lunes, 7 de julio de 2014

Working with monologues

Monologues, dramatic or comic, offer an interesting challenge for actors and students. The character often talks about another person or persons, so the actor must find how to bring them to life. Images. How do you use images to reproduce the essence of a situation or a character? The voice: what voice, what accent corresponds to the character you are interpreting? It is important to know the context and therefore it is important to read the entire play and especially the scene during which the monologue takes place.

        In preparing the speech you should ask yourself some key questions: Who is my character speaking to? Why does she say this? How does she feel? Is she sleepy, tired, drunk, and angry? What was he doing right before he spoke? Was he listening to another character or alone? What was the other character saying, and how did that make you feel? What are you going to do after saying the speech?  What happened to her to give her the urgency to say all of this?  What is the style of the piece? What are the character’s memories and what memories of my own can I connect with those of the character I am playing?  Whether the play is "realistic," or absurd, you should look for the true intentions and be as true as possible in your rendering of the situation. 
The structure of monologues is complex because they are part of a play, a bigger dramatic structure. Some may have only one basic idea; others may wander. It may begin by denying an accusation, for example, then maybe the speeker realizes that there is some truth to the charge and even ends up accepting his or her guilt or recponsability. Maybe we are expressing a feeling, then have to check ourselves. It is useful to go through the speech to determine where he or she might pause to reflect or maybe discover some truth.
We list here just a few monologues which you might like to explore.

1.“The Bear” a short comedy by A. Chekhov.  Popova is a youngwell-to-do widow. She is dressed in black, still mourning the death of her late husband. Looka, the longtime house servant, approaches her.
Looka: It’s not right, Madam…You’re just killing yourself. The cook and the chambermaid have gone to pick strawberries in the woods…every living thing’s happy…even the cat knows how to enjoy herself—promenading in the courtyard and chasing birds…And you sit indoors all day, as if you were in a nunnery, taking no pleasure in anything. Yes indeed! I believe it’s nearly a year since you went out of the house!
Popova:  And I never will go out…Why should I? My life is over. He lies in his grave—I have buried myself in these four walls…We are both dead.
Looka: There you go again! I wish I didn’t have to listen to it! Nikolai Mihailovich’s dead, that’s as it had to be—it was God’s will, and the Kingdom o Heaven be his! You’ve done your mourning, and now that’s do—it’s time to stop. Surely you can’t go on weeping and wearing mourning all your life? I lost my missus too…Well, what of it? I grieved and cried for a month or so, and that was enough for her. Suppose I kept on wailing like Lazarus all my life—it would be more than the old woman was worth. (sighs) You’ve forgotten all y0ur neighbors…You don’t visit them, and you won’t receive them. We live like spiders, if you’ll pardon me saying so—we don’t see the light of day. The mice have eaten our liveries…It’s not as though there weren’t any nice people about—the district is full of them…There’s a regiment stationed at Ryblovo, and the officers are proper lollipops—you simply can’t take your eyes off them! In the camp there’s never a Friday goes by without a ball, and the military band plays music every day, they say. Ah! Madam, my dear lady! You’re young, pretty, blooming with health—all you need is to live and enjoy yourself to the full…You know, beauty isn’t given you to keep forever! In another ten years you may be wanting to show off before the officers too—spreading your tail like a peacock—but it will be too late then!


 2. "Silence of the Lambs," in the movie with Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, chiding Jodie Foster's green FBI agent Clarice Starling.

"You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well-scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste... Good nutrition has given you some length of bone, but you're not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you - Officer Starling...? That accent you're trying so desperately to shed - pure West Virginia. What was your father, dear? Was he a coal miner? Did he stink of the lamp...? And oh, how quickly the boys found you! All those tedious, sticky fumblings, in the back seats of cars, while you could only dream of getting out. Getting anywhere. Getting all the way - to the F...B...I."

3. "An Ideal Husband," by Oscar Wilde. Act 2. London. Morning-room at Sir Robert Chiltern's house. Mabel is the charming and vivacious sister of Sir Robert Chitern. She is talking to her sister-in-law Lady Gertrude Chiltern about one of her more persistent suitors, Tommy Trafford, Sir Robert´s private secretary.

