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Phần 8

Are they chasing geese – or horses? We show you how to use the phrase wild-goose chase from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet - and bring you some other popular animal idioms!

 

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Bài tập 1

Wild goose chase - Love is in the air!

Who's in love?!

Shakespeare's most popular romance, Romeo and Juliet, is all about young love. Unfortunately life isn't easy for these star-crossed lovers and their story ends in tragedy.

To do

Love is also in the air at Will's house in this episode! As you watch the video, decide who is in love and who isn't. The answer is under the video - no looking!

Watch the video and do the activity

Hiển thị văn bản ghi âm (hay video) Giấu văn bản ghi âm (hay video)

Narrator
It was early in the evening. William Shakespeare is at home. He's expecting a visit from his actor friend Robert Harley.

Robert Harley
Good evening, Mr Shakespeare.

Will
Welcome, welcome Robert! Come in.

Daughter
Good evening Mister Harley…

Robert Harley
Miss Shakespeare… I'm sorry I’m late - I was out horse riding. It was wonderful - so fast, so exciting!

Will
Ahhh, the wild-goose chase! Take care when you race that way young Robert, we don't want to spoil those good looks of yours…

Daughter
Why is it called a wild-goose chase? It's a horse race! They're not chasing geese!

Will
Dear daughter, a wild-goose chase is indeed a kind of horse race. The riders have to follow one horse, keeping up with him wherever he goes, just as wild geese follow the leader when they fly.

Daughter
Ohhh… I expect you kept up with him very well, Robert…!

Will
Thank you, daughter. Now to the play: Romeo and Juliet. Robert, you are playing Mercutio, Romeo's best friend. In this scene, there is a different kind of wild-goose chase. This chase is all about words and jokes. Mercutio and Romeo are competing with each other: each of them trying to tell the cleverest and funniest jokes.

Robert
A competition of intelligence, of wits and quick thinking!

Daughter
Mercutio will win, won't he!? He is handsome - and clever!

Will
Mercutio is indeed quick-witted, but Romeo is better - much better, and Mercutio knows it - so he gives up this wild-goose chase before it even starts, saying: Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase…

Robert as Mercutio
Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have done,
for thou hast more of the wild goose in one of
thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five.

Narrator
We'll leave them there for now. Romeo and Juliet is a play about young love, but it also has lots of fighting, with both weapons and words. Here, Shakespeare compares Romeo and Mercutio's duelling with words to a wild and dangerous horse race, called a wild-goose chase. In modern English, a wild-goose chase isn't about horses, or geese: it describes a situation where you foolishly chase after something that is impossible to get - or doesn't exist at all. Take US writer Bryant McGill, who said:

Clip 1
Endless consumerism sends us on a wild-goose chase for happiness through materialism.

Clip 2
We looked for the restaurant for hours, but it was a wild-goose chase: turned out that it closed down years ago!

Robert
So, no wild-goose chase for Mercutio.

Daughter
You could chase me, though Robert…

Robert
Oh dear… to chase, or not to chase: that really isn't a question.

Answer
Daughter has a crush on Robert, but it doesn't look like Robert feels the same way - oh dear, it's a case of unrequited love. Will is hopefully in love with Mrs Shakespeare, but we don't learn about his love life in this video!

To do

Now it's time to find out how much you understood in this episode - answer the questions in the quiz to show that you are as clever as Romeo!

A competition of intelligence, wits and quick thinking!

5 Questions

Answer these true / false questions about the video. 

Note: if you are on a computer you should drag each phrase to the correct box. If you are on a mobile device you need to select 'true' or 'false'.

Chúc mừng bạn đã hoàn thành Trắc nghiệm
Excellent! Bạn làm rất tốt! Bad luck! Điểm bạn đạt được:
x / y

A competition of intelligence, wits and quick thinking!

5 Questions

Answer these true / false questions about the video. 

Note: if you are on a computer you should drag each phrase to the correct box. If you are on a mobile device you need to select 'true' or 'false'.

Chúc mừng bạn đã hoàn thành Trắc nghiệm
Excellent! Bạn làm rất tốt! Bad luck! Điểm bạn đạt được:
x / y

How many did you get right?
4-5 - Well done, you're as quick as Romeo.
0-3 - Oh dear! Did you end up on a wild-goose chase?!

Next

We are not going to send you on a wild-goose chase, but we do want to take you on a journey with us! Next we'll explore the meaning and use of wild-goose chase - and bring you some other common animal idioms.

Session Vocabulary

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

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    Wild-goose chase

    Meaning
    In modern English, a wild-goose chase isn't about horses, or geese: it describes a situation where you foolishly chase after something that is impossible to get - or doesn't exist at all.

    Example sentence
    We looked for the restaurant for hours, but it was a wild-goose chase: turned out that it closed down years ago!

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    Extra vocabulary

    star-crossed lovers
    very unlucky lovers

    to have a crush on someone 
    to like someone - in a romantic way

    unrequited love
    when someone is in love with someone who doesn't feel the same way

    a rat race
    a way of modern life in which people compete for wealth and power

    to have a whale of a time
    to enjoy yourself very much

    to be in the doghouse
    to be in trouble - normally with your partner!

    pigs might fly!
    that will never happen!

    hold your horses!
    wait! Be patient!

    to be on your high horse  
    to behave in a superior or conceited manner 

    get off your high horse!
    stop behaving in a superior manner!

    don't count your chickens...
    don't make ​plans that ​depend on something good ​happening before you ​know that it will really happen

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    About Shakespeare Speaks

    Shakespeare Speaks is a co-production between:

    BBC Learning English

    The Open University

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