Ms. Quinson's 2011-2012 9H Blog

a place for students to express themselves

Essay due!

January24

Dear Students,

Your Shakespeare critical lens essay will be due in class on Thursday.  Please print it out, double-spaced.

I’ve missed you all!

Ms.Q

…these were clearly Zeffirelli’s conscious choices….

December23

Please read below the 1968 New York Times review by Renata Adler of Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. Based on what we have seen, discuss Ms. Adler’s assessment of this adaptation.  Be as specific as possible with references to the film and the play in your response and don’t forget to comment on at least one other comment in this thread.

Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet is a lovely, sensitive, friendly popularization of the play—the lovers, Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, as young and full of life as they ought to be, Italy of its time there intact, a lot made of the relationship between Romeo and Mercutio, beautifully played by John McEnery. The prose suffers a bit, sounding more like West Side Story than perhaps it ought to. In the classic speeches, one begins to worry about diction and wish the modern would recede and let Shakespeare play through.

But the scenes, the ball, the duels, are so beautifully thought out and staged that things I had not noticed—the puppy play character of the duels at first—become extraordinary, temporally present, and remote. But for the poetry, and the fine archaic dignity of Romeo and Juliet,  the story could be taking place next door. It is the sweetest, the most contemporary romance on film this year.

There are fine, unanachronistic songs by Nino Rota and Eugene Walter, and scenes so human, social, and derived from Dutch and Italian painting schools that it is a joy to watch, if not quite to listen to.

Romeo and Juliet, when racked with sobs, go on too long, particularly since the crying does seem forced. Pat Heywood, as the nurse, seems too bawdy, cold, and almost terrifying—in the way that characters in Disney movies suddenly become uncanny, and haunt children’s dreams. But these were clearly Zeffirelli’s conscious choices and there is so much else that leads one to agree with what he does that he may be right in these uncomfortable choices, too.

A must see!

December22

Please read the 1968 review below of Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.  Based on what we have seen so far, discuss Mr. Costa’s assessment of Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey as Romeo and Juliet respectively.  Also, discuss Costa’s assertion about Zeffirelli’s eye for historical accuracy.  Be as specific as possible with references to the film and the play in your response and don’t forget to comment on at least one other comment in this thread.

Franco Zeffirelli entered the Shakespeare on film category with a bold move: he cast Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, two unknown teenagers, as Romeo and Juliet. The startling fact was that they were the approximate age of the characters. What resulted was a film that is still cherished as the most romantic and poignant of all the films of this play. Zeffirelli, long a director and producer of operas based on Shakespeare’s plays, used his Covent Garden production as a guide for this interpretation. His eye for historical accuracy and authenticity is a hallmark of all his Shakespeare films, but especially in this one that requires so many changes of scene and place. Hussey and Whiting may have been inexperienced, but their innate innocence shone through their performances. Zeffirelli created a hot, Italian world, which he knows intimately, and his caring for his subject is obvious. So powerful is the film that it set a standard that would not be challenged until 1996. A must-see. – J.R. Costa

O woeful day!

December21

Tonight you must paraphrase and analyze the reactions of Lady Capulet, Nurse, Paris and Capulet to finding Juliet dead, lines 46-67.  How are these reactions appropriate to their characterizations and their individual relationships to Juliet?

LADY CAPULET

Accursed, unhappy, wretched, hateful day!

Most miserable hour that e’er time saw

In lasting labour of his pilgrimage!

But one, poor one, one poor and loving child,

But one thing to rejoice and solace in,                        50

And cruel death hath catch’d it from my sight!

NURSE

O woe! O woeful, woeful, woeful day!

Most lamentable day, most woeful day,

That ever, ever, I did yet behold!

O day! O day! O day! O hateful day!                                    55

Never was seen so black a day as this:

O woeful day, O woeful day!

PARIS

Beguiled, divorced, wronged, spited, slain!

Most detestable death, by thee beguil’d,

By cruel cruel thee quite overthrown!                        60

O love! O life! not life, but love in death!

CAPULET

Despised, distressed, hated, martyr’d, kill’d!

Uncomfortable time, why camest thou now

To murder, murder our solemnity?

O child! O child! my soul, and not my child!             65

Dead art thou! Alack! my child is dead;

And with my child my joys are buried.

Come, vial.

December19

Tonight you must paraphrase and analyze the “Come, Vial” speech.  For your analysis, be sure to tell who said the quotation, to whom, and under what circumstances. Then, paraphrase the lines and analyze the quotation. Be sure to focus on characterization, plot development, and theme. Don’t forget: you must also comment on the analysis of your classmates!

Come, vial.
What if this mixture do not work at all?
Shall I be married then to-morrow morning?
No, no: this shall forbid it: lie thou there.

