LINK TO FINAL (WRITTEN PORTION)
Shakespeare final

HW 4/16/19

Summary pt.2 Act 1 Scene 1

Everyone has left except for Claudio and Benedick which sets the scene for Claudio to ask Benedick what he thinks about Hero. He then announces that he has fallen in love with Hero and Benedick rather jokingly downplays Hero’s beauty, critiquing her but in an almost humorous way and teases Claudio for becoming a tame husband. Don Pedro returns searching for his friends and Benedick reveals Claudio’s “secret” regarding his affection for Hero but Don Pedro approves of the couple. Benedick leaves and Claudio asks for Don Pedro’s help because he is love sick. Don Pedro suggests that he will speak to Hero and her father, Leonato, to secure Hero’s hand in marriage. He also proposes a trick where he would dress as Claudio and declare his love for Hero so that he might win her over by telling her of his love (because Claudio is too shy himself). The friends like the plan and leave the scene hopeful.

HW 4/8/19

While I was originally thinking that the protagonist was Claudio because he falls in love with Hero, rejects her after believing the lie that Don John told about her faithfulness and then in the end marries Hero after all (although I realize that there was more to it than this), I decided against this as I do not think that he is so “easy to like.” He also seems never to learn anything or grow from his mistakes and experiences. I think that a more likely protagonist would be Beatrice as she is not only easy to like, and rather a “good” character, but she also controls the action which is indicative of a protagonist. Though, Benedick admits he is in love with her, Beatrice is the one who controls how she returns his love and subsequently, the action that surrounds that. She is both sharp, witty and funny, yet we also see a side of her that is more vulnerable and thus makes the reader/audience like her more. Beatrice is also involved with the climax of the play (when Hero is rejected at the alter), as well as accepting Benedick’s marriage proposal at the end, which are two more justifications for having chosen her as the protagonist. Her flaw could arguably be her inability to mock her own situation with Benedick as she does other situations.
Although, I also picked her as my protagonist, my favorite character is Beatrice. She is witty, sharp, funny, and tuned in to some of the social issues regarding women and marriage and the role that men have. While I also find some of the other characters intriguing, there is something about Beatrice being a sort of “bad ass woman” that is compelling, especially within a Shakespearian play. She is also self-aware enough to realize she has fallen in love and her interactions with Benedick, though sometimes heated, are also witty and comical. I like her lines in Act I, Scene III:
BEATRICE
He were an excellent man that were made just in the
midway between him and Benedick: the one is too
like an image and says nothing, and the other too
like my lady’s eldest son, evermore tattling.
LEONATO
Then half Signior Benedick’s tongue in Count John’s
mouth, and half Count John’s melancholy in Signior
Benedick’s face,–
BEATRICE
With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and money
enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman
in the world, if a’ could get her good-will.
LEONATO
By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a
husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
ANTONIO
In faith, she’s too curst.
BEATRICE
Too curst is more than curst: I shall lessen God’s
sending that way; for it is said, ‘God sends a curst
cow short horns;’ but to a cow too curst he sends none.
LEONATO
So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.
BEATRICE
Just, if he send me no husband; for the which
blessing I am at him upon my knees every morning and
evening. Lord, I could not endure a husband with a
beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woollen.
LEONATO
You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
BEATRICE
What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel
and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a
beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no
beard is less than a man: and he that is more than
a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a
man, I am not for him: therefore, I will even take
sixpence in earnest of the bear-ward, and lead his
apes into hell.
LEONATO
Well, then, go you into hell?
BEATRICE
No, but to the gate; and there will the devil meet
me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and
say ‘Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to
heaven; here’s no place for you maids:’ so deliver
I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for the
heavens; he shows me where the bachelors sit, and
there live we as merry as the day is long.
ANTONIO
[To HERO] Well, niece, I trust you will be ruled
by your father.
BEATRICE
Yes, faith; it is my cousin’s duty to make curtsy
and say ‘Father, as it please you.’ But yet for all
that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else
make another curtsy and say ‘Father, as it please
me.’
LEONATO
Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
BEATRICE
Not till God make men of some other metal than
earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be
overmastered with a pierce of valiant dust? to make
an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl?
No, uncle, I’ll none: Adam’s sons are my brethren;
and, truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.

Because I think that this shows one, her unwillingness to marry which is something that would be have been women’s expected role and Beatrice sort of goes against this. Her reply is also humorous and her retort about going to Hell is a perfect example of her wittiness.

Perhaps, one of the more obvious themes is that of marriage. In the first scene, Claudio sets his eyes on Hero and pursues her hand in marriage. There is also the love plot between Beatrice (who opposes men and marriage) and Benedick (who wants her hand). It seems that marriage is a necessary entity in the play as the characters go through extreme troubles just to get married. While I am not married myself, I think the idea that marriage is a goal people must reach in their lifetime is still something people believe today. Much of our culture places value on falling in love and meeting the “one” soulmate and then getting married and living happily ever after. However, just as in the play, there is often drama associated with love as people are complex beings and often times not as faithful as we may like to think.

