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Session 13

William Shakespeare and Thomas Swann are enjoying a drink - or three - in their favourite pub. While they get drunk, we show you how to use the phrase green-eyed monster - and many more colour idioms - to make your English more colourful.

Wayiitiwwan marii boqonnaa kana keessaa

Wayitii marii qabxii 13

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    Activity 1
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    Activity 2
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    Activity 3

Activity 1

What's up with Thomas?

To beer - or not to beer?
In William Shakespeare's day almost everyone drank ale. It was the safest drink available - much safer than water! Will was almost certainly a big fan of ale and many pubs in London claim that Shakespeare used to be one of their customers.

To do

In this image, Will and his actor friend Thomas Swann have been drinking a lot of ale! Why do you think they are getting so drunk? Do they have something to celebrate?

Watch this episode to find out, then check the answer under the video.

Vidiyoo daawwadhuuti shaakala kana xumuri

Barreeffama agarsiisi Barreeffama dhoksi

Narrator
It was late afternoon. William Shakespeare has just arrived at his favourite pub, The Duck and Whistle. His actor friend Thomas Swann is already there.

Barmaid
Mr Will. Can you do something about that Mr Thomas? He's been drinking and shouting all afternoon. If you can't shut him up, I'm going to throw him out.

Thomas Swann
I'm a wonderful husband. I give the woman everything and this is how she treats me!

Barmaid
Be quiet, you silly old fool. See, Mr Will? His head's full of jealous nonsense about his wife. That Robert Harley said he saw her talking to Henry Darcy, and now he's all in a rage…

Thomas
That filthy toad… I'll burn his house down… and when I get my hands on her…

Will
Oh dear. The green-eyed monster attacks again!

Barmaid
Hmm. Jealousy: the green-eyed monster. You're right Mr Will, jealousy is a monster: it gets inside people, eats them up. Makes them think the worst, like Mr Thomas here, makes them say and do terrible things.

Will
The green-eyed monster. It's rather clever, isn’t it Bess? It's in my play, Othello. The evil Iago warns his friend, Othello, about the dangers of jealousy. He says: Beware, my lord, of jealousy…

Robert Harley as Iago
Beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.

Barmaid
Beware the green-eyed monster… that's good advice!

Will
It is good advice indeed, but Iago's true plan is to make Othello believe that Desdemona, his wife, is cheating on him.

Barmaid
And is she?

Will
No, but Iago knows jealousy makes people do crazy things, and his plan works. Othello murders Desdemona!

Barmaid
That's terrible. Poor Desdemona! We'd better keep an eye on that Mr Thomas!

Narrator
We'll leave them there for now. In Shakespeare's day, the man was the head of the household, and an unfaithful wife was a great dishonour. The phrase the green-eyed monster is still used today to describe the dangers of uncontrolled jealousy in relationships. For example, Irish pop singer Ronan Keating said of his marriage:

Clip 1
The green-eyed monster rears its ugly head and brings out all my insecurities. I don't like it if Yvonne is out without me. I just can’t help it.

Clip 2
I thought I'd got over my ex, but when I saw him with his new girlfriend, the green-eyed monster got me.

Will
And now I must go home: Mrs Shakespeare feels that I've been spending rather too much time in the pub. Come on, Thomas…

Barmaid
Ooooh - it sounds like Mrs S has got the green-eyed monster too!

Thomas Swann
Come on, Will! Stay for another beer!

Will
Hmmm… To stay, or not to stay: that's a tricky question.

Answer
Thomas is drowning his sorrows because he thinks that his wife is cheating on him. Will is being a loyal friend and keeping him company... or maybe Will just doesn't want to go home to Mrs Shakespeare!

To do

Let's do a quiz to check you've understood this episode. Watch it again first if you want.

True or false?

4 Questions

Answer these true / false questions about the video.

Baga gammadde! Qormaata xumurteetta
Excellent! Great job! Carraa badaa! Qabxii argatte:
x / y

True or false?

4 Questions

Answer these true / false questions about the video.

Baga gammadde! Qormaata xumurteetta
Excellent! Great job! Carraa badaa! Qabxii argatte:
x / y

How many did you get right?
3-4 Well done! You passed with flying colours.
0-2 Oh dear! Are you feeling a bit off-colour today?

Next

We'll explore the meaning and use of the idiom the green-eyed monster - and we'll brighten up your language with some other popular colour idioms.

Caasluga kutaa kanaa

Session Vocabulary

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

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    The green-eyed monster

    Meaning
    The phrase the green-eyed monster is still used today to describe the dangers of uncontrolled jealousy in relationships.

    Example sentence
    I thought I'd got over my ex, but when I saw him with his new girlfriend, the green-eyed monster got me.

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    Extra vocabulary

    ale
    a type of beer

    to drown your sorrows
    to drink alcohol to forget your problems

    green with envy
    very angry and jealous because someone has something you want for yourself

    with flying colours
    very successfully

    off-colour
    unwell

    to feel blue
    to feel sad

    to see red
    to become angry

    the black sheep (of a family)
    someone who doesn't fit in with a group and often causes embarrassment.

    to catch (someone) red-handed
    to catch someone doing something wrong or illegal

    out of the blue
    unexpectedly or surprisingly

    a white lie
    a lie about something unimportant that is told to avoid hurting someone

    the grass is always greener on the other side
    other people always seem to be in a better situation than you 

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    About Shakespeare Speaks

    Shakespeare Speaks is a co-production between:

    BBC Learning English

    The Open University

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    More Shakespeare Speaks episodes

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