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Dumbing down of Shakespeare: The translations
Thousands of teenagers across the country are studying 'dumbed down' Shakespeare plays at school, it has been revealed.

Here, we compare the original works of Shakespeare with their modern day translation.
ROMEO AND JULIET
Act One, Scene One - confrontation between the Capulets and Monatgues

Shakespeare:
Tybalt: What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.
Benvolio: I do but keep the peace, put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me.
CGP:
Tybalt: Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

Benvolio: Leave it out, big nose.
Act One Scene Five - Romeo and Juliet kiss for the first time

Shakespeare:
Juliet: Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, Which mannerly devotion shows in this; For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.
Romeo: Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

Juliet: Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

CGP:
Juliet: What are you thinking about?
Romeo: Oh, just moons and spoon in June.
Juliet: Wow. Give us a snog then.
Act Two, Scene Two - balcony scene
Shakespeare:
Romeo: But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? Is it the east and Juliet is the sun!
Juliet: O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art though Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name.
CGP:
Romeo: What's on your mind?
Juliet: Oh, just moons and spoons in June.
Romeo: Cool - let's get hitched then.
Act Five, Scene One - Balthasar tells Romeo that is Juliet is dead. He decides to poison himself
Shakespeare:
Balthasar: Her body sleeps in Capels' monument, And her immortal part with angels lives.
Romeo: Tush, thou art deceiv'd. Leave me, and do the thing I bid thee do. Hast thou no letters to me from the Friar? I do remember an apothecary
CGP:
Balthasar: Julie's (sic) dead, mate. Saw her with me (sic) own eyes.

Romeo: Rats. Maybe that guy will sell me poison. That'll solve the problem.
MACBETH
Act One, Scene Seven - Macbeth and Lady Macbeth discuss killing King Duncan
Shakespeare:
Macbeth: We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honour'd me of late: and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people, Which would be worn now in their newest gloss, Not cast aside so soon.

Lady Macbeth: Was the hope drunk, Wherein you dress'd yourself? Hath it slept since? And wakes it now, to look so green and pale At what it did so freely?
Macbeth: I am settled, and bend up Each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock the time with fairest show: False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
CGP:
Macbeth: I'm not going to do it.
Lady Macbeth: Cowardly custard!
Macbeth: I've changed my mind. I'll do it.
Act Two, Scene One - Macbeth sees a blood-covered dagger

Shakespeare:
Macbeth: Is this a dagger, which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee:- I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
CGP:
Macbeth: Oooh! Would you look at that.
Act Three, Scene Four - Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost.

Shakespeare:
Macbeth: Thou canst not say, I did it; never shake Thy gory locks at me.
CGP:
Macbeth: Bloomin' nora its Banquo's ghost!
Act Five, Scene Eight - climatic fight between Macduff and Macbeth

Shakespeare:
Macduff: Turn, Hell-hound, turn!
Macbeth: Of all men else I have avoided thee: But get thee back, my soul is too charg'd With blood of thine already.
CGP:
Macduff: Prepare to die squid-for-brains
Macbeth: No man born from a woman can kill me
Macduff: Well I wasn't born as such, I was cut out of my mum's belly

Macbeth: Oh flip!
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in article id=389412&in page id=1770 Dumbing down of Shakespeare: The translations Thousands of teenagers across the country are studying 'dumbed down' Shakespeare plays at school, it has been revealed.

It's interesting that this issue wouldn't become met with such fervour if this were a German or Bengali language discussion group talking about Shakespeare in those languages. The real question is how far back you have to go in a language before works are allowed to be translated into current parlance without somebody claiming it's a travesty.

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Dumbing down of Shakespeare: The translations Thousands of teenagers across the country are studying 'dumbed down' Shakespeare plays at school, it has been revealed.

It's interesting that this issue wouldn't become met with such fervour if this were a German or Bengali language discussion ... go in a language before works are allowed to be translated into current parlance without somebody claiming it's a travesty.

