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Shakespeare

The Tragedy of Richard III

The Tragedy of Richard III, written by William Shakespeare, is the story of the rise to power and short reign of King Richard III. In the play, Shakespeare portrays Richard as a ruthless man who lies, murders, and manipulates his way to the throne before being taken down by the man who will one day become King Henry VII. Richard III is a considered a tragedy in the classic sense of categorizing plays in Shakespeare’s day, and was deemed a tragedy based on the time it was written and the characteristics of the play.

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Shakespeare

The Self-Exile of King Lear

In William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy King Lear, the title character, an aging British king, makes a definitive decision to flee his homeland due to his perceived notion that his daughter’s, one of whom was to control his Empire after his death, had turned their backs on him. This was indeed the truth when it came to his eldest daughters, however, not when it came to his youngest, and favorite. Upon her declaration that nothing she could either say or do could ever show her true love and admiration for her father, the King became enraged and eventually fled based on his perceived idea. Though Lear is a very typical tragic figure in the type cast Shakespearean drama–easily comparable, but very distinguishable from characters such as Hamlet or Julius Caesar–he does have individual intricacies that define his situation, as well as the situation of the people around him.

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Shakespeare

Archetypes of Commedia Dell’Arte in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Italian art from of Commedia dell’Arte contained a variety of recurring characters, or what may be termed archetypes, in so far as these characters can be said to represent stable figures symbolic of various aspects of human existence. In this regard, it certainly is no exaggeration to consider that Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream also employs archetypical characters similar if not wholly identical to those that one finds in Commedia dell’Arte.

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Shakespeare

Discussion Questions

Question #1:

In the comedic and highly imaginative play A Midsummer’s Night Dream, written sometime during the 1590’s, we find a number of diverse characters that often stand in contrast to one another–Hermia, the young Athenian daughter of Egeus; Oberon, king of the fairies; and the Mechanicals, such as Francis Flute (a bellow’s mender), Robin Starveling (a tailor), and Tom Snout (a tinker), all being contemporary but stereotypical figures from Shakespeare’s 16th century England. Some of the reasons for Shakespeare’s decision to include three diverse or polar opposite sets of characters (i.e., from Greek mythology, Celtic mythology, and contemporary English culture) includes his fascination with historical myth which can be found in many of his other plays like The Tempest, Troilus and Cressida, and the tragedy Titus Andronicus; and his vast knowledge on popular literary conventions via the use of the “doppelganger” or double, a sort of mirror image that symbolizes contrasting attitudes, habits, and behaviors (Frye, 1986, p. 35).

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Shakespeare

The Self-Exile of King Lear

In William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy King Lear, the title character, an aging British king, makes a definitive decision to flee his homeland due to his perceived notion that his daughter’s, one of whom was to control his Empire after his death, had turned their backs on him. This was indeed the truth when it came to his eldest daughters, however, not when it came to his youngest, and favorite. Upon her declaration that nothing she could either say or do could ever show her true love and admiration for her father, the King became enraged and eventually fled based on his perceived idea. Though Lear is a very typical tragic figure in the type cast Shakespearean drama–easily comparable to characters such as Hamlet or Julius Caesar–he does have individual intricacies that define his situation, as well as the situation of the people around him.

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Shakespeare

Commedia Dell’ Arte in Modern Culture

The characters and stage setting of Commedia Dell’ Arte is age-old–it is one of the first and earliest examples of improvisation in comedy, and has been time-tested through modern live improvisational comedy, both on stage and on the television, as well as through traditional type casted characters on scripted modern media.

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Shakespeare

Marriage in Shakespeare

Men and women in a married relationship are sworn to manage to deal with each other in a tactic that would be most likely balanced in responding to each others’ needs. These needs include mental, physical and emotional conditions of satisfaction. Based on the Kate’s speech though, it was obvious how during her time, wives were considered to have a lesser value than the husbands. Relatively, the description she uses to define her relationship with Petruchio was dedicated towards pointing out that she is being abused and she likely cannot say or do anything about it but to accept everything as it comes along. The treatment that she receives from her husband actually makes such condition harder. Being of a lesser value against men, women are bound to suffer because of the unscrupulous position that men take against women.

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Shakespeare

Petruchio’s Subversive Character in The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare is a play that is often described as a comedy, and this description is, of course, apt; however, comedy does not have to mean a genre that is frivolous and trivial. In other words, comedy can also possess a subversive element, challenging some of the social normativities and mores which we take as self-evident, thus providing a critical eye on some of our engrained discourses and rituals. The Taming of the Shrew, in this sense, can be viewed as precisely such a subversive play, and, particularly in the form of Petruchio, whose absurd behavior, while on the one hand could merely be viewed as crude, boorish and irrational, on the other hand, can be viewed as presenting precisely such a critical eye on the social mores of the time in which Shakespeare wrote. Petruchio is thus a character that I liked in this play precisely because of the use of comic “over the top”-ness to question these normativities.

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Shakespeare

Catharsis and Hamartia in Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus is a play by S. Clarke Hulse. In the play, Titus Andronicus, a roman general returns from ten years of war only with four out of twenty-four sons left. He has managed to capture the Queen of Goths called Tamora and her three sons together with Aaron the Moor. While trying to abide by the Roman rituals, he sacrifices Tamora’s eldest sons of his own deceased sons. This makes Tamora hate him where she promises to revenge. When Tamora becomes an empress she schemes to have two of Titus’s four sons framed for murder of Bassianus with the purpose of revenging her son’s death. This leads to the beheading of Titus’ although she is not satisfied; she urges her sons Demetrius and Chiron to rape Lavinia (Titus daughter). In the end, Titus two remaining sons are banished from home. Misfortunes hit the aged Titus eventually making him acts in a strange manner and everyone assumes that he is mad. Titus, who had been feigning his madness all this time, tricks Tamora to capture her two sons. He then murders and makes tart out of them: in the final stage, he feeds to Tamora. The pie kills Tamora and her only daughter Layina that causes many killings.

