Posted on | March 26, 2013 | No Comments
Shanon Marie Norman was born on April 22, 1971 in Saddlebrook, New Jersey to Donald and Isabella Angermeyer. She moved to Florida in 1983 with her mother and graduated from Bloomingdale High School in 1989. She gave birth to a son in January 1997, and went on to pursue her college education at the University of South Florida. She graduated from U.S.F. with a Bachelor’s degree in English Education in May 2001. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2003, and gave her son up for adoption in 2005. Then spent her time recovering from that and other tragic events. She married George Norman on June 5th, 2011 and lives happily with him in Clearwater, Florida. She has always loved the arts and theater, having performed in various shows. She frequents local karaoke and open mic spots in Pinellas County, singing songs and reading her poetry. She has recently published 4 books of her own poetry and short stories, and 3 books for other writers. She is looking into beginning her teaching career.
Posted on | April 27, 2013 | No Comments
T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” is obviously a very influential piece and many of the themes and philosophic views found within it are expressed again in Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” and Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”.
There are various symbolic elements that are shared in these works and one of them is the “nature” aspect especially prevalant in “The Waste Land” as Eliot creates a landscape for this strange new world of the “Lost Generation”. The flower is used in all three works, but I can specifically recall the flower used in a part of Eliot’s being a link to the Fitzgerald use of “Daisy”. Another symbolic/theme is the representation of a lifeless and godless world, expressed by Eliot in many lines, but especially apparent to me in the line “crickets bring no relief” — a reference to Ecclesiastes of the Bible. In Fitzgerald’s work God has been replaced by an advertisement billboard, and Hemingway uses the bull and matador to describe a secular stance. The lack of water and the dust and decay also prevalant in “The Wasteland” come up as manifistations of LOVELESS relationships or loveless sex in both “The Great Gatsby” and “The Sun Also Rises”. Gatsby’s love is only a fantasy, and is never truly fulfilled, just as Jake and Brett cannot consumate their “love”, so the theme of tainted love or unreachable love is found in all these works. Sex and a cheap depiction of it also pervades these works. Beginning with Eliot’s part, “A Chess Game” where he describes sex as a loveless, lifeless act and uses unromantic words like “Jig Jug”. In “The Great Gatsby” Daisy obviously knows what loveless sex is considering her husband is cheating on her on her honeymoon night — yet she does have a child. Brett (unable to get sexual satisfaction from Jake) whores around with lots of different men and it seems obvious to me she isn’t in love with all of them, so she too knows the dry, waterless landscape that Eliot has described. A philosophical question is pondered and poked at in all three works. The existential question of “What to do?” — In the part of “The Waste Land” where the word TIME is most used, a female voice asks “What will we do? What will we do tomorrow?” ect. and this is almost exactly what Daisy says when Jordan, Nick, Jay, Tom and she are sitting around in the heat and silence; She asks “What will we do today and tomorrow and for the rest of our lives?” (Jordan tells her not to be morbid.) In “The Waste Land” Eliot’s response seems to be “NOTHING”… Lines of “nothing meeting nothing” etc are many in his work and Hemingway utilizes the idea of doing nothing as well. Hemingway’s lost souls do nothing extraordinary, profound, or meaningful. They drink, have sex, and talk a lot. As Gordan so aptly describes them, they “hang around cafes.” Though Fitzgeral seems to answer the question a little differently providing a choice or options of what we can do — we can be modern and practical like Tom and Daisy, or we can be romantic questors like Gatsby. Hemingway doesn’t really try to answer the question, he simply writes as a witness to what is happening and again confirms Eliot’s views.
Posted on | April 26, 2013 | No Comments
The protagonists of both “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “The Hero and the Crown” by Robin McKinley share many similarities. Both Gatsby and Aerin are driven by their desires to obtain their dreams. They each battle feelings of inadequacy, which pushes them to prove themselves through their accomplishments. They each make great sacrifices and take large risks while remaining focused and loyal to their purpose and vision. In the end, they both mainly deserved love and acceptance.
Both Gatsby and Aerin suffer fro inferiority complexes, which stem from societal events that were beyond their control. Gatsby did not choose to be born to indigent parents who could not leave him an inheritance in which to provide Daisy the security she finds with Tom. In the same way, Aerin did not choose to be born the daughter to the King’s second wife–known to the country as the witchwoman who trapped him into marriage by a spell. Their unpicked circumstances become the very obstacles they must overcome as they reach for their dreams. At the same time, it is their societies view of them in these circumstances which create the inferiority they feel. Gatsby’s dream is to marry Daisy — but he does not feel worthy until he proves to her and the society that he too, can provide her the luxurious comforts that Tom can. Aerin’s dream is to accomplish something so extraordinary that it proves to her country that her mother’s bloodline is not the inferior one they perceive it as.
