As you probably didn’t know, today is Shakespeare Day. While it may not have the brand awareness of Christmas Day or Black Friday, Amazon has fully embraced Shakespeare Day worldwide with an update to Amazon Echo and Echo Show smart devices. The US retail company has released a series of new responses for the chatty AI assistant Alexa to celebrate England’s most famous playwright.
The updated responses for Alexa follow research by Amazon which found Britons use an average of 83 Shakespeare sentences per month. While there are undoubtedly some community theater headliners who baristas regularly say that their “lover’s eyes are nothing like the sun” and that “if snow is white, why are their breasts dark,” for most of us they are 83 sentences borrowed Shakespeare is more about sayings like “fair play”, “for God’s sake” and “what is done is done”. All three popular sayings come from pieces by Bill.
Starting today (April 23), Amazon Echo owners can ask Alexa to “speak like Shakespeare” for different answers. You can also ask the speakerphone to recite a Shakespearean sonnet and monologue. Or if that sounds too much like an O-level exam room, Amazon also allowed the Echo owners to ask Shakespeare for a famous insult.
According to the results, “for God’s sake,” first found in Shakespeare’s Henry the Eighth, is the bard expression most commonly used by modern Britons – about 120 times a year, while “fair play” is best known from The Tempest and “what’s done is done,” voiced by Lady Macbeth, follow closely behind. Fair play what?
If you want to test Alexa’s new Shakespeare knowledge, you can test the following sentences from April 23rd (Shakespeare Day 2021).
As always, these voice commands work with all Alexa-enabled devices. These include the Amazon Echo Smart Speaker as well as the Echo Show, which adds a touchscreen for additional information from Alexa, Amazon Fire TV streaming set-top boxes, the Echo Buds – wireless earbuds with hands-free access to Alexa everywhere and some Fitbits Smartwatches and a number of other popular devices and televisions. You have to start every voice command with the wake-up word “Alexa”. This acts as a power button for the device, telling it to write down what you are about to say so it can take action for you.
- “Alexa, speak like Shakespeare”
- “Alexa, tell me a Shakespearean insult”
- “Alexa, Romeo, Romeo, why are you Romeo?”
- “Alexa, to be or not to be?”
- “Alexa, recite a Shakespearean sonnet”
- “Recite a Shakespearean Monologue”
- “Tell me a Shakespeare Limerick”
If you haven’t yet equipped your home with a speaker, Amazon is currently selling its Echo Show 8 smart display for 99 euros. Originally priced at £ 119.99, the offer is a great way to get started with Amazon’s hugely popular AI assistant. Echo Show 8 has a touchscreen that can play Disney + and Prime Video videos, show step-by-step cooking instructions, and more detailed answers – like a week-long forecast – without Alexa having to keep talking for minutes at the end.
The cheapest Alexa gadget is the Echo Dot, the third generation – without the new spherical design that was introduced last year and is currently available from 39.99 euros. However, Amazon often sells its Echo Dot at even cheaper prices, often dropping to just £ 18.99 as part of the November 2020 Black Friday sales event.