Laying down her dagger

What if it be a poison, which the friar
Subtly hath minister’d to have me dead,
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonour’d,
Because he married me before to Romeo?
I fear it is: and yet, methinks, it should not,
For he hath still been tried a holy man.
How if, when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time that Romeo
Come to redeem me? there’s a fearful point!
Shall I not, then, be stifled in the vault,
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?
Or, if I live, is it not very like,
The horrible conceit of death and night,
Together with the terror of the place,–
As in a vault, an ancient receptacle,
Where, for these many hundred years, the bones
Of all my buried ancestors are packed:
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
Lies festering in his shroud; where, as they say,
At some hours in the night spirits resort;–
Alack, alack, is it not like that I,
So early waking, what with loathsome smells,
And shrieks like mandrakes’ torn out of the earth,
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad:–
O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
Environed with all these hideous fears?
And madly play with my forefather’s joints?
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud?
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman’s bone,
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains?
O, look! methinks I see my cousin’s ghost
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body
Upon a rapier’s point: stay, Tybalt, stay!
Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee.

She falls upon her bed, within the curtains

Come, death, and welcome!

December16

Tonight you must analyze ONE speech and comment on the other. For your analysis, be sure to tell who said the quotation, to whom, and under what circumstances. Then, paraphrase the lines and analyze the quotation. Be sure to focus on characterization, plot development, and theme. Don’t forget: you must analyze one speech and comment on the analysis of your classmates for the other speech.

Let me be ta’en, let me be put to death;
I am content, so thou wilt have it so.
I’ll say yon grey is not the morning’s eye,
‘Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow;
Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat
The vaulty heaven so high above our heads:
I have more care to stay than will to go:
Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.

But, as you will not wed, I’ll pardon you:
Graze where you will you shall not house with me:
Look to’t, think on’t, I do not use to jest.
Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise:
An you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend;
And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
For, by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee,
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good:
Trust to’t, bethink you; I’ll not be forsworn.

Hold thy desperate hand!

December15

Tonight you must analyze ONE speech and comment on the other. For your analysis, be sure to tell who said the quotation, to whom, and under what circumstances. Then, paraphrase the lines and analyze the quotation. Be sure to focus on characterization, plot development, and theme. Don’t forget: you must analyze one speech and comment on the analysis of your classmates for the other speech.

Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband?…
But wherefore, villain didst thou kill my cousin?
That cousin would have killed my husband.
Back foolish tears….

Hold thy desperate hand.
Art thou a man?  Thy form criest out thou art;
Thy tears are womanish, they wild acts denote
The unreasonable fury of a beast.
Unsseemly woman in a seeming man!
And ill beseeming beast in seeming both!

A plague a both your houses!

December14

Tonight you must analyze ONE speech and comment on the other. For your analysis, be sure to tell who said the quotation, to whom, and under what circumstances. Then, paraphrase the lines and analyze the quotation. Be sure to focus on characterization, plot development, and theme. Don’t forget: you must analyze one speech and comment on the analysis of your classmates for the other speech.

No, ’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a
church-door; but ’tis enough,’twill serve: ask for
me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I
am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o’
both your houses! ‘Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a
cat, to scratch a man to death! a braggart, a
rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of
arithmetic! Why the devil came you between us? I
was hurt under your arm.

Alive in triumph, and Mercutio slain?
Away to heaven respective lenity,
And fire-ey’d fury be my conduct now!
Now, Tybalt, take the ‘villain’ back again
That late thou gavest me; for Mercutio’s soul
Is but a little way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company.
Either thou or I, or both, must go with him.

It is enough I may but call her mine.

December13

Tonight, please analyze BOTH speeches and compare and contrast the difference in the speakers and their fears about the consequences of Romeo and Juliet’s union.   For your analysis, be sure to tell who said the quotation, to whom, and under what circumstances. Then, paraphrase the lines and analyze the quotation.

What perpetual truth does each speaker express in his lines?  What possible outcome does the imagery foreshadow in each quotation?

Don’t forget: you must analyze both speeches and comment on the analysis of your classmates as well.

Amen, amen! But come what sorrow can,
It cannot countervail the exchange of joy
That one short minute gives me in her sight.
Do thou but close our hand with holy words,
Then love-devouring death do what he dare –
It is enough I may but call her mine.
 
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss, consume.
The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

Holy Saint Francis!

December12

Tonight, please analyze BOTH speeches and compare and contrast the difference in the speakers and the way that they relate to either Romeo, in the case of Friar Lawrence, or Juliet, in the case of the Nurse.  For your analysis, be sure to tell who said the quotation, to whom, and under what circumstances. Then, paraphrase the lines and analyze the quotation. Be sure to focus on characterization, plot development, and theme. Don’t forget: you must analyze both speeches and comment on the analysis of your classmates as well.

Holy Saint Francis! What a change is here!
Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear,
So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.

 

Well, sir, my mistress is the sweetest lady. Lord,
Lord? When ‘twas a little prating thing—O, there is a
Nobleman in town, one Paris, that would fain lay knife
Aboard; but she, good soul, had as lieve see a toad,
A very toad, as see him. I anger her sometimes, and tell
Her that Paris is the properer man; but I’ll warrant
You, when I say so, she looks as pale as any clout
In the versal world. Does not rosemary and Romeo
Begin both with a letter?
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