BEATRICE
Just, if he send me no husband; for the which
blessing I am at him upon my knees every morning and
evening. Lord, I could not endure a husband with a
beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woollen.
LEONATO
You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
BEATRICE
What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel
and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a
beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no
beard is less than a man: and he that is more than
a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a
man, I am not for him: therefore, I will even take
sixpence in earnest of the bear-ward, and lead his
apes into hell.

Beatrice denounces marriage in general as well as she points out the flaws of certain men. She exposes the theme as being something negative, that she does not want to pursue. This sets up an interesting dynamic between her and Benedick who wants her hand in marriage. It is slightly difficult to reimagine the scene with a more modern sensibility in mind, however, based on the lines pasted above here is an example:
The setting would have to be changed to something more relatable, say for example a school setting (and making the characters younger like college aged). Instead of Leonato being an older man, I think it could make sense if he was like a parent or friend so as to fit the age group. Thus, when she says: “He that hath a/beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no/beard is less than a man: and he that is more than/a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a/man, I am not for him…” it could be turned into something other than a beard but that would show the difference between boy and man still.

HW#6 :

A. Protagonist?
I would argue that the protagonist of the play is Macbeth. Although he is not necessarily a “good person” he does drive the action of the play. This is done through his unrelenting ambition (uncontrolled/too intense) which continues to be the source of his actions.

B. Climax of Play?
Even though the murder of Banquo could be considered the climax of the play (Act 3), there is also the murder of Duncan which could also be considered the climax as it is a scene with increasing action. However, Macbeth begins to go mad after the murder of Banquo and with the reappearance of Banquo as a ghost he loses his mind: “The time has been That, when the brains were out, the man would die, And there an end. But now they rise again With twenty mortal murders on their crowns And push us from our stools. This is more strange Than such a murder is.” After this death, the action begins to “fall” as Macbeth’s ambition leads to his inevitable downfall.

C. 3 Strongest Themes? How are the revealed? Motifs?

I think one of the strongest themes would be that of “unchecked ambition” that is demonstrated as Macbeth’s tragic flaw, and arguably his wife’s as well. Although Macbeth does not initially seem like a murderer, his drive for power and advancement, combined with the ambitious pressure by Lady Macbeth, lead him to murder King Duncan. It is their ambition which leads to the continued bloodshed and eventual downfall.

Another theme is that of fate. From the opening scene the weird witches tell Macbeth and Banquo their prophecies and in doing so bring into the play the question of fate and whether or not it is real/inevitable. Macbeth, in an attempt to master fate, takes it upon himself to try and make fate conform to what he wants it to be. Becoming so obsessed with his fate and trying to control it is what eventually leads to Macbeth’s ruin.

A third theme is that of violence which is reoccurring throughout the entirety of the play. It begins with a battle, and ends with more murder, the suicide of Lady Macbeth and the beheading of Macbeth. Macbeth even makes the point that every violent act seems to lead to more violence and often death, he even says to Banquo’s ghost that “blood will to blood.”

Hw #5:
Discussion Question: Fill out the chart that was handed out in class. Tell me whether it was useful to you in understanding the play. If it was, how so(what aspects of the play did it make more understandable for you)? If it was not helpful to you, what sorts of examinations/activities do you find helpful when studying a play?

(I put this on my chart as well).

I think that the chart was helpful as it made me slow down and pay careful attention to some of the things I might normally overlook. However, I did find it slightly difficult to keep track of what I was putting in each box as they were a little small and close together. I also found that sometimes I would read and forget to note some of the symbols (but I could also go back through and be more thorough).

Hw 4:
1. The protagonist. Who is it? What evidence can you show that is persuasive toward your choice?
Although (after class discussion today especially given that I had not really thought of this previously) there is some argument to be made that the protagonist is not Helena, but rather Bertram, I believe it to be Helena. Not only is she a dynamic character, but she also possesses a comic flaw and weakness as well as some significant transformation. Her weakness, and arguably if not the flaw itself, then some component of it, is her obsession with Bertram. Not only is she in love with him, but she is so intent on marrying him that she tricks him into sleeping with her and getting her pregnant. In doing so, if one assumes she was naïve at the beginning of the play, she actively gives up her naivety, perhaps even some aspect of her morals, to get what she wants (Bertram). It could also be said that, because a majority of women’s worth was centered around their innocence (i.e., virginity), her loss of it may also indicate a significant change.

2. Themes. What are the major themes of this play? What might be a thematic statement you could make about this play?
Perhaps one of the most apparent themes in the play would be that of social class. It becomes clear as the plot develops that class (i.e., rank of nobility) and character may not be intertwined. The society that the play takes place in is very divided; the division is based on a hierarchy of nobility as is made clear in the act one, when Helena establishes that it is her lower status which prevents her from having a more intimate/personal relationship with Bertram (whom she loves): “I have forgot him; my imagination/Carries no favour in’t but Bertram’s. /I am undone; there is no living, none, /If Bertram be away. ‘T were all one/That I should love a bright star/And think to wed it, he is so above me” (l. 86-89). Here the “above me” implies that Bertram is more noble, of a higher class than that of Helena. The message about class regarding the complexity of such a man-made divide is further emphasized by the King of France stating that birth does not necessarily guarantee one’s character. Almost ironically, he pushes the notion that nobility (and rank) comes from another human and is therefore independent of character, whilst still maintaining his role as a King, the head of a monarch.

