Comedy of Errors–Acts IV &V

The past few days have been a whirlwind.

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My biggest complaint, or perhaps confusion, deals with the relationship of Antipholis S. and Luciana–it doesn’t make sense to me that there’s a big to-do about his affection for her in the middle of the play, and yet there’s not a mentioning of their getting together in the end. But perhaps this is done on purpose–the reuniting of the two brothers and their parents is more important than trifles of love. But I’m not set on that, because unless they’re going to get together, why spur Adriana into a fit of jealousy? It would have been just as confusing, and just as easy for her to think Antipholis E. crazy without it interrupting their marriage as considerably as it did. Perhaps it shows Adriana’s good character and dedication to her husband?

I…don’t really have much more to say, actually. This play, despite some character confusion and complication, is actually pretty straight forward. I’ve read it was one of his earlier plays (with so many a rhyming couplet) and perhaps there’s more here than I can see, or perhaps the Bard revised his work later in his life.

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The next few days are going to be hectic for me–I’m going home Tuesday to see my family, so I’m going to try to at least do what I did this week–keep on top of the readings and do big cluster posts. Thank you, my dear followers, who remain patient with me as my life gets so busy!

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Comedy of Errors–Acts II & III

I realize that even doing two acts today puts me behind a day. I’ve been keeping up on reading, but not on posting. I don’t know where my readers hail from, but there’s a very important event happening in Louisville, KY–Derby. It’s bigger than the super bowl. It’s been a crazy week for my city, and I, too, have gotten caught up in the craziness.

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Regarding both acts–Uhh, so, there was this whole beginning of the play, where a man was to be put to death…and we haven’t seen or heard about any of it. Why is the audience completely removed from the dark beginning that began the ball rolling on this play? We’re taken away from what makes the play tragic, and plunged into the hilarity of the two mistaken twins.

At the beginning of Act Two, there’s an interesting conversation between Adriana and Luciana–

Luciana: O, know, he is the bridle of your will.

Adriana: There’s none but asses that will be bridled so.

Luciana: Why, headstrong liberty is lash’d with woe.

Which is followed by a long list of God’s creation, referring to Genesis and God’s institution of man over nature. The last line that I cited, refers to the free choice of man that begets woe–if we look at the following Genesis reference, we can probably safely assume that it’s a reference to man’s fall. Luciana is rebuking Adriana for allowing her will to stray from the will of her husband’s. Luciana–Lux, lucis=light in Latin. Let there be light. I wonder if something is going on here.

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In the third act, when Antipholus E. tries to get in the gate, Luce (ha, light, again. What’s Shakespeare doing with all this…light?) makes a comment on his being too late, and he makes a quip about a proverb–perhaps a reference to the scene where the bridesmaids don’t have enough oil for their lamps and get turned out of the wedding? Perhaps not. Regardless, we have more errors in the scene, when Antipholus S. tries his hand at wooing Luciana. Oi. There’s a strange interplay going on with the theme of adultery, even though no one is committing it in truth, because of the confusion of the brothers. Adultery is a grave matter, but when you have two twin brothers, it makes it easy to make it comical…but I wonder if Shakespeare is getting at something, making the grave comical, with the interchange between Antipholus S. and Luciana.

I’m going to post Act Four tomorrow (hopefully!) and then Saturday post the last. Sorry about falling behind! My life has gotten so much busier than when I began this project!

Comedy of Errors–Act I

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I generally don’t think plays with the word “Comedy” in their title begin with impending death, but here Shakespeare proves me wrong again. Also, I’ve never been more confused while reading a Dramatis Personae.

Most of the act is story-telling, giving us the background of poor Egeon and the fate of his wife and sons. He states, “…the my end/Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence” (I.i.33-34), which I think may be a setting up of the main theme of the play–fate versus our actions. 

Side note: he was saved by fishermen of Corinth. Which smells a little familiar to me…

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Antipholus of Syracuse–I can’t find a definition of Antipholus or Pholus or…anything, though I came across the word Centaur among some astrology pages. I do enjoy his plan to lose himself for the sake of his mission, self-giving for the sake of something other. Which, since we’re already getting to see a little confusion with the twin brothers, I won’t be surprised if there is quite a bit of losing oneself. 

Macbeth–Act III

Sorry to make the hiatus so long! I was going to try and cram the rest of the play in the weekend, but found I was to busy to do so, so I figured I’d start on Wednesday and finish out the week like normal.