I think a few years ago I would have harrumphed about it. Now, as I have learned more about very different Shakespeare's English actually is, I don't have an objection at all. Linguist John McWhorter has said that he finds listening to the plays difficult. The words are the same as they sounded in Shakespeare's day but the audience experience and understanding is quite different, and those qualities should be the essence of theater.

Richard Yates
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It's interesting that this issue wouldn't become met with such ... translated into current parlance without somebody claiming it's a travesty.

I think a few years ago I would have harrumphed about it. Now, as I have learned more about very ... Shakespeare's day but the audience experience and understanding is quite different, and those qualities should be the essence of theater.

Good acting will convey the proper meaning for most speeches. Since the words of Shakespeare are the important thing about him, rewriting the dialogue into some sort of hip modern language is really like turning Romeo and Juliet into West Side Story, a valid exercise but certainly not a way of performing Shakespeare.

When done well this sort of translation can create its own work of art, e.g., Kurosawa's rendering of King Lear as the movie Ran. But it takes another artist to do it right. Come to think of it, that's how Shakespeare got most of his stories.
** DAVE HATUNEN (Email Removed) ** * Tucson Arizona, out where the cacti grow * * My typos & mispellings are intentional copyright traps *
I think a few years ago I would have harrumphed ... different, and those qualities should be the essence of theater.

Good acting will convey the proper meaning for most speeches.

But schoolchildren study the written version
Since the words of Shakespeare are the important thing about him, rewriting the dialogue into some sort of hip modern language is really like turning Romeo and Juliet into West Side Story, a valid exercise but certainly not a way of performing Shakespeare.

The exercise described here is creating an addition to the text, not a substitute.

John Dean
Oxford
Good acting will convey the proper meaning for most speeches.

But schoolchildren study the written version

And will, if given rewritten versions, miss the poetry of Shakespeare's language, lose the iambic pentameter (unless the new version is written that way, too), and fail to realize what a huge variety of commonly used phrases come from Shakespeare's works. Oh, and miss a valuable lesson in the evolution of language.
Dana
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It's interesting that this issue wouldn't become met with such ... translated into current parlance without somebody claiming it's a travesty.

I think a few years ago I would have harrumphed about it. Now, as I have learned more about very ... Shakespeare's day but the audience experience and understanding is quite different, and those qualities should be the essence of theater.[/nq]I think the problem here is the premise of "dumbing down" Shakespeare The matter at hand is not "dumbing down" but "updating" Shakespeare to make it easier on students. Shakespeare's language was undoubtedly somewhat more stylized and poetic than your average Elizabethan's on the street, but it was* everyday English at the time, and just because it sounds all "fancy" and "highfalutin'" to students today doesn't mean that it was, or that it needs to be *recited in loud, echo-chamber vibrato with preposterously enormous gestures.

(I doubt that Hamlet pondered the option of suicide in a deafening, quivering ponderous voice accompanied by grandly campy stage blocking.) Still, I think it's a disservice to convey this by changing the language. I had a fantastic English teacher in HS who guided us through the text, showing us both its everyday relevance and how to interpret it, so we could appreciate the text as the cool (?) and curiously contemporary story it was while making an effort that was, in the end, really rewarding.

I have no problem with modern-setting Shakespeare if it's presented as such, but to change the words to make them easier on impatient brains mollified by sound-byte-sized attention spans isn't doing anybody any favors.
I think a few years ago I would have harrumphed ... different, and those qualities should be the essence of theater.

I think the problem here is the premise of "dumbing down" Shakespeare The matter at hand is not "dumbing ... change the words to make them easier on impatient brains mollified by sound-byte-sized attention spans isn't doing anybody any favors.==

nothing wrong with learning another language
...and Elizabethan English is a different language

learnin *** iz always good !
IMHO odz bodkins!
I think a few years ago I would have harrumphed ... different, and those qualities should be the essence of theater.

I think the problem here is the premise of "dumbing down" Shakespeare The matter at hand is not "dumbing ... the cool (?) and curiously contemporary story it was while making an effort that was, in the end, really rewarding.

My teachers generally found it helped increase class interest if they pointed out the bawdy puns.
Dana
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