MABEL CHILTERN: Well, Tommy has proposed to me again. Tommy really does nothing but propose to me. He proposed to me last night in the music-room, when I was quite unprotected, as there was an elaborate trio going on. I didn't dare to make the smallest repartee, I need hardly tell you. If I had, it would have stopped the music at once. Musical people are so absurdly unreasonable. They always want one to be perfectly dumb at the very moment when one is longing to be absolutely deaf. Then he proposed to me in broad daylight this morning, in front of that dreadful statue of Achilles. Really, the things that go on in front of that work of art are quite appalling. The police should interfere. At luncheon I saw by the glare in his eye that he was going to propose again, and I just managed to check him in time by assuring him that I was a bimetallist. Fortunately I don't know what bimetallism means. And I don't believe anybody else does either. But the observation crushed Tommy for ten minutes. He looked quite shocked. And then Tommy is so annoying in the way he proposes. If he proposed at the top of his voice, I should not mind so much. That might produce some effect on the public. But he does it in a horrid confidential way. When Tommy wants to be romantic he talks to one just like a doctor. I am very fond of Tommy, but his methods of proposing are quite out of date. I wish, Gertrude, you would speak to him, and tell him that once a week is quite often enough to propose to any one, and that it should always be done in a manner that attracts some attention.


4)  "The Imposture of Scapin" by Moliere

ZERBINETTE: I shall not risk much by telling you this story, for it is an adventure which is not likely to remain secret long. Fate placed me among one of those bands of people who are called gypsies, and who, tramping from province to province, tell you your fortune, and do many other things besides. When we came to this town, I met a young man, who, on seeing me, fell in love with me. From that moment he followed me everywhere; and, like all young men, he imagined that he had but to speak and things would go on as he liked; but he met with a pride which forced him to think twice. He spoke of his love to the people in whose power I was, and found them ready to give me up for a certain sum of money. But the sad part of the business was that my lover found himself exactly in the same condition as most young men of good family, that is, without any money at all. His father, although rich, is the stingiest old skinflint and greatest miser you ever heard of. And our people wished to leave town today, and my lover would have lost me through his lack of money if, in order to wrench some out of his father, he had not made use of a clever servant he has. His name is Scapin. He is a most wonderful man and deserves the highest praise. Just listen to the plan he adopted to take in his dupe--ha! ha! ha! ha! I can't think of it without laughing--ha! ha! ha! He went to that old screw--ha! ha! ha!--and told him that while he was walking about the harbour with his son--ha! ha!--they noticed a Turkish galley; that a young Turk had invited them to come in and see it; that he had given them some lunch--ha! ha!--and that, while they were at table, the galley had gone into the open sea; that the Turk had sent him alone back, with the express order to say to him that, unless he sent five hundred crowns, he would take his son to be a slave in Algiers--ha! ha! ha! You may imagine our miser, our stingy old curmudgeon, in the greatest anguish, struggling between his love for his son and his love for his money. Those five hundred crowns that are asked of him are five hundred dagger-thrusts--ha! ha! ha! ha! He can't bring his mind to tear out, as it were, this sum from his heart, and his anguish makes him think of the most ridiculous means to find money for his son's ransom--ha! ha! ha! He wants to send the police into the open sea after the Turk's galley--ha! ha! ha! He asks his servant to take the place of his son till he has found the money to pay for him--money he has no intention of giving--ha! ha! ha! The servant shows him each time how absurd is what he proposes, and each reflection of the old fellow is accompanied by an agonizing, "But why the devil did he go in that galley for? Ah! cursed galley. Ah! scoundrel of Turk!" At last, after many hesitations, after having sighed and groaned for a long time ... but it seems to me that my story does not make you laugh. Why aren't you laughing?


