Twelfth Night, act 3, sc. 4

Actual Quote:
“If this were played upon a stage now,
I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.”

In Current Language:
If I witnessed these events played on a stage, I would rate the fiction as unrealistic.

Suggestions For Use: Colorful way to express incredulity at what is happening under your eyes, directly or at a distance.

What Happens in the Actual Play:
Malvolio, Olivia’s butler, is secretly in love with his employer. Other characters in the play trick him into believing that his feelings are reciprocated. One of the pranksters forges a letter to Malvolio, supposedly from Olivia, suggesting that she loves him and that, as a signal that he reciprocates her love, he should wear yellow stockings and smile all the time.
Malvolio does as the letter suggests, but Olivia thinks that he has gone mad and has him locked up. On seeing some of Malvolio’s ridiculous gesturing, a character called Fabio believes that, even as fiction, the plot would be unrealistic. Continue reading

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All’s Well That Ends Well, act 3, sc. 3

Actual Quote
“The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill go together: our virtues would be proud, if our faults whipped them not, and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues.”

In Current Language:
Life can be compared to a yarn, woven into an intricate metaphorical web, containing a mixture of good and bad. Shakespeare likes to convert abstract into concrete ideas or even ideas that have a material life and personality of their own. In this instance, it is as if both virtues and faults had an independent body and soul. Therefore, our virtues could be proud or make us proud, were it not that our faults whip our virtues. Equally, there would be no hope for our shortcomings – let alone crimes – were it not that our virtues act as a kind of remedies or rectifiers, providing a counterbalance to our failings.

Suggestions For Use:
The quote embodies a virtual yet persuasive psychological message of hope, when (depending of course on individual personalities), we are inclined to feel pessimistic and critical of ourselves on reviewing our life as lived so far. It can also be a message of encouragement for a friend who feels down in the proverbial dumps, due to whatever circumstances.
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King Richard III, act 4. Sc. 4

Actual Quote:
“An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.”

In Current Language:
An audience responds more positively to a story that is told simply

Suggestions For Use: It could be your comment on questionable, dubious and intricate statements. Any listener intent to find applications of the quote would have no problem in filling any 24-hour interval, chosen at random, with an abundance of examples, extracted from politicians and/or from people at large who believe themselves to be very important

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Hamlet, act 3, sc. 3, Crime and Remorse

Actual Quote:
“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

In Current Language:
My words may seem or sound good, but my thoughts have not changed. From the point of view of decency and honor, hypocritical words are empty and useless.

Suggestions For Use: Apply part of the quote [Words without thoughts never to heaven go], as an example or comparison, to signify distaste when hearing certain people speak, often some politicians…expressing a regret that sounds hollow, formal and insincere.

What Happens in the Actual Play:
King Claudius tries to pray as a form of atonement for the murder of his own brother, Hamlet’s father. But Claudius himself knows that his words are not sincere, as he continues and cannot avoid enjoying the fruits of his murder.
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The Tempest, act 1, sc. 1 – Results of Language Learning

                                                       Actual Quote:
 “You taught me language and my profit on it
Is, I know how to curse.”

In Current Language:
The quote is clear without a translation. Still, here is one for consistency. You schooled me and the only thing that remained in me of your language training is that I know how to curse.

What Happens in the Actual Play:
Saying these words is Caliban, in the play portrayed as a monster of mind and soul, being the son of the evil witch Sycorax . Prospero, Caliban’s master, had attempted to reform Caliban by various healing measures, including the teaching of English. Continue reading

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Merchant of Venice, on Pretension of Goodness, Act 2, sc.2

Actual Quote:     “There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts”

In Current Language:
Almost every vice may be made to present an outward appearance of goodness.

Suggestions For Use:
When your political adversary tries to cover up or apply a good spin to something particularly bad.
What Happens in the Actual Play:
Among her suitors, the fair Portia will marry him who will solve a riddle. Before attempting to do so, Bassanio meditates on some important truths, including the truth contained in the quote for this episode of the ‘Limeys’ [a London-base Internet-Radio program where these quotes and comments are broadcast.] Bassanio will be eventually the one who solves the riddle and marries Portia.
The quote well describes the “modus operandi” of various government organizations and/or individuals. At least on the basis of what most of us have occasion to see or deduce through simple personal logic, rather than coarse belief in the information provided by the controlled media. Continue reading

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Changes to the YourDailyShakespeare website

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As The King of France says in “All’s Well that ends well” “… on our quick’st decrees The inaudible and noiseless foot of Time Steals ere we can effect them” That is, “… despite our determinations, The silent and stealthy foot of time Intervenes before we can put our decrees into action.” Since its inception, Read More

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The Bottom of the Barrel

By and large, for an ideology to take root among a people or a nation it is necessary to transform the individual into the mass man. For masses are – before in time and now often in the impalpable ether – what crowds are in space. Namely a large quantity of people unable to express their human qualities – for members of masses are not connected to each other either as individuals or as parts of a community. In fact they are only linked through some impersonal, abstract, crystallizing and often de-humanizing factor. Continue reading

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A Tale of Two Cultures (America and Russia)

suggests theme of postWhen events do not make sense or are such as sense cannot untie,(1) an option is to forget all about them – the head-in-the-sand solution. Another is to remember that man is but a quintessence of dust (2) and often, therefore, not even worth the dust that the rude wind blows in his face. (3)

Yet another option is an attempt at interpretation, with emphasis on ‘attempt’ and limits on ‘interpretation.” In the instance, the events in question are: one, the claim – by the Western signatories of the so-called “Minsk Agreements” on Ukraine in 2014 – that they did not intend to respect them. And two, that the commitment by the USA to Gorbachev in 1989 not to expand NATO Eastward was invalid for not having been set in writing.

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Decline and Fall of the Western World

Comparisons are often like bikinis, what they reveal is suggestive, what they conceal is vital. The principle equally applies when comparing the history of nations, as implied in the title, which echoes Gibbon’s 6-book, monumental “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”.

Indeed, in a possible contest of titles, quotes or witticisms, a winner would be uncertain. For, implied in that ‘decline and fall’ is the idea that the decline could have been reversed and the fall avoided – that is, the fall of the Roman Empire and the decline of the Western World. Whereas it is equally true that “all that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity(1) Continue reading

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