Mark O’Connor suggests Shakespeare fans (and the more casually interested) don’t understand as much as they may think of the great bard’s language. He thinks a modern translation would help.
Here, for instance is Thersites in “Troilus and Cressida” berating another character: “Let thy blood be thy direction till thy death! then if she that lays thee out says thou art a fair corse, I’ll be sworn and sworn upon’t she never shrouded any but lazars.”
A modern English version might run: “May the itch in your blood be your guide through life! Then if the old woman who lays you out thinks you make a pretty corpse, I’ll be sure she’s only done lepers.”
O’Connor isn’t advocating a wholesale rewrite of these classics, but a measured translation that attempts to capture all the spirit of the text as well as its meaning. Will you think so?
“I think our fellows are asleep.” (via Prufrock News)