Thursday, October 25, 2018

Nanowrimo Prep and a battle cry for the midterms on St. Crispian's Day

Today is St. Crispian's Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. I thought I would post a couple of clips of one of my favorite Shakespearean monologues, to mark the day and as an example of a perfect SETPIECE SCENE, our next Nanowrimo Prep topic. We will go into Setpieces in depth next week.

But today I'm posting to reaffirm my personal commitment to writing politically despite some pretty vicious trolling, and to give us all hope and that extra bit of courage going into the midterms.

Here's a history of the battle of this day, fought with an at-the-time revolutionary new weapon, that changed the course of history. The small British force had every expectation of being decimated by the mass of French troops, five times the size of the British army. 

In Henry V, Shakespeare envisions the battle speech that gave the army the spirit to go in to almost certain death, taking the very Shakespearean view that it is the human spirit that wins battles, rather than any physical weapon.

These two scenes are absolute masterpieces of political writing, and of cinema - and I've written about this monologue as a perfect example of one of the key story element of a war story: The Going Into Battle Rallying Speech.

The films show auteurs at their best: both actors also adapted and directed.

Here's Olivier as King Harry:



And Kenneth Branagh's version, which never fails to make me cry (I'm not a crier).



We're at an equally dire moment in history. A growing authoritarian threat, pipe bombs, an angry mob.

But this time, women are fighting, too.

She that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse them at the name of Crispian.
She that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast her neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will she strip her sleeve and show her scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'

From this day to the ending of the world,
We in it shall be remember'd;

Keep fighting.

- Alex



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