Monday, January 31, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 5, Scene 1


today's reading made me think about how we react, given our situations, and what we feel we are owed. (go with me on this one.) in the play, York feels he is owed the crown. it is his right. and because he is so sure of that right, he will mow down anyone. he wants what he deserves and doesn't consider what anyone else deserves or needs. at no point does he think: hey, this is not Henry's fault- he doesn't deserve to be screwed over! all he can think is ME Me MeMeMe. in real life, people do this all the time. in fact, i see it a lot in theatre. i see a person who thinks they deserve all the respect in the world mow down the people who need their help or time or consideration. like, 'hey, i deserve all the time in the world from you, but there's no way i'm giving my time to someone else who needs it.' am i coming across here? the reading today reminded me to think outside of my own perspective. i can't just consider what i need or what i deserve, i have to flip that coin. whatever i feel i deserve i need to give to others. they deserve it too. and if i don't, we might have a war on our hands. feelin' me?

on to act 5, scene 1:
   (York and his army enter.)
York: i'm here to claim what is rightfully mine! the crown!!
   (Buckingham enters.)
Buck: i am here to ask you why you've raised this army when you swore your allegiance to Henry.
York: (aside) i am so mad i could scream. i should have what Henry has, but i must make friends until Henry is in a weaker position. (to Buckingham) i am here to remove Somerset because he is a traitor!
Buck: really? okay, well Somerset is in London Tower right now so you can have him.
York: for real?
Buck: you better believe it.
York: in that case, i will send my army away. i will pledge my sons and all of my belongings to Henry as proof of my allegiance.
Buck: sounds great!
   (Henry enters)
Henry: why do you guys look like BFFs right now?
York: i'm not here against you. i'm here against Somerset.
   (Iden enters with Cade's head.)
Iden: this head is for you, Henry.
Henry: you did this?
Iden: hell yes.
Henry: amazing. you are officially knighted, and you will stick around to help us out.
   (Margaret and Somerset enter.)
York: WHAT?!?! you lied to me! he's not locked up! that's it. you're not the true King. I AM! and i am going to overthrow you!!!
Somerset: you traitor! i am arresting you!
York: bring in my sons. they will be my bail.
   (York's sons Richard and Edward enter, followed by Clifford. Clifford kneels before Henry.)
Clifford: praise to the King!
York: gee, thanks!
Clifford: you are not my King. he is a traitor. take him away.
York: sons, will you be my bail?
Richard and Edward: of course!
York: that's right. and Salisbury and Warwick have my back too.
   (they enter.)
Henry: you guys aren't really on York's side, are you? didn't you swear allegiance to me?
Salisbury. yes. (see quote below.)
Henry: York, all of my people will be against you.
York: bring it.
   (Henry's people and York's people bicker.)

in case you're confused, here are the alliances as best as i can figure them:
on team Henry we have: old and young Clifford, Somerset, Iden, and Buckingham.
on team York we have: Warwick, Salisbury, and York's two sons Richard and Edward

how hiLARious is it that York gives away his hand so easily? Somerset comes in, and instead of questioning the situation, he just blows the whole thing! he had a good thing going there. he fooled them into believing he was on their side! he totally could've used that, but before he had the chance to, he blows up and ruins it. i find it so funny. up to this point, i saw him as a menacing figure. the others were buffoons, but he was legit. now he is the buffoon. and Henry, although too forgiving, feels stronger to me. intriguing. at no point do i take any of these villains too seriously. i don't know if that's me or the intention, but i'm loving it. i'm chomping at the bit to see how this will all go down.

quote of the day:
'it is great sin to swear unto a sin,
but greater sin to keep a sinful oath.
who can be bound by any solemn vow
to do a murderous deed, to rob a man,
to force a spotless virgin's chastity,
to reave the orphan of his patrimony,
to wring the widow from her customed right,
and have no other reason for this wrong
but that he was bound by a solemn oath?'
     -Salisbury; act 5, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 5, scenes 2 and 3

