Monday, February 12, 2007

In Language We Learn: Translating Shakespeare


By reading closely and carefully the work of literary masters such as Shakespeare, we learn how to write well ourselves. I know that it has been difficult and tedious work for you to understand the archaic English of Shakespeare's play. But hopefully the experience of interpreting his work will give you a greater appreciation for the richness of language and the many ways we can manipulate it to suit some greater, poetic purpose. That is at least my hope for you, anyway.

That said, I would like to have you flex your creative brain muscles once again: Please translate one of the following bits of dialogue from ACT III of The Merchant of Venice into plain, everyday speech.

You all seemed to do pretty well in the earlier translation exercises. Have a go at it again, and pay attention to how this activity is suited to help you understand the underlying themes and morals that come across in character speech.

III.1.ii 52-72 (Shylock's dialogue that begins, "To bait fish withal")

III.2.ii 1-24 (Portia's opening dialogue)

III.2.ii 42-74 (Portia's dialogue that begins, "Away then. I am locked in one of them...")

III.2.ii 75-110 (Bassanio's dialogue that begins, "So may the outward shows bet least themselves;")

III.2.ii 118-152 (Bassanio's dialogue that begins, "What find I here?")

III.2.ii 153-178 (Portia's dialogue the begins, "You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand...")

III.2.ii 261-282 (Bassanio's dialogue that begins, "O sweet Portia, / Here are a few of the...")


Pat Monteith said...

I chose the dialogue with Portia begining with "away, then..."

Far away I am locked in it, and if you do love me then you will figure me out one way or another. Narissa and all the others i know, do what they can to help, but are all in all absent minded. Let the trumpet sound while that one man makes his choice. And if he loses, he will die while the reverberating music sounds. The comparison may stand appropriate, and my watch could mean the death of him. he could win, but then what is the importance to music? Then music would be the sharp saprano of a trumpet blast when true belioevers of a man bow down as if he is being crowned king. Oh, those exuberant sounds when day breaks, and the sun's rays find its way to the dreaming man or woman's face that summon them for marriage. He goes off, with more love in his heart than he had prior, than what young Alcides did redeem when sacraficing a virgin by throwing Troy to a monster. i stand in Hesione's footsteps; the Dardanian wives stand apart,as they cry, yet come fortth to view the result of the exploit. Go Hercules! For if you live, than so will i. With more dismay than ever before, i would view the fight than you who fight

Matt Engle said...

Act 3 Scene 1 Shylock's Dialogue

- If I can fins no other plan I will commense of my revenge on Antonio. He has disgraced me many times, laughed at what I have lost, made fun of any profit of my own, messed with my buisiness and made fun of my culture. He does this simply because I am a Jew. Does it matter that much that I am a Jew. Even though I am a Jew through and through, should that my life any different from his? Do I not have the same hurts, pains, and feelings as he does? Are we as Jews any different form you as Christians? Are we so very different? If you hurt us do we not react as you do? Why is that Jews are critcized for humiliating a Jew but Christians are not for doing the same to a jew? Revenge seems to be the way I must go. To right the wrongs that Christians have committed against us. Must you degrade me until the point of total retaliation is upon you? This fear and hatred you have taught me through my degradation throughout my youth has brought me to this day, a day that will be marked by hatred and revenge.

MC-Devitt said...

(III.2.ii 1-24) I wish you would wait to make your decision of caskets, because if you choose the wrong one, you will have to leave and i may never see you again. But something other than love tells me that you will choose wisely. In case you do not know me well enough to choose correctly, you should stay will me a month or two before you choose. i can teach you how to choose correctly but then i would perjure myself. That i will never be and thus you will miss me. If you do lose, you will make me wish something i shouldn't, that i had been forsworn. Curse you for ever seeing me. But if you win all what is mine is yours. In these evil times, impediments separate people from their right to choose. But you still can choose and let chance to go hell if you choose wrong. But i am just stalling. I am sorry for keeping you from your choice.