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Shakespeare

The Extreme Shift in the Character of Shakespeare’s Titus

The character of Titus in Shakespeare’s play is undoubtedly complex. Yet there is also a lucid path which may be traced in the character’s development through the course of the narrative, according to which a descent of madness is clearly discernable. Arguably, the point when this madness becomes linear and almost inevitable is when Titus partakes in the revenge bargaining with the Goths’, the result of which he is made indirectly responsible for the deaths of his own sons, offering their hands as a sacrifice to the Goths, but ultimately finding out that his sons have already been killed. Hence, his gesture of sacrifice is for not, and this arguably pushes Titus over the edge.

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Shakespeare

Violence in Titus Andronicus

Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’ is thought to be Shakespeare’s first tragedy and is notably his most violent plays. The play takes place during the end of the Roman Empire and focuses on Titus, a general for Rome’s army. The play is known for its graphic violence, rape scenes and excessive torture.

I do not feel that some of the scenes and the extent of the violence was necessary. The rape scenes were difficult to watch and definitely made it difficult to process what Shakespeare was trying to portray through the play. I do not feel like there is ever any justification for acts like rape and torture.

I do see parallels between Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’ and modern day cinema though, and I do not understand the wide spread appeal towards excessive graphic violence and movies with in-depth rape scenes.

I definitely feel that Shakespeare’s use of violence in this play was over the top. Although the entire plot revolved around rape, torture and violence, this is by far one of my least favorite plays written by Shakespeare and I feel like his collection of works would have benefited from not having this play in it. I found it offensive and at times, vulgar. I do not see any way in which the play crosses the line from a graphically violent tragedy into a parody, and find no humor in any of the scenes throughout the play.

Although I can not say that this play was vastly more violent than modern day films, I am not someone who enjoys those types of films today, so I would not be the type of crowd Shakespeare was probably gearing his play towards. But regardless, I did find this play heavily violent, often offensive, and difficult to process.

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Shakespeare

Self-Exile in King Lear

King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare somewhere between 1603 and 1606. The play is based on an old legend revolved around Leir of Britain, a mythological Celtic king. The main character of the play is King Lear, an elderly man who had held the throne in Britain, but as he approached old age decided to divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters. He did not simply divide the kingdom equally amongst the three of them, but asked them to prove themselves to him, and when the youngest daughter was silent when asked how much she loved her father, King Lear decided to give all of the land to his other two daughters. After he realizes he made a mistake, he falls into madness and runs away from the land.

Should Lear have run? My thesis paper will explore how Lear fleeing Britain played an integral role in the play King Lear and the purpose his own self exile served towards the plot of the story. I will also explore what turns the play would have taken if Lear did not decide to flee Britain after he realized his mistakes, shamed himself and was betrayed by his three daughters. If King Lear decided to stay and try to reconcile with Cordelia, how would the play have turned out? Would King Lear have gone mad at all? I will explore the role self-exile plays not only in King Lear, but discuss in what instances self exile would ever be a good option for someone.

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Shakespeare

Othello vs. Hecatommithi

One of the most enduring of Shakespeare’s plays is Othello, the story of a general of Moorish descent in the Venetian Army. It is a story of an outsider being driven to commit a previously unthinkable act by the manipulative actions of another man. Shakespeare drew inspiration from the story largely from a short story entitled “The Venetian Moor” written by the Italian writer Cinthio in his collection Hecatommithi, which follows a similar plot and features obvious counterparts for most of the characters later found in Shakespeare’s version. However, there are some key differences. Shakespeare’s Othello is much darker, featuring a more ambiguously motivated, sociopathic antagonist and more racial undertones.

In the beginning of the play the titular character has just married Desdemona, the daughter of a senator from Venice. The plot is largely driven by the actions of Iago, who is upset with Othello for a couple reasons. Iago manipulates Othello and many other characters in the play with the end result of Othello murdering Desdemona and then taking his own life, but not before realizing that it was all orchestrated by Iago.  The short story does not give names to Othello or Iago, referring to them as The Moor and The Ensign respectively. It follows a similar plot until the end, where The Moor has The Ensign kill Desdemona instead of doing it himself. Also, The Moor was banished and lived his life with regret in Cinthio’s version as opposed to committing suicide in Shakespeare’s.

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Shakespeare

Othello and Desdemona’s relationship

Desdemona is a beautiful Venetian woman who appears to disappoint her father, a senior Venetian senator. She runs away with Othello, a man who is older than her by many years. We see her accompanying Othello to Cyprus When the government deploys him there in is service as a military officer. At Cyprus, We see Othello accepting the largo to manipulate him into believing that Desdemona is an adulterous woman. In the end, we see Othello murdering his spouse, Desdemona.

The relationship between Othello and Desdemona comes out as one with a number of challenges. Initially, the newlyweds think that love exists within their relationship, which we see by the, way Desdemona makes the vows that she is ready to love and stay with Othello for better or for worse. The two started this relationship on a precisely shaky ground, because we can clearly see that they did not give each other adequate time to understand and learn each other sufficiently. Because of this, and many other factors, Othello and Desdemona encounter a number of challenges, which in the end leads to the failure of the marriage. It is true that the fact that these newly went to Cyprus immediately after their wedding, it largely contributed to the problems in their marriage (Snyder, Shakespeare: a wayward journey).