-rebecca may

Sunday, January 30, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 4, Scenes 7-10


life is so crazy right now! as of today, i am in rehearsal for 3 productions and taking 6 courses on top of doing this blog every day and attempting to maintain relationships. am i crazy? yes. i feel like every day is a roller coaster. if it weren't for sean backing me up every day, i would not make it through this. i feel like a crazy person most of the time! will i lose my mind before this whole project is up? possibly. i am not complaining, i'm just sayin'. when i sound crazy, you'll understand where i'm coming from.

and now for the end of act 4:

act 4, scene 7
Cade: let's tear down everything.
Dick/Smith: we got jokes.
   (one of Cade's men enters with Saye.)
Cade: you should be beheaded. you built a grammar school and a paper mill, and caused books to be published! you monster.
Saye: you're from Kent? 'bona terra, mala gens.' (good land, bad people)
Cade: and he speaks Latin! take him away!
Saye: listen, i'm a good guy and i don't deserve to die.
Cade: take him away and behead him!
Saye: what have i done wrong? i've never hurt anyone.
Cade: he makes a good point and i feel bad for him, but i have to stand my ground. take him and kill him. and when you're done, kill his son-in-law too
   (Saye is taken out.)
Cade: everyone must honor and obey me.
   (someone enters with the heads of Lord Saye and his son-in-law on poles.)
Cade: make them kiss each other. now let's parade around town and show everyone how they kiss.

act 4, scene 8
   (Cade enters with his army.)
Buckingham: listen, Cade. go home in peace and Henry will pardon you.
Clifford: come on, men! Henry will forgive you. cheer if you will follow him!
All: woo!
Cade: seriously? i thought you men would never give up. they will ruin you! cheer if you will follow me!
All: woo!
Clifford: remember how true you are to Henry 5? is Cade his son? Cade has no home and no hope. God is on our side. are you?
All: woo!
Cade: i wouldn't give up, but my followers have deserted me. i must flee!
   (Cade runs away with a weapon in his hand.)
Buckingham: a thousand crowns to anyone who brings Cade's head to the King.

act 4, scene 9
   (Henry, Margaret, and Somerset; Buckingham and Clifford enter.)
Clifford: Cade has fled! here are his soldiers. they beg your forgiveness.
Henry: of course! they are forgiven for choosing to be loyal to me.
Messenger: the Duke of York is here from Ireland with an army! and he says somerset is a traitor!
Henry: (see quote of the day.) send Somerset to the Tower of London for safe keeping!
 Buckingham, go talk York off the ledge.
Somerset and Buckingham: done.

act 4, scene 10
Cade: i have been in these woods for 5 days and i am STARVING. i have to take some food from this person's estate or i will die.
Iden: lalala i am walking around.
Cade: he will catch me and turn me in!
Iden: why would i do that? i would never hurt a starving man.
Cade: i am crazy and i will fight you!
   (they fight. and Cade is stabbed.)
Cade: Cade is dying because of famine!
Iden: you're Cade? oh then i definitely want to kill you.
   (Cade dies. Iden continues to stab his body.)
Iden: i hope i have sent your soul to hell.
   (Iden exits, dragging out Cade's body.

let me start by saying that there is some crazy stuff going on! Cade has Saye and his son-in-law killed and then made their heads kiss each other?!?! that is seriously messed up! i love what Saye asks Cade and his men before his death. he basically says: if God judged you as harshly as you are judging me right now, what would happen? that's some good stuff. i love how Shakespeare has been giving these honorable characters last moments that are awesome. they often get to stick it to the man before they die, or say something amazing. and the villains get to die in the stupidest ways. they end up looking foolish. it's pretty sweet. that being said, i feel like all the good ones are dying. there are really only a handful of characters left that i know by name, and i'm sure at least one of them will die in the last act. it's crazy. it's so funny how today we want happily ever after. all these deaths would not fly with the average viewer. but back then, it was no big deal. the characters weren't too precious for him to kill. that is fascinating to me. what do you guys think about that?

until tomorrow...

quote of the day:
'thus stands my state, twixt Cade and York distressed,
like to a ship that, having scaped a tempest,
is straightway calmed and boarded with a pirate.'
     -Henry; act 4, scene 9