3. Double Entendre. Find examples of words with multiple meanings being used. BE prepared to explain as many of the meanings as you find.

Lafeu. O, will you eat no grapes, my royal fox?
Yes, but you will my noble grapes, an if
My royal fox could reach them. I have seen a medicine
That’s able to breathe life into a stone,
Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
With spritely fire and motion; whose simple touch
Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay,
To give great Charlemain a pen in ‘s hand
And write to her a love-line.

This passage from Lafeu to the King suggest that the King’s weakness might be impotence. Araise would imply raise and the pen implies something more phallic, lending to the notion that Lafeu is talking about an erection (also King Pepin).

Hw 3:

An individual’s value/esteem in society was determined through their rank in the monarchy as well their wealth. One instance where this is illustrated in Helena’s soliloquy: “Must I be comforted not in my sphere/The ambition in my love thus plagues itself.” Helena is referring to Bertram whom she loves but cannot be with at the moment because of his higher class. Another example is when Parolles and Helena are greeting each other with “Save you, fair queen” and “and you, monarch.” This exchange is almost sarcastic as neither are of high status and are essentially making fun of the other for it. Though such a system gave a type of order, a hierarchical system of organizing people, such a class divide does not allow for integration. I think that this separation can have negative effects on society as it doesn’t allow for those of “lower class” and wealth to have the same advantages nor rise in the monarchy.
In our present reality an individual’s value is often based off their wealth. What is portrayed in the media, and what is deemed as this sort of all desirable goal, is to have money and the funds to live an extravagant lifestyle. Someone’s value, therefore, is usually (at least in our culture) based off of how much money he/she has and their material purchases. Although we do not currently have a monarch, and people are not classified by their nobility, there is a divide between the rich and the poor. The media especially, perpetuates the belief that money is necessary to buy things in order to be “higher up.” Some strengths are difficult to come up with as, in general, I think that determining someone’s value by their wealth can be destructive.
It is difficult to say how I would determine things such as value and esteem. Ideally, I would like to think that one’s value is based on their honesty, kindness and overall “goodness” of a person, especially paired with intelligence. This is, however, difficult to define as it is not a ranked or status based determination. Having worth be determined by factors such as these would make society a more integrated community, instead of so divided, however, realistically I think that having one’s class be based on something like money or inheritance is easier and thus why it has been the means of determination.

Hw 2:
Classical Theater followed three specific rules set out by Aristotle and these included: unity of action: a play should have one action that it follows, with minimal subplots; unity of time: the action in a play should occur over a period of no more than 24 hours and unity of place; a play should exist in a single physical space and should not attempt to compress geography, nor should the stage represent more than one place. While I am rather unfamiliar with plays and dramatic literature (other than this class and a previous course in college), I would say that there are both strengths and weaknesses to having an expected structure for the construction of dramatic literature. I think that there are some strengths to these predetermined “rules” as they are intended to keep the audience focused and prevent the storyline from being too much to encompass, and thus overwhelming the audience. Another strength of these would be in regards to the unity of time, as (like I said previously) it prevents too much from happening/confusing the audience as well as keeps the time the play takes to perform down so as to keep the audience interested. However, that being said I think that there are weaknesses to this as well. In particular, not allowing the stage to represent more than one place and not being able to have the action in a play occur over a period of 24 hours limits what can be done on stage. When thinking about modern dramatic literature, I cannot think of anything that is specifically forbidden or written as the “rules.” This is most likely due to my lack of exposure to it, but in general I would say that modern dramatic literature is not confined to the same structure as that in classical theater.

HW #1:
1/23/19

Dramatic literature, like other forms of storytelling (including novels, books, short stories,
etc.) has in common the shared utilization of setting, characters, a problem, a plot, a theme and a
perspective to tell the story. In this way, regardless of how the story is told and received (by
reading or performance) a story is still told. However, different from other forms of storytelling,
dramatic literature allows for visual performance. It is performed in front of an audience and
instead of the entirety being left to the imagination, there is only some parts which are. The
stage is used as a setting, people play the different character’s roles and often music and other
auditory devices are employed. This is different from reading or simply passing down stories as
there is an increase in the dramatics and thus the emotion of the story is more strongly felt. On a
scale from 1 (insignificant) to 10 (most significant), I would rate dramatic literature compared
with other forms of available literature at a 7 or 8. This is because I have found that dramatic
literature has the potential to be very influential, and as it is very visual and auditory, those
who are illiterate, including younger children have a greater chance of connecting with it. Not
only that, but it has long been a way in which stories about some of life’s greatest victories, or
worst tragedies have been told throughout cultures and generations.