Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shakespeare on Love

In high school I had an English lit teacher who loved Shakespeare. We studied this sonnet—possibly Shakespeare’s best known—and it has been one of my favorites ever since.

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

~ William Shakespeare

In a nutshell, he’s saying true lasts forever. Except he says it so much better!

I also love Shakespeare’s romantic comedies, especially Twelfth Night. Have you seen the 1996 film version, with Ben Kingsley as Feste? I’ve always loved the young-woman-posing-a-man plot and it’s so well done in this play. Which is why it’s so timeless. Another great version was the teen film, She’s the Man (2006). The two together make a great double feature!

Until next time,


Gillian Layne said...

My favorites are Midsummer Night's Dream and Taming of the Shrew. So funny, and very relaxing to watch.

I'm trying desperately to educate my daughters on Shakespeare. It's so so right now. My oldest daughter thinks two teenagers killing themselves over love is terribly melodramatic, the little cynic.

Lee McKenzie said...

Gillian, have your daughters seen 10 Things I Hate about You (1999), starring Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles? It's a teen remake of Taming of the Shrew.

It might be fun to do a double feature night and watch the original version with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor - those two couldn't have been better cast if Shakespeare had written the play with them in mind! - then follow up with 10 Things.

Quite a few years ago I took my son to see a stage production of Macbeth. They used the original script but a modern Central American setting. We both really enjoyed it.

Gillian Layne said...

Oh my gosh---she completely loves that movie! I can't believe I didn't know that. I can't wait to tell her. :)

Lee McKenzie said...

LOL, Gillian! Your daughter IS a Shakespear fan!

In 10 Things, the characters' names were changed to Patrick and Kat. I guess Patrick works better than Petruchio for the modern version ;)

Anonymous said...

I love this sonnet! But I've gotta tell you, I'm having a little crisis over this line:

"[love] looks on tempests and is never shaken"

Some days my love gets pretty shaken! LOL

I enjoyed She's the Man, and will add 10 Things to my to-watch list.


Lee McKenzie said...

LOL, Rachel! I hear you! But I still love the metaphor.