9. Elder Gossip Who Never Spoke “Word That Might Be To The Prejudice of” Another

In Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey’s defensive claim that he has never slandered the Queen comes from a similar passage in North’s Dial of Princes. Both passages are referring to elderly, malicious gossipers, especially stressing their spleen, heart, and tongue/mouth. Both also include the same unique eight-word word-string: North’s Dial of Princes Shakespeare’s Henry VIII hisContinue reading “9. Elder Gossip Who Never Spoke “Word That Might Be To The Prejudice of” Another”

7. Coriolanus’s Belly-Fable Conflates 3 Fables, All Written by North

In an earlier example, we noted that the playwright of Julius Caesar was able to recall passages from North’s Dial while copying passages from North’s Plutarch. In this example, he intertwines stories from three of North’s translations. As is well known, in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Menenius’s fable, in which “all the body’s members / Rebelled againstContinue reading “7. Coriolanus’s Belly-Fable Conflates 3 Fables, All Written by North”

6. Arden’s Speech on the Fear of God and Speech of Men

In North’s Dial of Princes, Marcus Aurelius complains that in most instances, religious teachings and concern for reputation are often enough to keep women virtuous. But, he says, “if the fear of the Gods, the infamy of the person, and the speech of men do not restrain the woman, all the chastisements of the worldContinue reading “6. Arden’s Speech on the Fear of God and Speech of Men”

1. Iago’s Speech on He Who Robs Me of My Good Name

Thomas North would publish his first translation, The Dial of Princes, in 1557, seven years before Shakespeare was born. And we do not even complete its first page before we come across something that sounds suspiciously Shakespearean — specifically, a passage that reads much like Iago’s speech on the thief of reputation in Othello. North’sContinue reading “1. Iago’s Speech on He Who Robs Me of My Good Name”

Why Didn’t North Publish His Plays?

“Why would anyone write an Othello or a Macbeth and then not publish them so they could get credit for them and people could read them?” This is perhaps the most common question that I hear, and it is an excellent one. I typically respond that Shakespeare never published the majority of his plays eitherContinue reading “Why Didn’t North Publish His Plays?”