Though both protagonists could be considered misguided or naive, they are unwavering in their ambition to achieve their goals. They both make sacrifices and take risks even with the odds against them. Neither chooses easily obtainable goals. Becoming wealthy when one is poor is just as weighty a task as becoming a victorious female-dragon slayer in a world where women are not taught such things. They both sacrifice the opportunity of much simpler lives in order to pursue their challenging goals. They both risk their lives doing this. The difference is that Gatsby’s risks end up being all in vain, and he does lose his dream and his life; Whereas Aerin is actually rewarded in the end for her efforts.
Though their struggles vary in detail, by the end of both stories it is clear that both Gatsby and Aerin truly desired love and acceptance. Aerin sought these from her condemning country, and began her quest at it by saving them from the dragons. Gatsby desired the love and acceptance from Daisy, and began his quest by obtaining what he thought she wanted or needed–money. Aerin probably succeeds where Gatsby fails due to the difference in their values and expectations. Though Aerin wants to prove herself worthy to her country, she already knows they disapprove of her, and is never certain if she will win them over. In that, she remains humble until the end. Whereas Gatsby naively assumes that the only reason Daisy chose Tom over him was the money–so he focuses on getting that one thing, foolishly believing that once he had the money, he would simply have Daisy as well. His blind faith in money as the cure-all depicts him as agreeing with the shallow values of the Buchanans, and it backfires on him, teaching him the lesson that Money does not buy love or happiness.
Posted on | April 26, 2013 | No Comments
It is hard to say whether Herman Melville sympathizes more with Bartleby or the lawyer. However, it is obvious that the author uses the lawyer character to present a personality of growth or change. In Melville’s short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener” the lawyer experiences changes in his views of Bartleby, himself, and mankind in general.
The lawyer experiences a change in is view of Bartleby as the story progresses. At first, when Bartleby would not obey the lawyer’s requests, the lawyer would become frustrated and indignant. He repeats his request in hipes that it was a misunderstanding, and then even tries to reason with his employee, saying, “It is labor saving to you….” although it does not help. Although the lawyer was shocked that Bartleby could respond, “I would prefer not to” to his requests, he later becomes accustom to this answer and starts using the word “prefer” in his own speech. This change is evident when the lawyer says, “I’m not going to ask you to do anything you would prefer not to do — I simply wish to speak to you.” Here, the lawyer starts to sympathize and feel responsible for the scrivener enough to say, “I feel friendly towards you.” By the time Bartleby is imprisoned, the lawyer has offered Bartleby money, shelter, and jobs.
Besides his changing view of Bartleby, the lawyer reaches a new perspective himself. As the main character of the story, he experiences the most change and growth. He had never encountered such an odd character as Bartleby and he has to learn throughout the story to deal with this kind of personality. He is constantly rationalizing Bartleby’s actions and trying to escape the feeling he has towards the man. When it comes down to it, he can not throw Bartleby out of his office or have him arrested, so he moves his office instead. He does not want to be responsible. for Bartleby and hopes that by moving Bartleby will become responsible for his own actions. But even after leaving the lawyer still tries to help Bartleby. This signifies how the lawyer has learned and accepted the fact that his feelings for Bartleby are strong and inescapable.
Not only does the lawyer come to terms with himself, but he gains a better understanding of mankind. After his experiences with Bartleby, he is better able to comprehend the responsibility man has for fellow man. Throughout the story, the lawyer is bound by his religious beliefs and ideals of the correct humane treatment. He mentions Bartleby’s death, how Bartleby perhaps fulfilled his responsibility to all the people who died and were noted in the letters that Bartleby burned in his previous occupation at the Dead Letter Office. He finishes the story stating, “Ah Bartleby, Ah humanity.” This may describe an understanding that mankind must fulfill their responsibility to their brother — even someone like Bartleby.
In this class, there has been a wide range of wonderful literature read, and I found truth and beauty in each piece. When I consider which I prefer most it is a toss up of “The Blue Hotel” and “Bartleby, The Scrivener”, but then I realize I appreciate the second more. The reason why Melville’s short story is more profound to me is because of the writer’s excellent technique, the moral issue presented, and my own personal relationship to the lawyer character.
This story is a literary masterpiece. Herman Melville’s writing skills and imagination cannot be overpraised. It is perfect that he names a bizarre character a strange name like Bartleby. It is a wonder how he uses the setting to enforce his message. He places the story in an office, where many people live a great part of their lives, and displays a situation that forces one to consider life’s moral questions. In the harshness of the “real world” he throws in Bartleby to remind people of the realities that are ignored so often. He uses a light air in his writing and although his message is serious, he presents his ideas in almost a comical manner– very similar to life itself.
Not only does Melville use astonishing writing techniques to intrigue the reader, but he displays an underlying moral lesson in this work which makes me appreciate it more. Throughout the story, the writer has the reader wondering why the lawyer behaves the way he does with Bartleby. He teaches that one should follow through on good, compassionate instincts, and retain the ideal of brotherhood. In Melville’s lawyer character’s actions he shows the reader what to do, and how the lawyer is learning from it.
