Life is but a stage, says Will

My girlfriend told me a great joke: A lady was asked if she’d ever read Shakespeare, to which she snorted, “Yes, but it was just a bunch of cliches!”

In her less-than-enriched world.

As we know, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Twelfth Night

Some never learn that, “The better part of valor is discretion.” Henry IV

For, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Hamlet

“Truly, what fools these mortals be!” A Midsummer Night’s Dream

And, specifically for our lady …
“Get thee to a nunnery!” Hamlet

April 23rd is William Shakespeare’s birthday. He’s around 456 years old. This date comprises one of the cosmic clumps in my life, for April 23rd is also the birthday of our youngest grandchild, James, who is turning seven; plus, it’s the birthdate of a dear friend’s husband, as well as the date of his passing. There’s great significance to this last coincidence, for Dr. Roger Gross was a renowned professional Shakespearean scholar, director, actor, composer and playwright. Dr. Gross taught Shakespeare and playwriting at the University of Arkansas and wrote a marvelous book entitled, “Shakespeare’s Verse,” which scrutinizes and explains with masterful authority how properly to scan Shakespeare’s writing.

I’m currently rereading Macbeth. I guess I just can’t get enough of those witches, which, incidentally, originally were played by men.

The main reason I’m taking on this darkest of Shakespeare’s tragedies is that Malcolm III figures prominently in the play. Yes, that Malcolm, the husband of Queen Margaret of England, about whom I’m writing my trilogy. I’m half-through Book Two’s manuscript, which centers on the Norman Conquest. Book Three is all about Malcolm and Margaret.

In Macbeth, Malcolm and Macduff rise up to defeat King Macbeth, with Shakespeare giving Macduff the honors of beheading Macbeth. This is most likely dramatic license, or else post-Shakespeare scholarship has simply decided differently. You’ll want to hang with me through Book Three to find out. In the meantime, for me to read Shakespeare’s character of Malcolm, while continuing to research the historic Malcolm, is another cosmic clump, which makes my life fuller and more meaningful. And it’s so cool.

“To thine own self be true.” Hamlet

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare, Roger Gross and James Bowman!

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