-rebecca the crazy

Saturday, January 29, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 4, Scenes 2-6


tonight i got to see Twelfth Night at U.C.F tonight. it was set in the wild west. innnteresting.  i enjoyed the production, but i was wrong in my prediction yesterday. even with 29 days of Shakespeare under my belt, i feel i was at about 70% comprehension level. which was fine. i am also a fan of She’s the Man, which is very loosely based on Twelfth Night, so that helped too. =0) it will take a lot more time i think to get to a place where i can understand more easily.
and speaking of easy, i have a bone to pick with people who are ‘bored’ by Shakespeare because they don’t ‘get it’. the thing with Shakespeare is that you can’t stop using your brain. you have to listen actively. it’s not like most of the movies and tv shows we encounter every day. i mean, sometimes i do homework with the tv on in the background. i only pay maybe 30% attention and pretty much know what’s going on. so it’s easy to be a lazy listener. you can’t do that with Shakespeare! i used my brain to listen actively for a solid three hours tonight. it was awesome. Shakespeare takes practice. practice takes time and effort. and you know what? it’s totally worth it.

that being said, here’s what went down today in 2 Henry 6:

act 4, scene 2
Bevis and Holland: man, the nobility are so stupid. hey look, there’s a bunch of people gathered over there. let’s join them!
   (John Cade and a bunch of other people enter.)
John Cade:  i come from royal blood.
Dick & Smith: not true.
John Cade: i am valiant and noble.
Dick & Smith: also not true.
John Cade: i am worthy to be your leader.
Dick & Smith: riiiight.
John Cade: i will be King and everything will be amazing. we won’t even have money. i will just make sure you have food and clothes and are well taken care of.
ALL: woohoo!
   (someone brings in a Clerk.)
Smith: here’s a Clerk. he can read and write.
Cade: that’s terrible! is that true, Clerk?
Clerk: i was raised well, so i know how to write my name.
Cade: take him away and hang him!
   (Stafford and his brother enter)
Stafford: give up! the King will be merciful if you do.
Brother: but if you don’t, you will die.
Cade: um. i’m rightful heir to the throne so i’m not giving up.
Stafford: that is SO not true.
Cade: no for real. i’m the long-lost twin from a royal family.
Stafford: i don't believe you.
Brother: York put you up to this.
Cade: look. i liked Henry 5, so i will settle for being Protector.
Dick/Cade: oh yeah, and we also hate Lord Saye. so let him know we’re going to kill him too.
Stafford: (see quote below.)
 (Stafford and Brother exit.)
Cade: come on, people! we march to London!

act 4, scene 3
(Cade and Dick enter.)
Cade: you killed both of the Staffords! you will be rewarded!

act 4, scene 4
Margaret: i can’t believe Suffolk is dead. i am utterly devastated.
Henry: i will try to parley with Cade to prevent more bloodshed. Saye, Cade vows to kill you.
Saye: not if you kill him first.
Henry:(to Margaret) ‘i fear me, love, if that i had been dead
                                  thou wouldst not have mourned so much for me.’
Margaret: ‘no, my love, i should not mourn, but die for thee.’
   (Messenger enters.)
Messenger: Cade is getting close! he is going to claim the crown!
Henry: let’s all flee to Killingworth.
Saye: you go. i will stick it out here.
   (Messenger enters.)
Messenger: Cade has taken London Bridge!
Henry: let’s go!

act 4, scene 5
we must fight for our King!

act 4, scene 6
Cade: i’m the lord now. everyone must call me Lord Mortimer.
(Cade’s peops kill a soldier for calling him Cade, even though he didn’t know about the name rule.)
Dick: there’s an army waiting for us elsewhere!
Cade: ok, let’s go. but go burn down London Bridge and Tower too.

maybe someone can shed some light on Dick and Smith for me? i am ├╝ber-confused by them. are they being sarcastic? i mean, obviously they are joking at first, but are they still joking when they follow Cade? what’s the deal? also, i am confused about the Clerk. what is a Clerk, that he’s not supposed to be able to read and write? help!

