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How to Survive a Shakespeare Play

August 10, 2011

Survival Tips if you find yourself stuck in the Bard!

When you find yourself stuck under the playwright’s pen, any and all clues should be taken into account as to which play you are in and what character you are. Also, there are some general principles to follow for any caged thespian.

#1 If everyone starts dying, you’re in a tragedy. Run away, just RUN. Do not stop, do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

#2 If everyone starts falling in love and wanting to marry each other or staring at the moon longingly, you’re in a comedy.

#3 If you are able to see the reality of situations or what’s going to happen but no one actually listens to you, you’re the Fool and have a pretty high survival rate. Unless it’s King Lear. Then watch out for bloody minded critics, men, and ropes.

#4 If your name is Antonio, you are most likely homosexual and your love interest will marry off. See The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night.

#5 Don’t hide behind curtains. Never a good plan. See Polonius on the consequences of such an action.

#6 Always wait for the mail to arrive before doing any drastic action. I don’t care if you have to wait days. It might save you and your beloved’s life.

#7 Don’t do drugs.

#8 If your name is Claudius or Claudio or some such derivative, things may not go well for you all the time.

#9 Don’t poison your brother! He’ll die eventually anyway! And then your nephew will have major angst and then kill you after an appropriate period of emo poetry.

#10 If everyone is ragging on Jews, then you’re in The Merchant of Venice.

#11 Look to your name for clues as to who you are, especially prefixes. See BenvolioMalvolio.

#12 Monitor your consumption of ale. If you drink a lot, you may be Sir Toby or Sir Andrew or Falstaff.  If you’re Claudius however, things might not go so well.

#13 If somebody else looks a lot like you, then you’re a twin.  Twins=comedies.

#14 Listen to your wife. Unless you are not actually married to her, just mistaken for someone who is. See Comedy of Errors.

#15 If nature is all stormy or topsy turvey or going batshit crazy, something bad is going to happen and/or is happening. Oh, and you might want to pack an umbrella. And watch out for lions and restless ghosts.

#16 If you’re the king at the beginning of the play, you are really screwed because a major plot point of the play is your downfall.

#17 If you are king, don’t divide your kingdom into three while you are still alive. Those 100 knights? Not going to protect you. Abdicate completely and run.

#18 Remember, love is seen in actions and cannot be measured in words. Words are too malleable and easily used to deceive.

#19 Watch out for fairies. And magical plants.

#20 To thine own self be true.  Know thyself and your character’s faults so then you can’t be used against you. See The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

#21 If you are transferring from a city to the forest or other place of natural wonder, you’re in a comedy.

#22 Doing acrobatics and have magical abilities? See Ariel or Puck.

#24 If your true love suddenly and inexplicably falls in love with someone else, having a mud-fight with your best friend may make you feel better, but will not solve your problem.  Understand that he or she is under the spell of a fairy flower and should be contained until the fairies fix it.

#25 Battles to the death are rarely ever good ideas

#26 If you are defeated in battle and then put under house arrest, they are going to kill you eventually. RUN AWAY. Go into hiding and poetize from there.

#27 Don’t listen to the three witches you find on the side of the road in the middle of Scotland.

#28 Don’t use analogies or stereotypes as actual arguments.  See Brutus

#29 Pretending to be dead so your love will remember himself and come back to you in the worst plan in the history of ever. He’s going to kill himself to be with you! See Antony & Cleopatra

#30 If you are male, decide if you will be a killer/ruler or a lover and stick to it. If you choose lover, don’t listen to what society says and just be with your love. If you choose killer/ruler, tell your love so you can then get past the awkward breakup stage and move on.  You have to choose.  You can’t have both. See Romeo & Juliet and Antony & Cleopatra

More to come!


From → Fiction

One Comment
  1. This made me snort for an extended time.

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