Matt Schluckebier said...

I chose to do Portia's dialogue from lines 43-73 on page105 and 107

My picture is trapped in one of those chests and if you really want to be with me you will find the one. The ones before you oviously did not pick the right one and are pretty much stupid. Let music play to set the mood and ease the tension but to build suspense. I will make the final decision depending on whether the man choses me or not. If he wins the music will be happy as the crowd bows to the newest member of royalty. He will marry me with much more love than a happily 50 year married couple. I am standing here waiting for a man to come rescue me like shrek rescued pheona. Here is something to help you,

Don't judge a book by it's cover for what you are looking for might be in the most unexpected places in life.

Rlonergan said...

Portia's opening dialogue
Act 3 scene 2 lines 1-24

Please wait a day or two
before you choose because if you choose wrong
I lose your company - so stay a while
Something tells me, even though it's not love
that I don't want to lose you, and you know
that if I didn't like you I wouldn't say that.
Let me put it this way-
even though women aren't supposed to speak their minds
I want you to stay here for a few months
before you choose the chests. I would tell you
which chest to pick, but I swore not to,
so I can't. This leaves a chance you will miss me.
If you do though, I'll wish that
I hadn't sworn not to tell you. Your eyes have
divided my heart.
One half of it is yours, and the other half,
the half which is mine, is yours also,
so I'm all yours. This awful time period
makes it so people don't even have rights to their own stuff!
And so, even though my heart is yours, I am not, so make me yours too.
If fortune is against us, then let it go to hell and not me.
But I'm rambling on
just to make the time last longer and
to delay your test.

p.drisk said...

I am doing the dialoge from Portia III.2.ii 42-74.

My portrait is locked in one of the caskets; if you truly love me you will choose the right casket. Stand back and let the men choose. If they do not choose let the music fade for as their love life will. For the one who wins the music will grow louder for he will become my new prince wearing his crown. Choose wisely and think deeply let your heart guide you to the right casket. You shouldn't make first impression upon the caskets.

B-Hilz said...

My counterfeit is locked away in one of the caskets. If you love me you will choose the right one. Let him choose and if he fails the will fade away never to try again. But on the other hand if he wins , what will it be like? The new prince he will be , and we will be married. I will not worry of a new suitor. He will win my love as Hercules won against Troy and you I fight with in the battle.

Bob Kelly said...

i'm doing Portia's dialogue from III.2.ii 42-74:

My portrait is hidden inside one of these caskets. If you love me, you will know which one to choose. Everyone stand back. Play the music as he makes his choice. Then, if he makes the wrong choice, the music will fade. If he wins my hand however, the music will be joyus to celebrate this occasion. The type of music when others bow to a newly crowned ruler. Remember to choose wisely and do not concentrate on appearance, if you do, you may be decieved.

Chris Thiers said...

III.2.ii 1-24

I beg you wait, wait for a day or two, before you possibly lose and leave me. Therefore, wait awhile. Something tells me that I wish for your company and that shows that I do not hate you. But you probrably do not understand me for young women like me think deeply but cannot express our thoughts through speech. I would accomodate you here for a month or two before you play your hand with Fate. I could teach you how to choose right, but alas, I am sworn not to. So I will never tell; and you might not marry me; but if you do you'll make me wish the sin that I had never sworn that oath. Avert your eyes! They have penetrated me and made me yours. My own property but if it's mine, then it's also yours. O, these foolish times we live in that seperate owners from their rights. Therefore, I am yours or not yours. And if fortune does not help you let it be cursed, not I. I have spoken too long, but only to pass the time, to lenghten it, to draw it out in length, to postpone you from this choice.

Phil said...

