Monday, June 26, 2023

A Quick Bit of Shakespeare in Remarkably Bright Creatures . . . with a Spoiler

Van Pelt, Shelby. Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel. New York: Ecco, 2013.

I thoroughly enjoyed the inventive and entertaining Remarkably Bright Creatures, which tells the story of a man searching out his parentage, a woman adjusting to the possibility of retirement and moving, and an octopus finding meaning in his life and freedom from his captivity. The audiobook was particularly well done, bringing the voice of the octopus to life.

And then there's the Shakespeare in it!

If you haven't read the novel, stop here, track it down, read it, and come back—signifiant spoilers are about to be spilled. The brief connections to Shakespeare will wait.

The man and the woman mentioned in the opening paragraph end up in a scene in the local aquarium (she's been injured, so she's not working there at present; he's taking over her custodial duties) where they return the escaped octopus to his tank. Terry (the woman) convinces Cameron (the man) to keep the escape of the octopus (Marcellus) a secret. Here's the end of that chapter: 

Terry's son died under mysterious circumstances about thirty years prior. The twenty-nine-year-old Cameron will learn much more about that in the course of the novel.

And you've probably grasped the spoiler by now: Cameron is Terry's grandson. The genetic predisposition to like Hamlet is only one clue.

In Marcellus' narrative, the relationship is outlined, and Marcellus seems to have some Shakespeare proclivities himself—or he at least uses a term Shakespeare and other writers in his era frequently used: "Cuckold."   

That's what I have for you: A direct quote from Shakespeare and a Shakespearean term. It's not much, yet it enhances the novel just that little Shakespearean bit.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest