“Bad” Version of Hamlet

Recently I was told to go and admire the badness of Hamlet (Shakespeare) in Quarto 1. Apparently, it is known for is outright awfulness and is thought to be a pirated or first draft of Hamlet. After scanning through, I agree its pretty bad; however, I’m no scholar of Shakespeare so I cant determine how bad by any means. First off, after scanning I noticed that the character ‘Polonius’ is refereed to as ‘Corambis’ which is weird. Also ‘Reynoldo’ is now ‘Montano’ which is also confusing if you’ve read Othello. But those seem like minor details to me.

One of the most famous speeches in all of Shakespeare’s play is Hamlets “to be or not to be” speech. In normal copies of the play, this occurs in the 3rd act after establishing why Ophelia ‘randomly’ runs into Hamlet. However, in this version it happens in Act I, scene 7 and throws that whole scene off. Instead of it focusing on one or two things, it jumps all around and it filled with all kinds of randomness. It becomes of jumble of important plot points all wrapped into to one scene (not a good plan). Guilderstone and Rossencraft are mixed in that scene(about being spies), with Corambis talking to Hamlet (fishmonger) after he talks to Ofelia (go to a nunnery), and then the players of the play Hamlet is planning are also present. Basically its a mess of things thrown it to one scene.

Also in Quarto 1 is the stage directions; they are weird. (enter the ghost in his nightgown?) Besides that, the scene I previously mentioned has one part that of stage directions missing that seems pretty small but it helpful. When Hamlet first enters the scene, it just says he enters. However, in copies now it says he enters reading a book. In Quarto 1, I suppose it doesn’t really change that scene all that much; its a mess anyways. But, in copies now, it helps establish the ‘craziness’ Hamlets has fallen into. Hamlet reads the book while talking to Polonius/ Corambis and then starts talking about the words and their meanings. Essentially, showing the audience he’s kinda losing it. And that’s not there in Quarto 1; which makes the play even more ‘bad’.

Besides missing parts, changing names, and bad stage directions, I’m sure there is other stuff missing/ changed that adds to the badness of that version. Those are just a few examples I found that stuck out to me.


Hávamál- stanza 22

Recently I was led to the “art of manliness” webpage, and the 80 Viking Wisdom Sayings article. These saying are known as the “Havamal,” or “Sayings of the High One.” It is a basically a huge collection of Norse poems that offers advice. After looking through some, I found verse 22 very interesting to me. It says:

A miserable man,
and ill-conditioned,
sneers at every thing;
one thing he knows not,
which he ought to know,
that he is not free from faults.

I took that saying to mean (in modern English): a rude person who judges and thinks they are above everyone else is foolish. They cannot see that they themselves have faults too.

I like that saying/reminder a lot. Its very important to remember not to criticize other people for things they do or have. Not only does it make a person look bad, but it also makes them seem like they belittle everyone around them. And they also seem to forget that they themselves have just as many faults as those around them. I think that while off to college or having any new experience it is important to remember that advice. Everyone is in the same boat in college, new and (for the most part) having no idea what to do. No one is better than anyone else. If they think they are, then they are probably blind to their faults.

In literature, a connection could be made to Brother Jack in The Invisible Man. He critiques the narrator numerous times, telling him exactly what to do and how to do it. Though Jack seems to be trying to better the narrator, he criticizes him and everything he does. At the same time, Brother Jack is blinded (literally) to his own flaws, as well as the Brotherhoods problems. All that ultimately leads to bigger problems for everyone.


Copies of Othello

I looked at 3 different versions of the play Othello by Shakespeare. I first looked at the First Folio which is definitely different than the millions of copies of the play floating around today. Starting off, the actual words and look of the First Folio is different than modern books or plays. I like that though; there is a definite beauty to the printing and books from back then. It’s much prettier to look at than today’s books. Besides that, the wording and spelling is slightly different (but, what can you expect? Everything changes over time). Also, an odd thing about that version is the last word, whether speech or a character’s name, is on the bottom right hand corner of the previous page. I’m not sure why they would do that; maybe as a preview for the next page.

