Happy birthday to the Bard

I was once asked, “If you could go back in time and meet any one person, who would it be?”

My immediate answer: William Shakespeare.                      William Shakespeare

Sure, there are a few others, i.e. Abraham Lincoln, Plato, Edgar Allan Poe, etc.  But my first choice would be the Bard.  I mean if I could step into my time machine, (assuming that I had a time machine), and go back in time, my first stop would be Stratford-Upon-Avon, or London, England in the late 16th or early 17th century.  The location in England would depend on the date that I arrived there; Shakespeare was born, raised, and retired in Stratford, but he lived in London for most of his life.

Today is April 23rd, 2013, William Shakespeare’s 449th birthday.  (I’ve also read that it’s National Talk Like Shakespeare Day.  I haven’t found any other sources to back this up, but I like the idea.  I don’t do it though, because hardly anyone would know what I was talking about, and I would probably only receive odd looks from anyone that I said this to, “Good day, how art thou?”)

So in the birthday spirit of, in my not-so-humble opinion, the greatest playwright who ever lived, I am wearing my ‘Got Shakespeare?’ tee shirt, and writing this blog.

Now, I’m not going to go into Shakespeare’s life story here.  Plenty of websites and books do that as it is.  But I figured that I would give phrases that were coined by Shakespeare, and give a list of my six favorite Shakespearean plays in chronological order, and their characters.

Common phrases attributed to Shakespeare:

It was Greek to me. (Julius Caesar)

What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. (Romeo and Juliet)

Bated breath. (The Merchant of Venice)

To thine ownself be true. (Hamlet)

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

All that glitters is not gold. (The Merchant of Venice)

Dead as a doornail. (Macbeth)

For goodness’ sake. (Henry VIII)
Devil incarnate. (Titus Andronicus/Henry V)
Elbow room. (King John)
Eaten me out of house and home. (Henry IV, Part 2)
Fancy-free. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Good riddance (Troilus and Cressida)

‘Tis high time. (The Comedy of Errors)

Knock knock! Who’s there? (Macbeth)

In a pickle. (The Tempest)

In my mind’s eye. (Hamlet)

Much Ado About Nothing (Title)

All’s Well That Ends Well (Title)

Parting is such sweet sorrow. (Romeo and Juliet)

Time is out of joint. (Hamlet)

Once more into the breach. (Henry V)

What’s past is prologue. (The Tempest)

Star-crossed lovers. (Romeo and Juliet)

Pomp and circumstance. (Othello)

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnets 18)

Primrose path. (Hamlet)

Pound of flesh. (The Merchant of Venice)

Something wicked this way comes. (Macbeth)

Henry V

Henry V

The course of true love never did run smooth. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Play fast and loose. (King John)

The short and the long of it. (Merry Wives of Windsor)

Double, double, toil, and trouble. (Macbeth)

There’s the rub. (Hamlet)

This mortal coil. (Hamlet)

Lord, what fools these mortals be! (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Wear my heart upon my sleeve. (Othello)

A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse! (Richard III)

What’s done is done. (Macbeth)

Too much of a good thing. (As You Like It)

What the dickens? (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

Wild-goose chase. (Romeo and Juliet)

These aren’t all the phrases attributed to Shakespeare, but some of the better-known phrases of our time.

My favorite Shakespeare plays:

The Comedy of Errors:  favorite characters:  Antipholus of Ephesus and Dromio of Ephesus

Romeo and Juliet:  favorite character:  Mercutio

Much Ado About Nothing:  favorite character:  Benedick

Henry V:  favorite characters:  Henry V and Bardolph

Hamlet Kenneth Branagh

Hamlet with Kenneth Branagh. “Alas, poor Yorick!”

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark:  favorite characters:  Hamlet, Horatio, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern

Macbeth:  favorite character:  Banquo

Note:  Mercutio and Benedick, along with Philip Faulconbridge (King John), are my favorite Shakespeare characters.

So once more, Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare! And if time travel ever becomes available in my lifetime, I just might meet you one day.

And now I pose this question to you: If you could go back in time and meet any one person, who would it be?