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Narnia Similiar To Shakespeare

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Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Since there's been discussion about All-Time Favorite Shakespeare Plays, it would be no surprise if Narnia would have some similarities. 

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe- A Winter's Tale. It was the only one I could think of because of winter. I guess Twelfth Night could fall into that category too, because of Christmas.

Prince Caspian- Hamlet. I'm sure you all saw this coming. There are a lot of stories about the main character's uncle killing the main character's father (brothers).

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader- The Tempest. Both stories are set out on the ocean, and both involved a storm. And what about similarity to Prospero and Coriakin, since they are both magicians?

The Silver Chair- There's a bit of Hamlet and a bit of a Midsummer Night's Dream. Rilian is described as wearing black, looking a bit like Hamlet. And there's the midnight dance in the woods. It would be no surprise that there are fairies in the woods, like there are in Midsummer's Night's Dream.

The Horse and His Boy- Richard III because of the horses. Also Troilus and Cressida, because the main character travel on horses.

The Magician's Nephew- I guess this could also be The Tempest, because Prospero has a daughter, Merinda, and brother Antonino, who plots to take over. How many stories are there about where an uncle is antagonizing against a niece? Not that Uncle Andrew was an antagonizing against Digory, but I thought I throw that out there.

The Last Battle- Othello. Both stories involved manipulation. Shift manipulates Puzzle into pretending to be Aslan. In turn, Rishda and Ginger manipulate Shift. I guess Rishda would have similarities to Iago. Both wanted to have higher power, and use manipulation to get it.

 

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : December 5, 2021 9:08 pm
Narnian78 liked
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Nut

@jasminetarkheena 

Does Romeo and Juliet have any similarities to Narnia?  Perhaps the language of the play itself is like the old fashioned language of Narnia in the characters’ medieval way of speaking. The dialogue in the plays is somewhat similar to Narnian English.  And Narnia has stories of people escaping hardships in countries where injustice is permitted. Or maybe Aravis is a kind of Juliet wishing to escape Calormen and help others to escape. People who like Narnia are often those who like these kind of stories which are similar to medieval fantasy and fairy tales. I wonder what would have happened if Narnia had a pair of tragic lovers.  It would have made the stories darker in tone, but of course Lewis usually would have preferred an uplifting ending.

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Posted : December 6, 2021 1:08 am
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

@jasminetarkheena 

I'm sorry, but I'm surprised at a lot of your suggestions. Here are two straight off:

There are no fairies in a wood in The Silver Chair. There are Talking Beasts doing a choreographed snowball fight. It is far from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I'm afraid there is nothing about horses in Richard III - apart from the title character becoming unhorsed in the final battle. One line is not enough to parallel with two Talking Horses who are major characters in Horse & His Boy.

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : December 6, 2021 3:03 am
Courtenay liked
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@narnian78 I actually didn't think about that one. Some of the dialogue in Narnia is similar to Shakespeare.  I guess you could make up a story about a Tarkaan and Tarkheena coming from different families who hate each other. 

@coracle I need to make some clarification. What I meant to say is that the Narnia woods are full of gods and goddesses dancing. It wouldn't be a surprise if Midsummer Night's Dream had gods and goddesses dancing in the woods.

I guess there could be some of The Winter's Tale, too. It's winter when The Silver Chair takes place.

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : December 6, 2021 8:50 am
Narnian78 liked
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

@jasminetarkheena perhaps the most similar one to A Midsummer Night's Dream is the part of Prince Caspian where the girls are with Aslan when the trees and their inhabitants wake-up for a romp. 

It's very hard to match Shakespeare to Narnia, but there are certainly many elements in each that remind us of other. In the same way we can often see similarities between folklore of different countries. Perhaps an important part of it is our common humanity and how we live our lives in connection with others. 

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : December 6, 2021 12:41 pm
Courtenay liked
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@coracle I knew about Prince Caspian being similar to Hamlet. I actually didn't think about the romp where Aslan frees the school children and wakes the trees. 

The difference is that Miraz didn't marry his sister-in-law nor is there a ghost of Caspian IX telling Caspian X to take vengeance on Miraz. 

While both Othello and The Last Battle deal with manipulation, I don't think there is so much jealousy (unless you count Shift being jealous of King Tirian for having the right to rule Narnia or Rishda being jealous of King Tirian or or Shift or some other Calormene who is above him, if there was any). 

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : December 6, 2021 1:11 pm
coracle liked
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

@jasminetarkheena  You mentioned The Winter's Tale earlier, along with The Silver Chair.
It's not the presence of winter that makes these two similar, but some of the plot. There are also elements of HHB.

In the play, a queen is accused of unfaithfulness, and her newborn daughter is taken away to another country by a lord who dies as they arrive. She grows up in a simple rural home with poor shepherds, not knowing she is a princess. Meanwhile the queen is kept hidden away from the king, who is told that the queen has died. Years later it is all resolved with the queen and the princess returning due to the efforts of others.
   

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : December 8, 2021 1:54 pm
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@coracle Oh yeah. Caspian X's queen is killed and Prince Rilian is hidden away (stolen by The Lady of the Green Kirtle).

I don't think there was ever a time that Prince Caspian wore black, like Hamlet (not that I can remember).

