3 Cheers–& a Contest–for the Bard’s Birthday

Photo via Flickr, Huntington Theatre Company, CC

April 23, 2014 marks the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare, and it’s only appropriate that a blog devoted to reading and writing should honour the Bard. His birthplace, Stratford-Upon-Avon, is where the real action is, but we’re going to have some fun right here in the blogosphere! My blog-styled tribute to the Bard includes Spilling Ink’s first ever quiz with prizes! Be sure to read to the bottom to see how to enter.

Wordsmith Will Where would the world be without moonbeams? That’s just one beautiful word the English language owes to Will. With a vocabulary of 24,000 words and knowledge of seven foreign languages, he was not only scholarly with language–he was also playful. Here is a short sampling of some colourful words and awesome phrases coined by Shakespeare:

  • Zany and madcapLove’s Labour Lost
  • The green-eyed monsterThe Merchant of Venice
  • Besmirch and rantHamlet
  • Gloomy and grovelKing Henry VI
  • moonbeamsA Midsummer Night’s Dream

Witty Will Delivering stinging insults is a lost art, and the world’s a poorer place for it. Enraged moderns dribble uninspired rants peppered with the same old four-letter words, but Shakespeare made insults an art form. Here a sample of his witty insults.

  • “Away, you mouldy rougue, away!” -2 Henry VIII
  • “No man’s pie is freed from his ambitious finger.” -Henry VIII
  • “Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.” -Cymberline
  • “Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.” -As You Like It
  • “I will most humbly take my leave of you. | You cannot, Sir, take anything that I will not more willingly part withal.” -Hamlet
For Ouchy Barbs

Will’s Literary Legacy Shakespeare’s wordplay continues to influence writers to this day. Here are a few well-known book titles that were lifted right out of Shakespeare’s works.

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (a phrase from The Tempest)
  • The Dogs of War by Robert Stone (a phrase from Julius Caesar)
  • The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck (from Richard III)
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (from Macbeth, obviously)

Celebratory Competition – Enter to Win! Beyond borrowing beautiful turns of phrase, today’s novelists and film-makers reimagine Shakespeare’s works. The following five contemporary films are adaptations of Shakespeare’s stories. Can you name the Shakespearian sources? (Hint: The answers can be found on the last link at the bottom of this post.)

  1. West Side Story
  2. Ten Things I Hate About You
  3. She’s The Man
  4. The Lion King
  5. Ran

Correctly identify the works of Shakespeare that the above titles are based on and you can be in the draw to win an exclusive Spilling Ink Shakespeare’s Birthday Gift Pack. One lucky winner will receive a copy of Bill Bryon’s Shakespeare – The World as a Stage and a package of Shakespearean Insult Bandages. One runner-up will receive a package of Insult Bandages.

It’s simple enter!

  1. Subscribe to receive Spilling Ink posts by email in the upper right corner. (All current subscribers who wish to participate can just follow the step below. For verification purposes, make sure you use the email address you subscribed with.)
  2. Send your correct replies (identifying the 5 works of Shakespeare that the above movies are based on) to [ zuppa DOT alfabeto AT gmail DOT com ] by midnight (Australian Eastern Time) May 3rd, 2014.

One winner and one runner-up will be randomly drawn from correct replies on Sunday 4 May, 2014 (Australian time) and notified by email. Prizes will be posted ASAP. If you enjoyed this post and like Spilling Ink, please hit like and share this post on social media! Thanks!

Check out my sources:

Shakespeare Online

No Sweat Shakespeare

Screen Rant (Find the answers are here!)

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