The British Library have released the first audio guide to how Shakespeare’s plays would have sounded in the original pronunciation.
Inspired by working with Kevin Spacey, Sir Trevor Nunn has claimed that American accents are “closer” than contemporary English to the accents of those used in the Bard’s day.
The eminent Shakespearean scholar John Barton has suggested that Shakespeare’s accent would have sounded to modern ears like a cross between a contemporary Irish, Yorkshire and West Country accent.
Others say that the speech of Elizabethans was much quicker than it is in modern day Shakespeare productions.
Well, now you can judge for yourself.
The British Library’s new CD, Shakespeare’s original pronunciation, is the first of its kind featuring speeches and scenes which claim to be performed as Shakespeare would have heard them.
The CD is said to bring to life rhymes and jokes that are not audible in contemporary English – as well as to illustrate what Hamlet meant when he advised his actors to speak “trippingly upon the tongue”. (‘Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue’ — Hamlet, Act 3).