Still the main reason why this story is most appealing to me is because I related so well to the lawyer character. I understood his frustration of not being able to reason with Bartleby (some people). I respected him for constantly reminding himself of his religious ideals, and what he stood for. I share the same sympathetic and compassionate nature — I would have wanted to help Bartleby also.
Because this piece of literature was so well-written, taught a moral lesson, and brought me close to a character, it was my favorite of the class.
Posted on | April 25, 2013 | No Comments
In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” the main conflict involves two characters whose interaction displays the details of the conflict. There are clues within the text that support the idea that the main character of this story is the girl named Fig.
One clue, although subtle, is that the girl is also the one who speaks the words that Hemingway appropriately titled the story. Right in the beginning, the author focuses on this girl’s ideas and the significance of the conflict to her personal identity. While looking off into the hills, the girl tells the man, “They look like white elephants.” This was not mere chit-chat; she has made the remark very aware of the symbolical meaning behind it. She was crying out to the man “something you can’t get rid of” by using the term white elephants. It becomes obvious she knew what she was doing after he says, “I’ve never seen one,” and she agrees, “No, you wouldn’t have.” This all symbolizes her conflicting desire to keep the baby and his determination to eliminate it.
Another way Hemingway hints at the main character’s identity, is by naming her Fig. Throughout the story the author is content with referring to the characters as “the man” or “the woman” except in once instance where he allows the man to say, “You wouldn’t mid it, Fig.” and informs the reader about the girl. Naming only the girl has an incredible effect on the reader. Almost instantly the reader is compelled to sympathize and relate and believe.
The most obvious and relevant reason why Fig is the main character is because she is the only character who experiences a change–in her case, a change in awareness. She comes to a new realization in her discussions with the man. Toward the end she states, “We could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.” This is her statement about how she sees their relationship and how it will never be the same for her. He argues with her, “We can have everything, ” reminding her and the reader of her old ideas and signifying the change.
Whether it was in her speech, her name, or her change, Hemingway gave numerous clues that Fig was indeed the main character. She was the one growing and learning and really experiencing the conflict.
Posted on | April 25, 2013 | No Comments
It is fascinating to contemplate the reasons for the Swede’s death in Stephen Crane’s short story “The Blue Hotel.” The reasons for his death are probably less important to comprehend than the fact that his death was the ultimate outcome brought on by the other characters, in almost a conspiracy. It becomes evident in this story that the Swede’s death was caused directly and indirectly by the collaboration of Scully, Johnny, the cowboy, the easterner, and finally the gambler.
Although it seems Scully does not do anything against the Swede, his actions play an important part in the Swede’s fate. Scully is the one who brought the man to his hotel in the first place. It is also Scully who supplied the man with alcohol which brough on an altered state of consciousness. While the Swede was intoxicated his though patterns and actions were opposite from the previous. In the beginning, the Swede was very paranoid and wanted to leave the hotel, but Scully would not let him and instead “schemed” that in a drunken state the Swede would relax and enjoy his stay.
Scully’s son Johnny is easily recognized as a collaborator in the absolute murder of the Swede. He did not like the Swedish man in the beginning mentioning, “I wish Pop would throw him out.” Other obvious actions from Johnny include his cheating, lying, and fighting. Although Johnny did indeed cheat in the card game, he refuses to admit it and says, “I’ll fight any man what says I cheat.” — which happens to be the Swede.
Unlike Johnny, it is not so much an immoral action that makes the cowboy an active participant, but his simple ignorance to the truth. If the cowboy had realized why the Swede acted a certain way, he may have been able to sympathize or even offer help. Also, if he had realized that Johnny was cheating and lying, he may not have cheered Johnny on in the fight like, “Go…Johnny, Kill him!” which only contributed more to the Swede’s theories and paranoid thoughts.
The easterner was not ignorant or active. In his character the author shows how not acting can be as detrimental as acting. This character knew all the time what was going on. He understood the Swede and he knew that Johnny was cheating. He admits in the end, “I saw him and I refused to stand up and be a man.” If he had spoken up the probability of a fight would have been reduced, and in fact, the Swede may have been respected.
It is unfortunate for the gambler that he was the actual murderer by stabbing the Swede and killing him. Ironically, his action had the least to do with the collaboration or the Swede’s death. Just as the easterner said, he “came merely as a culmination, the apex of a human movement.”
Although Stephen Crane is supposed to be a naturalist, it appears in this story that the actions of each character teach a lesson about the significance of decision in life and fate. Each man made up his own mind and was responsible for what his behavior prevented or caused. It is a very appropriate and even beautiful ending for a man to ask or wish, “I didn’t do anything, did I?”
Posted on | April 25, 2013 | No Comments
“A & P” by John Updike, is a rich story presenting the main idea of man’s struggle to attain individuality within society. Throughout the story, Updike uses symbolism to enhance the theme and focuses on one character–Sammy–a cashier who is enlightened by three girls breaking a store rule.
Sammy symbolizes man’s discontent with the norms of society. This is evident in his sharp and critical observations about the people around him. His sarcastic wit also reveals his frustration. Sammy wants more out of life than the security of a small town supermarket job. In contrast to his friend Stokesie, who “thinks he’s going to be manager some sunny day,” the sun will shine for Sammy once he finally leaves this job. He does not want to become like Lengel, who enforces company standards regardless of the situation.
Mr. Lengal and the grocery store he manages represent the structure of society. In the store, as in society, there are certain standards of behavior that must be respected and adhered to. In order for people to be aware of these standards there must also be an authorative figure like Lengal, to enforce whatever regulations have been set. Those who do not conform to these standards will have to face the enforcer. This is shown in the story when Lengel catches the three girls in his store breaking the dress policy. As the authority figure and enforcer, Lengel meets his responsibility graciously. He confronts the girls in the bathing suits and informs them, “This is not the beach,” then subtly insults them saying, “We want you decently dressed here.”
Although the girls did not feel they were indecent, they recognized the fact that they were breaking the rules by showing their embarassment and hurrying out of the store. Yet, even though their rebellion was not intended, their nonconformity made a significant difference in Sammy’s perception of them. In his eyes, the mere fact that they were different from the others made them more appealing. After being introduced to the beauty of nonconformity, Sammy is inspired to quit his job and stay true to his own identity.
This story is mainly concerned with the individuality of man in the structure of society. Sammy, on the edge of reaching his own identity, is presented with a perfect example of what he longs to be–different. He resolves his conflict by quitting his job at the grocery store, which makes a change for no one except himself. He stands up against the structure of society for what he believes in, courageously telling Lengel “I quit.” It is obvious that by the end of the story, Sammy is not only wiser, he has transformed his personality. In short, Sammy breaks through the wall of societal expectation and is left with only himself–his true self.
“A & P” by John Updike would be perfect if he had omitted this line: ”Once you start a gesture, it is fatal not to go through with it.”
Considering that the main message of the story is standing up for one’s identity, the idea presented in this sentence seems contradictory.
This line basically translates to me as “Once someone makes a decision, he cannot change his mind.” If that was true, then Sammy would never have been able to change his decision about working there. This line should not have been written, although it is obvious the feeling Updike was trying to create. Most people have experienced that fear, but it is important to recognize it for exactly that. The word “fatal” implies that people are afraid to stop an action once it is started. This idea infuriates me! A person ought not go through with something out of fear or regret. It is a certain set up for more despair. If one truly wants to establish his own identity, as the story mentions, he must be brave enough to “think” at all times, and “do” whatever he knows is right. If a gesture is started and then the person realizes his action goes against his personal beliefs, he should not continue simply because he started it in the first place. Man must always have the freedom to change his mind and that means changing ideas sometimes. This sentence in the story is grotesque, and would serve the story better banished. Perhaps a truer replacement could be, “People are afraid of changing their minds.”
Posted on | April 25, 2013 | No Comments
A comparison of Othello’s Desdemona and MacBeth’s Lady MacBeth conveys that common opinions of these women may be invalid. Many critics tend to idealize Desdemona and treat Lady MacBeth as a treacherous villain. Even the audience tends to sympathize more with Desdemona’s murder than with Lady MacBeth’s suicide. These unjust assessments are usually derived by the naive or narrowminded belief in Desdemona’s complete innocence and Lady MacBeth’s inescapable guilt. Although I cannot prove either woman innocent, I want to challenge the typical opinion of them. The comparison of them as tragically flawed wives of powerful men who both ultimately contribute to the cause of deaths of a father figure, their husbands, and themselves, show just how alike they are. They are both complex personalities who suffer idiosyncrasies in regards to being a woman and a wife of those times. These idiosyncrasies prove their shared tragic flaw–disloyalty, which leads inevitably to their downfalls. At the same time, their apparent differences will prove that Desdemona has been overrated, while Lady MacBeth has been misconstrued. In this essay I will prove that Lady MacBeth is a better wife, woman, and overall character than Desdemona, and deserves more recognition and sympathy.
Posted on | April 25, 2013 | No Comments
In Shakespear’s Hamlet, the protagonist Hamlet experiences disturbing personal questions regarding the meaning of life and free will. These questions are seriously addressed in his soliloquy “To be or not to be” and exemplify many of the philosophies and concerns of the existential movement. The dilemma of choice and the existential question of “What am I to do?” are raised over and over again in Hamlet’s speech. His confusion is shown by the redundancy of his thoughts. He has reached the point in his life where he must make serious decisions that will affect his very existence. Knowing the truth of freedom and encountering the great and frightening nothingness, Hamlet must choose between existing or not, revenge or turning away, and reason or faith.