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : December 8, 2021 2:30 pm
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Unfortunately I would have to disagree with the entire thesis of this post - In fact, i would not only have to suggest that there are zero similarities between Narnia and Shakespeare, but there are actually many active dissimilarities.

Point 1 - The two most common themes in all of Shakespeare's plays are Love and Tragedy. By contrast, Narnia features zero romantic plots, and none of the stories could be described as Tragedies.

Point 2 - Shakespeare's plays are famous for being written in iambic pentameter. Narnia is not written in verse, and the few elements of poetry that do exist in the stories are not in iambic pentameter.

Point 3 - All of Shakespeares plays are notable for having a 5 Act structure. None of the Narnia stories follow a 5 Act Structure.

Point 4 - Almost all of the Narnia stories use quest/journey based narratives. To my mind none of Shakespeares plays do.

I think even if you were to just focus on the general notion of what people mean when they say that something is "Shakespearean", they generally mean it to be a story full of high drama, court intrigue, overwrought moments of emotion and portentous theatrically - particularly the use of soliloquies and other larger than life dialogue elements. All of which is diametrically opposed to the smaller, softer, more intimate nature of most of the Narnia stories.

Overall the Narnia stories do pull from a lot of diverse sources of inspiration, including real life histories, mythologies, and literature - however I would say with almost near certainty that Shakespeare is not one of those influences.

 

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Posted : December 8, 2021 4:18 pm
Col Klink, Jasmine, johobbit and 2 people liked
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Nut

There are more similarities of Shakespeare’s plays and Narnia than one might think, although they may be less obvious. The Tempest had a retiring magician named Prospero, and he was somewhat like Ramandu and Coriakin in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. As You Like It and A Midsummer Night’s Dream both had forests in their settings and I think there is a magical quality about the location of both plays which is something like Narnia. A lamppost would have been good as a part of the landscape of the Forest of Arden.  Lantern Waste was a woodland something like Shakespeare’s Arden.  My guess is that Arden was based on a real natural place which had a similar magic in its location.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream has more magic in it.  There is a magic like Narnia in many of the forests in our world, and that would include those which inspired Shakespeare to write his plays. It is like the forests we have here in Michigan in that there is a kind of enchantment about them. 🙂

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Posted : December 13, 2021 6:55 am
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

I think the best conclusion is:

Lewis was very familiar with English literature (as well as the classics)  and had a photographic memory, so anything he wrote will have had elements in common with other literature across time and other countries. 

It would therefore be surprising if his stories did NOT remind readers of other work. 

But we would be incorrect to draw direct parallels with specific works by Shakespeare or other writers. 

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : December 13, 2021 12:35 pm
Jasmine and Courtenay liked
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I think another connection between Narnia and Shakespeare is Measure For Measure and The Last Battle. Both has the concept taking the name of God (or Aslan in Narnia's case) and use it for personal gain.

Shift keeps telling Puzzle and other Narnians, "This is the will of Aslan" or "This is what Aslan wants you to do". Angelo from Measure for Measure says things like, "This is the will of God" or "God wants me to do this".

And a concept like that actually happens in real life.

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : May 11, 2022 3:51 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @jasmine_tarkheena

I think another connection between Narnia and Shakespeare is Measure For Measure and The Last Battle. Both has the concept taking the name of God (or Aslan in Narnia's case) and use it for personal gain.

Shift keeps telling Puzzle and other Narnians, "This is the will of Aslan" or "This is what Aslan wants you to do". Angelo from Measure for Measure says things like, "This is the will of God" or "God wants me to do this".

And a concept like that actually happens in real life.

I feel like that and the other Shakespeare connections you've suggested are really big stretches. I mean that's a pretty generic theme. Probably lots of stories have that. 

Do you think maybe you're just seeing these things because you like both Narnia and Shakespeare so you feel there must be a connection between them? You can enjoy all kinds of stories, you know. They don't have to have themes and plot points in common. Smile  

This post was modified 1 week ago by Col Klink

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Posted : May 12, 2022 7:53 pm
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @col-klink

I feel like that and the other Shakespeare connections you've suggested are really big stretches. I mean that's a pretty generic theme. Probably lots of stories have that. 

I guess you could say that. There are similarities as well as some differences. In a way, Shift and Rishda might be similar to Angelo, except for the lusting after the main heroine.

Posted by: @col-klink

Do you think maybe you're just seeing these things because you like both Narnia and Shakespeare so you feel there must be a connection between them?

There's no denying that William Shakespeare was a great play writer of the 15th or 16th century. Since C.S Lewis was a literary scholar, he would have known Shakespeare's plays well.

Posted by: @col-klink

You can enjoy all kinds of stories, you know. They don't have to have themes and plot points in common. Smile

That is probably true. 

 

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : May 12, 2022 8:36 pm
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

@jasmine_tarkheena 

You said,
There are similarities as well as some differences. In a way, Shift and Rishda might be similar to Angelo, except for the lusting after the main heroine.

Since this is the most significant thing that anyone remembers from that play, perhaps this was not a strong similarity.

English and other European literature of the last few centuries has a lot of cheats and hypocrites, especially men who misuse vulnerable women. This doesn't mean that any one writer has been inspired by any other writer. It means they have observed life, and have written about what they saw, either in sadness or with a desire to encourage better behaviour from the examples..

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : May 12, 2022 11:54 pm
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