5) "The Second Mrs. Tanqueray" (1893) Arthur Wing Pinero. Act 2. Morning-room in Aubrey Tanqueray's house. Paula is a young woman married to Audrey Tanqueray, 42. The couple has left London to live in a country estate with Audrey's 19 year old daughter--age and differences in social background create tension. Paula has just started to write a letter.
(Walking away, throws letter down). Oh! I've no patience with you! You kill me with this life! (She crosses to back of chair, selects some flowers from a vase on the table, cuts and arranges them and fastens them in her bodice) What is my existence Sunday to Sunday? In the morning a drive down to the village with the groom, to give my orders to the tradespeople. At lunch, you and Ellean. In the afternoon, a novel, the newspapers, if fine, another drive--if fine! Tea--you and Ellean. Then two hours of dusk; then dinner--you and Ellean. Then a game of Bésique, you and I, while Ellean reads a religious book in a dull corner. Then a yawn from me, another from you, a sigh from Ellean; three figures suddenly rise--'Good night, good night, good night' (Imitating a kiss) 'God bless you!' (With an exaggerated sigh of dejection) Ah!...(Pointing to the window) Do you believe these people will ever come round us? Your former crony, Mrs. Cortelyon? Or the grim old vicar, or that wife of his whose huge nose is positively indecent? Or the Ullathornes, or the Gollans, or Lady William Petres? I know better! And when the young ones gradually take the place of the old, there will still remain the sacred tradition that the dreadful person who lives at the top of the hill is never, under any circumstances, to be called upon! (She moves centre) And so we shall go on here, year in and year out, until the sap is run out of our lives and we're stale and dry and withered from sheer, solitary respectability. Upon my word, I wonder we didn't see that we should have been far happier if we'd gone in for the devil-may-care, café-living sort of life in town! After all, I have a set and you might have joined it. It's true I did want, dearly, dearly, to be a married woman, but where's the pride in being a married woman among married women who are--married!

6) The Marriage by Nikolai Gogol (1833). Act 2 St Petersburg. A room in Agafya Tikhonovna's house. Agafya, 26, is the unmarried daughter of a merchant, a bride to be. A matchmaker has brought a number of prospective grooms to her house and she is trying to decide which one to accept.

Oh dear, of dear what a mess I'm in. How will I ever make my choice? Now, if only there were one or two gentlemen--but there are four! I'll just have to decide between them, Mr. Anutchkin isn't bad looking; but he is a bit on the skinny side. Mr. Podkolyossin's not bad looking either. And Mr. Omelet, well, he is rather fat, but he is still quite attractive. How am I going to sort this out? And then there's Mr. Zhevakin, also a fin gentleman. Oh it's so difficult to make up my mind. Now, if I could put Anutchkin's lips with Podkolyossin's nose and add a touch of Zhevakin's confidence plus a bit of Omelet's girth, then I might be able to choose. It's just so confusing! Thinking about it's making my head throb...I've got it--I'll drow lots. In God's will I trust--which ever of them I pick, he'll be my husband. I'll write each of their names on a scrap of paper, screw it up tightly--and what wil be, will be. (Goes to her desk, takes scissors and paper, cuts out four lots, rolls them up and continues speaking) A girl's life can be pretty trying, especially when she's in love. Men just don't know what she's going through, they don't understand her feelings...That's it, everything's ready! I'll put them in my bag, close my eyes, and what will be, will be. (She puts lots into her bag and shakes them up). Oh this is so awful!...Dear God, please let it be Mr. Anutchkin. No, why him? Let's have Mr. Podkolyossin instead. But why him? What's the matter with the others then?...No, no...which ever one comes up, then he's the one. (Fumbles inside her bag, and pulls out all the lots at once) Ohh...all of them! All of them! My heart is racing. No. One. One. I have to pick one. (Puts lots back into her bag, shakes them up). Ohh, let it be Mr. Zhevakin!...Oh dear, what am I saying? I meant to say Mr. Anutchkin...No. No. Let fortune decide.

7) A Doll´s House, Henrik Ibsen (1879). Act 3. A comfortable furnished room, evening. Nora, in her 20's, has been married to lawyer and bank manager Torvald Helmer for eight years. He has kept her protected and isolated, treating her like a child. She forged her father's signature on a cheque to get money for a holiday with her husband and now is threatened by blackmail by money lender Nils Krogstad--demanding that in order to avoid a scandal Helmer must give him a job at the bank. When Helmer finds out he confronts Nora failing to realize her motive and she begins to realize that her marriage is a sham. 