Posted on | April 24, 2013 | No Comments
As I begin to read Norton 1-51 I am amazed at the historical information. Philosophically, I ponder how accurate the data is. Like the line “all history is forged”… But then again the writer does reference Shakespeare’s works and makes a strong argument for these “facts” being true and a logical deduction of the atmosphere in the time Shakespeare wrote. Greenblatt starts with the economic and social status of the England of the time period. The trade with other countries, the distribution of land and wealth, the possessions deemed appropriate for various classes and then goes into details about the order of things. Laws and moral expectations were different and the same. Women did not have the freedoms we enjoy in Modern America. Public humiliation and brute force kept them in place. I have always favored Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” and in this context of time the essence does make more sense; However I find more questions regarding how good the freedoms we’ve explored in America actually are for the unit we call family. It’s difficult to imagine not being able to attain an education simply because of the absence of a penis. I find myself in a state of confused feminism.
I find the reformation period of England extremely fascinating. Henry VIII’s divorces caused such turmoil and religious upheaval. I still don’t understand why he flet his daughter Mary (of Catherine, the first wife) was not a substantial heir for his throne. However, being that she did not have children it was a good turn out that he also had Elizabeth (of Anne, the second wife)… I feel sorry for Thomas More. What a terrible predicament he found himself in. The irony though, is that all of the commotion stemmed from Henry so desiring a male heir to the throne and then as fate would have it, Edward didn’t reign very long at all, but Mary and Elizabeth still got their time. I find the period of King James rather uneventful except for the King James Bible, but thought that Greenblatt’s curiousity on the subject of homosexuality was interesting. Does Greenblatt want to know if Shakespeare is gay? Well, then I guess I want to know if Greenblatt is gay? Really, what difference does it make? It doesn’t change his accomplishments.
The more interesting question (than that of Shakespeare’s sexual preferences) is what would have he written if he wasn’t forced to submit to the cencorship and vigorous editing of the people appointed such as Tilney. I have never even heard of a play called Sir Thomas More by Shakespeare. I wonder why. Is it a poor play or is it still being censored? The censorship makes me wonder if Shakespeare’s plays were made better (that is, more timeless and humanistic) due to the censorhsip, or worse (less honest, more contrived, less of what the author actually thought/felt) because he wasn’t completely free to voice any natural idea. I am not very surprised to read that the Puritans believed that the theatre was Satan’s house. It’s like the “bible belt” extremists today with the billboards that read “Rock n Roll is the Devil’s chamber music.” Whenever there is anything in society that “rocks” the boat or inspires change, the automatic reaction especially from comfortable Christians is to scream Satan! Shakespeare was a really great free thinker to encourage theatre and make it his life in the face of such adversity.
Even with Shakespeare, conspiracy theories arise. I think it’s hilarious that Twain and Freud could conjure up thoughts that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays. Then what do they think he was getting paid for? Just to act like the writer? I don’t believe that at all, but even if it were true I’m glad it’s not accepted because he was so good at acting the writer then deserves the credit. It seems the relationship with his wife Anne wasn’t quite the loving ideal marriage I had fantasized for Shakespeare. His will description of her is very cold. Oh well, I guess it does say something for his strength and respect for duty and honor. More and more I just don’t like Ben Johnson’s criticisms of Shakespeare. I read they were friends — but it seems Ben had a taste for Shakespeare similar to the court composer’s taste for Mozart. I don’t think Ben Johnson had the right to scrutinize such masterpieces of genius. He should have focused more on his own owrk, perhaps maybe then he’d have been more comparable to the likes of Shakespeare. I think it’s great that Shakespeare didn’t have nay personal notes or autobiographical records. A statement which tells me he was very humble and that what he did write (his plays, poems, etc) says everything we want to know about him. It’s sad though that his lineage died by the end of the 17th century.
I suppose I always am most intrigued by the villain because the questions are always fascinating to me. If we question evil, then maybe it’s because we don’t believe in it. I don’t understand evil for evil’s sake alone, therefore I can only discuss a villain in terms of the questions especially why. To say “He’s evil just because he likes to be evil,” is acceptable buy my belief is that the answer is the exception to the rule, not the rule. Iago does have reasons which he expresses therefore he is more of a duality struggle than just evil for evil’s sake alone. If he was just pure evil he wouldn’t need to try and justify his actions. The very first monologue of Iago is all about what happened to cause his hatred of Othello. It makes sense to me. Othello has chosen Cassio instead of Iago for the Leutenant position which Iago feels he deserves and is better experienced to do.These reasons or motivations for anger and dislike are still prevalent today. Iago is upset that the order of things has been disrupted. It was not logical that CAssio was chosen and since up to this point Iago has played by the rules it appears an injustice, then his motivation is correcting the injustice which we like to label revenge. I’m unhappy that revenge has become so negatively charged. The mere sound of the word makes people automatically assume evil. But even God was/is vengeful – when people did not obey His order. He wiped them out with a blood or other mishap. Vengeance defined by Webster’s is punishment in retaliation for an injury or offense: Retribution. So does it mean that every time a parent teaches a child what’s right and wrong the parent is being vengeful. I think so. Those who take it upon themselves to make retribution take on the large responsibility of teaching. As we mentioned in class, everyone except Iago seems to be stupid in the play. So should we assume then that only ignorant people are good and those in the know are bad or evil? I think not. Anyone who says he/she would not be upset if hard work was not rewarded is a liar. We wall want to be rewarded for our efforts. Iago was not. In fact, they seem to mock him every time they compliment him. They tell him he’s so honest and trustworthy and good — yet what is his reward for that opinion? He doesn’t need approval from others to know if he’s been good — he needs a reward. Approval is the icing on the cake of reward. The icing without the cake is hardly satisfying.
