Hamlet–Act III

hamlet2b

There’s been oodles of scholarship done on the “To be or not to be” speech, so I’m only going to reference it. And later.

Notice we open, again, with a staged meeting–only this isn’t for Laertes and the discovering of virtues and vices, but it’s a staging to figure out what in the dickins in going on with our main man Hamlet. Which reveals nothing, so the King wants to send him to England.

Now, the speech I am interested in is Hamlet’s conversation with the players (told you, I’m not going to let them go for awhile), because it is a reflection on what a play does and how it operates. I’m going to block quote it now, and let it speak for itself.

                            …Suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special o’erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is
from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the
first and now, was and is, to hold, as ’twere, the
mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of
the time his form and pressure.(III.ii.19-25)

Earlier, Hamlet also has a line about the players being, “the abstract and brief chronicles of the time” (II.ii.524-525). It’s been awhile since I read Claire Asquith‘s book Shadowplaybut I highly recommend it if you want the “chronicle” of the time, which is much better than I will even try to do here. But there is a rant I want to go on about what this means…

hamlet460

 

Onto Claudius’ desire for repentance. There’s a play between inherent character traits and actions going on here–he still has the same vices that brought him to the heinous act of killing his brother, so he cannot be allowed forgiveness for his action. Now, having a vice doesn’t make a person unforgivable–it’s to act upon that vice that makes an action good or bad. I’m not even going to get into the fact that Hamlet won’t kill him because there’s a risk Claudius might go to heaven.

Onto my last point which relates to the players a little bit as well. In the course of conversation with his mother, Hamlet states, “…but heaven hath pleased it so,/To punish me with this and this with me,/That I must be their scourge and minister” (III.iv.175-177). I’m thinking, and this might be over shooting here, that Hamlet might not be in control of his actions as the other characters in this play. The rest are showing “virtue her own feature” primarily by choices made that show the privation of virtue. I spoke earlier about there not being an Oedipus in a Christian understanding of man, but I think I may have been wrong. While the rest of the characters have choice, it seems that Hamlet is operating from something other than himself–he’s fated to commit his actions. They have flaws they can choose to act upon–he has an action he must do.

Hamlet-On-Stage-david-tennant-1905603-620-400

I think this explanation may be the cause of Hamlet’s constant rumination on suicide. It’s the only thing that is his choice, if that makes sense. I don’t know how clear my argument is, so I’ll have to think on it a little more.

Antony & Cleopatra–Act III

Sometimes life throws you punches and you have to sleep for a week to reconfigure your life.

3-2x5a4225-kim-cattrall-cleopatra-antony-and-cleopatra-photo-by-georgia-oetker

Enobarbus. He’s calling all of Antony’s bluffs and faults, mainly, “that would make his will/Lord of his reason” (III.xiii.3-4). The whole theme of the play, kids. Make your will or pleasures the master of your reason, you’ll make a few political mistakes, war against Caesar by sea (which obviously isn’t your strong suit) and flee the minute your buttercup leaves the fight. I’m a little obsessed with Enobarbus (despite the fact that it takes me a few tries to type his name correctly), because he’s incredibly aware of everything. And awareness is sexy.

I’ve been thinking about this line of his, “I see men’s judgments are/A parcel of their fortunes, and things outward/Do draw the inward quality after them/To suffer all alike” (III.xiii.31-34). And I actually have to think about it more before I can say anything about it. It’s too cool for school, and right now my thoughts are a-jumble with “negative capability” and “outward manifestations of internal truths” and I can’t put them together quite yet.

REPUTATIONS: RICHARD BURTON, TAYLOR MADE FOR STARDOM

That said, I have a feeling certain loves are not reciprocated by other loves. And the in-continuity of Antony no longer being himself with Cleopatra, and Cleopatra’s identification that she is only herself with Antony…things are going to get a little interesting on the “who is who in relation to who” front here soon. Love, that which makes us not ourselves…but this one doesn’t seem to…fit. 

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.

macbeth

 

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).

macbeth2

 

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…

The Tempest–Act III

So we open with some lovey dovey, I will always serve you, you’re super cute, etc.etc.

tempest_2322876b

I really just want to talk about the third scene. I’m not in a particularly mood to fangirl over two lovers today. My comments today are brief.

