How The Bard and the Bible began

I get mixed reactions when I tell people about my book, The Bard and the Bible (A Shakespeare Devotional).

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The Right Mind

This week’s episode (here) of The Bard and the Bible Podcast pairs the boasts of the mysterious Glendower in 1 Henry IV with the Apostle Paul’s admonitions to humility in the pattern of Jesus Christ from Philippians 2:5-11 in the King James Version of the Bible.

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My 10 Favorite Shakespearean Clowns

Falstaff 08One of William Shakespeare’s many literary gifts was the ability to create and develop memorable characters: kings and queens, villains and heroes, lovers and losers, and more. Some of his greatest creations, to my mind, where his fools and clowns (and, yes, I know that scholars draw distinctions between “fools” and “clowns” in Shakespeare’s works. I grant that, but I’ll lump them together).

Here is a short list of my favorites, the first and foremost being, of course:

  1. Falstaff (1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV)
  2. Dogberry (Much Ado About Nothing)
  3. The gravediggers (Hamlet)
  4. Nick Bottom (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
  5. Puck (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
  6. Costard (Love’s Labours Lost)
  7. Feste (Twelfth Night)
  8. Touchstone (As You Like It)
  9. Dromio of Ephesus (The Comedy of Errors)
  10. Dromio of Syracuse (The Comedy of Errors)

Who are your favorites? And in what order?

(photo from the Arizona Opera’s production of Verdi’s Falstaff, based on Shakespeare’s character)

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Glory and Grace

In this week’s episode (here) of The Bard and the Bible Podcast, we pair Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) with Isaiah 35:1-10 in the King James Version of the Bible.

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Shakespeare’s Best Soliloquies

Everyone knows “To be or not to be,” right? That memorable line kicks off Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquy. Shoot, the most famous soliloquy. So obviously, that speech from Hamlet is number one. But what would the rest of the best be? At least according to me? Here’s my rankings of the best soliloquies and monologues.

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  1. “To be or not to be,” Hamlet.
  2. “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,” Macbeth.
  3. “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” Julius Caesar. 
  4. “What a piece of work is a man,” Hamlet.
  5. The St. Crispin’s Day speech (“What’s he that wishes so?”), Henry V. 
  6. “This royal throne of kings,” Richard II.
  7. Shylock’s monologue (“Hath not a Jew eyes?”), The Merchant of Venice. 
  8. “Upon the king,” Henry V.
  9. “Now my charms are all o’erthrown,” The Tempest. 
  10. “Is this a dagger which I see before me?,” Macbeth.

 

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Dreams and Mysteries

new episode on The Bard and the Bible Podcast is now live (it is also easy to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes).

bard-and-bible-podcastIn this week’s episode, Shylock’s soliloquy in Act III, Scene 1, of The Merchant of Veniceis followed by verses from Paul’s letter to the Romans (Romans 12:19-21) in the King James Version of the Bible.

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My 10 Favorite Shakespearean Insults

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I have posted many artful insults from Shakespeare on this site (here and here, for example), so readers of this blog will know the Shakespearean insult is an art form I appreciate. So I thought I’d take a few moments to list my favorites in the genre, in no particular order:

  1. “I do desire we may be better strangers” (As You Like It Act 3, Scene 2).
  2. “You starvelling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish!” (1 Henry IV Act 2, Scene 4).
  3. “You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!” (2 Henry IV Act 2, Scene 1).
  4. “His wit’s as thick as a Tewkesbury mustard” (2 Henry IV Act 2, Scene 4).
  5. “Thine face is not worth sunburning” (Henry V Act 5, Scene 2).
  6. “Thou whoreson zed , thou unnecessary letter!” (King Lear Act 2, Scene 2).
  7. “Thou lump of foul deformity” (Richard III Act 1, Scene 2).
  8. “More of your conversation would infect my brain” (The Comedy of Errors Act 2, Scene 1).
  9. “You peasant swain! You whoreson malt-horse drudge!” (The Taming of the Shrew Act 4, Scene 1).
  10. “Thou sodden-witted lord! Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows“ (Troilus and Cressida Act 2, Scene 1).

What do you think? Do you have any favorites not listed here (there are so many to choose from, after all)?

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