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Mar 18

Shakespeare in Dice, Part 3

 

Shakepseare & ToaGMThe celebrations marking Shakespeare Week continue here at Tales of a GM. Today is a double-header, with the latest issue of Tales of the Dice. I am also continuing my short series exploring the interactions between our national playwright and dice.

 

Yesterday, I presented two quotes from Act IV of Henry the Fifth (1600).

 

Today, the spotlight turns onto two more plays dated to 1600.

 

Luck of the Roll

Prince of Morocco        If Hercules and Lichas play at dice

Which is the better man, the greater throw

May turn by fortune from the weaker hand:

 

The first quote for today comes from Act II, Scene I of The Merchant of Venice.

 

Here is the classic situation where a lucky roll can overcome a mighty foe. We all know how the right roll can take down even a demigod. If Lichas throws a critical at the right moment, then even mighty Hercules can be defeated.

 

Weighted Dice

Don Pedro.   Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.

Beatrice         Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for a single one: marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your Grace may well say I have lost it.

 

The second quote for today is also from Act II, Scene I, but this time the play is Much Ado about Nothing.

 

Poor Beatrice believes herself to be the victim of weighted dice, but carries the pain well. She is using metaphor to describe how Benedick has been false with her, but the underlying imagery must have connected with an Elizabethan audience. Wherever there are games of chance, there are cheats and loaded dice.

 

Another balanced pair of quotes today, discussing fortune good and bad. The series will continue tomorrow with another pair of dice quotes.

 

Until then, may your dice be fortunate not false.

 

Happy Dicing

Phil

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