III.2.ii 261-282 - Bassanio

Oh lovely Portia, these are some of the worst words that have ever been written on a piece of paper. My darling, when I gave my love to you, I told you that all my riches ran within my veins—that I have noble blood, but no money. When I said that, I told you the truth. But my dear, when I said I was worth nothing, I was actually bragging—I should have said that I was worse than nothing. I've borrowed money from a dear friend who in turn borrowed money from his mortal enemy for my sake. Here is a letter, my dear. The paper's like my friend's body, and every word in it is an open wound on that body.—But is it true, Salerio? Have all his business ventures failed? Not even one success? He had ships to Tripolis, Mexico, England, Lisbon, North Africa, and India, and not one of these ships avoided the rocks?

Sean Gillespie said...

III.2.ii 153-178

You see me standing here Lord Bassanio as I am, though i am not ambitious in my wishes for myself, but in order to be with you i would be twenty times trebled myself, a thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich and would be high in virtues, beauties, livings, friends, in order to exceed account. But the full worth of me, is worth something, which is an unlessoned, unschooled and unpracticed girl. Happy that I am not too old and am not bred too dull that I cannot learn. Happiest of all that her gentle soul leads her to yours as from her lord, her govener, her king. All that is mine has now been converted to you. I was the lord of this mansion and master of servants and queen of myself, but now this house, the servants and me are yours, my lord and I give them through this ring. Which when you lose or give away let it also ruin your love and lat my vantage exclaim on you.

Alex Drost said...

III.2.ii 261-282
Here are some of the most unpleasant words that you will ever read. Portia, when I first came to you, I had told you that, my family was rich and I had a large sum of money. I decided to act as a gentleman and tell you the truth that I have nothing. I exaggerated and bragged about my financial status. I lied even about nothing because I pledged myself to my close friend for help and support. I have pledged my friend to our absolute enemy, Shylock, the money lender, so that I could come to you. Here is the contract, with every word binding Antonio’s body to Shylock. - Is it true Salerio? Have all of the Merchant ships failed? What, not one safely return? From Tripolis, from Mexico and England, From Lisbon, Barbary, and India and none of these voyages were sparred from being wrecked.

Mike McKibbin said...

III.1.ii 52-72 - Shylock's Dialogue

If I will have nothing else, I will have my revenge upon him. He has disgraced me and taken my money. He has laughed at my losses and ignored my accomplishments; and why? Simply because I am a Jew. Am I, in fact, different than him? Do we not both have hands, organs, senses, and passions? Are we not both human? We are no different, but still he has persecuted me. Just as he has had his revenge, I will follow and have mine. Have I learned anything from this, my revenge will be greater than his.

Tom Rose said...

You see me right here where I stand Lord Bassanio, such as I am. For you I would be trebled twenty times, a thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich, that only to to stand high in your computation. I might exceed everyone else in virtues, beauties, livings and friends. But the full sum of me is an uneducated girl, a young girl who can learn. But my soul directs myself towards yours. I want you and all my riches are yours.

Bill Franks said...

i am choosing the dialogue in act 3. scene 2. with Bassanio. also i appologize for my tardiness in posting this.

Let what shows on the outside not reflect what is true; the world is already set on appearance. In law, what request so corrupt although, said by such a lovely tone, shifts the image of evil? In faith, what evil mistake although a sane man says it to be true will be blesses and approved by putting it into writing, covering it's evil with beauty?there is no vice so simple as that of many cowards whose hearts are as easily destroyable as a castle made of sand, put on a show equal to that of Hercules and Mars, who have searched their souls and found nothing, and they assume that valor will redeem this. look at beauty and you will find it is earned by money, which causes a miracle in nature, making those that are "beautiful" weakest. as are those done snakygolden locks, which make such careless gambleswith God on false wages, often known to be two faced, their skulls buried under ground. this vanity is a rocky shore to a dangerous ocean, the beauteous scarf veiling and Indian beauty; in a word, the showing truth that machiavellian times show to entangle the wise. therefore, then, the showy gold, solid foor for Midas, i wish not upon you. nor do i wish the pale and common work between man. but you you low lead, which prefers to threaten than promiseare, your boringness draws me in more than vanity, and i choose. I hope that i win!