Firstly, the scene opens to Alonso’s loss of hope–a despair which fits the ambitions of Sebastian and Antonio. Despair in good men is hope for evil deeds, eh?

So, the enchanted banquet–the bad guys go forth to eat, while the ones of better character stay back. And here’s where Ariel emerges and calls them out on their transgressions. He addresses his statements to everyone, but only those who have done something to feel guilt actually feel guilty. Sebastian and Antonio shrug it off, while Alonso is affected–good men hear their detractions and “put them to mending” as Benedick from Much Ado would say.

THE TEMPEST

 

As I said, today is a brief day. any thoughts or comments are appreciated.

Julius Caesar–Act III

still3s

So, given that I like rules and guidelines, isn’t Shakespeare breaking a few here? Aren’t you supposed to kill off the title character at the end of the play, when tragedy befalls them? This is what I’ve been alluding (let’s not be coy, I’ve been saying it pretty bluntly) to when I keep saying that the spirit of Caesar lives. The tragedy of the play is not Julius’ tragedy–but I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say it’s Brutus’ fall that we are being called to witness.

And what is it that stirs the people to see Caesar as a loving king and not a tyrant? His will. What Caesar wills. Hmm…what did Caesar say when Decius implored him to come to the Senate? “The cause is in my will, I will not come,/That is enough to satisfy the Senate” (II.ii.71-72). Oh, and right before he died, “Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus?” (III.i.74). His will (as in, last will) is for the people. In all the things he wills, in his constancy, he embodies the will of the people in one form. The exact will that the conspirators were trying to uphold. They have failed Rome in trying to save it.

julius-caesar

That’s it for today, kids. Until tomorrow.

Much Ado About Nothing–Act III

My hiatus is over! I am officially settled in to my new town, new room, new life! And, without further ado…Let’s continue.

Beatrice-much-ado-about-nothing-1099627_720_405

Firstly, there is a common thread between Benedick and Beatrice’s reactions (and the deceiver’s). Firstly, the deceiver’s make a point in outlining Ben and Bea’s flaws–particularly how proud and scornful they are–because it is the only way they will hear such flaws and be open to transforming themselves to the truth. Their personal flaws are the first thing they reject in their monologues (also note that there is no other time in this play where we find someone alone reciting a monologue, and note that we don’t really see monologues happening in Shakespeare’s comedy). They first deny themselves before confessing their love for the other. Does this not ring true with how we love?

It is the scene directly after that sets up Don Pedro and Claudio. Now, Claudio reacts as his rash, young, self. However, depending on the control the actor has in this scene, there is an explanation for Claudio’s reaction aside from his rashness. He’s hurt. And so is Don Pedro, who, as a good prince, wants the good for his men. We don’t see the reactions of Don Pedro and Claudio to the “evidence” that Don John shows them (we do in most portrayals on stage of the play, but not directly in the text itself) unlike the deceiving of Benedick and Beatrice. I would say this is an illustration of the nature of truth and falsehood. The second scene takes place at night–and where else does falsehood lead one, except into darkness.

muchado01

Dogberry. The man who mixes phrases. Yet, he’s clearly able to see what is true, his timing is actually perfect, but because he has an inability to communicate, his goodness falls on deaf ears. Notice how much of this play relies on communication  overhearing, reporting, gossip and hearsay. The cruel deception of Don John doesn’t happen by hearing–it necessitates sight.

Oh, speaking of Dogberry, let me go on a side-note and say how excited I am to see Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal to us Firefly fans) play Dogberry in Joss Whedon’s film adaptation of this play. (And how excited I am that Joss Whedon, if he follows Shakespeare and doesn’t take liberties, can’t kill off characters that I love for once in his bloody career).

tumblr_mjaypzTtMC1rst105o1_r1_500

 

I want to speak of Borachio’s confession in a later scene. I think I have made my basic points for this act. I’m going to follow the old schedule and post through the rest of the week. Then I’ll be back on track to continue the project every weekday.

King Henry IV, Part II–Act III

henry-iv-part-2-50

 

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.

images

 

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?