Fail Not This Class

Frederick, MD, USA | Learning | July 15, 2017

(Translating Shakespeare sentences in English class.)

Teacher: “‘Fail not our feast.’ What does that mean in modern English?”

Student: “Come to our feast.”

Teacher: “Yeah, but I think it sounds more like a command.”


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  • Jackie Fauxe

    Macbeth is saying that to Banquo, and I think it’s a shame he went with “feast” and not “banquet”. Loosen up and have some more fun with your words, Macbeth! Being too serious probably isn’t going to work out for you in the end…

    • Matt Westwood

      Rubbish, “Feast” is alliterative and fits the metre. “Banquet” does neither.

      • Jackie Fauxe

        No, I didn’t mean to just swap the words; I just think there’s an opportunity to make a play on words using “banquet” and “Banquo”.

        Apparently, plotting Banquo’s murder is more important to Macbeth than a bit of punning. Priorities, man.

        • Matt Westwood

          I hear what you’re saying but I can’t think of a better line than what he *does* put into Macbeth’s mouth. The line, and the context, is far too serious than quippy punning on the similarity between the words Banquo and Banquet. Sorry, but it just does not sound like Shaxpr’s style. “Fail not our feast” has an undertone of ominousness (if that’s the word) that you can’t deliver if you’re pranking about on a silly pun. “F” is a strong letter that can be used forcefully, B is weak and sedentary. Sorry, but that’s the way I see it.

          • Jackie Fauxe

            No, no, no, my problem isn’t with Shakespeare–I would never think to second guess Shakespeare’s writing; I’m just giving Macbeth the character a hard time because he’s a terrible person, and I enjoy picking on him.

          • Matt Westwood

            Macbeth as a character, at this particular juncture, wants Banquo to feel obliged and/or compelled to go to this party laid on in his honour. You *can’t* come across as kingly and commanding if etc. etc.

  • Shakespeare is modern English. Early modern, but still.

  • Michael Bugg

    Nonono, that’s how you say, “Come to our feast,” to a person who removed her hearing aids.

  • BMK

    I remember the middle school drama teacher translating “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun,” for us as, “Dang, that girl is hot!”

  • RallyLock

    Teacher: “Yeah, but I think it sounds more like a command.”

    Student: “Yo, get your f*cking a** over here and eat!”