O For A Muse of Fire

Since there’s a big 450th birthday party for Shakespeare going on this weekend at Statford, I think this is appropriate for a Sunday blog.

I caught a #Shakespeare450th tweet from @MargaritaMorris earlier this week asking people to share their favorite opening lines. You can find her blog here and read her about page here. Here’s my response:

That’s the first line of the Prologue from Henry V.  That’s not necessarily my favorite play, but it’s in my top 5. It is, however, my favorite opening. It frames Henry as an epic hero translated onto the stage. Here are two film versions of the Prologue.

First, Sir Derek Jacobi’s complete prologue from the 1989 Kenneth Branagh version.

And a truncated version from the 2011 movie Anonymous. I like this one because they made some effort to reconstruct the Elizabethan stage, and the delivery of the lines is very good.

I’ll be done with the A to Z Challenge at the Writing Catalog on Wednesday, so you’ll be seeing a lot more of me here, on twitter, and on your comment threads, by next weekend.

Take a moment in the next couple of days to enjoy a snippet of Shakespeare, and have a fabulous week. Feel free to share your favorite opening lines or other favorite moments from Shakespeare on the thread.

5 thoughts on “O For A Muse of Fire

    • Julius Caesar and Coriolanus are my top two. It gets hard after that. Adding Henry V only leaves two more slots for a top five. And I rate Othello, Measure for Measure, and The Comedy of Errors all higher than Macbeth, which was my very favorite at one time, and certainly would be in the top 10. It’s a great story, but I find some problems with it as a play, and I regard some of the things he does with the prophecies as narrative parlor tricks.

      Aside from Corilanus, which is rarely performed, I’ve seen all those I listed acted professionally on the stage at least twice.

      And we haven’t even talked about Lear, Hamlet, the Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, or 12th Night (which I absolutely love – it could go in my top five in place of the Comedy of Errors, but there’s just not room for them both).

      :Henry V definitely has the best opening, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this and mentioning my blog! I very much enjoyed the video clips. Derek Jacobi is a wonderful actor and the second clip really captures the Elizabethan stage. Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Banned Books Week Social Saturday | Just Gene'O

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