Final Exam Review English 276Fall 2006 • The following are selected slides from this semester. They are meant to supplement, not replace, your notes. • The exam also covers explanatory material in the text. • For identifications, know the dialogue of the plays and the characters. Be able to identify themes. • For example, in response to a quotation, you might write, “Friar Laurence’s statement that flower contain medicine and poison also illustrates the nature of tragedy, where one’s good or admirable qualities may produce disaster.”
Rules for Action Statements • Only one character can perform the key action of the scene. • Decisions do not count. • Anything planned before the scene starts does not count. • The action is something the character does in thoughtful response to some cause or causes. • Talking to the audience can be an action. • When writing a full statement, put the main action in the main clause of the sentence.
What are some differences between drama and film? • Plays stress dialogue; movies stress visuals. • Plays tend to stay in one physical location; films often move over vast distances. • Plays are organized by scenes; films are organized by camera shots.
Aristotle’s Six Elements of Tragedy (and comedy) • Plot--art of choosing and arranging events • Character--revealed by action • Thought--making choices • Diction--sometimes heightened language • Melody--music • Spectacle--landscape, horses
How does Zeffirelli’s movie differ from play? • Probably the main difference between the text and movie is that Zeffirelli gives agency to Kate but takes it away from Tranio. He makes her a thoughtful personality who performs significant actions.
How does Shakespeare soften the taming? • He includes line that “both will fast” (4.1.173) • He has Petruchio give his “falcon” taming speech to his men, whom he must impress (he may only speak this way publicly, but not think so: cf. his comparison of his falcon and his wife at 5.2.65) • Clever construction of the play: 1) the double plot; 2) the fourth act
How does Zeffirelli soften the taming? • eliminating P’s hawk-taming metaphor, with its offensive imagery • use slapstick humor, even in the “starving” scene at table • writing a new bedroom scene to show: • that Petruchio can restrain his sex needs, implying he is no cruel husband • that both are attractive and sexually attracted to each other • that Kate can give (bed-warming pan) as good as she gets • (cont.)
How does Zeffirelli soften the taming? • Emphasizing song “Where is the life that once I led” implying that Kate is taming and transforming Petruchio as well • Using star quality of Taylor and Burton to make them attractive (also suggesting that strong personalities must yield to marriage) • Using mood music and Taylor’s ability to project longing to suggest that deep down, Petruchio and Kate are really attracted to each other, despite their public posture that he is a drunk and she a shrew. • Adding stage bits to suggest P’s transformation rather than Kate’s: at first afraid of water at Hortensio’s house, he later washes his hands before attempting to go to bed with her (some guys will do anything . . . )
How does the double plot work? • Sets up a comparison between the wily servant Tranio--clever but misguided--and Katharina--clever but misguided. • To some extent, unseen elements of Kate’s transformation can be guessed by looking at Tranio: 1) the off-stage wedding as Tranio plans for a “supposed” Vincentio and Lucentio thinks of eloping (3.2.128); 2) the time between Kate’s not agreeing it’s 2 o’clock and agreeing the sun is the moon, during which Tranio’s plans start to fall apart
Other questions • Where do you think, if anywhere, Kate first feels attracted to Petruchio? • Is Petruchio ever cruel? How far can he go? • What motivates Tranio? Is he like Kate? She he accept his position as servant as she accepts wifehood? • Explain the thematic unity of assuming poses (“supposes,” from I Suppositi, the Ariosto play that is the basis for the Lucentio plot): Who pretends to be what? Does this theme of people adopting roles influence our view of Katharina?
Many words have double meanings, or refer to fate or the stars From forth fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life. -- Prologue
Juliet also imagines Romeo among the stars in heaven, foreshadowing his death. (In tragedies, thoughts come true, because action follows feeling.) Come, gentle night, and, when I shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night. 3.2.21-24
Romeo ignores his dream. I fear, too early, for my mind misgives Some consequence yet hanging in the stars Shall bitterly begin his fearful date With this night’s revels. 1.4.106-07
Even plants have a double meaning: a lesson, says the friar, that applies to people. Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied, And vice sometime by action dignified. Within the infant rind of this fair flower Poison hath residence and medicine power. 2.3.21-24
Shakespearean tragedy requires (bad) timing and a near miss (not). Romeo steps between them.] Hold, Tybalt! Good Mercutio! [Tybalt under Romeo’s arm thrusts Mercutio in.] Away Tybalt [with his followers]. . . . . Ben. What, art thou hurt? Merc. Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch, marry, ‘tis enough. . . . No, ‘tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door, but ‘tis enough, ‘twill serve. 3.1.90 ff.
Act 1 Richard eliminates Clarence.
1.1 Plot: Richard arranges the death of his brother Clarence.
Action 1.1. Richard pauses before following Hastings to the king to inform of us of his plans. So methodical, mechanical.
