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Shakespeare Bootcamp: Challenge Accepted

I just decided to make a change to how Shakespeare Bootcamp works. In addition to reading a play every school day for two weeks (ten plays total), participants also need to memorize a passage, speech, or stanza from one of the plays they read.

Elisabeta is going to do the poem in the leaden casket in the Merchant of Venice; I am going to memorize Mark Antony's speech in Julius Caesar.

And then we are going to recite it... and record our recitations... and post it on here! So start looking for it in about a week... maybe a week and a half.

Yay! Hooray for challenges! (I love challenges... if you couldn't tell already ;-))

Antony and Cleopatra, er, Julius Caesar

As I told you earlier, I had been planning on doing Antony and Cleopatra next. However, I couldn't find a good video to follow along. Too much 'passionate kissing' (it is about an affair, so what did I expect?) and also ten minute clips of productions.

So I went with Julius Caesar, which is my second favourite Shakespeare play.

I found this video... and it was really good. Definitely a tragedy. Like, all the good guys die in the end, usually by suicide or else aided suicide. So yeah. But there's some great speeches in there!

Like Mark Antony's speech "Friends, Romans, country men, lend me your ears" ........ holy cow, what a wowzer. The way he takes a crowd hating Caesar and praising his assassins, to loving Caesar (and, of course, Antony) and going off to murder Caesar's assassins....... just wow.

And holy cow this post is gonna be long... ;-) so grab a few cookies, stretch, and settle down.

Okay, here are some of my favourite quotes from the play:

"Men at some time are masters of their fates: / the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / but in ourselves, that we are underlings."
"What you have said/ I will consider; what you have to say/ I will with patience hear"
"Awake and see thyself[!]"
"and what other oath / than honesty to honest engaged/ that this shall be, or we will fall for it?"
"Cowards die many times before their deaths;/ the valiant never taste of death but once."
"Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more."
"The evil that men do lives after them"
"A friend should bear his friend's infirmities"
"Good words are better than bad strokes"
"This was a man!"

Okay, now to my thoughts on it:

Brutus did it all wrong.

But still, let us learn from him (wow I'm waxing poetic, it must be the listening to Shakespeare for 2.5 hours straight); for in our lives, we will each be called upon to, in one way or another, stand up against tyranny.

Brutus started out doing okay: he considered the matter instead of rushing into it rashly; he refused to form a secret combination ("No, not an oath!... do not stain the even virtue of our enterprise.").

And then from there it went all wrong.

1. He participated in cold blooded murder (okay... maybe this is an exception to the rule... I'm still thinking about it).
2. He attacked other people offensively, instead of defensively
3. He did the same thing expecting different results
4. He gave up and committed suicide

So what should he have done?

1. Persuaded the Senate to give a trial to Caesar (with his "power of speech" I'm sure he could have managed something; plus, he had quite a few friends in the Senate)
2. Allow the enemy to attack first (fight defensively)
3. Tried new, innovative ways to fight the wars
4. Had the end in mind- like, how will government be organized/ who will rule when this is over/ etc
5. Never give up! It is never as hopeless as it seems...

Okay, but now I want to point out something else.

The American colonies rebelled against Britain; the French rebelled against their king.

One revolution worked; the other failed spectacularly.


Allow me to point out a few things that determine the success or failure of any revolution.

1- The rebelling citizenry have a classical education! In other words, they have read all the great books, discussed all the great books, and they are great thinkers! In the American revolution, it wasn't just the founders who had an amazing education, it was, to a large extent, everybody!

2- Bring God into it. The French were, at that time, a people who 'worshipped' science and atheism. The American colonists knew there was a Supreme Being, worshipped that Supreme Being, and believe (to a large extent) that he was involved in the affairs of man.

3- Have the end in mind. The French wanted to not be ruled by a king. The American people wanted to live in a free society. Big difference there, and that difference is clearly spelled out in their results: the French lived without a king (at least for a while); the American people lived in a free society.

So, going through those three things: do you think that the revolution Brutus helped spark had that classical education; a belief and worship of a Supreme Being; and had the end in mind?

I don't know about how it actually played in real life, but it is my opinion, that in the version of events that Shakespeare lays out for us, that he had none of those things.

And that, is why he failed.

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice has been the most interesting of tales from Shakespeare Bootcamp...

Basically, this young man (Bassanio) is in love with this girl (Portia) who is condemned by her late father's will to pick her husband by a queer method: to have three chests (one of silver, one of gold, one of lead) and one will have her likeness in it, and her suitors have to guess which chest has her likeness in it, and if they guess right, then wedding, if not, kick them out.

Bassanio has a friend of his borrow a large sum of money, Bassanio wins his lady but gets news that his friend has failed to pay the debt back and must give, as his penalty, of pound of the flesh closest to his heart (yuck!). And then... No. I'm not telling what happens next.

It is maybe my third favourite Shakespeare play. Macbeth is definitely #1, the Julius Caesar is #2 (because Brutus' speech is the coolest speech ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)), and Merchant of Venice might be #3.

