One way in which Shakespeare’s works are still so talked about today is via social media.
Facebook is a great social media site to search Shakespeare’s quotes! Simply login in and proceed to look-up William Shakespeare Quotes as you would a friend! Facebook is a highly useful site because not only can you obtain quotes easily, but you can also find further information (such as biographical information on Shakespeare’s life) with just a few clicks of a computer mouse.
Pinterest, being a social media site that revolves around pictures solely, is a resourceful way to find quote-art. Below are a few pictures of Shakespeare’s quotes from Pinterest that I find particularly lovely/impactful:
One might ponder if social media may end up restricting people’s access to Shakespeare’s works. Will people post a photo of one of his quotes having never read any of his plays? Is that what society has come to? While it is true that the younger generation likes momentary media such as vines, do not be worried: the reading of Shakespeare is not going anywhere. He is the bestselling fiction author in any language of all-time, even topping J.K. Rowling, Leo Tolstoy, and Stephen King.
In this post I will write on the benefits a film adaptation of one of William Shakespeare’s plays has over a silent read-through of the play. In particular, I will focus on the 2004 film adaptation of The Merchant of Venice, which is based on a Shakespearean play by the same name.
Below are (a few of) the advantages an audience has when watching the film versus reading the play:
The film can utilize lighting
The film is able to play with lighting to further set the tone of scenes – an element that a read-through of the play is unable to provide. This is best exemplified when Jessica hands Lancelot the letter she wrote for Lorenzo, wanting Lancelot to deliver it to him. When Jessica hands Lancelot the letter he holds it up to the light to inspect it, but Jessica quickly takes his hand and draws the letter back into darkness; this tells the audience without using dialogue that the letter is shrouded in secrecy. However, when Jessica leaves, Lancelot holds the letter back up to the light, probably indirectly insinuating that all secrets will come to light or be brought out into the open soon enough.For example:
Another example in the film of lighting allowing for further meaning within a scene occurs when Bassanio is choosing a casket, hoping to win Portia. In this scene, Portia is standing by a window – a window alone may represent escapism/freedom – while Bassanio contemplates his choice. However, no matter the stricken look of anxiety darning Portia’s face while she waits to hear Bassanio’s choice, the light falling into the room from the window onto Portia’s face foreshadows and promises that Bassanio’s choice will not disappoint her. Among other meanings such as enlightenment and happiness, sunshine represents warmth and comfort and therefore speaks as loudly, if not louder, than any lines the characters can utter in the play or film.
The film can utilize costuming
In the film, Antonio is usually darned in blues and cool colors throughout the story whereas Shylock is usually seen wearing crimson red. Blue is most commonly associated with harmony and faithfulness. Red is associated with blood, war and danger (http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/color-meaning.html). These colors may allow the audience to draw a further contrast between Shakespeare’s interpretation of the Christian-Jew relationship that Antonio and Shylock represent and with it the Christian policy of mercy/forgiveness versus the Jewish mandate of Justice.
The film can omit or expand scenes from the play
The film omits the banter between Lancelot and his father in Act 2, Scene 2 where the two characters are first introduced at Shylock’s house. This is a very significant change because it alters the view the audience has of Lancelot and Gobbo’s relationship; it also changes the dynamic in the later scene where Lancelot and Gobbo go to Bassanio when Lancelot is seeking to leave his former master Shylock. Whereas in the play Lancelot and Gobbo’s bantering portrays an almost Oedipus conflict where the son is taking authority over his elderly father, the film’s lack of banter demonstrates the exact opposite, that the elderly hold more authority over the younger generation in Venice. And, the elderly having possession of the young makes the young a commodity.
For more information on film adaptations visit the links below:
One way in which Shakespeare’s plays were sustained and edited into their modern-day forms was through the reference of “bad quartos.” Bad quartos were faulty replications of Shakespeare’s work; individuals who came and watched his plays performed at the Globe sometimes sat with pencil and paper in hand, copying the dialogue. In other words, it was the 16th century equivalent of taking a video camera into a movie theater today to film the show, i.e. piracy.
However, while I certainly do not condone piracy, these bad quartos have been helpful in maintaining the quality of Shakespeare’s plays. One thing that Shakespeare’s original folios lacked was clear and specific stage directions. While Shakespeare’s folio of The Winter’s Tale was wonderfully written, without bad quartos we might not know that a bear pursues Antigonus when he flees the stage in Act 3, among other stage directions that bring Shakespeare’s plays to life when performed.
With that being said, detailed stage directions are about all that bad quartos are helpful for; the language they were written in lacks the luster of Shakespeare’s original works. The most famous example of an poorly written bad quarto can be seen in Hamlet:
Below are links for further reading on Shakespeare’s bad quartos:
***So, the real question may be, “If piracy had at least one positive effect on Shakespeare’s fame, is it positive at all in today’s digital society?”
The answer to this question is a complicated one. Almost every debate has come to the same conclusion: piracy is bad. However, recently two researchers at the University of Washington Foster School of Business – Atanu Lahiri and Debabrata Dey – have found that piracy may have its uses. They conclude that piracy drives competition, increasing the quality of digital products produced by major companies such as Dell and Microsoft and breaking up monopolies.
Letters to Juliet is a blockbuster film that hit theaters May 14, 2010 (USA). In this film a young journalist by the name of Sophie goes on a grand adventure across Italy with Claire and Claire’s grandson Charlie in search of Claire’s Lorenzo – a man she left when she was young and afraid of risking everything for love. This film, however, is a loose adaptation (otherwise known as an analogue) of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. SPOILER ALERT: Claire and Lorenzo are star-crossed lovers whose parents kept them apart in their adolescence, but Sophie and Charlie are star-crossed as well in their own way. While Claire and Lorenzo may represent the more traditional story of Romeo and Juliet in that they lose their love and each other (though unlike Shakespeare’s lovers, Claire and Lorenzo do not commit suicide, but rather continue living their lives until they find each other many years later), Sophie and Charlie are the anti-Romeo and Juliet in that they beat the odds and all the complications keeping them apart; they find each other, and circumstance allows them to both fall in love and be together.
This is a beautiful story and definitely worth watching! Films such as this one merge the old with the new, the traditional with the innovative and bring Shakespeare to a wider audience in the 21st century. Anyone who appreciates Shakespeare’s plays/film adaptations will be shedding tears and sitting on the edge of their seat until the credits begin to roll.
Below is a video of the official film trailer for Letters to Juliet: