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“Out Damn Spot!” Said the Leopard | Fit for a Fool

By October 3, 2014 No Comments

Hello, foolery lovers! This week the mayor of London (you know the one with the mad hair) was heard quoting Shakespeare, who he dubbed “a great Midlands author”–a title we don’t hear very often. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Shakespeare called that. Here’s the man who quoted Shakespeare, Boris Johnson.

He quoted Henry V (the classic play to cite if you want to feel patriotically proud, it seems), picking the line: “He which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart.” The context was, of course, political. But it is interesting that he chose to quote Shakespeare, and not, say, a famous politician. Perhaps Shakespeare is more a man of the people than a big political leader, especially since the world is, for the most part, rather fed up with politicians. And who better for a man of the people than Henry, who is “but a man as I am,”–yes, you, me and Boris. I’m sure you’re bursting to see the highlights of the speech (and, no, I don’t mean his hair highlights). Click here for more, and see if you can spot the Shakespeare in the article below the video!

How often does someone bug–and I mean really annoy–you? Fear not, this latest video shows that Shakespeare’s insults are still easy to slip into conversation today! Last Christmas, I was bought a set of Shakespeare insult badges (not entirely sure what my friend was trying to say, nor that it’s always appropriate to walk around with a badge that reads “I do desire that we may be better strangers,” as it gives rather the wrong first impression). But this latest video from the Anglophenia youtube series shows that, if you use Shakespearean insults in the right context, they may serve you well. Don’t believe me, just watch and see.

Soon you’ll be spouting Shakespeare at your enemies, too!

In kids-related Shakespeare foolery, this week I read a post about Shakespeare: The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents Macbeth, a comic story with an inset play all about Macbeth “in which all the animals of the zoo sneak out of their cages by night to mount amateur productions of great dramas”. Macbeth is a lion, and his wife is a leopard–adding an even more comical dimension to the line “out damn spot.” It sounds like a cracking read and funny for kids and adults alike. And–don’t worry–there’s not too much blood or gore, only ketchup! Check out this post to hear about one parent’s experience with the book.

Are you ready to test your knowledge of Shakespeare? If so, why not try this quiz this week? It’s even got pictures to make the frustration of  the “I know it, ah, ah, what is it?!” sentiment we all know so well a little bit less painful!

For those looking for a little light relief, or wanting to revise Much Ado, I came across this website this week which is all about hip-hopping-rapping Shakespeare. Shakespeare asks the Janitor for ideas for a new play. Okay, it’s not quite the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but it is Shakespeare. Cool kids, this is your cue.

And, finally: struggling to find an adaptation of Hamlet and don’t think you can quite sit through Branagh’s lengthy production? Fear not, the foolery column has found this offering. What do you mean, that’s not Shakespeare? It’s got most of the basics! Until next week, foolery lovers, keep fooling around — Shakespeare style, of course!

Author Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters is a PhD student at Oxford Brookes University, England where she is currently researching female melancholia in the early modern period (as presented in Shakespearean and early modern drama and proto-medical treatises) and contemporary female depression. She is interested in all things Shakespeare related, particularly contemporary Shakespeare adaptation and appropriation.

More posts by Sarah Waters

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