The Three Witches known as the Weird Sisters or Wayward Sisters, are characters in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth. They hold a striking resemblance to the three Fates of classical mythology, are intended as a twisted version of the white-robed incarnations of destiny; the witches lead Macbeth to his demise. Their origin lies in Holinshed's Chronicles, a history of England and Ireland. Other possible sources, aside from Shakespeare's imagination, include British folklore, such contemporary treatises on witchcraft as King James VI of Scotland's Daemonologie, the Norns of Norse mythology, ancient classical myths of the Fates: the Greek Moirai and the Roman Parcae. Productions of Macbeth began incorporating portions of Thomas Middleton's contemporaneous play The Witch circa 1618, two years after Shakespeare's death. Shakespeare's witches are prophets who hail Macbeth, the general, early in the play, predict his ascent to kingship. Upon killing the king and gaining the throne of Scotland, Macbeth hears them ambiguously predict his eventual downfall.
The witches, their "filthy" trappings and supernatural activities, set an ominous tone for the play. Artists in the eighteenth century, including Henry Fuseli and William Rimmer, depicted the witches variously, as have many directors since; some have exaggerated or sensationalised the hags, or have adapted them to different cultures, as in Orson Welles's rendition of the weird sisters as voodoo priestesses. Some film adaptations have cast the witches as such modern analogues as hippies on drugs, or goth schoolgirls, their influence reaches the literary realm as well in such works as the Discworld and Harry Potter series. The name "weird sisters" is found in most modern editions of Macbeth. However, the First Folio's text reads: The weyward Sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the Sea and Land... In scenes in the first folio the witches are called "weyward", but never "weird"; the modern appellation "weird sisters" derives from Holinshed's original Chronicles. However, modern English spelling was only starting to become fixed by Shakespeare's time and the word'weird' had connotations beyond the common modern meaning.
The Wiktionary etymology for "weird" includes this observation: " was extinct by the 16th century in English. It survived in Scots, whence Shakespeare borrowed it in naming the Weird Sisters, reintroducing it to English; the senses "abnormal", "strange" etc. arose via reinterpretation of "Weird Sisters" and date from after this reintroduction." One of Shakespeare's principal sources for the Three Witches is found in the account of King Duncan in Raphael Holinshed's history of Britain, The Chronicles of England and Ireland. In Holinshed, the future King Macbeth of Scotland and his companion Banquo encounter "three women in strange and wild apparell, resembling creatures of elder world" who hail the men with glowing prophecies and vanish "immediately out of their sight". Holinshed observes that "the common opinion was that these women were either the Weird Sisters, that is… the goddesses of destiny, or else some nymphs or fairies endued with knowledge of prophecy by their necromantical science."Another principal source was the Daemonologie of King James published in 1597 which included a news pamphlet titled Newes from Scotland that detailed the infamous North Berwick witch trials of 1590.
Not only had this trial taken place in Scotland, witches involved confessed to attempt the use of witchcraft to raise a tempest and sabotage the boat King James and the Queen of Scots were on board during their return trip from Denmark. The three witches discuss the raising of winds at sea in the opening lines of Act 1 Scene 3; the news pamphlet states: Moreover she confessed that at the time when his Majesty was in Denmark, she being accompanied with the parties before specially named, took a Cat and christened it, afterward bound to each part of that Cat, the cheefest parts of a dead man, several joints of his body, that in the night following the said Cat was conveyed into the midst of the sea by all these witches sailing in their riddles or Cues as aforesaid, so left the said Cat right before the Town of Leith in Scotland: this done, there did arise such a tempest in the Sea, as a greater has not been seen: which tempest was the cause of the perishing of a Boat or vessel coming over from the town of Brunt Island to the town of Leith, of, many Jewels and rich gifts, which should have been presented to the current Queen of Scotland, at her Majesty's coming to Leith.
