Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shakespeare: Pompous Scribbler or Badass Editor?

Shakespeare is sometimes rejected by readers for being too flowery. Ironic, considering that the wide dispersion of his phrases saves us bundles of words whenever we use them.

It is often highlighted how embedded in our language the Bard's writings are. His words have become household words. Even the term "household words" comes from Shakespeare (Henry The Fifth). But using his lines shouldn't make you feel pretentious. His lines are often the shortest distance between two points.

Instead of saying, "Whatever he is feeling is obvious by the way he looks," you can say "He wears his heart on his sleeve" (Othello). 4 words saved.

Instead of: "Just because something looks good doesn't mean it is," you can say, "All that glitters is not gold" (The Merchant of Venice). 6 words saved.

Instead of: "The one guy I thought was on my side...he stabbed me in the back too! " you can say "Et tu, Brute?"(The Tragedy of Julius Caesar). 13 words saved.

You not only save words by quoting Willie Shakes; you do it with a veneer of refinement.

Too bad so many shy away from Shakespeare unabridged. The Bard was the ultimate abridger!

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