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Agrimarketing : November December 2009
November/December 2009 Agri Marketing 55 necessarily indicative of marital strife. Friar I must up-fill this willow cage of ours With baleful weeds and precious juiced flowers. Romeo and Juliet, act ii, sc. 3 "Baleful weeds"... now that's ominous. I might recommend that in the next ad campaign. Ag writers really should study the Bard's 17,000 words for more colorful adjectives and adverbs. Also, we should study his rhetorical devices, such as anadiplosis, diacope, hyperbaton and other persuasive-writing techniques I really don't have the I.Q. to grasp. Queen Now 'tis the spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted; Suffer them now, and they'll o'ergrow the garden, And choke the herbs for want of husbandry. 2nd Henry VI, act iii, sc. 1 Bravo! Spray weeds early and often! Speaking of the Queen, or rather, the idea that the actor would've been a male dressed as the Queen (since females were banned from the stage in those days), it struck me as singularly odd that in many of the plays, female characters disguise themselves as males in order to ferret out secrets, manipulate catastrophic events and other tomfooleries. So, the "groundlings" (hordes of impoverished, illiterate commoners who paid a penny in the "box office" to attend these performances) would've seen male actors dressed as females who then dressed as males to cause hilarity and havoc. Biron Allons! allons! sowed cockle reap'd no corn Love's Labour's Lost, act iv, sc. 3 Allons! Hey!, Not sure what that means. However, I did learn that in Shakespeare's time the word "cockle" was used generally for any noxious weed that grew in corn fields. Coriolanus We nourish 'gainst our senate The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition, Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd, and scatter'd, By mingling them with us. Coriolanus, act iii, sc. 1 Surely you have workmates, bosses or, perhaps even extended family members you think are "cockles of rebellion, insolence and sedition," who delight in breeding controversy at festive gatherings. Now you can insult them with this quote from the mighty, majestic, but certainly ill-treated, Coriolanus. And if you follow in his footsteps and are exiled by friends and family, you too can join with the enemy and return and burn down your hometown. Cordelia Crown'd with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds, With burdocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers. darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow In our sustaining corn. King Lear, act iv, sc. 3 Poor, half-insane King Lear sinks into bombastic melancholy over the betrayal and rejected love doled out by his conniving daughters. So distraught was this once-regal king that he stripped down to his birthday suit and shrouded himself in weeds. I did that myself last week following my less-than-favorable annual review. King Henry The care you have of us, To mow down thorns that would annoy our foot, Is worthy praise. 2nd Henry VI, act iii, sc. 1 Gloucester And I --- like one lost in a thorny wood, That rends the thorns and is rent with the thorns, Seeking a way, and straying from the way. 3rd Henry VI, act iii, sc. 2 Romeo Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn. Romeo and Juliet, act i, sc. 4 Florizel But O, the thorns we stand upon! King John, act iv, sc. 3 Ranchers and their cattle certainly strive for thorn-free pastures. I found most of Shakespeare's plays contain poetic references to thorns. I suppose if I had the audacity and credibility to criticize the greatest writer of the Western Canon, I'd tell ol' Will he overuses thorns to the point it somewhat dulls its poetic prick, so to speak. Rosaline To weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain. Love's Labour's Lost, act v, sc. 2 Nurse For I had then laid wormwood to my dug. When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple Of my dug, and felt it bitter, pretty fool. Lucrece Sensing I might be starting to beat a dead horse, I'll conclude my extracts of the Bard's multitudinous references to weeds with wormwood, a rather pungent plant. In Shakespeare's time, nursemaids used it to repel ticks and flees and to accelerate the weaning of infants from breast-feeding. Shakespeare knew that what is con- sidered a "weed" is in the eye of the beholder. In my pas- tures at home, for instance, we define a weed as "any veg- etation our horses won't eat and require us to purchase hay bales instead of going out to fancy dinners our- selves." A corn grower in Iowa certainly has a different definition tied to yield, and so does a county weed agent controlling certain types of unsightly vegetation along roadsides. Shakespeare used this ambiguity to his poetic advantage, oftentimes tying it to the deeper notions of human good and evil. This should inspire ag communicators to do likewise to better connect with and influence our target audiences. AM
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