I also looked at the Third Folio and that style is also it that version. I also noticed the spelling more in this one, like the way ‘murder’ or ‘ho’ was spelled: murther, hoa. And the shape of a ‘s’ is different too (in this one and the First Folio as well), more exaggerated and took me a second to become accustomed to. Again, I was more distracted by the actual look of the text, rather than the text. The style of writing/printing and layout of writing of that era is just prettier to look at compared to today’s works.

Finally I looked at the version in Quarto 1. Again the spelling is different, this one to me was the most different looking (I skimmed). Also this one has the thing with a word being in the bottom right hand corner. I would like to know why that was done; what was the reasoning behind it; whether it was just stylistically or grammar rules of that time period. In the three copies I looked at, I read Act 5, Scene 2; it is the climax of the whole play and the writing is very well done. All the copies were slightly different from each other, yet the same. The message of the scene came across in them all. However, compared to modern copies, they are definitely different. But, in all honesty I think I like the older translations better than modern ones.

“As The World Falls Down”

So recently many great artist have passed away that helped shape the music we listen to now. While I know of the others and listened to their work, I love David Bowie’s music most. And though he has numerous songs that are amazing, I have a special place in my heart for “As The World Fall Downs”. I first heard this song years ago when I watched Labyrinth where Bowie starred as the Goblin King. This movie to me was great (kinda weird I’ll admit) because of its totally 80’s vibe with some fairytale characteristics thrown in. It’s also the first time I was introduced to Bowie and his unique sound and style. The scene this song is featured in is also one of my favorite scenes too, definitely had a magical, princess/weird evil prince feel to it.

The song itself I love too. Probably because it reminds me of the movie, but also because of the music and melody; the opening notes have a huge 80’s vibe to them which I love. It seems like a simple melody, but sometimes those are the best. The way he sings this song adds to its amazingness too. When he sings the lyrics his voice changes throughout the whole song and has such an uniquely Bowie sound. I also like the lyrics (they are a little creepy considering he sings this to a 16 year old girl in the movie). They have a very somber, sad quality that holds some truth; sometimes love is not an amazing thing, it can hurt. Overall, this song has a special quality to me, whether it be from the movie, the lyrics, the sound, the artist, or all of it combined; I really like it. Watch the movie, listen to the song and appreciate the very signature style of David Bowie.

“As The World Falls Down”
There’s such a sad love
Deep in your eyes.
A kind of pale jewel
Open and closed
Within your eyes.
I’ll place the sky
Within your eyes.

There’s such a fooled heart
Beatin’ so fast
In search of new dreams.
A love that will last
Within your heart.
I’ll place the moon
Within your heart.

As the pain sweeps through,
Makes no sense for you.
Every thrill is gone.
Wasn’t too much fun at all,
But I’ll be there for you-ou-ou
As the world falls down.

Falling down.
Falling in love.

I’ll paint you mornings of gold.
I’ll spin you Valentine evenings.
Though we’re strangers ’til now,
We’re choosing the path
Between the stars.
I’ll leave my love
Between the stars.

As the pain sweeps through,
Makes no sense for you.
Every thrill is gone.
Wasn’t too much fun at all,
But I’ll be there for you-ou-ou
As the world falls down.

As the world falls down.
As the world falls down.
Falling in love
As the world falls down.
Falling in love
As the world falls down.
Makes no sense at all.
Makes no sense to fall.
As the world falls down.
Falling in love
As the world falls down.
Falling in love
As the world falls down.


Othello Excerpt Translation

Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO, and Attendants

I think this tale would win my daughter too.
Good Brabantio,
Take up this mangled matter at the best:
Men do their broken weapons rather use
Than their bare hands.

I pray you, hear her speak:
If she confess that she was half the wooer,
Destruction on my head, if my bad blame
Light on the man! Come hither, gentle mistress:
Do you perceive in all this noble company
Where most you owe obedience?

My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband,
And so much duty as my mother show’d
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.

God be wi’ you! I have done.
Please it your grace, on to the state-affairs:
I had rather to adopt a child than get it.
Come hither, Moor:
I here do give thee that with all my heart
Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart
I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel,
I am glad at soul I have no other child:
For thy escape would teach me tyranny,
To hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord.

