BEDA Day 30: Shakespeare vs. Beowulf

[Disclaimer: I am very tired and very cranky because 90% of this post got deleted because WordPress randomly logged me out. Also, I feel ill. And I am tired. Did I mention how tired I am? I WANT COFFEE but I’ve already had two cups today and I won’t be able to sleep if I have more.]

YAYYYY MORE SHAKESPEARE POSTS!

Anyway. Second to last day of BEDA! (Ugh, thank heavens. I’m exhausted.)

Also, I’ve got the TV set to MTV for the first time in my entire life (MTV = trash) because for the first time in a long time THEY’RE ACTUALLY PLAYING A MUSIC VIDEO. Taylor Swift’s new one – in 7 minutes! ūüôā

Today was a pretty good day! I had my first religion class of the year, and not only do I have my teacher from last year, but I also have some of the most awesome kids from last year’s class! It’s really exciting! Plus, the new Lizzie Bennet Diaries episode came out today and we’re getting somewhere, guys! We’re not far from Darcy’s proposal – or however it comes out in this adaptation.

(ALSO. The Taylor Swift video… Weird. I could have done without the woodland creatures. But whatever. I love her anyway. :P)

So onto the topic of this blog post. Well. Okay. There isn’t really a topic. But just roll with me here, okay?

For history/lit this week I’m reading Beowulf. I like it, but it’s sort of a harsh contrast compared to my usual Shakespeare. The rhythm of it is awkward and hard to find. There isn’t really a flow. It’s sort of like really bad, choppy free verse poetry. Of course it isn’t, it’s a different type of thing altogether. Point is, I’m struggling with it. I tried to read it aloud but it just sounded like one huge run-on sentence. I want to enjoy it. But I also want to find the flow.

For example: compare these two passages.

“Then was Beow of the Scyldings a beloved king
for a long time, in the town-forts of the people,
famed among the folk–his father had passed on,
that king gone from his home–till to Beow was born
Healfdene the High, who nobly ruled the Scyldings
as long as he lived, old and battle-fierce.”

Beowulf, lines 53-58

vs.

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
creeps in this petty pace from day to day
to the last syllable of recorded time;
and all our yesterdays have lighted fools
the way to dusty death.”

Macbeth, Act V, Scene V

There¬†is¬†a rhythm to the first passage, but it’s awkward and you have to read it over and over, stressing different words, looking inside the lines to find it. There’s an entire introduction on the poetry of the piece that I’m going to read over. I’m actually excited for the challenge of this – adjusting to this new format.

But let me just fangirl over the Shakespeare bit for a second. Read it aloud. Feel the push and the pull of the lines… The rhythm.

“To-morrow,¬†and¬†to-morrow, and to-morrow,
creeps in this petty pace from day to day
to the last syllable of recorded time;
and all our yesterdays have lighted fools
the¬†way to¬†dusty death.”

Just feel it. Say it. The words, the similes… The last syllable of recorded time… Mmm. I just love it. It rolls off the tongue, the lines, the words, the rhythm. Perfect.

Plus, it’s Macbeth. It’s flawless.

Macbeth and Beowulf do have something in common, though: the main characters are both quasi-idiots. Beowulf is sort of obnoxious and really full of it, and Macbeth is kind of like, “Oh, yeah, maybe I should kill the king *derp derp*.” But Macbeth is rather poetic, and that makes up for it.

Beowulf, on the other hand…

“Well, my friend Unferth, besotted with beer,
you have brought forth much about Breca,
told tales of his venture! Yet I tell the truth,
that I have proved greater in sea-strength,
more of a match for the waves, than any other man.”
(lines 530-534)

Good on you, mate. Way to sound like a total egomaniac.

I leave you with two of my favorite Shakespeare passages from one of my many favorite plays.

“Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men are at some time are masters of their fates.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II

“‘Brutus, thou sleep’st! Awake!’
Such instigations have been often dropp’d
Where I have took them up.
‘Shall Rome, etc.’ Thus must I piece it out:
Shall Rome stand under one man’s awe?
What, Rome?
My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
The Tarquin drive when he was called a king.
‘Speak, strike, redress!’ Am I entreated
To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise,
If the redress will follow, thou receivest
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!”
Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene I

Ah, poor Brutus. Poor, gullible, too-noble-for-his-own-good Brutus.

“So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, ‘This was a man!'”
(Act V, Scene V)

~Hero

Who Am I?

Guys, I do not want to write this post. I want to watch Leverage, or sleep, or pretend that I’m not wearing my broken glasses lopsidedly on my face. Maybe I would go eat an empty ice cream cone, since we have the cones but no ice cream. Or maybe I would take that 75% full tupperware of melon downstairs to put in the fridge before it turns to mush! (Actually, I am going to do that. One moment, please.)

Okay. Back from the melon endeavor.

The reason I’m kind of wiped out is because I told myself that I was not going to write this post until after I finished at least PART of this paper on¬†Julius Caesar that’s due on Thursday. But I’m so tired, and cranky, and sick, and so easily distracted (having the internet back is both a blessing and a curse), that writing the small amount I finally wrote took me a good hour.

Hence it being almost 9 o’clock when I’m finally getting around to this. I almost pushed it forward another day, but that would be lazy – and since I just got back from my 46-day-long abandonment of you guys, I decided to make this post a labor of love and get over myself. (Speaking of love, that’s what Wednesday’s post is going to be about. Stay tuned!)

Before I go on, I wanted to mention a couple of things.

1. I just discovered this amazing thing on YouTube that Hank Green has started. It’s called the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and it’s basically a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in the modern day, in the form of a video blog. (Think¬†Dr. Horrible’s.) I’m a huge P&P fan, so I saw this and kind of geeked out. It’s hilarious, and you should check it out.

2. I’M GOING TO PROM! I’m so excited. ūüôā I’m not going to talk about it at all, because I don’t want to sound like it’s all I’ve been thinking about (even if it is), but, yeah. It’s going to be so awesome – my dress is amazing and only cost me $25! (Which is a good thing, since we just had to drop $200 on restoring my vision.) (…Yeah.)

So, I was thinking about what I should write this post on, and the first thing that popped into my head is identity. I’ve kind of been having an identity crisis since Saturday when I realized that my glasses are finished. Caput. No longer with us. I’ve had these glasses for three years, and now they’re dead.

I know that seems really overdramatic – I mean, they’re only a pair of glasses, right? The thing is, these glasses feel like a part of me. I wear them all the time – my friends almost never see me without them. I’ve met people who legitimately¬†do not recognize me when I’m not wearing them. And obviously they’re just glasses, but it’s been making me think: what is it that makes us who we are?

Obviously our personalities and our souls and all of that, but how much of our exterior appearance contributes to our identity? Is the Hero without glasses the same as the Hero with glasses? Not to those aforementioned people who don’t recognize her. Not to people on the street who maybe realize something about her because of the glasses.

It’s not just about glasses, either. Think about scars, for example. I have scars all over me – and they all have a story. I have a scar on my foot from where my friend Sunny accidentally opened a gate onto it. I have couple scars under my lip from when I fell off a bike when I was nine and almost bit through it. (My lip, not the bike.) Without these scars, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. And I’m not saying that having a gate opened onto my foot or biting through my lip were experiences that were turning points in my life. No. I’m saying that everything that happens to us shapes us, forms us. We are who we are because of genetics, yes, but also because of environmental factors. The Hero with the scars on her knees and the glasses on her face is that way for a reason. Those scars and those glasses aren’t key parts of her being – but they are parts of it, nonetheless, and as a result, they’re important.

Basically what I’m trying to say is: I really like these glasses. I wish I hadn’t been stupid enough to break them. ūüėõ

(By the way, in case you’re wondering, the correct response to the title of the post is: “I’M JEAN VALJEAN!” Feel free to add jazz hands.)

Thanks for reading. Talk soon.

Hero