by Mardie Schroeder, from the May 2016 newsletter
Our speaker needed no introduction. His enthusiasm for the English language, and for how much William Shakespeare contributed to it (1,700 words) made for a fun, delightful evening. The world is celebrating the 400th year of Shakespeare’s death–from The Royal Shakespeare Company’s traveling troupe presenting Hamlet to far corners, to the annual student Shakespeare Festival presentations on the Prado in Balboa Park the weekend of April 30th.
Richard Lederer attributes the following coinage to Shakespeare: “One for all, and all for one,” “There’s the rub,” “A dog will have his day,” “Frailty thy name is woman,” “The lady doth protest too much,” and “ To the manner born.”
We learned that there has never been a love story more about blood and guts than Romeo and Juliet. And that Romeo’s last wish was to be laid by Juliet. (Did he really say that?!) We learned that Shakespeare used more words in the entire English vocabulary (40%) than any other writer; that he virtually invented modern English; that Hamlet has the most lines; that Iago the second most; that the iambic pentameter has the same rhythm as the heartbeat. And what does “oxymoron” mean? Sharp dullness. William Shakespeare was a master at oxymorons.
And so it is thanks to our life member, Richard Lederer, who once again gave us a Shakespearience to remember.