Friday, December 1, 2023

Shakespeare in FoxTrot's Death by Field Trip

Amend, Bill. Death by Field Trip. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel, 2001.

Moving forward one volume in our search for all the Shakespeare in FoxTrot, we come to Death by Field Trip.

Like all FoxTrot books, it's great fun.

But it is a little lacking in the Shakespeare.

We do have one solid comic about Peter and his thoughts about studying Hamlet—particularly on such a lovely day:

And I'll admit I'm stretching a bit with this next comic. Shakespeare isn't mentioned—just the generic term "poem." But I prefer to imagine that they're all Shakespeare sonnets, which neither detracts from nor adds to the joke: 

I'm afraid that's it—but we'll try another volume next week.
Update: In re-reading the volume in question, I discovered an additional Shakespeare-related comic. It's subtle, but I'm sure you'll agree that the Shakespeare is there.

Some readers might consider the line about Leonardo DiCaprio to be connected to the 1997 film Titanic, in which DiCaprio played a role, but it's more likely to allude to the 1996 Romeo + Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the title roles. 

Support for this claim can be found in two quotations from Shakespeare's play. The first is from Romeo, and it comes toward the beginning of the balcony scene. In expressing how desparate he is to spend time with Juliet, he says,

I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise. (II.ii.82–84)

The FoxTrot comic picks up and expands this simile, implying that Romeo would even go as far as the deepest sea to adventure for the "merchandise" that is Juliet.

The section supporting quotation is from Juliet, who famously says this about her love for Romeo:

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite. (II.ii.133–35)

There's much humor in the disparity between these images of the vastidity of the sea and the aquarium in FoxTrot—and we find it when we see the subtle Shakespeare allusion at play here.

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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.
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