You've never really loved me. You just thought it was fun to be in love with me--that's all...It's true Torvald. When I lived at home with papa, he would tell me what he thought about everything, so I never had any opinions of my own. And if I ever had any ideas of my own I made sure to keep them absolutely secret and hidden, because he wouldn't have wanted it any other way. He used to call me his little doll, and he's play with me just as I played with my own dolls. Then I came to live with you in your house...What I mean is, that I passed directly from papa's hands into yours. You've always arranged things just so, the way you wanted them, and I simple adopted the very same tastes as yours--well, at least I pretended I did--I can't quite remember--Anyway, I suppose it was a bit of both really--first one--then the other. But now, looking back, it's as if I were a beggan living here--from hand to mouth. I survived by performing tricks for you, Torvald. But that's the way you preferred it. You know it's a terrible wrong that you and papa have done me. It's your fault that I've made nothing of my life...Our home's been nothing but a play-pen. I've been your doll-wife, just as I was papa's doll-child. And then in their turn the children have been my dolls. I used to think that it was fun when you'd come in and play with me, just as the children think it's fun when I go in and play with them. But that, Torvald, is all that our marriage amounts to.

 8. "The Boor," a monologue from Anton Chekhov's play.

                  SMIRNOV: I don't understand how to behave in the company of ladies. Madam, in the course of my life I have seen more women than you have sparrows. Three times have I fought duels for women, twelve I jilted and nine jilted me. There was a time when I played the fool, used honeyed language, bowed and scraped. I loved, suffered, sighed to the moon, melted in love's torments. I loved passionately, I loved to madness, loved in every key, chattered like a magpie on emancipation, sacrificed half my fortune in the tender passion, until now the devil knows I've had enough of it. Your obedient servant will let you lead him around by the nose no more. Enough! Black eyes, passionate eyes, coral lips, dimples in cheeks, moonlight whispers, soft, modest sights--for all that, madam, I wouldn't pay a kopeck! I am not speaking of present company, but of women in general; from the tiniest to the greatest, they are conceited, hypocritical, chattering, odious, deceitful from top to toe; vain, petty, cruel with a maddening logic and in this respect, please excuse my frankness, but one sparrow is worth ten of the aforementioned petticoat-philosophers. When one sees one of the romantic creatures before him he imagines he is looking at some holy being, so wonderful that its one breath could dissolve him in a sea of a thousand charms and delights; but if one looks into the soul--it's nothing but a common crocodile. But the worst of all is that this crocodile imagines it is a masterpiece of creation, and that it has a monopoly on all the tender passions. May the devil hang me upside down if there is anything to love about a woman! When she is in love, all she knows is how to complain and shed tears. If the man suffers and makes sacrifices she swings her train about and tries to lead him by the nose. You have the misfortune to be a woman, and naturally you know woman's nature; tell me on your honor, have you ever in your life seen a woman who was really true and faithful? Never! Only the old and the deformed are true and faithful. It's easier to find a cat with horns or a white woodcock, than a faithful woman. 

9. "The Romantic Young Lady," G. Martinez Sierra.

DOÑA BARBARITA: I was jealous of every woman my first husband looked in the face ... and he was a portrait painter, do you remember? My second husband suffered tortures from his own jealousy ... of your grandfather. That was premature, but prophetic, for your dear grandfather was our neighbor in those days and he used to stand and look at me from his balcony. And then he in his turn tortured himself, poor man, with jealousy of my second husband, who was dead by that time to be sure ... but that only seemed to make it worse. When I think of the times I've walked into my first husband's studio, shaking all over, to see what sort of woman he was painting this time ... and how much of her, and of the times when I'd glance up at your grandfather on his balcony and let my dear second husband imagine ... God forgive me ... that I was smiling at him; and then when your grandfather would catch me looking at my poor second husband's portrait ... my first husband had painted it while they were both alive ... and if I wanted to drive him to fury, I'd only to give one sigh. Well, now they're in Heaven all three and I'm almost sorry I worried them so. [She kisses the three pictures.] But never forget that I was an obedient wife, gentle and loving, an angel of the fireside, an angel in crinoline. No doubt it's far nobler to "live your own life" (isn't that what you call it?) but I fear you'll never find it so amusing.


