All posts by Joie Atejira

BioSci and English major.

Neologisms in Troilus and Cressida

Photo 2015-04-05, 11 51 09 AM
Neologisms starting from act III onwards.

Starting off with “pander” from 3.2.206, except this word wasn’t coined by Shakespeare. The word originated from the character Pandarus; its meaning derived from the character’s role as a go-between in the various adaptations of the love story of Troilus and Cressida (or Criseyde). Shakespeare simply reinforced its meaning with its use in Troilus and Cressida, as explained by the Oxford English Dictionary:

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Next is “unplausive”, seen in 3.3.43. My little annotation on the first picture above shows the word means “disapproving”, as taken from OED as well:

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“Unplausive” is a word we don’t use as much in modern language (its last cited use was in the 30’s). Even its opposite, “plausive”, is considered rare.

Another word that Shakespeare coined, and is now obsolete, is “rejoindure” (4.4.35). According to OED, the word seemed to be only useful in early 17th century up to mid 18th century.

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Not all words or new meanings Shakespeare invents dies during his time. “Appalled” (4.5.4), in which Shakespeare coined a new meaning for, is still used today (its first two meanings of being “made pale” or being “flat or stale” are now obsolete). That is, we use it more in the context of simply being  “dismayed”, and not exactly as “bereft of courage…at the sudden recognition of something dreadful”.

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Another is “multipotent” (4.5.130), its usage did not die in the Elizabethan era. Though this isn’t exactly used in our daily casual conversations, but nevertheless it’s not considered obsolete.

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“Consigned” (4.4.44), too, is a word still used today, especially in business transactions. Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 12.38.32 PM

Then we have “untraded” (4.5.179), in which Shakespeare made up a new meaning for, and seemed to have been only used once in Troilus and Cressida. Even in its other contexts, this word is also obsolete.Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 12.43.59 PM

“Expectance” (4.5.157) is still around today, but is no longer used exactly in the context that Shakespeare invented. It is more commonly used as “anticipation”, and this newer meaning is derived from its older meanings.

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Lastly, we have “bragless” (5.10.5), which isn’t considered obsolete yet, but something we don’t use in modern language. Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 12.55.51 PM

Through these neologisms in Troilus and Cressida, we see how influential William Shakespeare has been in the English language. Though not all of the words he makes up last, some are still used today, or used at some point in time, or became the basis for the evolution of other meanings.




Voyant – Sonnet 147

Here’s an analysis of Sonnet 147’s structure to back up its meaning, using Voyant.

The sonnet, on the surface
The sonnet, on the surface

Sonnet 147 is about the speaker who seem to have failed in love, and now sees it as what caused his sickness upon realizing that his beloved is not what she truly seemed to be.

As you can see, the love-disease metaphor is very prominent in the sonnet.

Lexical set on being sick
Lexical set on love sickness, mostly appearing on lines 1-10.

But since there are various of them pertaining to being sick, and not one being repeated, the figure below says differently. The significant words and metaphors are all far from the center, when in fact they actually carry the meaning.

Just because they're not repeated doesn't meant they're not important, Voyant.
Just because they’re not repeated doesn’t meant they’re not important, Voyant.

Then, in the middle of the sonnet, some emotional and mental states are explored.

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They’re not the speaker’s emotions, however, but Reason’s (personified).

Starting at line 11, the speakers stops talking about being sick and he gets real. In lines 13-14, the speaker reveals the exact cause of his disease.

The speaker's beloved turned out to be "shady".
The speaker’s beloved turned out to be “shady”.
And this revelation is at the couplet at the end.
And this revelation is at the couplet at the end.

The speaker has a case of love sickness, but a different form. I guess Love Sickness B, in which the person has contracted this disease by being tricked into believing his beloved was a wonderful person.

So that’s William Shakespeare’s sonnet 147, perfect for one’s (untruthful) long list of ex-lovers.


A Review on Stratford Festival’s King Lear

Since I was not able to make it to the March 7th screening at Cineplex Crowfoot, I drove all the way to the Scotiabank Theatre at Chinook last Sunday to see Stratford Festival’s King Lear performance. The almost 45-minute drive and the 3-hour duration of the film performance were well worth it because it was a great watch. Though it only seemed to cater to the tastes of elderly people (I was the youngest person in theatre), it was actually engaging and I did not feel like I had to endure watching it.

As the filmed performance begins, the stage at the centre caught my eye. I found the polygonal shape of the stage with the few steps surrounding it interesting. Then, Act 1 rolled in and I saw how the specific way the stage was built created a unique placement for the characters. It made the view more appealing and shows which character the viewers should focus on. I also found that the staging went accordingly with some of the implications in the play–like after Cordelia was stripped off of her crown and inheritance, and she stood by the steps the whole time, shows how she is no longer of importance to her father and that she is looked down upon. This unique stage set-up is not just for the aesthetic, it reflects some ideas in the play and gives a non-monotonous view, which other theatres whose stages simply face the audience cannot provide.

And since this performance was filmed, I found that the camera shots had an additional effect into giving various points of view as well as showing which characters to focus on. The main reason why I found this production more lively and interesting is the various camera shots, and not just filming the play in one angle. As well, it gave a more elaborate perception on how some parts of the play were interpreted. The tilted camera view when King Lear was under the rain, which goes so well in showing he’s going mad; the close-up shot with Cordelia and King Lear finally reuniting, really giving focus on the emotional scenes; and the low angle shot, such as when King Lear and Edgar as Poor Tom were speaking, implying how low they have reached because of people betraying them. It is hard to understand a Shakespeare play when you are witnessing the performance before you read the text, but Stratford Festival’s production made it not seem so.

Another thing that makes this play stand out is the lighting. I found it really effective in conveying the mood of various scenes, such as when Edmund was plotting and the lighting was dark, or when King Lear was satisfied with his daughters’ proclamation of love, where the lighting was bright. Just how the lighting worked in the play was really fascinating and eye-catching. The cleverly crafted lighting was also used when transitioning between scenes, and it was very effective and it made transitioning seamless.

The music, though usually faint, was cleverly used for transitioning and I like how the music is crushing and loud as the scene opens with the antagonists. I specifically liked the music when Edgar fights Edmund. The music remains subtle but still gives rise to suspense. If the scene was left with just the swords clattering, I might have fallen asleep.

This staged performance of King Lear might have been simple, not even using a lot of props, just a few ones. Yet, all these simple production techniques—staging, lighting, music, and cinematography—were all creatively conducted that the entire play is now added in My Favourite Film Performances list. Stratford Festival’s King Lear is also making me want to check out their other Shakespeare performances.