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Shakespeare on drugs: The secret narcotic history of the world's greatest playwright
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This phrase was first used by Shakespeare to denote the powerful emotion in 's The Merchant of Venice when Portia refers to "green-eyed jealousy". This phrase is regularly shortened to "as luck would have it". Falstaff utters the line. Meaning "the whole thing" or "the last word". Shakespeare coined this well-used phrase in his tragedy Macbeth. Meaning "regrettable and unwelcome" or someone of untidy appearance. First used in Macbeth by Shakespeare's titular tragic hero when he looks at his hands.
Widely used to mean fairness and justice in a variety of contexts. Most people have used this phrase to express joy or relief when an annoyance disappears. Back in Shakespeare's day "riddance" meant "deliverance from" or "getting rid of" but it is now only rarely used outside of the saying. Portia wishes the Prince of Morocco "a gentle riddance" in The Merchant of Venice but it is thought to have been used before that.
Meaning "in a difficult position".
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There were various references to pickles in the late 16th century but Shakespeare was one of the first to use "in a pickle" in The Tempest. Trinculo says: "I have been in such a pickle since I saw you last. Chaucer first used this phrase in but Shakespeare made it more commonplace by including it in several of his plays. Enter your email address Continue Continue Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid Email already exists. Update newsletter preferences. Comments Share your thoughts and debate the big issues.
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Join the discussion. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. Create a commenting name to join the debate Submit. Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted. In Antony and Cleopatra Act 5 Scene 2 Cleopatra, on learning of Mark Antony's death and being unwilling to be taken alive by Caesar, sets in motion her own suicide by an asp bite to the breast.
In ancient history, an asp referred to a number of different venomous snakes from around the Nile region. Cleopatra had already administered the venom to criminals to test its effects and believed an asp bite allowed for a much more humane death. There are four main types of snake venom; proteolytic , which disrupts the molecular structure of the bite region, haemotoxic which affects the blood and cardiovascular system, neurotoxic which acts on the nervous system and cytotoxic which has a localised effect at the bite site.
The asp venom that was most likely used by Cleopatra is both neurotoxic and cytotoxic and would have caused a particularly excruciating death. The venom first stops signals to the muscles, and later to the heart and lungs. Victims die from respiratory failure. Macbeth and Banquo meet the three witches on a heath, Engraving by W. Bromley after J. Amongst human organs and animal parts, the witches use the root of the deadly hemlock Conium maculatum , a highly poisonous plant known to have a chemical structure and pharmacological properties similar to nicotine.
Even in low doses, the plant can cause respiratory failure and death. The root of the plant, used by the witches in their deadly concoction is known to have the highest toxicity concentration of all of the plant. The witches also add yew Taxus baccata.
follow link The plant contains the highly toxic alkaloid taxine which if ingested can cause rapid death through cardiac arrest. Though the witches potion is a magical creation, the deathly potential of the ingredients used is very much real. The plants are some of the most poisonous species found in Western Europe and it is evident that Shakespeare was aware of their lethal nature. It is also significant that the witches were boiling their broth.
Boiling has long been known to sterilise water and destroy pathogenic, disease causing micro-organisms. The increased temperature would also give the molecules more kinetic energy and the reaction would proceed faster. However, whether or not the concentration of the product would increase is dependent on the type of reaction. The scene is one of the most evocative in all of Shakespeare, and has inspired many writers, from J K Rowling to Samuel Beckett. You can find out about the genetics behind the recent archaeological Richard III project , the character in Shakespeare's play of the same name, as well as the relationship between poetry and neuroscience.
Shakespeare Lives in Science; poisons, potions and drugs Do Shakespearean concoctions really work? Love potions. Sleeping draughts. Second Image: Atropa Belladonna. Danny S. View more.
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