Although I recognize that the general noder population is far more literary than the general population at large, I find quite often that even the most literary among us run into trouble with the bard. Here's a new (read: Better) way of looking at it, in a few painless steps:

Shakespeare is like sex.

Why? you ask. Sure he was bawdy and lewd, but most of his subtle penis jokes go straight over our heads in these days of T&A. *ahem* "Why, then is my pump well-flower'd," and "Give us the swords, we {women} have bucklers of our own," among others. Use your imagination for those. Get your mind into the gutter.

Shakespeare is like Sex, however for the following reasons:
The first time you do it, you're fumbling all over the place, unsure of what goes where or how. Hell, maybe it even hurts a little. There are all these crazy sweaty pieces that are supposed to fit comfy together and make some happy sort of thing. We all know that is not exactly what happens. "Ow! Ouph... Ah, yes right there- OW! wait, maybe, no, now you, um, Okokok, like that?" *wiggle* That's all very well and good - for the first time. It takes a little practice to really be able to milk (so to speak) this stuff for all it's are worth. We're allowed to fumble a little bit. The first time.

But just think of how some people can never quite get the "good sex" thing down. (After all, beyond age... ok, "beyond virginity", if you will, the fumbling is just not pretty. Bad sex is... Bad. But that's for another node.) Sometimes, even the best of us cannot quite get the "good Shakespeare" thing down either: Dost thou kickest me cur thou ruffian? I spit in thee general direction!

How bout.... NO! Stop. If ya can't do it right, please, don't do it at all. Eugenics anyone? But don't despair either, I won't cut off your balls just yet, because anyone with a mind to CAN learn to do it right. There are schools (respectable ones!) that offer courses in tantric sex. I propose to you: Tantric Shakespeare.

In these modern days, we tend to approach Will Shakes in a Discovery channel Special: "Mating Behaviors Through the Ages" type way. Get over yourselves! Turn on the Playboy channel! Seriously, you'll learn more. Most places, Shakespeare is studied as literature, like Jane Erye or Great Expectations. BORING. Shakespeare is in the THEATRE, not the libraries. Theatre is alive, it's people, it's personal; it's nitty gritty not sleeping on the wet spot up against the wall limbs flailing shouting and moaning orgasmic fun. Literature can get kinky too, sure, but the study of it is seems to tend towards the missionary postion. This world hangs tight to some pretty strange Puritan-type morals. We don't like to let go with our horny, animalistic desires. It's too scary for us, too dirty! What if someone gets hurt? What if... we like it? We mustn't let that happen! Our mommies wouldn't approve, right?

Problem is, Shakespeare is meant to be performed, it is not meant to be read, not even to be read "as a play." We've all been told this a million times, and yet we continue to disregard it. He wrote the plays for the actors. Many parts in the script are written just for the actors. You may notice, that before nearly every entrance in every play, a character already on stage says: "Lo! Here comes so-and-so!" followed by a few more lines, and then the actual entrance of aformentioned so-and-so. This statement told so-and-so, waiting backstage, that it was time for them to get onstage, and then gave them the time to actually do it. (See: Role for more on that) The audience doesn't care that King whats-his-face is coming. They'll see him when he gets there. But the actors needed to know when to make their entrances, and Shakespeare was nice enough to tell them.

The half of the play that was not written for the actors was written for the audience. Now, obviously, every play is "written for the audience." But Shakespeare was a master manipulator. He knew his audience like nobody else. He knew how he wanted them to feel, and he knew how to make them feel it. He gave them what they wanted to see. And he used them like his... "bitches." It's a great S&M love triangle. And most librarians/English professors are not "down for whatever." Shakespeare doesn't want to be analyzed. He wrote the plays for the actors so that they could give it to the audience. He wants you to be there, breathing in sync with him, butterfly position, and making eye contact. What he dishes out is supposed to be fun for us all. This is no Wham-Bam-Thank You Ma'am. Shakespeare wrote nine minute screaming orgasms. Multiple Ejaculations! When you hit the Shakespearean G-Spot, you just know, cause it feels sooo good.

You wanna fuck Shakespeare like a porn star? Approach the play as if you were the actor. Imagine that you're trying to become these characters, and portray them to an audience clearly. Shakespeare didn't care so much about leaving some great literary mark. He didn't even own the plays, technically, after he wrote them. They belonged to the theatre and the company. All he wanted was to make money. In order to do that, he had to write something that people would want to see. He also had specific actors, the "principals" whom he had to write certain types of characters for. When he invented new words, it wasn't necessarily because he was having deep thoughts on the nature of the English language; it was because he needed something to rhyme so that he could have a nice end scene. Nearly every scene ended in a rhyming couplet. The audience expected this, and so when they heard one, they figured it was time for something new to start. Some scenes keep going after one character has made his rhyming statement. This signals to the audience that another character is being particualrly wordy, or that perhaps something odd is underfoot, and they need to pay closer attention. The character of Puck, for one, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, does almost nothing BUT rhyme. He's a faerie. That's weird in and of itself. But to distinguish him as the bad ass faerie that he is, Shakespeare gave him some mad jive talkin skills.

"When in that moment, - so it came to pass, -
Titania waked, and straightway loved an ass."

SO: Next time you bust out your First Folio, do it naked, armed with a cat-o-nine and covered in metaphorical whipped cream, cause that's the way Will wants it. Oh Baby!

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