UPDATED 04/23/12 6:43 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Friends, Chicagoans, countrymen lend me your ears, for all thou must speak Shakespearean this fine Monday.
Emperor Rahm Emanuel has decreed “Talk Like Shakespeare Day” on Monday–the Bard’s 448th birthday. And he doth beseech ye to participate.
“All citizens are encouraged to express themselves through the incorporation of Shakespearean language and dialect,” according to the official proclamation signed by the mayor.
If thou knoweth not how to speak the Bard’s tongue, thou needn’t quake with fear. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater hath a guide to help thee, and ’tis actually quite easy.
Instead of “you,” say “thou” for the first person and “thee” for the third. Instead of “you guys” or “y’all,” say “ye.”
Rhymed couplets are all the rage. If thou speakest in iambic pentameter, thou hast the right idea.
The guide also suggeseth adding the letters “eth” to the end of verbs, but here we heartily beseech ye to be careful. “Eth” is a third-person verb ending, while “est” is a second-person ending. While today we would conjugate a verb thusly: “I love; you love; he loves,” in Shakespeare’s time, it would have been, “I love, thou lovest, he loveth.”
The guide also suggeseth adding weight to thy opinions by starting them with words such as “methinks,” “mayhaps,” “in sooth,” or “wherefore.” But once again, we heartily beseech ye to use these words properly.
“Wherefore” is not a fancy way of saying “where.” When Juliet said, “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?” Romeo was not hiding anywhere. She was asking “why,” as in, why did he have to be a member of the Montague family – the enemy of her Capulet family – a fact that made their love forbidden.
And verily, the Bard’s classics would not be complete without a bevy of glorious insults. The guide suggeseth calling thy tormenters “jackanapes” or “canker blossoms,” or “poisonous bunch-back’d toads.”
But thou needn’t limit thyself to choices so few. Why not try the Shakespearean Insult Generator, which will punch up such epithets as, “goatish hedge-born whey-face” and “forward motley-minded apple-john?”
William Shakespeare lived from 1564 to 1616. He authored 38 plays and 154 sonnets, although his simple upbringing in Stratford-upon-Avon has led a large community of scholars question whether the works were actually written by another source – most popularly believed to be Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. The authorship question was recently dramatized in the 2011 movie “Anonymous.”
In honor of the Bard’s birthday, Navy Pier is offering free Ferris wheel rides from 10 a.m. to noon, and a Bard-inspired menu will be available at Harry Caray’s Tavern on Navy Pier from noon to 2 p.m.