s 400th birthday.