Again it is confessed, that the said christened Cat was the cause that the King Majesty's Ship at his coming forth of Denmark, had a contrary wind to the rest of his Ships being in his company, which thing was most strange and true, as the King's Majesty acknowledges – Daemonologie, Newes from Scotland The concept of the Three Witches themselves may have been influenced by the Old Norse skaldic poem Darraðarljóð, in which twelve valkyries weave and choose, to be slain at the Battle of Clontarf. Shakespeare's creation of the Three Witches may have been influenced by an anti-witchcraft law passed by King James nine years a law, to stay untouched for over 130 years, his characters' "chappy fingers", "skinny lips", "beards", for example, are not found in Holinshed. Macbeth's Hillock near Brodie, between Forres and Nairn in Scotland, has long been identified as the mythical meeting place of Macbeth and the witches. Traditionally, Forres is believed to have been the home of both Macbeth. However, Samuel Taylor Coleridge proposed that the three weird sisters should be seen as ambiguous figures
The Tramp known as The Little Tramp, was British actor Charlie Chaplin's most memorable on-screen character and an icon in world cinema during the era of silent film. The Tramp is the title of a silent film starring Chaplin, which Chaplin wrote and directed in 1915; the Tramp, as portrayed by Chaplin, is a childlike, bumbling but good-hearted character, most famously portrayed as a vagrant who endeavors to behave with the manners and dignity of a gentleman despite his actual social status. However, while he is ready to take what paying work is available, he uses his cunning to get what he needs to survive and escape the authority figures who will not tolerate his antics. Chaplin's films did not always portray the Tramp as a vagrant, however; the character was referred to by any names on-screen, although he was sometimes identified as "Charlie" and as in the original silent version of The Gold Rush, "The little funny tramp". The character of the Tramp was created by accident while Chaplin was working at Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios, when dressing up for the short film Mabel's Strange Predicament starring Mabel Normand and Chaplin.
In a 1933 interview, Chaplin explained how he came up with the look of the Tramp: A hotel set was built for Mabel Normand's picture Mabel's Strange Predicament and I was hurriedly told to put on a funny make-up. This time I went to the wardrobe and got a pair of baggy pants, a tight coat, a small derby hat and a large pair of shoes. I wanted the clothes to be a mass of contradictions, knowing pictorially the figure would be vividly outlined on the screen. To add a comic touch, I wore a small mustache. My appearance got an enthusiastic response including Mr. Sennett; the clothes seemed to imbue me with the spirit of the character. He became a man with a soul—a point of view. I defined to Mr. Sennett the type of person, he wears an air of romantic hunger, forever seeking romance. That was the first film featuring the Tramp but a different film, shot but with the same character, happened to be released two days earlier; the Tramp debuted to the public in the Keystone comedy Kid Auto Races at Venice.
Chaplin, with his Little Tramp character became the most popular star in Keystone director Mack Sennett's company of players. Chaplin continued to play the Tramp through dozens of short films and feature-length productions.. The Tramp was identified with the silent era, was considered an international character; when the sound era began in the late 1920s, Chaplin refused to make a talkie featuring the character due to how the character was supposed to be American, Chaplin himself had a strong and obvious British accent. The 1931 production City Lights featured no dialogue. Chaplin retired the character in the film Modern Times, which appropriately ended with the Tramp walking down an endless highway toward the horizon; the film was only a partial talkie and is called the last silent film. The Tramp remains silent until near the end of the film when, for the first time, his voice is heard, albeit only as part of a French/Italian-derived gibberish song; this allowed the Tramp to be given a voice but not tarnish his association with the silent era.
In The Great Dictator, Chaplin's first film after Modern Times, Chaplin plays the dual role of a Hitler-esque dictator, a Jewish barber. Although Chaplin emphatically stated that the barber was not the Tramp, he retains the Tramp's moustache and general appearance. Despite a few silent scenes, including one where the barber is wearing the Tramp's coat and bowler hat and carrying his cane, the barber speaks throughout the film, including the passionate plea for peace, interpreted as Chaplin speaking as himself. In 1959, having been editing The Chaplin Revue, Chaplin commented to a reporter "I was wrong to kill him. There was room for the Little Man in the atomic age."A vaudeville performer named Lew Bloom created a similar tramp character which inspired Chaplin. According to Bloom, he was "the first stage tramp in the business". In an interview with the Daily Herald in 1957 Chaplin recalled being inspired by the tramp characters Weary Willie and Tired Tim from Illustrated Chips; the physical attributes of the Tramp include a pair of baggy pants, a tight coat, a small bowler hat, a large pair of shoes, a springy and flexible cane and the famous small mustache.