Unfamiliar words-
1. Mangled matter- this confusing, unpleasant situation
2. The wooer- to seek the affection, favor, or love of
3. For thy escape- if they were to leave me
4. Clogs- an encumbrance or impediment

Contemporary English translation-

DESDEMONA, IAGO, and attendants enter

I think a story like this would win my daughter also
Try to make the best out of this unpleasant situation
Men often use broken weapons, instead of useful things

Please, let her speak:
If she says she wanted this also
Then blame me,
I won’t blame Othello! Come here, my child.
Who do you follow?

I’m torn on my duty:
I’m bound to you because you provided me life and education
Those things have taught me
How to respect you; you’re the one I have to obey;
I am your daughter: but he is my husband,
And like my mother decided to follow you
Choosing you, over her own father,
I have to give my obedience
To the Moor, my husband.

I’m done, then.
Duke, please continue with your business
I would rather adopt a child, then be handed one
Come here, Moor:
I am going to give you my blessing on this marriage,
Which you already have, but with all of me
I would try and keep it from you. Desdemona,
I am glad you are my only child:
If I had others and they tried to leave, I would become a tyrant
And try to lock them up. I’m done here.

Figures of speech:
“Men do their broken weapons rather use, then their bare hands”
– Men often fight against what they can’t fix with useless things instead of choosing an obvious alternative
“You are the lord of duty”
– Your my father, I should respect you and follow you
“I had rather to adopt a child then get it”
– I would rather choose my own children then be forcefully given one through my daughters marriage

I like how the figurative language (metaphors, etc.) added an extra meaning to the characters speech. Most were an underlying insult- very passive aggressive phrases. They all added a subtle humor to a pretty serious situation. Instead, of characters saying mean things outright (especially in front of the governing people in that town) there speech would have slightly subtle message within it. I enjoyed the humor it added to this scene.

The Hateful Eight

Recently I went to see “The Hateful Eight,” the 8th film by Quentin Tarantino. This ‘western’ (not really) is both written and directed by Tarantino and has all his trademarks: dark humor, comedic violence, and lots of profanity. Unlike some of his other movies with an intricate plot line, “The Hateful Eight” is relatively straightforward. Basically, 8 people are stuck in cabin due to a blizzard and nobody trust one another. The movie is called “The Hateful Eight” for a reason; none of the 8 characters are really ‘good’ guys (a few have qualities that could cause viewers to favor them over others, but that’s as far as it goes). I personally, really enjoyed watching it (even though it was over 3 hours). While the characters aren’t ‘good’ they each have their moments that add to the darker humor in the film, and based on that reason (and the good dialogue they all share) I liked all of them; some more than others though. Back to the dark humor and comedic violence; this film is filled with it. I like that aspect of Tarantino’s films- it adds a quality that I find very entertaining- but if you are not into constant profanity and lots of gore/ blood splattering everywhere; this one (and his films) isn’t for you.

Also, this movie was shot in Ultra Panavision 70 process, and I think it added to the feel of the movie, and made it that more amazing. The movie itself was shot beautifully, especially the sweeping shots of the mountains and landscape,  (also, it was shot as if it were a play, with Act 1, Act 2, etc.- which is cool). The acting was great, as well as the interaction between characters. Finally, one of my favorite aspects: the musical score composed by Ennio Morricone. I definitely feel like music adds a great deal at a movie, and this one did not disappoint. It was amazing. You’ll have to watch to see.

Overall, this movie was well written, had great cinematography, an incredible score, great acting and I highly recommend it.

Gardner’s Letter

About four decades ago, a teacher and a few of her students sent a letter to John Gardner about “Grendel.” He replied and explained a little more in depth his books meaning and a variety of other things. First off, he talks about the original story: Beowulf. Gardner writes that in it, a central message is everything ends (kinda depressing). At some point in time, no matter how hard a person may try otherwise, every action taken or words said or piece created, will cease to be important. He then goes on to explain why his book is far more optimistic than the original work. Gardner says as a novelist, his job is to explore the meaning of things (and not “ram it down the reader’s throat”). But, in his entire letter Gardner does kind of force these ideas upon the reader, and basically outright call anyone who doesn’t understand a child. However, since Gardner is an amazing philosophical writer I guess he can do that.

