Sunday, March 24, 2019

Animals in Shakespawe

Did you know dat William Shakespeare was one of da first playwrights to write in English[1] for regular people, rather than in French or Latin?[2][3] He wrote lots of animals into his plays.

Three come immediately to mind.
  • "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child" King Lear Act 1, Scene 4, 281–289
  • "Let Hercules himself do what he may, The cat will mew and dog will have his day" Hamlet Act V, Scene I
  • “Cry 'Havoc', and let slip the dogs of war” Julius Caesar (1599) Act III Scene I

So I looked up some more:
  • "Thou call'st me dog before thou hadst a cause, But since I am a dog, beware my fangs" The Merchant of Venice
  • "And so disfigure her with it, that she shall have no more eyes to see withal than a cat." The Taming of the Shrew
  • "For all the rest, They'll take suggestion as a cat laps milk." The Tempest Act II., Scene 1
  • "I am as vigilant as a cat to steal cream." King Henry the Fourth, Act IV., Scene 2
  • Lady Macbeth points to the cautious habits of the cat:
    "Letting I dare not wait upon I would, Like the poor cat i' the adage."
  • Also in "Macbeth", the superstitious fear of the cat:
    "Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed."
  • "Cats, that can judge as fitly." Coriolanus, Act IV., Scene 2
  • "I am as melancholy as a gib cat." King Henry the Fourth
  • "A crouching lion and a ramping cat." King Henry the Fourth
  • "Slow in profit, and he sleeps by day More than the wild cat." Merchant of Venice
  • "Some men there are love not a gaping pig, Some, that are mad if they behold a cat." Merchant of Venice
  • "As there is no firm reason to be rendered Why he cannot abide a gaping pig, Why he, a harmless necessary cat." Merchant of Venice
  • "I could endure anything before but a cat, And now he's cat to me." All's Well that Ends Well
  • "Hang off, thou cat, thou burr, thou vile thing." Midsummer Night's Dream
  • "But will you woo this wild cat?" Midsummer Night's Dream
  • "And every cat and dog,
    And every little mouse, and every unworthy thing." Romeo and Juliet
  • "In killing creatures vile, as cats and dogs." Cymbeline
  • "And yet I bear a burthen like an ass" Richard II, Act V, Scene 5
  • "And in his needy shop a tortoise hung, An alligator stuff'd, and other skins Of ill-shaped fishes" Romeo and Juliet: Act 5, Scene 1, Page 2
  • How did I forget this one: "By this reckoning he is more shrew than she." Taming of the Shrew, Act IV, Scene 1

If you haven't read Shakespeare, there is a totally free ebook at Project Gutenberg, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

Da lady like hard copy better.

[1] Since you asked, Christopher Marlowewas another.
[2] Even though you didn't ask, Beware the Cat by William Baldwinwas the first original English-language novel.
[3] The very first English-language novel was Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur,however this is a retelling of half-mythological oral tradition rather than an original work.

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