The Tramp walks uncomfortably because of the ill-fitting clothing. The Tramp may have seen better days, but he maintains the attitude and demeanor of a high-class individual. Two films made in 1915, The Tramp and The Bank, created the characteristics of Chaplin's screen persona. While in the end the Tramp manages to shake off his disappointment and resume his carefree ways, the pathos lies in the Tramp's having a hope for a more permanent transformation through love, his failure to achieve this; the Tramp was the victim of circumstance and coincidence, but sometimes the results worked in his favor. In Modern Times, he picks up a red flag that falls off a truck and starts to
Sheila Cameron Hancock, is an English actress and author. Hancock trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before starting her career in repertory theatre. Hancock went on to perform in plays and musicals in London, her Broadway debut in Entertaining Mr Sloane earned her a Tony Award nomination for Best Lead Actress in Play, she won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her role in Cabaret and was nominated at the Laurence Olivier Awards four other times for her work in Sweeney Todd, The Winter's Tale and Sister Act. Sheila Hancock was born in Blackgang on the Isle of Wight, the daughter of Ivy Louise and Enrico Cameron Hancock, a publican, her sister Billie is nine years older and worked as a variety artist until retiring to Antibes in 2003 at the age of 79. After wartime evacuation, Hancock attended the Dartford County Grammar School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Hancock worked in repertory during the 1950s and made her West End debut in 1958, replacing Joan Sims in the play Breath of Spring.
She appeared in Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop production of Make Me An Offer in 1959, her other early West End appearances included Peter Cook's revue One Over the Eight with Kenneth Williams in 1961, starring in Rattle of a Simple Man in 1962. She recalled that in One over the Eight she had been egged on by Irving Davies's exhortation as dance captain, "Eyes and tits, darlings - and sparkle, sparkle!"In 1965, she made her Broadway debut in Entertaining Mr Sloane. In 1978, she played Miss Hannigan in the original London cast of the musical Annie and two years she played Mrs Lovett in the original London production of the musical Sweeney Todd. Hancock has appeared in The Winter's Tale, Titus Andronicus and A Delicate Balance for the Royal Shakespeare Company. At the National Theatre she has appeared in The The Duchess of Malfi, she directed A Midsummer Night's Dream for the RSC on tour and directed The Critic at the National Theatre. She was associate artistic director of the Cambridge Theatre Company.
In 2006, Hancock played the role of Fraulein Schneider in the West End revival of the musical Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre. She won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. In 2009, she spent over a year playing Mother Superior in Sister Act the Musical at the London Palladium. In 2013, Hancock starred alongside Lee Evans and Keeley Hawes in the comedy Barking in Essex at Wyndham's Theatre. In 2016, Hancock starred with Jenna Russell in the UK premiere of the musical Grey Gardens at the Southwark Playhouse. Hancock's first big television role was as Carol in the BBC sitcom The Rag Trade in the early 1960s, she played the lead roles in the sitcoms The Bed-Sit Girl, Mr Digby Darling, The Secretary Bird and Now Take My Wife. Her other television credits include Doctor Who, Kavanagh QC, Gone to the Dogs, Brighton Belles, EastEnders, The Russian Bride, Fortysomething, Feather Boy, Bleak House, New Tricks and The Catherine Tate Show. In 2008, she played the part of a terminally ill patient who travelled to Switzerland for an assisted suicide in one of The Last Word monologues for the BBC.
In 2009, she played Liz in The Rain Has Stopped, part of the BBC daytime mini-series Moving On. Hancock has presented several documentaries. In 2010, she presented Suffragette City, telling the story of the suffragette movement through objects from the Museum of London's collection. In 2011, she presented Sheila Hancock Brushes Up: The Art of Watercolours, exploring the history of watercolour via beautiful yet little-known works of professional and amateur artists. In 2013 she presented, as part of the ITV Perspectives documentary series, Perspectives: Sheila Hancock – The Brilliant Brontë Sisters, examining the writers' upbringing and the sources of their inspiration. In December 2012, Hancock took part in a Christmas special edition of the BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing. In January 2016 she made a guest appearance in an episode of the BBC medical drama Casualty. In December 2016 she began starring alongside Dawn French, Emilia Fox and Iain Glen in the Sky One comedy drama series Delicious.
In March 1963, Hancock made a comedy single record, "My Last Cigarette". The song is about someone trying to give up smoking: however, every good intention is dependent on her having "just one more cigarette". Hancock starred as Alice Foster in the BBC Radio 2 comedy series Thank You, Mrs Fothergill, in 1978-79, alongside Pat Coombs, she has made guest appearances on television shows like Grumpy Old Women, Room 101 and Have I Got News for You. On radio, she has been a semi-regular contestant on the BBC Radio 4 panel game Just a Minute since 1967. From 2007 to 2012 Hancock was Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth. From March to May 2010, she appeared as a judge on the BBC show Over the Rainbow, along with Charlotte Church, Andrew Lloyd Webber and John Partridge. Hancock works in radio and appeared in the BBC Radio Four series North by Northamptonshire in 2011, alongside Geoffrey Palmer.. In 1995 Hancock provided the voice of Granny Weatherwax in BBC Radio 4's adaptation of Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Wyrd Sisters.