So here are some cool tidbits I got from this play:

"Let none presume to wear an undeserved dignity"
"O! that estates, degrees, and offices/ were not deriv'd corruptly, and that clear honour/ were purchased by the merit of the wearer!"
"Some there that be that shadows kiss/ shall have but a shadow's bliss"
"There is no vice so simple that assumes/ some mark or virtue on his outward parts"
"You that choose not by view..." (to paraphrase) shall get the better part.
"He is well paid that is well satisfied."

Yeah... this play is super good. I highly recommend it!

Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona was a very interesting Shakespeare play to read.

It's basically this really 'complicated' loves story.

Guy #1 falls in love with Girl #1; Guy #2 falls in love with Girl #2; Guy #1 goes to visit Guy #2 and falls in love with Girl #2. Guy #1 betrays his friend, Guy #2, and woos Girl #2; meanwhile, Girl #1 decides to surprise Guy #1 by going to visit him (in guys clothes, which is a huge deal in the late seventeenth/early eighteenth century), and learns that Guy #1 is wooing another woman; Girl #2 absolutely scorns Guy #1; and then, somehow, Guy#2 and Girl#2 and Guy#1 and Girl#1 fall in love they way they were in love at the beginning and live happily ever after.

One thing that ticks me off: Guy #2 freely forgives Guy #1 for getting him exiled, and for slandering him. Like, what? How?!?!?!?! I guess forgiveness is a different matter than trust... one can forgive without trusting... right???

I think it was really interesting to see their allegiances.

Guy #1 (Proteus): Self
Guy #2 (Valentine): Good/God
Girl #1 (Julia): Good/God with maybe a tiny bit of self in there?
Girl #2 (Silvia): Good/God
the Duke of Milan, and father to Silvia: Money/wealth/power

Shakespeare Bootcamp: Report

I've told you about Elisabeta and I going to boot camp? Well, we are right in the think of it.... safe at home on my very cozy bed!

The first Shakespeare play I read was Henry V, then Two Gentlemen of Verona, and just yesterday, the Merchant of Venice, which I really enjoyed.

How I did the Two Gentlemen of Verona and the Merchant of Venice was, I found a production on youtube and then played it while following along in my book. So much easier to understand when you do it that way, you should definitely try it out!

Oh, and here are the links to the videos in case you want to do the same:

Two Gentlemen of Verona And holy cow the actors do a good job! Especially whoever it is who played Julia... just wow!
Merchant of Venice One problem here? They totally skip the last scene! Which is a really important scene! So make sure you read the rest of the play as well... if you read it aloud it's way easier to understand that if you read it in your mind. ;-)

And today I'm going to do Antony and Cleopatra.

Doll Shoes, Pairs Three and Four and Five

I made more doll shoes! Again! Already!

Last night, I made three pairs.

One of baby blue, one dusty pink, and one navy blue.

Only one worked. ;-) That's fine though, because I identified WHY they didn't work so now I know what I did wrong.

So here are pictures of the pair that worked:

And so let me explain why the other pairs didn't work:

So the navy blue pair, I accidentally made one of the shoes inside-out because I wasn't paying enough attention to what I was doing, and I only realized that AFTER I had finished the pair, using up all the trim in the process. So, I couldn't redo it. :-( It was even my favourite pair!

And the pink pair? Well I cut them to have a fringe, except, it's impossible to get the shoes ON without all the fringe ending up wedged in so you can't even see it! Other than, of course, the odd tuft here and there making it look like these shoes are in the middle of falling apart.....

But I am not deterred. I shall continue to make doll shoes until I have mastered the craft.

Doll Shoes, Pairs One and Two

A while back I said that I wanted to learn how to make doll shoes. Well I finally got around to making my first two pairs. I was super bored last night, so I just sat down and made them. It was sorta stressful but also super exhilarating.

I drafted my own pattern (because why not?) and used this tutorial.

First I made a maroon and baby-blue pair, then a cream and blue pair.

They're not perfect but I am very proud of them (these are my very first and second tries, after all). ;-)

Thoughts On How To Train Your Dragon (Books Five): How To Twist A Dragon's Tale

Nothing is pure good or pure bad.

One event, one action, can lead to another, which leads to another, creating the beautiful and somewhat unpredictable web of life.

And while we can't exactly plan the web, or even our own lives out, we can do The Next Right Thing.

We do not need to fret about yesterday or tomorrow, last minute or the next minute. If we focus on the present, if we keep asking ourselves and the Supreme Being what the next right thing to do is, and then do it, we'll be fine.

Even when everything seems against us, when it seems impossible, we must remember that nothing is impossible, only improbable, and get to work doing The Next Right Thing.

While the web of life might not be perfect, it is beautiful. It is a tale of challenges, heroes, and purpose. It is, of course, the story of life.

So why fret about what has happened or will happen?

All we need to do is focus on The Next Right Thing.

Henry V

So while reading Henry V, I found the following tidbits of wisdom:

"They would have me as familiar with men's pockets as their gloves or their handkerchers: which makes much against my manhood, if I should take from another's pocket and put into mine... I must leave them, and seek some better service." (Act three, scene one.)

