May 7

“Shakespeare – The nearest thing in incarnation to the eye of God.” — Laurence Olivier

Tonight, as we discussed at the end of class, I am not giving you a particular topic. Rather, please make up your own discussion points.  Tomorrow we will begin working on an essay that discusses both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so this might be a good place to begin comparing and contrasting the two plays, but that is only one aspect you may choose to discuss.

As always, make sure your comment here is insightful, specific, and moves our conversation about literature forward.  Of course, you will write in standard American English, and respond to AT LEAST one other comment in this thread.

Let’s see where our thinking and our writing takes us!

MND blog #8
May 6

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 #7
May 2

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 #6