Hancock was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1977 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the curtain call of the play The Bed Before Yesterday at the Lyric Theatre, London. Hancock was married to actor Alec Ross from 1955 until his death from oesophageal cancer in 1971, they had one daughter, born in 1964. In 1973, Hancock married actor John Thaw, he adopted Melanie and they had Joanna. Thaw's da
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a radio station owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, comedy and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967; the station controller is Gwyneth Williams, the station is part of BBC Radio and the BBC Radio department. The station is broadcast from the BBC's headquarters at London. On 21 January 2019 Williams announced. There are no details of when, it is the second most popular domestic radio station in the UK, broadcast throughout the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands on FM, LW and DAB, can be received in eastern and south eastern counties of Ireland, the north of France and Northern Europe. It is available through Freeview, Virgin Media and on the Internet, its sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra, complements the main channel by broadcasting repeats from the Radio 4 archive, extended versions of Radio 4 programmes and supplements to series such as The Archers and Desert Island Discs.
It is notable for its news bulletins and programmes such as Today and The World at One, heralded on air by the Greenwich Time Signal "pips" or the chimes of Big Ben. Radio 4 broadcasts the Shipping Forecast, which reached 150 years old in August 2017; the pips are only accurate on FM, LW, MW as there is a delay on DAB and digital radio of 3 to 5 seconds longer online. BBC Radio 4 is the second most popular British domestic radio station by total hours, after Radio 2 – and the most popular in London and the South of England, it recorded its highest audience, of 11 million listeners, in May 2011 and was "UK Radio Station of the Year" at the 2003, 2004 and 2008 Sony Radio Academy Awards. It won a Peabody Award in 2002 for File On 4: Export Controls. Costing £71.4 million, it is the BBC's most expensive national radio network and is considered by many to be its flagship. There is no comparable British commercial network: Channel 4 abandoned plans to launch its own speech-based digital radio station in October 2008 as part of a £100m cost cutting review.
In 2010 Gwyneth Williams replaced Mark Damazer as Radio 4 controller. Damazer became Master of Oxford. Music and sport are the only fields that fall outside the station's remit, it broadcasts occasional concerts, documentaries related to various forms of both popular and classical music, the long-running music-based Desert Island Discs. Prior to the creation of BBC Radio 5 it broadcast sports-based features, notably Sport on Four, since the creation of BBC Radio 5 Live has become the home of ball-by-ball commentaries of most Test cricket matches played by England, broadcast on long wave; as a result, for around 70 days a year listeners have to rely on FM broadcasts or DAB for mainstream Radio 4 broadcasts – the number relying on long wave is now a small minority. The cricket broadcasts take precedence over on-the-hour news bulletins, but not the Shipping Forecast, carried since its move to long wave in 1978 because that can be received at sea; the station is the UK's national broadcaster in times of national emergency such as war, due to the wide coverage of the Droitwich signal: if all other radio stations were forced to close, it would carry on broadcasting.
It has been claimed that the commanders of nuclear-armed submarines believing that Britain had suffered nuclear attack were required to check if they could still receive Radio 4 on 198 long wave, if they could not they would open sealed orders that might authorise a retaliatory strike. As well as news and drama, the station has a strong reputation for comedy, including experimental and alternative comedy, many successful comedians and comedy shows first appearing on the station. Following the six o'clock news from Monday to Friday, the station broadcasts a thirty-minute comedy programme; the station is available on FM in parts of Ireland and the north of France. Freesat and Virgin have a separate channel which broadcasts the Radio 4 LW output in mono, in addition to the FM output; the BBC Home Service was the predecessor of Radio 4 and broadcast between 1939 and 1967. It had regional variations and was broadcast on medium wave with a network of VHF FM transmitters being added from 1955. Radio 4 replaced it on 30 September 1967, when the BBC renamed many of its domestic radio stations, in response to the challenge of offshore radio.
