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Shakespeare Five (part 1 of 2)

This week's Friday Five honors April 23rd as "the generally assumed birthday of William Shakespeare, based on records of his baptism and the traditions of the time." Like last year's 4/23 -themed set (which I answered here), the questions are all based on quotations from the Bard.


1. (Hamlet) If "brevity is the soul of wit," how witty are you?
Not at all. I am pretty long-winded, and I never pass up a chance to go off on a tangent.

That said, I must not consider brevity to be the soul of wit, as I do consider myself fairly witty.

2. (Love’s Labor’s Lost) When did you last play "fast and loose" with the truth?
A week ago, I didn't tell my parents the complete truth when they asked about my visit to the endocrinologist. To spare them the worry -- and to spare myself the nagging -- I seriously soft-pedaled the things she said about my blood pressure and blood sugar numbers.

That said, I have implemented every one of the doctor's suggestions for lowering those numbers.

3. (Othello) When did the "green-eyed monster" last rear its head?
I'm not usually a jealous person, but an acquaintance of mine had a book published within the last few months, and I'll confess to some stirrings.

4. (Macbeth / Disney's Beauty & the Beast) What has often required you to "screw your courage to the sticking place"?
Here's one that will surprise none of my regular readers. Every Sunday and Wednesday, I awake with a kind of dread in my heart, for on those days I face the impossible task of satisfying the musical expectations of certain very picky (though not necessarily very musical) people at church. Sunday, of course, is our worship day; Wednesday is the day the musicians rehearse. And no matter which of the days it is and what I may do on that day, it will not be enough for some of the squeakiest wheels. I need the job and theoretically think I have something to offer as Music Director, so I persevere ... but the pressure's intense. "Screwing courage to the sticking place" is actually a pretty good metaphor for my self-administered pre-game pep talks and the soul-tightening feeling that follows each.

5. (Hamlet) What’s a custom that you have found "more honor’d in the breach than the observance"?
This question instantly became harder to answer when I read the accompanying footnote. To wit, says the Friday Five blogger: "This phrase is often misused, according to this enlightening piece in the NYT. Hamlet was [actually] saying that it was more honorable to breach (that is, violate) the local custom of carousing than to follow it. [The phrace is now] usually used to mean 'more often broken than followed' or something like that."

And yes, I'm one of those people who's always used the phrase in the mangled sense. For example, chorus rehearsal at school is set to start at 12:15 p.m. on the days when the class meets, but in fact we generally have a hard time getting things going before 12:30. Usually around 12:29, someone will point out that we were supposed to start a quarter of an hour ago, thus "honoring" the rule "in the breach."

Or so I would have said. But now I like Hamlet's meaning better. You could use it to refer to civil disobedience (of evil laws).

(Click here for part 2.)

(Crossposted to Dreamwidth)