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Caves, Temples & Palaces

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Juliet’s biting reference to Romeo as “a gorgeous palace,” when she hears that Romeo has killed her cousin, contrasts with Romeo’s earlier reference to Juliet as “this holy shrine.” Both metaphors are echoed about fifteen years later near the end of Shakespeare’s career when Miranda in The Tempest speaks of Ferdinand in a similar figure of speech.
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Video: Jonjo O’Neill as Richard III

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Jonjo O’Neill as King Richard III, in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2012 production
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Richard III and the Sonnet

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“Now is the winter of our discontent” is nearly as familiar as Hamlet’s, “To be, or not to be” and Mark Antony’s, “Friends, Romans, countrymen”. Not one of these three passages is a dramatic dialogue. Mark Antony addresses a large Roman crowd in an extended speech. Hamlet muses to himself in a soliloquy while we the audience listen in.
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Birds — Martial and Marital

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In Hamlet (1.1.432), a cock trumpets in the morn, a bird more fitting to the combative nature of Hamlet than the lark that heralds the morn after the first night of marital bliss in Romeo and Juliet (3.5.6).
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Status of Women

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Celia and Rosalind engage in an intellectual discourse on questions that might today be expressed as: “Is it better to be born talented or lucky?”, “Is it our genetic code or our environment that most shapes us?”, “Are women by nature or by misfortune disadvantaged in their status compared with men?” When Celia and Rosalind use the word natural, as in “Nature’s natural”
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Sonnets in Romeo and Juliet

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Shakespeare, who had begun writing his sonnets sometime in the 1590’s, decided that the form would be useful in Romeo and Juliet. In fact, he wrote four sonnets in the play. The first, spoken by a chorus, opens Act 1. The second appears in Act 1, Scene 5, and it is dialogue spoken by Romeo and Juliet.
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Hamlet’s Last Soliloquy

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Hamlet’s final soliloquy appears in earlier quarto versions of the play but is omitted from the First Folio. Scholars continue to debate reasons for this.
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Love and Water

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The Comedy of Error’s concluding dialogue between Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse neatly ties up an underlying theme of this farce, that true love — brotherly, marital or other — renders the lovers indistinguishable, “Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother.” But this metaphor of the mirror at the end of the play is a shift from the similes of drops of water that recurred previously.
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Hamlet’s First Words

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Hamlet’s first words in the play, about being more kin than kind, are an aside, not to another character but to himself. This Hamlet’s first and shortest soliloquy. Fittingly, they introduce Hamlet’s propensity for seeing a situation in two different and opposing lights, and his inclination to muse on his condition to himself rather than to discourse with another character.
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Appearance and Deception

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A recurring theme in many of Shakespeare’s plays, and central to Much Ado About Nothing, explores how easily people are deceived not just by the false testimony of others but even by their own senses. Claudio, believing he was deceived by Don John, learned to place no trust in the words of others. With “Let every eye negotiate for itself,”
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