It moved to long wave in November 1978, taking over the 200 kHz frequency held by Radio 2, moved to 198 kHz as a result of international agreements aimed at avoiding interference and to mark the station becoming a national service for the first time the station became known as Radio 4 UK, a title that remained until mid 1984. For a time during the 1970s Radio 4 carried regional news bulletins Monday to Saturday; these were broadcast twice at breakfast, at lunchtime and an evening bulletin was aired at 5.55pm. There were programme variations for the parts of England not served by BBC Local Radio stations; these included Roundabout East Anglia, a VHF opt-out of the Today programme broadcast from BBC East's studios in Norwich each weekday from 6.45 am to 8.45 am. Roundabout East Anglia came to an end in mid-1980, when local radio services were introduced to East Anglia with the launch of BBC Radio Norfolk. All regional news bulletins broadcast
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1602. Set in Denmark, the play depicts Prince Hamlet and his revenge against his uncle, who has murdered Hamlet's father in order to seize his throne and marry Hamlet's mother. Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play and is considered among the most powerful and influential works of world literature, with a story capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others", it was one of Shakespeare's most popular works during his lifetime and still ranks among his most performed, topping the performance list of the Royal Shakespeare Company and its predecessors in Stratford-upon-Avon since 1879. It has inspired many other writers—from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Charles Dickens to James Joyce and Iris Murdoch—and has been described as "the world's most filmed story after Cinderella"; the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet was derived from the legend of Amleth, preserved by 13th-century chronicler Saxo Grammaticus in his Gesta Danorum, as subsequently retold by the 16th-century scholar François de Belleforest.
Shakespeare may have drawn on an earlier Elizabethan play known today as the Ur-Hamlet, though some scholars believe Shakespeare wrote the Ur-Hamlet revising it to create the version of Hamlet we now have. He certainly wrote his version of the title role for his fellow actor, Richard Burbage, the leading tragedian of Shakespeare's time. In the 400 years since its inception, the role has been performed by numerous acclaimed actors in each successive century. Three different early versions of the play are extant: the First Quarto; each version includes entire scenes missing from the others. The play's structure and depth of characterisation have inspired much critical scrutiny. One such example is the centuries-old debate about Hamlet's hesitation to kill his uncle, which some see as a plot device to prolong the action but which others argue is a dramatisation of the complex philosophical and ethical issues that surround cold-blooded murder, calculated revenge, thwarted desire. More psychoanalytic critics have examined Hamlet's unconscious desires, while feminist critics have re-evaluated and attempted to rehabilitate the maligned characters of Ophelia and Gertrude.
The protagonist of Hamlet is Prince Hamlet of Denmark, son of the deceased King Hamlet, nephew of King Claudius, his father's brother and successor. Claudius hastily married King Hamlet's widow, Hamlet's mother, took the throne for himself. Denmark has a long-standing feud with neighbouring Norway, in which King Hamlet slew King Fortinbras of Norway in a battle some years ago. Although Denmark defeated Norway and the Norwegian throne fell to King Fortinbras's infirm brother, Denmark fears that an invasion led by the dead Norwegian king's son, Prince Fortinbras, is imminent. On a cold night on the ramparts of Elsinore, the Danish royal castle, the sentries Bernardo and Marcellus discuss a ghost resembling the late King Hamlet which they have seen, bring Prince Hamlet's friend Horatio as a witness. After the ghost appears again, the three vow to tell Prince Hamlet; as the court gathers the next day, while King Claudius and Queen Gertrude discuss affairs of state with their elderly adviser Polonius, Hamlet looks on glumly.
During the court, Claudius grants permission for Polonius's son Laertes to return to school in France and sends envoys to inform the King of Norway about Fortinbras. Claudius scolds Hamlet for continuing to grieve over his father and forbids him to return to his schooling in Wittenberg. After the court exits, Hamlet despairs of his mother's hasty remarriage. Learning of the ghost from Horatio, Hamlet resolves to see it himself; as Polonius's son Laertes prepares to depart for a visit to France, Polonius gives him contradictory advice that culminates in the ironic maxim "to thine own self be true." Polonius's daughter, admits her interest in Hamlet, but Laertes warns her against seeking the prince's attention, Polonius orders her to reject his advances. That night on the rampart, the ghost appears to Hamlet, telling the prince that he was murdered by Claudius and demanding that Hamlet avenge him. Hamlet agrees, the ghost vanishes; the prince confides to Horatio and the sentries that from now on he plans to "put an antic disposition on", or act as though he has gone mad, forces them to swear to keep his plans for revenge secret.