10.  "Cat on a hot tin roof," Tennessee Williams:

Maggie: Big Daddy dotes on you, honey. And he can’t stand Brother Man and Brother Man’s wife, that monster of fertility, Mae. Know how I know? By little expressions that flicker over his face when that woman is holding fo’th on one of her choice topics such as – how she refused twilight sleep – when the twins were delivered! Because she feels motherhood’s an experience that a woman ought to experience fully! – in order to fully appreciate the wonder and beauty of it! HAH! – and how she made Brother Man come in an’ stand beside her in the delivery room so he would not miss out on the ‘wonder and beauty’ of it either! – producin’ those no-neck monsters… (A speech of this kind would be antipathetic from almost anybody but Margaret; she makes it oddly funny, because her eyes constantly twinkle and her voice shakes with laughter which is basically indulgent.) Big Daddy shares my attitude towards those two! As for me, well – I give him a laugh now and then and he tolerates me. In fact! – I sometimes suspect that Big Daddy harbours a little unconscious ‘lech’ fo’ me…

[Brick. What makes you think that Big Daddy has a lech for you, Maggie?]

Way he always drops his eyes down my body when I’m talkin’ to him, drops his eyes to my boobs an’ licks his old chops! Ha ha!

[Brick. That kind of talk is disgusting.]

Did anyone ever tell you that you’re an ass-aching Puritan, Brick? I think it’s mighty fine that the ole fellow, on the doorstep of death, still takes in my shape with what I think is deserved appreciation! And you wanta know something else? Big Daddy didn’t know how many little Maes and Goopers had been produced! ‘How many kids have you got?’ he asked at the table, just like Brother Man and his wife were new acquaintances to him! Big Mama said he was jokin’, but that ole boy wasn’t jokin’, Lord, no! And when they infawmed him that they had five already and were turning out number six! – the news seemed to come as a sort of unpleasant surprise… (Children yell below.) Scream, monsters! (Turns to Brick with a sudden, gay, charming smile which fades as she notices that he is not looking at her but into fading gold space with a troubled expression. It is constant rejection that makes her humour ‘bitchy’.) Yes, you should of been at that supper-table, Baby. (Whenever she calls him ‘baby’ the word is a soft caress.) Y’know, Big Daddy, bless his ole sweet soul, he’s the dearest ole thing in the whole world, but he does hunch over his food as if he preferred not to notice anything else. Well, Mae an’ Gooper were side by side at the table, direckly across from Big Daddy, watchin’ his face like hawks while they jawed an’ jabbered about the cuteness an’ brilliance of th’ no-neck monsters! (She giggles with a hand fluttering at her throat and her breast and her long throat arched. She comes downstage and recreates the scene with voice and gesture.) And the no-neck monsters were ranged around the table, some in high chairs and on th’ Books of Knowledge, all in fancy little paper caps in honour of Big Daddy’s birthday, and all through dinner, well, I want you to know that Brother man an’ his partner never once, for one moment, stopped exchanging pokes an’ pinches an’ kicks an’ signs an’ signals! – Why, they were like a couple of cardsharps fleecing a sucker. – Even Big Mama, bless her ole sweet soul, she isn’t th’ quickest an’ brightest thing in the world, she finally noticed, at last, an’ said to Gooper, ‘Gooper, what are you an’ Mae makin’ all these signs at each other about?’ – I swear t’ goodness, I nearly choked on my chicken!

11. Edward Albee: Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? (George is a University professor, long married to Martha, who frequently complains about him in public) Martha has just accused George of taking a kind os msochistic pleasure in the abuse she dishes out, while George claims she is deluded. 

"I'm numbed enough...and I don't mean by liquor, though maybe that's been a part of the process--a gradual, over-the-years going to sleep of the brain cells--I'm numbed enough, now, to be able to take you when we're alone. I don't listen to you...or when I do listen to you, I sift everything, I bring everything down to reflex response, so I don't really hear you, which is the only way to manage it. But you've taken a new tack, Martha, over the past couple of centuries--or however long it's been I've lived in this house with you--that makes it just too much..too much. I don't mind your dirty underthings in public...well, I do mind, but I've reconciled myself to that...but you've moved bagand baggage into your own fantasy world now, and you've started playing variations on your own distortions, and as a result..."