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Ahh, guilt. How wonderfully Shakespeare illustrates the nature that guilt weighs upon our conscious in times of grave sin. Macbeth is now dragging himself into a mire–to relieve feeling guilty, he hires the murder of Banquo, in order to stop the witches prophecy (uhh, wait, the same prophecy that spurred him into killing the king? That sounds a little discordant…), but he fails at the escape of Fleance. He wants to relieve his guilt of spilling blood by spilling more blood, which seems to be the nature of sin–to correct sin with more sin. “Blood will have blood” (III.iv.121).

A quick note about the prophecy–Hecate belittles the sisters in telling Macbeth and Banquo the future–but it seems if they had not intruded and let this “fate” be known, it would not have happened. The supernatural enters the world, allows men to know the future, but it’s only a future that exists because of that supernatural intrusion. If that sounds confusing, I think it’s because I’m a little confused about the role of the supernatural in this play (other than it is a bane on the lives of everyone here, yet it sometimes reveals the true nature of things, such as Banquo’s ghost revealing Macbeth’s guilt).

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One last thing: Macbeth hires two murderers. Where the heck does this third come from? He says “Macbeth,” but we haven’t seen that interaction. What is Shakespeare showing us in not showing us the hire of this third murderer? He’s also the one who points out the error of striking out the light and allowing Fleance to escape. Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a mole-hill, but murderer number three, I’ve got my eye on you…

King Henry IV, Part II–Act III

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And we witness the declining health of King Henry at the opening of this scene Unable to sleep with the weight of the country on his shoulders, he’s making himself worse. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the amount of things that a king must have to do, all the while keeping a composure worthy of royalty. He still wants to go on the Crusade–the unifying war that he wanted in the beginning of part one. But, we can see that Henry here is starting to lose it, seeing that Richard had foretold all his misfortunes. I love Warwick’s response (I’m not even quite sure completely why) so much so, that I’m going to block quote it!

There is a history in all men’s lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased;
The which observed, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak beginnings lie intreasured.
Such things become the hatch and brood of time;
And by the necessary form of this
King Richard might create a perfect guess
That great Northumberland, then false to him,
Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness;
Which should not find a ground to root upon,
Unless on you. (III.i.)

I guess I’m interested in the necessity that actions take from other actions, playing themselves out from the root and core of the character. Northumberland was going to rebel from Henry, because he acted against Richard. Actions are like seeds that take root.

I don’t have much to say about this short act, and I honestly have no idea what an earth to do with the second scene of this act. I enjoyed the really in depth conversation about the certainty of death being smack dab in the middle of a load of gossip which I couldn’t make heads or tails.

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As far as I can tell, Falstaff is being Falstaff, and I still don’t know what to do with his character, and I refuse to see him as solely comic relief, because fools are the heart of every Shakespeare play I’ve ever read. So, someone help. What do I do with this man?

Twelfth Night–Act II

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Now we meet Sebastian, Viola’s twin, about to find Duke Orsino…I look forward to seeing how that plays out, but we are left with that as a build up for later.

Meanwhile, there’s a building of a new deception–Maria’s fooling of Malvolio into thinking Olivia is in love with him! And we find the Countess fond on Viola, I stand corrected, Cesario…

I find this play to be one of the easiest to understand in the Shakespeare canon I’ve read so far. No one seems to have more than one motive for their actions. It actually confuses me more than if it were more complicated, because I can’t think that Shakespeare’s doing more than what he’s saying on the surface. But, drudge on I shall, and perhaps more will be able to be said at the end of Act III.

 

Twelfth Night–Introduction and Act I

My apologies for my absence, it began as a holiday for the holidays and swiftly converted into a sickness that left me in bed for over a week. That said, let’s talk about Twelfth Night (and look at this creepy picture I found).

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In a world set in the ancient Balkins ruled by Romans, we open with…Music! Of course, this rings a chord akin to Viola’s speech later, that she shall sing and speak to ol’ Orsino in “many sorts of music” (I.ii.58), which then begins her masquerade–as a man.

There’s only one real thing I can think to point out in this opening. Illyria is the Latin pronunciation of this land, and the only one speaking Latin is the clown Feste. Sir Toby mixes Spanish and French terms interspersed in his conversation, but he doesn’t seem to comprehend what he’s saying, while Feste responds to his own phrases in such a way that it displays a knowledge of the language said. At least, from my google translation work. Modern era translation, brought to you via the google cloud.

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Other than that, we have another play of girls pretending to be boys in order to trick and woo their appropriate match. And your input. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait to read the rest and watch it unfold until I can say more.