However, he remains uncertain of the ghost's reliability. Soon thereafter, Ophelia rushes to her father, telling him that Hamlet arrived at her door the prior night half-undressed and behaving erratically. Polonius resolves to inform Claudius and Gertrude; as he enters to do so, the king and queen finish welcoming Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two student acquaintances of Hamlet, to Elsinore. The royal couple has requested that the students investigate the cause of Hamlet's mood and behaviour. Additional news requires that Polonius wait to be heard: messengers from Norway inform Claudius that the King of Norway has rebuked Prince Fortinbras for attempting to re-fight his father's battles; the forces that Fortinbras had conscripted to march against Denmark will instead be sent against Poland, though they will pass through Danish territory to get there. Polonius tells Claudius and Gertrude his theory regarding Hamlet's behaviour and speaks to Hamlet in a hall of the castle to try to uncover more information.
Hamlet feigns madness but subtly insults Polonius all the while. When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive, Hamlet greets his "friends" warm
Discworld is a comic fantasy book series written by the English author Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld, a flat planet balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle. The books parody or take inspiration from J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare, as well as mythology and fairy tales using them for satirical parallels with cultural and scientific issues. Forty-one Discworld novels have been published; the original British editions of the first 26 novels, up to Thief of Time, had cover art by Josh Kirby. The American editions, published by Harper Collins, used their own cover art. Since Kirby's death in 2001, the covers have been designed by Paul Kidby. Companion publications include eleven short stories, four popular science books, a number of supplementary books and reference guides; the series has been adapted for graphic novels, theatre and board games, television. Newly released Discworld books topped The Sunday Times best-sellers list, making Pratchett the UK's best-selling author in the 1990s.
Discworld novels have won awards such as the Prometheus Award and the Carnegie Medal. In the BBC's Big Read, four Discworld novels were in the top 100, a total of fourteen in the top 200. More than 80 million Discworld books have been sold in 37 languages. Few of the Discworld novels have chapter divisions. Instead they feature interweaving storylines. Pratchett was quoted as saying that he "just never got into the habit of chapters" adding that "I have to shove them in the putative YA books because my editor screams until I do". However, the first Discworld novel The Colour of Magic was divided into "books". Additionally, Going Postal and Making Money both have chapters, a prologue, an epilogue, brief teasers of what is to come in each chapter, in the style of A. A. Milne, Jules Verne, Jerome K. Jerome; the Discworld novels contain common motifs that run through the series. Fantasy clichés are parodied in many of the novels, as are various subgenres of fantasy, such as fairy tales and vampire stories and so on.
Analogies of real-world issues, such as religion and inner city tension and politics, racial prejudice and exploitation are recurring themes, as are aspects of culture and entertainment, such as opera, rock music and football. Parodies of non-Discworld fiction occur including Shakespeare, Beatrix Potter, several movies. Major historical events battles, are sometimes used as the basis for both trivial and key events in Discworld stories, as are trends in science, pop culture and modern art. There are humanist themes in many of the Discworld novels, a focus on critical thinking skills in the Witches and Tiffany Aching series; the Discworld novels and stories are, in principle, stand-alone works. However, a number of novels and stories form novel sequences with distinct story arcs: Rincewind was the first protagonist of Discworld, he is the archetypal coward but is thrust into dangerous adventures. In The Last Hero, he flatly states that he does not wish to join an expedition to explore over the edge of the Disc—but, being geared for the expedition at the time, clarifies by saying that any amount of protesting on his part is futile, as something will occur that will bring him into the expedition anyway.
As such, he not only succeeds in staying alive, but saves Discworld on several occasions, has an instrumental role in the emergence of life on Roundworld. Other characters in the Rincewind story arc include: Cohen the Barbarian, an aging hero of the old fantasy tradition, out of touch with the modern world and still fighting despite his advanced age. Rincewind appeared in eight Discworld novels as well as the four Science of Discworld supplementary books. Death appears in every novel except The Wee Free Men and Snuff, although sometimes with only a few lines; as dictated by tradition, he is a seven-foot-tall skeleton in a black robe who sits astride a pale horse. His dialogue is always depicted in small caps, without quotation marks, as several characters state that Death's voice seems to arrive in their heads without passing through their ears as sound; as the anthropomorphic personification of death, Death has the job of guiding souls onward from this world into the next. Over millennia in the role, he has developed a fascination with humanity going so far as to create a house for himself in his personal dimension.
Characters that appear with Death include his butler Albert. Death or Susan appear as the main characters in five Discworld novels, he appears in the short stories Death and What Comes Next, Theatre o