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Twelfth Night

Elisabeta and I just finished another Shakespeare play... which she approved of more than the last (All's Well That Ends Well). Basically, it's another big tangled romance..... that ends happily.....

Honestly, it's hilarious! I'm not going to tell you plot.... you should just go watch it. I watched THIS production. The actors etc are AMAZING!

So... my favourite lines......

"Methink you are a fool."

"O time, thou must untangle this, not I; It is too hard a knot for me to untie."

"Ay, he does well enough if he be disposed"

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."

"Be not afraid of greatness."

"There is no darkness but in ignorance."

And yeah, this play is such a comical mess.... :-) It's sooo funny.

All's Well That Ends Well

It all starts with a forlorn maiden... one of lowly class... who is desperately in love with one of high status. After having received her love's mother's blessing in her effort to find a way to make the match work, she heals the king of a terrible malady and demands as payment her choice of husband. She, of course, picks her love.

However, her love disdains her for her lack of noble title. After much threatening from the king, he agrees to marriage.

~pauses in telling plot to rant~
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, is this maiden (Helena) DAFT? Marrying someone who has been forced to marry you is a recipe for disaster. Resentment, anger, and frustration and going to build up and explode into divorce or worse. BAD IDEA!
~continuing on in telling the plot~

Screenshot By ME
Her love, Bertram, hating his new wife, flees to fight in the war, leaving his wife at his mother's house. Realizing what happened, Helena feels horribly guilty for chasing him "from thy country," and decides to leave in hopes that he will return home and be spared from the horrible war, though knowing that she could never be a beloved wife of his.

Knowing that her husband would not call her wife until she had born him a child, and swearing that would never happen, Helena tricks her husband, bears him a child, confronts him, and says she is his wife.

It's a bit of a confusing romance... and also kinda boring. The best line is at the very end: "Mine eyes smell onion, and I weep anon." Other than that, it was just okay.

And here is Elisabeta's two cents: "We keep doing romances." (rolls eyes here...) "I'm sick of them. We need to do something FUN like Macbeth... or maybe we can go do Julius Caesar again..."

Soon, Elisabeta. ;-)

The Merry Widows of Windsor

I just barely finished the Merry Wives of Windsor and am two days behind in my Shakespeare reading! I'll have to do a second play today and two tomorrow, but that's fine. I really enjoy Shakespeare.

Anyways, The Merry Wives of Windsor is a tangled mess of attempted affairs, thwarted affairs, and humor. All in all, it was enjoyable but one of the harder ones for me to understand.

Moving on....

Here are my favourite lines:

"All of his successors, gone before him, hath done't; and all his ancestors, that come after him, may..." XD

"Why sir, for my part, I say the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences" (and then the next line, by another Mr, is, "It is his 'five senses'; fie, what the ignorance is!)

"All is in His hands above."

"Hang the trifle, woman; take the honour."

"Sheath your impatience."

"You were wont to be a follower, but now you are a leader."

Romeo and Juliet: A Tragically Tragic Romance

I just barely finished Romeo and Juliet.

Wowza, wowza, wow.

I mean, almost-fourteen and seventeen is WAY too young to marry............. But I guess Juliet's father was determined to get her married anyways.... BUT STILL.

So here are my thoughts on it...

It's all going well, according to plan, etc., until Romeo shouts "I defy you, stars!" Then his actions get himself and his tragically young wife killed.

Stupid Romeo. (To go on a tangent, at one point, Romeo was totally out of control and had given up all hope and the friar demands, "art thou a man?" My answer: "Romeo art not a man... for he hath the immaturity of a boy." Poor Juliet... she got way less that she deserved.:-()

The friar (a representation of God) had everything perfectly under control, the perfect plan to heal their families and allow them a "happily ever after." But then came the tragic line: "I defy you, stars!" It is at that point that Romeo abandons the plan, and kills himself, causing his distraught wife to kill herself as well.

So basically, everything was running smoothly until Romeo defied God.

Likewise... God has everything in control in our lives. It is all going to plan and it will come out perfectly wonderful in the end if we do not defy his will and try to take fate into our own hands. As we are not all-knowing, we are just going to ruin everything and "kill" ourselves and those we love.

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.

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."

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.

Be Obsessed Or Be Average

On Monday, I read this uber inspiring book called "Be Obsessed or Be Average." It's legit the coolest book I've read this year... so far ;-) (You can find it here)

Published in 2016, best selling author Grant Cardone lays out his secret to success- being obsessed. In other words, finding what gives you satisfaction and meaning, and then chasing it!

If you do decide to read it (which you totally should!), I highly recommend doing all the activities therein. It will make your experience 10x better... (get it? that's a pun... Grant Cardone also authored The 10X Rule.... ;-) which is going on my to-read list).

And you know what, it's a very liberating read! The idea that I can live with passion and totally not listen to anyone who says other wise is, while not new to me, still exciting.

I think this is one of the most important books that Gen Z's and Millennials can read. If everyone read (and applied) it, it would completely revolutionize our educational system, our families, and our culture.

A New Way To Read: Part Three: Lessons From Otulissa

Hello people,

This is my second update in my New Way to Read. So I only had the chance to read one book this week (because I accidentally put holds on the WRONG book :-() but I got some really good stuff out of it anyways. Only one is Otulissa-related, so that's all I'm sharing this week. Don't worry... next week's will be way more... meaty.

So, cue the anticipation music.... dun dun dun....

And without further ado, I give you the lesson I got from The Golden Tree (which is book 12 in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series)...

-Know when to say no!

Does that make sense, or not? If not, allow me to explain.

This one is about respecting yourself and your limits. For example, if your schedule is packed full, and someone wants you to do something more, its best to say NO. If someone wants you to do something that will harm yourself or others, it's best to say NO.

And so on and so forth...

But also... make sure you say yes when it's time to say yes.