Lessons as follows: 1) the sum of adulthood is not just of age, but of wisdom, knowledge and application of right and wrong, and following your conscious; 2) that we must be brave enough to see the truth; and 3) seeing the truth is not enough, we must use it to improve ourselves and the lives of those around us.

"O hard condition, twin-born with greatness..." (Act four, scene one.)

Lessons as follows: 1) greatness comes from conquering hardship; 2) those who are favoured are those who are tried (In other words, God gives trials to his chosen people to purify them to be better servants).

Shakespeare is a bit hard to read, but it's so worth it!

Time For Bootcamp!

So I mentioned earlier that Elisabeta and I were going to go to a bootcamp this summer.

Well, that's sorta true and sorta not true.

Here's the scoop:

Even though school is, technically over, it's time for me to sit down and really focus on reading those classics. I had this great idea to make a "boot camp" where I read a Shakespeare Play every school day! A mentor who I respect and admire very much suggested using one's summer break to do a big simulation. I decided to do a 'Shakespeare play a day.'

This will last two weeks, so by Monday the 8th, I'll have read at least nine Shakespeare plays.

I'm so excited! :-) ;-) :-)

The play I'm going to read today is "Henry V."

Summer Top #4

About two hours ago, I finished summer top four. This one, I have mixed feelings on, and I might end up altering it and taking out the cuffs. I don't really know yet, so we'll see.

Anyways, it's in the gorgeous pink fabric........... about three years ago, I made myself a pleated skirt with this fabric and it was my favourite thing ever until I grew out of it... and then I wore it a lot more... and then I finally had to admit that it was way to small and I needed to give it up. :-( But guess what... I found some more of that fabric, and used it to make this shirt! :-)

Summer Top #3

I have a few things to share in today's post:

First, I finished another summer top.
Second, do you know how damaging it is to be quarantined like this?
Third, school is officially over! LAU is done for the school year... so it is time for my studies to begin! ;-)

Okay, let's go through this a little slower.

School is done... so it's time for my studies to begin in earnest. Mark Twain once said, "I do not allow my schooling to interfere with my education." AMEN! So now that school is out, it is time for me to really dig deep into the classics. I'm so excited! :-) You'll get more book reviews and thoughts-on-books! ;-)

And my second thought, quarantine is super damaging to the economy! Do you know how much businesses are struggling to survive? CoViD19 is harsh on people, but our response to it is even harsher on people. Businesses=money=necessities of life. And besides, quarantine does little to 'stop the flow' of any disease, really, because people do have to go outside to get groceries and other necessities. Besides, families exist. You see people everyday (unless you live alone), you breathe the same air they breath, etc.

But enough about all that! Let's get on to the real reason I'm writing this post... Summer Top #3!

It's in a denim-looking cotton, with contrast-piping and ties in the back. It took a long time to work up but it was so worth it!

It's the first time I did piping. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Also, did I mention it ties in the back? That means adjustable waist definition! And I love my close-fitting shirts; tailored-ness is so comfortable, I just can't stand baggy clothes!

And the ironic thing? I am writing this blog post while wearing my VERY BAGGY pajamas. ~frowning~

Summer Top #2

Guess what I just finished! Okay, maybe it was 36 hours ago... but, you know. A summer top! Oh My Goodness, I'm so proud of it!

It took me about three hours in total to make... one hour to alter my pattern... (I used as my base my blouse pattern that I drafted for my 1950s blouse) an hour and a half to put it all together... and a half hour to do that button loop. Which is kinda ridiculous, but hey, that's the first time I've ever done a button loop before.

A New Way To Read: Part Four

Holy cow, it's been a crazy week! I've had my last classes of the school year and I'm just finished day one of two of finals. And I still found time to read, so yay me! ;-) Oh, and I made myself TWO shirts! One is already blogged about; the other not... but it's coming!

And yes, this time I actually got a good book for my #newwaytoread challenge (Rivers of Wind, book 13). Sadly, I again only read one, because I was very busy reading Be Obsessed Or Be Average and No They Can't: Why Government Fails -But Individuals Succeed (which was a pretty good read).

But here it is...

~Knowledge opens up new worlds
~Be open to intuition; logic isn't everything

In other words, love learning and learn as much as you can (check!) but know that sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts and get to work.

So here is what I am going to do:
~Despite school closing this week, I'm going to keep on reading and learning, and, as I learned in another Guardians of Ga'Hoole book, discussing what I learn.
~I'm also going to do more than learn; for example, I'm going to spend more time with siblings, keep designing and sewing clothes (and learning new techniques!), eating and cooking yummy (but healthy) foods, biking and rollerblading, and keeping an eye out for new adventures and opportunities for growth.

More Doll Clothes

In a past post, I mentioned that I made some clothes for my 9 yr old sister's two Springfield dolls, Abby and Mia. Well, I finally got around to sharing pictures of them! Yay me! ;-)

I made four shirts (two for each of the dolls) and one skirt (for them to share).