Shakespeare’s Women

If I were to save a piece
of Will, from all the pleasure
he has given me, I’d need
the wit of Beatrice
to sway my choice
and the cunning of the Nurse
to keep it to myself:
the women who populate
his plays, living on today
in modern Mirandas and Violets,
Ophelias, Lady Macbeths,
Cordelias, Katherinas, Juliets,
to name a few, beating in my heart,
a sisterhood of poetry, of which I’m part.

Kim M. Russell, 23rd April 2020

Miranda (The Tempest) - Wikipedia
Miranda (The Tempest) by John William Waterhouse – image found on Wikipedia

My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads NaPoWriMo Day 23 Play it Again in April 2020: The Bard

Kerry was the host on Saturday 23rd April, 2016, the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and, possibly, birth. Because the recording of births was not compulsory, his baptism was the only clue to his date of birth, written in the Parish Register at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon on Wednesday, 26th April 1564. As baptisms typically took place within three days of a birth, and parents were instructed by the Prayer Book to ensure that their children were baptised no later than the first Sunday after birth, it’s unlikely that Shakespeare was born any earlier than the previous Sunday, 23rd April.

Kerry’s challenge encourages us to approach the topic of Shakespeare in a different way. She says that our world is very different to the one he inhabited, and many would question the relevance of his work today. If we could save only one piece of his body of work – one name, one line, one title, one sonnet, one play – which would it be?

As I’m merging this prompt with Kerry’s Skylover Wordlist, sourced from Dylan Thomas’s poetry collection Deaths and Entrances, from which the twenty-third word is ‘cunning’.

This prompt was trickier than I first thought – and then it ended with a rhyming couplet!

16 thoughts on “Shakespeare’s Women

  1. Having watched King John in early March at Stratford,my goodness it seemed relevant to today and Brexit! Two years ago, we saw Macbeth, a play all about what people will do to get power. All they did was put the costumes and setting to modern Britain (which King John did too), and you saw modern day politicians…

    The prepared to be bored teenagers from a local school in the rows in front of us were completely wrapped up in the play, and stood and cheered for ages at the end. Good acting, and a relevant setting, and you don’t need to change a word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to go to an open-air production, like The Pantaloons, or The Globe. Luckily I have some DVDs left over from teaching. I’ll watch one of them tomorrow! I still enjoy Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado.

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      1. I went to a pop-up Globe performance of As You Like It in Melbourne a couple of years ago. It was fantastic! Men playing the women’s roles too, actors joking from stage with the groundlings, and some anachronistic and brilliant interpolations of pop songs. As well as heaps of talent.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think Shakespeare’s did a great service to his heroines by giving them a voice, personality and purpose. Very ahead of his day in all things.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely agree! His women were are thing of substance and beauty 💝😃 I especially love; “I’d need
    the wit of Beatrice to sway my choice and the cunning of the Nurse to keep it to myself.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I ADORE your take on this! And addressing him as Will….just warms the heart and your crush on this man and of course, so many women must feel the same…over and over and over as they appear again and again in a new rendition of a play, a new reading, or just reading his words as we sit at home with a glass of wine in hand. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s been a life-long crush, Lill. I’ve never had crushes on film stars or musicians (except Henry Rollins) but writers have always attracted me, and Will is the greatest for me.

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