The central theme is revenge, though the notes before the play suggest jealousy. I don’t see jealousy from Iago as much as I see revenge. Jealousy is more the sin of the other characters like Othello and Roderigo. Their jealousy inspires them to do “evil” actions. I think the moral with revenge is better expressed and taught by the play. Iago ends up destroying Othello which states the lesson of “be careful of your decisions regarding other people when you are in power”. The jealousy theme doesn’t present any good and true moral except maybe “beware of jealousy – it can kill the one you love” which I don’t find an easy thing to swallow. Just because I’ve been jealous, doesn’t mean that I would actually kill someone. If you can’t handle jealousy – feeling it or having someone feel it in regards to you – then you shouldn’t tamper with romantic love. Maybe that’s the moral of the theme. Maybe Othello and Roderigo had no business in affairs of the heart because they were not capable of experiencing the roller coaster ride of love.
I think Othello can be represented as an “evil” character if Iago can. Though Iago’s hurtful actions are more premeditated, Othello can be viewed as evil due to his ignorance and lack of control over his own emotions. He kills his love Desdemona just because of a hanky being misplaced. What logic is that? He comes across as being completely irrational. He chooses Cassio over Iago, and he murders without real evidence, therefore killing an innocent which is worse than Iago because Iago doesn’t kill anyone innocent. Some might say Emilia was innocent. I think there is some truth in that, but I think Iago killed Emilia for the wrong sin. Othello’s murder of Desdemona only presents one possible mistake on Desdemona’s part – that she chose to marry Othello.
Of Shakespeare’s plays I’ve read thus far, I like Othello, however I am surprised at how it doesn’t make for a very good argument of the moor people as being good. I begin to wonder if Shakespeare himself was prejudiced? It is an interesting paradox that he titles the play by the tragic protagonist – Othello the Moor, and then doesn’t do much in the way of characterizing him a hero. I think this may prove Shakespeare’s prejudice (if felt) was more sub conscious than conscious. Some people like to suggest Milton unwittingly made a case for Satan in Paradise Lost. It looks like Shakespeare may have unwittingly made a case for racism in Othello.
I really didn’t understand what the student who found Othello a poor presentation of characters meant. I thought all the characters were interesting even if they were ignorant. Iago, especially is a fantastic display of man’s duality and power over others.
The comparison of Desdemona and Emilia is interesting. Desdemona, as I see her, is the only true, pure, innocent. Emilia is more of the woman we can relate to today. When Desdemona asks Emilia about women cheating on men, she is totally clueless. We, today, are struck by disbelief of her ignorance. I think Emilia explains it rather well and justifies the behavior well. It’s like she’s saying “What’s good for the gander is good for the goose.” I think Emilia could be considered the feminist of the two. Desdemona is a very fickle character. One minutes she tries to assert herself, and the next she is totally submissive and accepting of the male behavior. Emilia’s flaw seems to be her blindness to her husband’s true self. This is touching on the the theme of “blind in love” or like we talked about in class not being able to realize a truth when you’re so involved in the situation. I can’t really tell though if Emilia is really in love with Iago. It doesn’t have the romantic feeling of say Romeo and Juliet, so maybe it’s a different kind of love.
In Response to “Racial Discourse” reading assignment
I really had a difficult time getting through this reading. I don’t know if it’s because I find the information boring or just upsetting. I know I have some prejudices because I was raised by a very prejudiced mother, but I try really hard not to be. When I think about the racist issues presented in Othello, I am surprised with Shakespeare. For a person who usually took a liberal or even avant garde stance on issues, it seems with Othello Shakespeare is not so evolved. Not saying that I am, but if I were to write a love story between a black person and a white person I would try to give it a more positive approach. The son of Chus philosophy is interesting. I had always wondered if Cain’s mark from God for killing Abel was the color thing. I never knew the story of Chus and the sexual sin aspect. If this is the belief of the Elizabethan time period, than the theory of Iago and Othello having some kind of affair seems more valid. I don’t think that a black person and a white person cannot have a relationship. I think it just depends on the individuals.
