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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
Shakespeare and Video Games
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0109  Thursday, 15 January 2004

From:           Thayne Trotter <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Jan 2004 10:00:40 -0500
Subject:        Shakespeare and Video Games

I recently had a high school student approach me with a riddle from a
video game.  Apparently the player must have some knowledge of
Shakespearean tragedy before moving on to higher levels of blood and
gore.  If nothing else, we can at least take comfort in the knowledge
that the hours teens spend in front of computers aren't completely
devoid of academic pursuit.  The riddle asks for the titles of 6
tragedies in order.

In here is a tragedy . . .
Art thou a player or audience?
Be it as it may, the end doth remain:
All go on only toward death.

The first words at thy left hand:
A false lunacy, a madly dancing man.
Hearing unhearable words, drawn
To a beloved's grave . . .  and there,
Mayhap, true madness at last.

As did this one, playing at death,
Find true death at last.
Killing a nameless lover, she
Pierced a heart rent by sorrows.

Doth lie invite truth?
Doth verity but wear the
Mask of falsehood?
Ah, thou pitiful, thou
Miserable ones!

Still amidst lies, though the end
Cometh not, wherefore yearn
For death?
Wilt thou attend to thy beloved?
Truth and lies, life and death:
A game of turning white to black
And black to white.

Is not a silence brimming with
Love more precious than flattery?
A peaceful slumber preferred to
A throne besmirched with blood?

One vengeful man
Spilled blood for two.
Two youths shed tears for three;
Three witches disappeared thusly;
And only the four keys remain.

Ah, but verily . . .
In here is a tragedy . . .
Art thou a player or audience?
There is nothing which cannot
Become a puppet of fate or an
Onlooker, peering into the cage.

Thayne Trotter

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