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S A I N T S &
B I R T H D A Y P A G E
JohnWilliam Shakespeare, who was born at Stratford-on-Avon in 1564, and died there in 1616, is the supreme English poet and playwright, universally recognized as the greatest of all dramatists. His 38 plays communicate a profound knowledge of people and their behavior. His characters are some of the most memorable ever created, because they are at once so particular and yet universal as well. And the poetry! It wasn't so much that Shakespeare's characters spoke in verse. That is not the essence of poetry. Poetry is passion. Poetry grabs you by the throat. Poetry makes you feel, and it does so with the swift vividness of its images. "Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, assume the port of Mars, and at his heels, leashed in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire crouch for employment," says the narrator in the prologue of Shakespeare's King Henry V. Macbeth keens: "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps on this petty pace until the last syllable of recorded time." Malvolio in Twelfth Night: "Some people are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have it thrust upon them." The marvel is that Shakespeare's 38 plays, though popular in his day, were considered by his educated contemporaries to be nothing more than vulgar entertainment. Things only began to change some 200 years after Shakespeare's death, when his work was re-discovered, not only in England, but all over the world. Jesus said it first: "No man is a prophet in his own land." He might have added, "Or in his own time." Shakespeare wrote histories, comedies and tragedies. Literary critics most esteem the tragedies; they're in general agreement that Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear (all tragedies) represent Shakespeare's greatest work. But not for the originality of their plots. Almost all of Shakespeare's plots were spins on other stories. But what spins! He could take Plutarch's sober account of the death of Julius Caesar and turn it into high drama. Says Cassius: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." Protocol at Shakespeare's Old Globe Theatre in London prohibited women from even appearing on the stage. Boys had to take all the women's parts. But that didn't stop Shakespeare. He created some of the finest roles for women in the history of the theater. Juliet is perhaps the most memorable. But so was the quick-witted, warm, and responsive young woman called Portia in The Merchant of Venice. Memorable was the strong-minded Olivia in Twelfth Night, and so were Rosiland and Celia in As You Like It, and Desdemona in Othello and Cordelia in King Lear and the haunting character of Ophelia in Hamlet. They are all memorable, memorable all. As is Shakespeare, even today.
MODEL: Hard to say how anyone can work on becoming another Shakespeare. But if you're a playwright, or a screenwriter, you try. You try for the poetry. And you pray: "O, for a muse of fire that would ascend the highest heaven of invention."
Your Birthday Today:
Safety in numbers. If you were born on April 23, you like to feel secure, so you look for a powerful organization that will block for you and allow you to achieve your goals. You may be employed or represented by this organization. One thing's for sure, you don't like to go it alone. You'd rather march under a bigger group's banner. Ruled by the number 5 and the planet Mercury, you are quick of thought and sometimes impulsive.
Excitement and change. A little gremlin inside you craves both. If you can channel your impulses into work or creativity and balance your personal life, you will do well. If not, you may divert your success with all kinds of crazy plans. Also, your quick mind and sharp tongue can get you into trouble, especially when correcting other people's behavior.
Otherwise conservative. Whether in the arts, business or service profession, you build and nurture your clientele, knowing quite well that it is your bread and butter. You express your individuality but never go so far as to alienate family or business associates. For security, you may stick with one job for a lifetime. But if you deny your creativity, you may become dull and listless. Get out of your rut by innovating at work and home, if only in small ways.
Some advice: Have the confidence to speak your mind and go solo once in a while. Don't be so rigid in your thinking. Let your emotions and impulses out, but make sure it's the right place and time.
Also born on this day: William Shakespeare (traditional birthdate) Max Plank (Nobel Prize, quantum mechanics) Joseph M. Turner (British painter) Sergei Prokofiev (Russian composer, pianist) Warren Spahn (baseball pitcher) Bernadette Devlin (Irish politician) Roy Orbison (singer, songwriter) Shirley Temple-Black (child star, US ambassador) Stephen A. Douglas (Lincoln opponent and debater) Lee Majors (actor) Gail Goodrich (basketball guard) Bud Wilkinson (OK college football coach)