 Movie Director:

 12. "It's My Last Show and It's Got To Be My Best," words of assurance from a Broadway Director," 42nd Street, Rian James and James Seymour

(Producers Jones (Robert McWade) and Barry (Ned Sparks) planned to stage Pretty Lady - a Broadway musical, despite the Depression, and they had hired the well-known "musical comedy director" Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter). In close-up, the unseen director signed the Jones/Barry contract. Bankrupt and broke from the Stock Market Crash in 1929, a wild-eyed Marsh was only interested in recouping his economic fortunes ("Money!"). The haggard and ill Marsh assured his producers of his strength:)

You'll get your Pretty Lady. You haven't got anything to worry about. I'm not gonna let you down because I can't afford to. I've given everything I've had to that gulch down there and it's taken all I had to offer. Oh, it paid me, sure, in money I couldn't hang on to - fair-weather friends, women, headlines! Hah! Why even the cops and the newsboys recognize me on sight. 'Marsh, the Magnificent.' 'Marsh the Slave-Driver!' Actors tell ya how Marsh drove 'em and bullied 'em and even tore it out of 'em! And maybe there's a few that'll tell ya how Marsh really made 'em. And they've all got somethin' to show for it - except Marsh.

Well, this is my last shot! I'll make a few more actors. But this time, I'm gonna sock my money away so hard that they'll have to blast to find enough to buy a newspaper. That's why I'm goin' ahead with Pretty Lady. And Pretty Lady's got to be a hit. It's my last show and it's got to be my best. You're counting on me. Well, I'm counting on Pretty Lady, because it's got to support me for a long time to come.

13.  "A few good men," monologue by Jack Nicholson, as Colonel Nathan R. Jessup. When he's asked by Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) about ordering the so-called "code red," Jessup delivers one of the best courtroom tirades in movie history.

You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!


 14. "Strife," a monologue from Act III by John Galsworthy

               ANTHONY: We have been made the subject of an attack. I take it on my shoulders. I am seventy-six years old. I have been Chairman of this Company since its inception two-and-thirty years ago. I have seen it pass through good and evil report. I have had to do with "men" for fifty years; I've always stood up to them; I have never been beaten yet. I have fought the men of this Company four times, and four times I have beaten them. It has been said that I am not the man I was. However that may be, I am man enough to stand to my guns. The men have been treated justly, they have had fair wages, we have always been ready to listen to complaints. It has been said that times have changed; if they have, I have not changed with them. Neither will I. It has been said that masters and men are equal! Cant! There can only be one master in a house! Where two men meet the better man will rule. It has been said that Capital and Labor have the same interests. Cant! Their interests are as wide asunder as the poles. It has been said that the Board is only part of a machine. Cant! We are the machine; its brains and sinews; it is for us to lead and to determine what is to be done, and to do it without fear or favor. Fear of the men! Fear of the shareholders! Fear of our own shadows! Before I am like that, I hope to die. There is only one way of treating "men" -- with the iron hand. This half and half business, the half and half manners of this generation, has brought all this upon us. Sentiment and softness, and what this young man, no doubt, would call his social policy. You can't eat cake and have it! This middle-class sentiment, or socialism, or whatever it may be, is rotten. Masters are masters, men are men! Yield one demand, and they will make it six. They are like Oliver Twist, asking for more. If I were in their place I should be the same. But I am not in their place. Mark my words: one fine morning, when you have given way here, and given way there -- you will find you have parted with the ground beneath your feet, and are deep in the bog of bankruptcy; and with you, floundering in that bog, will be the very men you have given way to.

15. The Raven, by Edgar A. Poe. It isn't a monologue, but you might work it as if it were.
 Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
  Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
   As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
  "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
                Only this, and nothing more."

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
  And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
  For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
                Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
  Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
    "'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
  Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
                This it is, and nothing more."

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
  "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
  That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door;-
                Darkness there, and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,
  Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
  This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-
                Merely this, and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
   Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
    Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
  Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
                'Tis the wind and nothing more."

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and
  In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
  Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
                Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

   Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
  By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
   "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no
   Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
  Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
  Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
  Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
                With such name as "Nevermore."

    But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
  That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
    Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown
  On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
                Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

     Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
  "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
     Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
     Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
  Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
                Of 'Never- nevermore'."

    But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
  Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and
    Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
  What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
                Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
  To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
  But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
                She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
  Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he
        hath sent thee
    Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
  Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or
  Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
    On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
  Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!"
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or
  By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
  Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked,
  "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
  Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my
               Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
  On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
    And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the
  And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
                Shall be lifted- nevermore!

16) William Shakespeare. Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3. Before the Battle of Agincourt, 25 October 1415.
Enter the KING
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
Make him a member of the gentry, even if he is a commoner.
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

17) To be or not to be  " Hamlet" William Shakespeare
To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep—
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor's wrong, the proud man's Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would these Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveler returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia. Nymph, in all thy Orisons
Be thou all my sins remembered.[4]


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