In Response to From Pedestal
This was interesting. After reading this I can see more of the dark side of Iago. I guess I over looked how egocentric and chauvanistic Iago really was. In that then, I can see him as really flawed character. Still, in his defense, I will say he is more of a stereotype of male thinking of the times, or his remarks to Othello would not have been so influential. As for the female abuse discussed, I am shocked to read statistics like 50% of contemporary marriages are marred by some form of wife beating. Perhaps that’s why only 1 out of 2 marriages succeed today. In my Education class I learned that marital rape was legal until the 70s. Since I was born in 71, I can’t even fathom that ideology. Sometimes I complain about how difficult it is to be a woman today in America, but the more I learn about the past, the more I realize we’ve got it great in comparison.
In Response to King Lear Questions
I think that King Lear is a perfect example of Aristotle’s description of the tragic hero. I wonder if Shakespeare did that intentionally? Lear falls from fortune to misfortune through the mistake in judgment in regards to his children. His fatal mistake is in buying into the lip service that his two unworthy daughters provide rather than being self-aware and virtuous enough to comprehend Cordelia’s refusal to play the silly game. This error in his judgment reveals his character’s weaknesses which are pride, selfishness, and manipulation. Compared to Othello, he is less to blame, I think because Lear doesn’t kill anyone, though banishing Cordelia was rather harsh. And both Lear and Othello are less evil than MacBeth because MacBeth is murdering people for the ugly monster called ambition. Gloucester’s mistakes parallel Lear’s in many ways. He too misjudges his children and places trust in the untrustworthy. He too suffers the consequences of that error. The contrast lay in the fact that Gloucester’s mistakes were compelled with influence of Edmund, whereas Lear’s mistakes were due solely to his own thought processes and even worse because he had the fool and Kent trying to make him see his stupidity. In his journey to self-discovery, Lear must learn the value of the truth , his own humility, and what the role of a King really is. He is no way an example of Plato’s “philosopher king” and perhaps the readers needed more information in regards to what Lear’s Kingship was like before the story takes place. As far as his enlightenment’s completeness, I’m not sure how complete it actually was. His madness seems to dissipate the effect of our perception in that arena. Gloucester’s enlightenment seems more complete. Edgar does seem to also go through a kind of enlightenment, but it seems to me like a little too little too late., which in that sense compares to Lear., because at that point too much damage has been done. In addressing the question of justice, I’m not sure what the attitude towards the concept is in the play. I will speculate that Shakespeare uses the fall of Lear and Gloucester to indicate the karma catching up in regards to their misguided judgments. However, I do not see the justice in Cordelia’s death.
If what makes a play a “Christian play” are themes of forgiveness, sacrifice, faith, and repentance, and a christ-like character, then I would say yes, Lear is a Christian play.The sacrifices that Cordelia and Edgar exemplify seem to meet the standard and also their forgiveness and love towards their fathers even after their harsh treatments go along with it. In Cordelia’s death, I think we see the Christ-like figure. I think the denouement of Lear is more pessimistic than optimistic. With the death of Lear, Cordelia, and Gloucester I don’t see it as very optimistic because no second chances are given.
Moving to the feminist approaches, I think Cordelia is an “ideal” character. She does what she wants to do and doesn’t bend to the pressure of the whole lip service game Lear sets up. She sticks to her virtues and I thought it was poetic justice that the King of France marries her. I probably would have behaved much more rebellious if I were in her shoes to the extent that I would have told Lear how ridiculous his stupid contest was. I can understand the “respect your elders” philosophy, but I’ve never been much of an advocate for humoring someone’s stupidity. I think she was respectful to her father, she just wasn’t going to be a puppet in a show. He didn’t give her 1/2 the respect he expected from her. I suppose it goes back to that male chauvenist thinking again of the times – where she is only his property – therefore a slave. That’s not right! Any form of slavery is unethical.
Overall I liked King Lear as a story more than Othello. King Lear reminds me of my mother. I have not been as bad as Goneril or Regan, nor as steadfast at Cordelia, but fall somewhere in between. However, unlike the story my mother never seemed to pay for her flaws in character when it came to me, unless I retaliated with rebellion.
In Response to Bradly reading
Interesting take on Cordelia, and I have to agree with most of what Bradley is saying. It did also help me to understand better why Shakespeare kills off Cordelia (the comparison of Ophelia and Desdemona helps clarify it for me) It seems like Bradley looks at Lear as Shakespeare’s darkest work and I’m not sure if I agree with him on that., though I do think Edgar, Goneril, and Regan, are probably some of his worst characters – more so than Iago or MacBeth. I think Othello and MacBeth oeverall are just as dark if not more so as for the play itself. I really wish we were reading some of the comedies. I get tired of all the death and gloom and bad people of Late Shakespeare.
