May 31 2017

Why do fools fall in love?

Well, we are coming to the end of our study of Shakespeare and it’s time to finally figure out why people fall in love. Tonight, read the excerpt by Professor R.W. Dent below.  Then, listen to and view the video of “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.  Finally, write your own response based on your understanding of Shakespeare, the song, the critic, and your life.

As always, please follow the rules of standard written English, and don’t forget to respond to at least one other classmate’s response in this thread.

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream the origin of love never lies in reason. Love may be consistent with reason—e.g., Lysander is undeniably “a wor­thy gentleman”—and a healthy imagination, although influenced by love, will not glaringly rebel against reason. But as Hermia initially indicates, her choice is dictated not by her judgment but by her “eyes,” by the vision of Lysander as her love-dictated imagination reports it. As Helena says at the close of this same introductory scene, love sees with that part of the mind that has no taste of judgment. Essentially this is as true for Hermia as for the others, although her choice conflicts with parental authority rather than with sound evaluation of her beloved’s merits.

Dent, R. W. “Imagination in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”Shakespeare 400. Ed. James G. McManaway.New York: Holt, 1964.

MND blog #7

May 30 2017

If we shadows have offended…

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

First, paraphrase Puck’s final speech. Second, analyze: So!  Now! Who is really dreaming? What is Shakespeare saying about theater, reality, magic, dreaming….  Make sure you include many text-based details and that you respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

MND #6
May 26 2017

The lunatic, the lover and the poet / Are of imagination all compact:

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

Paraphrase Theseus’ speech at the beginning  Act V, scene i.  

Then, analyze it.  Take your time.  This is a complicated speech.  Explain what you think Shakespeare is really trying to teach the audience member or reader in this speech.

As always, please follow the rules of standard written English, and don’t forget to respond to at least one other classmate’s response in this thread.

MND #5
May 25 2017

I am amazed and know not what to say.

First you must read Act III, scene ii all the way through and then comment.

As we have done before, though, I am not providing a prompt for this blog.   Rather, I would like you to create your own conversation here.  You must write a comment either addressing a topic, line, or issue about this scene (or any previous scene) and respond with depth to at least one of your classmates’ blogs.

Let’s continue our class discussions on line and see where the conversation takes us.

Be thou not amazed!

MND blog #4
May 23 2017

The will of man is by his reason sway’d.

Tonight please reread Act II, scene ii of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and then paraphrase and analyze the following lines, which Lysander speaks to Helena.   Consider not only what they mean literally but also what they might have to do with a theme of the play.

As always, please follow the rules of standard written English and respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

The will of man is by his reason sway’d;
And reason says you are the worthier maid.
Things growing are not ripe until their season
So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason;
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will
And leads me to your eyes, where I o’erlook
Love’s stories written in love’s richest book.
MND blog #3
May 22 2017

Fare thee well, nymph.

Tonight, please examine Helena’s statement below:

Your wrongs do set a scandal upon my sex.
We cannot fight for love as men may do.
We should be wooed and were not made to woo. (2.1.247-249)

What is her claim?  What specific evidence does she give in this scene?  Do you agree with her? Why or why not?

As always, please follow the rules of standard written English and respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

MND #2
May 19 2017

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.

Tonight, please read Act I, scene i, of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (pp. 7-23, rectos only!)   Before you read, however, it would probably be a good idea to look at the summary on p. 6.  

Once you have finished the reading, please paraphrase Helena’s soliloquy below.  Then explain what this reveals about Helena and her experience with love?  What can we all learn from this?  Compare and/or contrast this to the  lessons we learned about love in Romeo and Juliet.

As always, don’t forget to comment on at least one other response in this thread.

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjured every where:
For ere Demetrius look’d on Hermia’s eyne,
He hail’d down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.
MND blog #1
May 18 2017

Gallop apace you fiery steeds!

Image result for chagall romeo and juliet image

Tonight, please write a response to today’s class period by answering the question below.   Please consider all the class discussion and analysis we’ve done regarding the play, the lithograph, and orchestral suite, to help you in your response.  As always, please follow the rules of standard written English and respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

In Shakespeare’s play, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite, and Chagall’s painting of Romeo and Juliet, the author, the composer and the artist structure their work with intention.  What aspects of Romeo and Juliet do Shakespeare, Prokofiev, and Chagall choose to emphasize and to leave absent?  What effect do these choices create when you consider them in context of the events of the play?

R&J blog #18
May 17 2017

Youth in this play is a separate nation.

Please read the following excerpt by Professor Frank Kermode.  He was the Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and the King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University.  This excerpt is short, but you should take your time in reading it and most importantly thinking about what Professor Kermode is actually saying.

Youth in this play is a separate nation; its customs are not understood by the old.  For the hot blood which makes love at once a matter of rapture and low jokes is the same that keeps warm the obsolete Montague-Capulet feud.  The same passions work toward both ends. 

After you have read and carefully thought about this excerpt, write a response in which you answer the questions below:

  1. What is this critic’s claim or thesis?
  2. What evidence can you find to support this critic’s claim?  (Make sure you explain how this evidence actually justifies the critic’s claim.)
  3. What evidence can you find that would refute the critic’s claim?  (Make sure you explain how this evidence refutes the critic’s claim.)
  4. Overall, do you agree with the critic?  Why or Why not?
R&J blog #17
May 16 2017

O my love, my wife!

Tonight should finish reading the play!  Then, please paraphrase and analyze Romeo’s soliloquy, Act V, scene iii.    What metaphors, references, and comparisons does he use?  How does this help the reader or audience member understand his anguish?  What insight about life and death is Shakespeare conveying to his audience?

O my love! my wife!
Death, that hath suck’d the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty:
Thou art not conquer’d; beauty’s ensign yet
Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,
And death’s pale flag is not advanced there.
Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet?
O, what more favour can I do to thee,
Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain
To sunder his that was thine enemy?
Forgive me, cousin! Ah, dear Juliet,
Why art thou yet so fair? shall I believe
That unsubstantial death is amorous,
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
Thee here in dark to be his paramour?
For fear of that, I still will stay with thee;
And never from this palace of dim night
Depart again: here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chamber-maids; O, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest,
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
Here’s to my love! [Drinks.]  O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.          [Falls.]

R&J blog #16