Americans in the Nineteenth Century liked to be entertained just as much as their descendants do. One of their favorite forms of entertainment was the plays of Shakespeare. Amateur performances and traveling troupes of actors and actresses would normally play to packed houses whenever a Shakespeare play was presented. Illiterate men and women not uncommonly would have memorized lines from Shakespeare, and the literate peppered their letters with quotations from the Bard. The family of Junius Brutus Booth specialized in bringing Shakespeare to the entire nation, including the wildest mining camps of the old West. After Lincoln was murdered by John Wilkes Booth, his brother Edwin, a fervent supporter of the Union and Lincoln and who saved Robert Lincoln’s life a few months before his brother took the life of Lincoln’s father, battled for years to overcome the shame of his brother’s crime as depicted in this episode of the Sixties western Branded.
Of course all this merely an excuse for me to post the Henry V video! I have always loved this speech, and one video containing four perormances of the “band of brothers” speech from Henry V is too sweet not to share with our readers. Courage, memory and love are powerful motivators, and this speech is a reminder of just how powerful: (more…)