can anyone translate this shakespeare monologue for me?

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katie_shannon
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#1
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ISABELLA:
So you must be the first that gives this sentence,
And he, that suffer's. O, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.
Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
For every pelting, petty officer
Would use his heaven for thunder;
Nothing but thunder! Merciful Heaven,
Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
Than the soft myrtle: but man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.
Go to your bosom;
Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know
That's like my brother's fault: if it confess
A natural guiltiness such as is his,
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Against my brother's life.

Its from Measure for Measure. Isabella has just discovered that her brother has been sentenced to death and has asked Anglo to spare him.

Thanks. very much appreciate any help.
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Fingersmith
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(Original post by katie_shannon)
ISABELLA:
So you must be the first that gives this sentence,
And he, that suffer's. O, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.
Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
For every pelting, petty officer
Would use his heaven for thunder;
Nothing but thunder! Merciful Heaven,
Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
Than the soft myrtle: but man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.
Go to your bosom;
Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know
That's like my brother's fault: if it confess
A natural guiltiness such as is his,
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Against my brother's life.

Its from Measure for Measure. Isabella has just discovered that her brother has been sentenced to death and has asked Anglo to spare him.

Thanks. very much appreciate any help.
I think she's saying to him that, although he has the power to sentence her brother to death he doesn't have to use it. She's pointing out that if everyone who had power were to use it to it's fullest, the world would be a terrible place and the gods would then exert their power to the fullest. Then we'd be in trouble. That's just m,y reading of it - I didn't look it up or anything so I might be quite wrong.
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IndigoMother
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(Original post by Fingersmith)
I think she's saying to him that, although he has the power to sentence her brother to death he doesn't have to use it. She's pointing out that if everyone who had power were to use it to it's fullest, the world would be a terrible place and the gods would then exert their power to the fullest. Then we'd be in trouble. That's just m,y reading of it - I didn't look it up or anything so I might be quite wrong.
Yes, I think that's right.
She's telling him that he would be the first ever to hand out the sentence of death for this offence and her brother the first to suffer the sentence, and that he has the power to choose not to do it.
That it's wonderful to have such great strength and power, (like a giant,) but not to use it without restraint against everyone who is lesser and weaker, (like a giant,) and, (as Fingersmith has said,) that mankind is such, that if all men of authority had power as great as Jove's then they would always use it at its most extreme for everything.
The powers of Heaven are only directed towards the strong and those who can bear it; 'The unwedgeable and gnarled oak', not the weak; 'soft myrtle' i.e. her brother. Ignorant man, whose power is so brief and transitory uses what powers he has in such dreadful ways and does such dreadful things that the angels weep to see it.
She then asks him to search his own heart and if he finds there any thoughts, feelings or desires that are similar to her brother's fault, (lust,) then in justice he shouldn't even think of carrying out the sentence.
She's really just begging him to use his great power with restraint and moderation and to show mercy based on his own conscience and knowledge of own fallible human nature.
I'm not sure about the 'spleen' line and I don't have an annotated copy of the play handy. If you go into a bookshop and find the Arden version or one of the others, it will give the meaning of that line. If it's for drama school an annotated copy would be a good idea anyway as you will need to have a good knowledge of the whole play.
Hope that helps.
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Fingersmith
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(Original post by IndigoMother)
Yes, I think that's right.
She's telling him that he would be the first ever to hand out the sentence of death for this offence and her brother the first to suffer the sentence, and that he has the power to choose not to do it.
That it's wonderful to have such great strength and power, (like a giant,) but not to use it without restraint against everyone who is lesser and weaker, (like a giant,) and, (as Fingersmith has said,) that mankind is such, that if all men of authority had power as great as Jove's then they would always use it at its most extreme for everything.
The powers of Heaven are only directed towards the strong and those who can bear it; 'The unwedgeable and gnarled oak', not the weak; 'soft myrtle' i.e. her brother. Ignorant man, whose power is so brief and transitory uses what powers he has in such dreadful ways and does such dreadful things that the angels weep to see it.
She then asks him to search his own heart and if he finds there any thoughts, feelings or desires that are similar to her brother's fault, (lust,) then in justice he shouldn't even think of carrying out the sentence.
She's really just begging him to use his great power with restraint and moderation and to show mercy based on his own conscience and knowledge of own fallible human nature.
I'm not sure about the 'spleen' line and I don't have an annotated copy of the play handy. If you go into a bookshop and find the Arden version or one of the others, it will give the meaning of that line. If it's for drama school an annotated copy would be a good idea anyway as you will need to have a good knowledge of the whole play.
Hope that helps.
Better :smartass: I think the spleens line is that the angels would be just as bad as us, if they had our spleens i.e. our propensity for anger and vengence. Maybe :rolleyes:
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katie_shannon
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(Original post by IndigoMother)
Yes, I think that's right.
She's telling him that he would be the first ever to hand out the sentence of death for this offence and her brother the first to suffer the sentence, and that he has the power to choose not to do it.
That it's wonderful to have such great strength and power, (like a giant,) but not to use it without restraint against everyone who is lesser and weaker, (like a giant,) and, (as Fingersmith has said,) that mankind is such, that if all men of authority had power as great as Jove's then they would always use it at its most extreme for everything.
The powers of Heaven are only directed towards the strong and those who can bear it; 'The unwedgeable and gnarled oak', not the weak; 'soft myrtle' i.e. her brother. Ignorant man, whose power is so brief and transitory uses what powers he has in such dreadful ways and does such dreadful things that the angels weep to see it.
She then asks him to search his own heart and if he finds there any thoughts, feelings or desires that are similar to her brother's fault, (lust,) then in justice he shouldn't even think of carrying out the sentence.
She's really just begging him to use his great power with restraint and moderation and to show mercy based on his own conscience and knowledge of own fallible human nature.
I'm not sure about the 'spleen' line and I don't have an annotated copy of the play handy. If you go into a bookshop and find the Arden version or one of the others, it will give the meaning of that line. If it's for drama school an annotated copy would be a good idea anyway as you will need to have a good knowledge of the whole play.
Hope that helps.

(Original post by IndigoMother)
Yes, I think that's right.
She's telling him that he would be the first ever to hand out the sentence of death for this offence and her brother the first to suffer the sentence, and that he has the power to choose not to do it.
That it's wonderful to have such great strength and power, (like a giant,) but not to use it without restraint against everyone who is lesser and weaker, (like a giant,) and, (as Fingersmith has said,) that mankind is such, that if all men of authority had power as great as Jove's then they would always use it at its most extreme for everything.
The powers of Heaven are only directed towards the strong and those who can bear it; 'The unwedgeable and gnarled oak', not the weak; 'soft myrtle' i.e. her brother. Ignorant man, whose power is so brief and transitory uses what powers he has in such dreadful ways and does such dreadful things that the angels weep to see it.
She then asks him to search his own heart and if he finds there any thoughts, feelings or desires that are similar to her brother's fault, (lust,) then in justice he shouldn't even think of carrying out the sentence.
She's really just begging him to use his great power with restraint and moderation and to show mercy based on his own conscience and knowledge of own fallible human nature.
I'm not sure about the 'spleen' line and I don't have an annotated copy of the play handy. If you go into a bookshop and find the Arden version or one of the others, it will give the meaning of that line. If it's for drama school an annotated copy would be a good idea anyway as you will need to have a good knowledge of the whole play.
Hope that helps.
thanks so much!
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clive griffin
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What it means is - You will be sacked from your job and have your career wrecked if yo say it to a black person.
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