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Session 15

Everyone's in disguise in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew - but William's daughter isn't hiding her true feelings! We show you how to use the phrase forever and a day - and introduce you to some more fun ways to exaggerate in English.

በዚህ ክፍል ያሉ ክፍለ ጊዜያት

ክፍለጊዜያት 15 ነጥብ።

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I love it when everybody pretends to be somebody else!
William Shakespeare loved putting his characters in disguise. 

In this episode, Will and his actors are rehearsing for a performance of The Taming of The Shrew. But Daughter is confused because many of the characters are pretending to be someone else. Can you help her figure out who's who?

To do

Before you watch the video, look at the three actors in this image. They are all playing characters from The Taming of The Shrew.

As you watch the video, decide which one is the real Lucentio - and who are the other two? Be careful - they may not be who they seem to be!

ቨዲዮውን ተመልክተው ክንውኑን ይፈፅሙ

ፅሁፍ አሳይ ፅሁፍ ደብቅ

Narrator
It was a rainy day in July. William Shakespeare and his actor friend Robert Harley are rehearsing his comedy The Taming of the Shrew. Will's daughter is watching the rehearsal.

Robert Harley
Will, I do like your plays when everybody pretends to be somebody else!

Will
Thank you, Robert. The audience likes it too – that's why it's in the play.

Daughter
Father, I'm confused… Who is the young man in the teacher's costume?

Will
That is Lucentio, daughter. He is pretending to be a tutor so that he can be near to Bianca, whom he wants to marry.

Daughter
So the man wearing Lucentio's clothes isn't the real Lucentio?

Will
No, he's Lucentio’s servant. He's pretending to be Lucentio so that the real Lucentio can pretend to be a tutor.

Daughter
Ohhh! That's so romantic, isn't it, Robert?!

Robert Harley
Well it's very clever Will, but… I can't help thinking that Lucentio should just be a man about it: take the woman to the church and marry her.

Daughter
Ohhhhh…

Will
Well, Robert, that is exactly what happens. Lucentio's other servant, Biondello, tells him to stop playing games and to just marry Bianca, because otherwise he risks losing her – not just forever, but forever and a day. Let us rehearse.

Robert Harley as Biondello
To th' church take the priest, clerk, and some sufficient honest witnesses. If this be not that you look for, I have no more to say, But bid Bianca farewell forever and a day.

Daughter
Forever and a day – that's a long time to live without your true love…

Narrator
We'll leave them there for now. Putting characters in disguise was one of Shakespeare's favourite devices: not only because his audiences loved it, but also because it gave him opportunities to explore themes of class, status and love as he swapped the roles of rich and poor, old and young, and male and female characters. The phrase forever and a day means the same as it did in Shakespeare's day: something – either good or bad – will last indefinitely, or for a very, very long time. In his love song Forever and a Day, Lionel Richie sings…

Clip 1
And I'll love you for forever and a day day day day day day day day day day day day,
Forever and a day day day day day day day day…

Clip 2
Oh, look at that queue! We'll be waiting forever and a day. Let's come back tomorrow.

Will
Now, on with the rehearsal everybody…

Robert Harley
Speaking of husbands and wives – when are you bringing Mrs Shakespeare to London, Mr Shakespeare?

Will
Mrs Shakespeare prefers to remain at home in Stratford… and I prefer that too. To bring, or not to bring: that is the question…

Answer
Actor B is playing the real Lucentio, who is pretending to be a tutor. Actor A (Thomas Swann) is playing Lucentio's servant, who is pretending to be Lucentio. Actor C (Robert Harley) is playing Lucentio's other servant, Biondello - he isn't pretending to be anybody else.

To do

Are you still feeling a bit confused? Try this quiz to check that you know what's happening, and to help you understand the phrase forever and a day.

Forever and a day

5 Questions

Answer these questions about the episode and the phrase forever and a day.

እንኳን ደስ ያለዎ ሙከራውን አጠናቀዋል
Excellent! Great job! መጥፎ እድል ነጥብ አስመዝግበዋል :
x / y

We hope that quiz didn't take you forever and a day to complete!

Next

We just saw the man in the video say to his wife "look at that queue! We'll be waiting forever and a day. Let's come back tomorrow." He obviously doesn't really think that they will be waiting for an eternity, but we often use the phrase forever and a day - or simply forever - to exaggerate how long something will take.

Go to the next page to learn some other common English phrases that people use when they want to exaggerate.

Session Vocabulary

  • For more great Shakespeare content visit our partner,The OU

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    Forever and a day

    Meaning
    The phrase forever and a day means the same as it did in Shakespeare's day: something – either good or bad – will last indefinitely, or for a very, very long time.

    Example sentence
    Oh, look at that queue! We'll be waiting forever and a day. Let's come back tomorrow.

    Note
    British English speakers sometimes write forever as two words: for ever.

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    Extra vocabulary

    in disguise
    the state of changing someone's appearance to hide their true identity

    pretend
    behave as if something is true when it is not true

    exaggerate
    make something ​seem ​larger, more ​important, ​better, or ​worse than it really is

    literal
    the most basic (meaning of a word)

    I nearly died of embarrassment
    I was very embarrassed

    killing me
    hurting me

    millions of
    many

    starving
    very hungry

    dying for
    need

    sick to death of
    fed up with

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    About Shakespeare Speaks

    Shakespeare Speaks is a co-production between:

    BBC Learning English

    The Open University

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