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
 
April 30

I have had a most rare vision.

I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was–there is no man can tell what. Methought I was,–and methought I had,–but man is but a patched fool, if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was.

Paraphrase and analyze the above from Bottom’s speech at the end of Act IV, scene i.

Are we meant to agree or to disagree with his statements?  Why or why not?  Explain what you think Shakespeare is really trying to teach the audience member or reader in this speech.

As always, be careful to 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 blog #5
April 29

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
April 16

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 blog #3
April 12

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