Why is Shakespeare so pessimistic in the writing of King Lear and what inspired it? Had he reached a dark point in his life? If I were to audition for a role in King Lear I would want the role of the Fool. In the Greek mythic Tarot Cards, The Fool is represented by Dionysus, which I find very interesting. When Stampfer closes his article with the line … “that we inhabit an imbecile universe…” it reminds me of an old paradox – The wise man learns more from the fool, than the fool from the wise man. I take it to mean that the Fool already knows. If we live in an imbecile universe, then the fool is really the King of the universe. (The Incognito King) I love these paradoxical thoughts. It is obvious in the play that King Lear was the greater fool than the fool. maybe we have been misguided to equate making mistakes as foolish. maybe making mistakes is simply human, and foolishness is instead abstract wisdom.
In Response to MacBeth Questions
Posted on | April 24, 2013 | No Comments
After reading the “topics for discussion” section of our blue booklet, I’d like to respond to some of the question there because I find them very interesting and thought provoking. Especially, the idea of the hero, such as the first question, “What is my reaction to Odysseus as a hero?” If I answer that question with the standard definition of her in mind, I will answer it a lot differently then if I answer it with the way I define hero. Standard definitions of hero include a brave MAN, or a MAN of valor, or other words like champion, winner, MODEL, or even martyr. With this definition in mind, I would have to admit that Odysseus fits the bill. But I think there is a lot more to a hero than just those qualities. I think it’s more about the decisions and actions a person takes. I think the best words from the standard definition are MODEL and MARTYR. That is, I think a hero should be a model of virtue and behavior for others to follow, and in some ways a martyr, because usually being that model requires some form of sacrifice. The ulimtate example of my kind of hero would be Christ. With my definition of hero in mind, I would say that Odysseus fails. In my opinion, Penelope and Telemakhos exemplified the hero better.
Not only do I think that Telemakhos is a better hero than Odysseus, but I also feel that I most identified with his character than any other in the story. His character and coming of age story is most analogous to my generation and personal life experiences. Like Telemahkos, Generation X has been left in an environment in need of repair. Yet niether Telemahkos nor GenXr’s know how to remedy the situation, and both lack the confidence or faith to even try. Whereas Telemahkos has been raised without a father and mocked for not being a man, GenXr’s have grown up in a Godless society and mocked for being morally deficient. Telemakhos grows to manhood basically on his own, without the education and support of a good role MODEL, and this is exactly what GenXr’s now have to face. In a decade that hailed the materialist and MacBeth type of ambition, my generation became severely cynical and bitter. Unfortunately, many took the exit, “Why Bother?” or employed a “Whatever” attitude, dismissing the reality that there still were heroes and role models to learn from if they were sought. But the heroes I’m thinking about (such as medics, police officers, firemen, teachers, preachers, sports stars, or politicians) are difficult to present as heroes when the media constantly reinforces the negative aspects of these people in their professions. Like stories about a sick person not getting medical attention because of lack of insurance, or he Rodney King beatings, or teachers having sex with students, or evangelists like the Bakers, or a sports star on drugs, or the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal.) With all of the hype on the negative, it is extremely difficult for GenX to stay focused on the real heroes.
But I feel close to Telemahkos for even more than the similarities he shares with my generation. He and I have similar life experiences in regards to family. Telemahkos was raised by a single mother just like me and we both never knew our father growing up. Maybe I’m bitter on this subject because I also became a single mother, but the fact that Odysseus has a child and then abandons him, is the major reason why I do not see Odysseus as a hero. I think a good parent is the number one hero in the world. I think Penelope is too good for Odysseus. She has to take care of everything by herself, while remaining loyal to him, while he is out gallavanting and having his little island flings with the likes of chics like Calypso. Penelope should have divorced his ass and found somebody who loved them enough to stick around and share in the responsibilities. But going back to Telemahkos, I totally relate to his fatherless experience and can understand why he lacks the self-esteem and/or confidence required to successfully take charge. I heard or read somewhere that we learn about God’s ways and personality through our father. If that is the case, then what does that mean for me and Telemahkos?
In Regards to Teaching The Odyssey
Since The Odyssey is not an easy read, and the information is not digested easily for a student, teaching The Odyssey could be a challenge. I think motivating the students to engage the material is the first step in success with The Odyssey. Having students write summaries for various books is good, however, I think I would specify which portion of reading is assigned for a particular date due at the time the reading assignment should be complete. This may seem like a lot of work, but summaries are not difficult to write and it keeps the student on track. The summaries also serve as study guides and as practices for any kind of essay type question. It may also help to motivate if the threat of a test on the reading was was in the air.
As for the analysis of the story and writing, I think classroom discussion and/or lecture can suffice for that. Presenting some historical and/or cultural information on Greece is preferable before the reading begins. It’s also important to stress why Homer’s works are important to read and understand. Many students will get bored if they do not see the practical application of the knowledge being presented. Presenting the Epic as a great art and providing information on how Homer’s epics inspired other great works (like Milton and Pope) would help the student to understand its classic status.
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