I'm in a sonnet mood lately. I'm actually so entranced with David Gilmour's version of Sonnet 18 that I made it my ringtone :). So when I saw this 'analysis' of sonnet 18 I thought I'd check it out. After all, I liked what Some Guy from New York did over on his podcast with it.
Yikes. How....painful. Makes me fully appreciate why a) there are so many books that claim to "paraphrase" Shakespeare into more modern tongue, and b) why there is still room for more. Check it out:
Confused by "Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May"? Fear not! Here's what it means: "Rough winds shake the much loved buds of May".
So, basically, all you really need is a thesaurus. Darling, darling darling.....ah, here it is! Much loved.
Or how about this less than heart-felt translation of "Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade" -- "Nor will Death claim you as his own." Hooray.
You can't do a line by line translation of Shakespeare and hope to get 1/100th of the meaning out of it. I mean, come on. Look at that line. I love that line. Nor shall Death *brag*. Think about that. People die constantly. There's a steady influx of people for Death's little playground. He's got no shortage. But this person who Shakespeare is talking about, this person is just so amazing that should that day finally come, Death would actually brag about this one. Like, forget all those others that I've got, have you seen this one? That's the kind of stage that Shakespeare sets (pun intended). He, as the poet, is rescuing this beauty from Death himself. It's a competition. Death wants to claim her (him?) as a prize trophy, and the humble poet is going to prevent that from happening by immortalizing him (her?) in verse. What more powerful thing is there to promise to someone you love than "I will not let you die"?
Go ahead and explain Shakespaere. Summarize him. Try to get at the essence of what he's saying. But don't do the reader a disservice and elevate yourself beyond your station by trying to pretend that you can simply swap out a few words and hope to add any real value.
(Geez, am I cranky today? :))