King John Prep, Day 5: Dictionary Work by (support my work)
Published: Mon, Sep 22, 2014; Updated: Sun, Mar 13, 2022
Reading time: 2 minute(s) (400 words)

King John Prep

Day 5: Dictionary Work

This is part of a series on preparing my role for a ShakesBEERience reading of King John.

Here’s a bit of text from my sides for tonight’s reading of King John:

Here's a stay That shakes the rotten carcass of old Death, Out of his rags! Here's a large mouth, indeed, That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and seas, Talks as familiarly of roaring lions As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs!

And here’s what I did with this (and most of my script) today:

Here'sHere is; "At this point in the argument", "in this place", "in this context" + "exists [something]"
a stayOne + "Hindrance", "A prop; a support", "A fixed state", "Restraint of passion"
That shakes(and that thing) + "To move or remove by agitating", "To cause (something) to move rapidly in opposite directions alternatingly", "To disturb emotionally; to shock", "To dance"
the rotten"In a state of decay", "Bad or terrible", "Cruel, mean or immoral"
carcass"Body of a dead animal", "Body of a dead human", "Framework of a structure, especially one not normally seen"
(of) old(belonging to) + "having existed for a relatively long period of time", "Of an earlier time", "Excessive, abundant" (obsolete), ancient
Death"The personification of death, often a skeleton with a scythe, and one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse." Also: Azrael, the Grim Reaper, the reaper, the pale rider, the rider, the angel of death, Santa Muerte, the Shinigami, psychopomp, Abaddon (the Destroyer), Angel of Life and Death, Angel of Dark and Light. Anagram: hated. From Wikipedia: "In Roman Catholicism, the archangel Michael is viewed as the good Angel of Death (as opposed to Samael, the controversial Angel of Death), carrying the souls of the deceased to Heaven."

This sort of detailed, word-by-word approach really allows you to understand the text, and to delve into meanings that might not be immediately evident. Shakespeare’s language, as poetry, is necessarily dense & complicated, with vast meanings compressed into very little language. These meanings are ready to spring out into fullness when spoken aloud, if the actor speaking them carries all those meanings in mind.

All definitions from Wiktionary.

Read the next post in the series.