Also in his letter, he elaborates on the scenes where Beowulf and Grendel interact. Grendel is so fascinated and excited by Beowulf’s arrival because he sees this as an opportunity to end his loveless, meaningless life. And even then, Beowulf is more then what Grendel wanted; he has “the intelligence to force Grendel to see his mistake”. Gardner also talks about the wall scene in “Grendel” and how that physical wall is supposed to represent life’s walls (love, death, people, etc.). Gardner says towards the end that his art, and all art, is there to help the reader understand things he or she didn’t before. Everyone may get something slightly different out of a work, but the central meaning is there. In “Grendel”, Gardner says the central question is “that if the world really is meaningless (as it now stands) how should I live?” However that is interpreted is up to the reader, not Gardner. Personally, I found the letter to be really interesting and Gardner’s personal writing had some (because I can’t think of another word) sass to it.

The Lighted Window

The Lighted Window

Sara Teasdale

I think this poem is about an adult losing their childlike self. Honestly, this poem is a bit depressing to me. In it, a man tells someone that he hurried down a sidewalk and got distracted by all the decorations a storefront has. But, just as he became really excited, he remind himself that he is an adult and needs to leave that behind. Like, I mentioned: depressing. Considering I am ‘supposed’ to be an adult, I shouldn’t love Disney or Christmas decorations or animated kid movies; but I do. I feel like this poem is purposefully sad and somber. Losing the qualities you had as a kid is a sad thing; losing the trust kids have, the excitement, energy, etc.. Once we become adults all those characteristics are replaced by busyness, and distractions, and tiredness. I feel like I do see moments of childlike excitement in the adults around me, but then I have also seen them reel it back in to their adult self. Though sad, I like the poems message and the truth behind it.

In “the Lighted Window” imagery is the device that sticks out to me. The descriptions the poet gives all the things in the window is exciting. Everything is described as amazing and contributes an upbeat, energetic tone. However, there is a shift in the poem. Its starts out normal then begins to build with excitement. But, before that excitement can go anywhere, it’s cut off completely as the person in the poem remembers to be the adult. Then it drops to somber and melancholy as they once more become an adult and lose their “boyhood’. Also the repetation the poem has helps the reader understand a shift. It begins by explaining a man hurrying down a sidewalk in winter; distracted by things. But, then he sees the shop. At the end, the poet restates that he is walking down sidewalk after losing his boyhood. That repetition helps the reader understand a return to the adult world.

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies



    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp cornstarch
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup unflavored vegetable shortening
    • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • For the cookies:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger for 20 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, shortening and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks one at a time. Mix in pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Scoop dough out and shape into 3 Tbsp balls (I just filled 1/4 cup 3/4 full). Place on Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets (you’ll only be able to fit about 8 per sheet, these are fairly large cookies), and using your fingers lying flat, evenly flatten cookies into rounds until they are slightly under 1/2-inch thick. Bake in preheated oven 11 – 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool frost with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. Store in an airtight container.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Dahomey Amazons

Women have historically not been allowed to fight in wars due to the “frailness” of them. However, in West Africa during the 19th century the Dahomey Amazons, an all-female military, was known as intense, highly skilled and trained warriors. This military was comprised of women known as ahosi or kings wives. They were called ‘Amazons’ because people observing them noticed similarities between them and the Amazons of ancient Anatolia and the Black Sea. There are a few myths of how these warriors came to be. One them is that a group of women went and hunted some elephants and then told their king that they would rather fight men over animals; the king then drafted them into his army. Another myth is that the King’s palace guards were made up of his 3rd ranking wives, who then eventually became these epic warriors.

These warriors were known for their bravery in battle. They were highly skilled and had intense physical exercise and practiced discipline at all times. Early on they carried spears and clubs, then later on they became skilled with rifles and modern weaponry of the time. In the beginning there was about 600, but King Gezo expanded the female corps to 6,000. This army of women was also known as “Black Sparta,” because of its fierce militaristic quality bent on conquest. When the women found enemies they often decapitated them. The French also lost many battles to them since the women possessed skill in battle that was equal to that of elite male soldiers from large colonial powers. These women definitely seemed like the 19th century badass (And kinda what Mary-Anne became in The Things They Carried).