1.2 Plot: Richard seduces Lady Anne, the widow of Henry VI’s son Edward.
Action: 1.2 Richard tells pall-bearers he will come after her before confiding to us that he will not keep Anne long, then enjoying the thought that he is better looking than he knew. So we see the first two scenes are structured in parallel: Richard lying to someone, sending them off, then confiding to us.
Hollywood addition Added sex scene (well, not quite). Like Italian neorealist directors, Locrine explains Richard’s murderous ambition by suggesting he is homosexual or at least cruel to women). As elsewhere, lack of dialogue clues you that something has been added to Shakespeare’s play.
Hollywood addition Good people take drugs when life gets tough. (I hope you realize how crazy this is: not just the drug taking, but that she “medicates” not after she marries this creep who killed her husband, but after he rejects her flirtations.)
4.1 Plot: Lady Anne’s curse on herself is working. Locrino puts this scene before the ‘crowning’ scene, probably just to break up the sequence of male dominated scenes, since he added so many bits for Ian McKellen (lounging around, smoking).
4.1 After Anne notices that she has inadvertently cursed herself, Queen Elizabeth prays to the stones of the Tower to guard her children.
4.2 Plot: Richard crowned.
Action, 4.2 4.2 Richard refuses to give Buckingham what he wants, refusing him to his face. This is a complete switch in the pattern, appropriate for the counterstroke of act 4, since Richard before would tell the audience, not his enemies, his thoughts.
5.4 Offering, in vain, his kingdom for a horse, Richard refuses to withdraw.
5.5 Richmond wins
Act Summary • Act 1: Richard eliminates Clarence. • Act 2: Richard eliminates the queen’s influence. • Act 3: Richard eliminates popular opposition. • Act 4: Richmond rebels. • Act 5: Richmond triumphs; Richard eliminates himself.
What is Hamlet about? Centuries of debate T. S. Eliot: “Certainly an artistic failure”
Hamlet • Good play for anyone having trouble figuring things out. • Good play for anyone who isn’t having trouble figuring things out--yet.
Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1200), Historical Danica, book 3 • Story of a hero who assumes madness or stupidity for purpose of revenge. His father kills King of Norway in single combat. His enemies send a courtesan to seduce him, but he rapes her (the ur-Ophelia). He goes to England, wins the king’s daughter there, returns and kills usurper in a sword exchange. Saxo has fratricide, incest, king’s love of drink. Tone is more brutal: Amleth boils the Polonius figure and feeds him to the pigs. He is vigorous (burns down the palace) but somewhat melancholic.
Renaissance version • It’s about a man called on to exact revenge for the murder of his father. • Problems: • The murderer is a king. • The source of the information is a ghost. • The revenge must be honorable. • There are spies everywhere.
Hamlet’s doubts • Why should his mother remarry such an unattractive man? • What does the appearance of his father’s ghost mean? • Why has he lost his mirth? • Did his uncle kill his father? • Why doesn’t he kill his uncle right away? • Why do women behave the way they do?
Disease and death imagery • Francisco: “Tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart” (1.1.10) • Horatio: “I’ll cross it, though it blast me” (1.1.130) • Horatio: “It is a mote to trouble the mind’s eye” (1.1.116: the war preparations and ghost) • Gertrude: “All that lives must die, / Passing through nature to eternity” (1.2.72)
Disease imagery • Hamlet: The world . . . is an unweeded garden That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely” (1.2.133)
Oh, that this too too sullied flesh would melt (1.2.129) • Upset by his mother’s remarriage to his nasty uncle, Hamlet contemplates suicide and sees the world as an “unweeded garden.”
What a piece of work is man. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties (2.2.304) • Hamlet tells R & G that he is melancholy (depressed), does not exercise, the world seems diseased, however noble seem the heavens. • “Man delights not me--no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so” • The audience is not privileged in this play, where soliloquies merge with speeches.
Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! (2.2.55) Hamlet berates himself for doing nothing, even when motivated by a ghost, in comparison to the player whose emotions run away with him due to nothing but a fiction. So he plans the Mousetrap.
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it, trippingly on the tongue (3.2.1) • Hamlet instructs the actors • Relevant to theme of play (words, appearances, exposure of Claudius) but not to Hamlet’s state of mind (not a soliloquy)
‘Tis now the very witching time of night (3.2.387) • Hamlet is in the mood for murder (having exposed Claudius’s guilt) when on the way to his mother.
How all occasions do inform against me (4.4.33) • Just as he was moved by the player to berate himself, Hamlet is moved by Fortinbras to take action, even for nothing. • Yet he meditates on the difference between men and beasts (unsaid: sense of right and wrong, which makes the play so powerful)
To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dusty of Alexander (5.1.204) • Hamlet raises issue that too much thinking is bad for anyone. • Hamlet, like the play, strangely finds consolation in the grave-yard, not more melancholy.
There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ‘tis not to come . . . The readiness is all (5.2.217) • Beautiful, but ironic, since Hamlet seems very unready to face the king’s threat. • As philosophy, this sounds consoling but fatalistic. A dangerous combination. • Hamlet’s tragedy: he tries to accept the world, and it kills him.