okay. i have to be honest. i’m all Shakespeared out for the day. thanks for reading! good night!

quote of the day:
‘herald, away, and throughout every town
proclaim them traitors that are up with Cade,
that those which fly before the battle ends
may, even in their wives’ and children’s sight,
be hanged up for example at their doors.
and you that be the King’s friends, follow me.’
     -Stafford, act 4, scene 2

for tomorrow:  act 4, scenes 7-10

-rebecca may

Friday, January 28, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 3, Scene 3 and Act 4, Scene 1


hello friends. well, we have made it through another week. i am about one and a third days behind on my Shakespeare, but i am confident i will gain that back at some point. and guess whaaat?! i'm seeing some Shakespeare tomorrow! UCF is doing Twelfth Night! even though i haven't gotten to that play, i already feel like i will have such a better understanding of the performance. i feel like when i go to see Shakespeare, i understand 70% of what's going on. (except Hamlet, of course, because it's my favorite and i've spent more time with it.) my expectation is that i will be closer to 85%. with Shakespeare, you have to get into the rhythm of it. when you're used to reading/hearing it, you understand SO much more. i am excited, and will report back tomorrow night!

okay, here we go:
act 3, scene 3
   (Henry, Salisbury, and Warwick at the Cardinal's deathbed)
Henry: talk to me!
Cardinal: if you are death, i will give you all of England if you will let me live.
Henry: you must be pretty terrible if you are this scared of death.
Cardinal: i am losing. my. MIND!
Salisbury: no one disturb him. let him die in peace.
Henry: Cardinal, if you are thinking of heaven, hold up your hand.
   (Cardinal dies)
Henry: he didn't give us the sign. i hope God saves his soul!
Warwick: evil life begets evil death.
Henry: don't judge him, we are all sinners.

act 4, scene 1
(fight at sea!, then on the shores of Kent, Lieutenant, Walter Whitmore, Suffolk in disguise, prisoners, etc.)
Master: okay fools. we are holding you three gentlemen for ransom. so your families need to cough it up. a thousand crowns for you two and (to Suffolk) for you...
Whitmore: i think we should kill this one to revenge the eye i lost in battle.
Lieutenant: oh, calm down.
Suffolk: i will pay whatever ransom you demand. i am a gentleman.
Whitmore: and so am i.
Suffolk: OMG i know you! your name is Walter. oh crap, that prophecy said i would die by water, which sounds an awful lot like Walter. i must tell you, i am actually of royal birth!
Whitmore: cool. i'm going to kill you.
Suffolk: but we know each other! remember me? you can't kill me!
Whitmore: Lieutenant, please let me kill him.
Lieutenant: okay, but first, let me slay him with words. (see quote below.) you are a liar and a beggar.
Suffolk: it is impossible that someone as low as you could kill someone as important as me.
Whitmore: that's what you think. you should be scared right now.
Suffolk: 'true nobility is exempt from fear.' go ahead, be as cruel as you can be. the worse you treat me, the more famous my death will be. i will be like Julius Caesar!
   (Whitmore takes Suffolk out)
Lieutenant: let's gather those ransoms!
   (Whitmore re-enters with the body and severed head of Suffolk0
Gentleman: poor Suffolk. i will take your body back to Henry and Margaret, who loves you so.

doo-da-doo bum bum bum another one bites the dust! and another one's gone and another one's gone!

from the crazy but true files:
-there's a fight at sea in this play. WHAT.
-Whitmore lost an eye in battle? WHAAAT?
-the prophecy said Suffolk would die by water. he died by the hand of Walter. dear Shakespeare, that's a stretch. i understand that, said aloud, they sound the same. but still. just sayin'
-Suffolk lies and says he is of Lancaster blood. WHAT. and he still doesn't live. HA.
-Suffolk also lies and tells them he's delivering a message from the Queen of France? dear Suffolk, that's a stretch.
-apparently, every random person knows all about everyone's business. for instance, Whitmore somehow already knows that Suffolk was involved in Gloucester's death. also, random Gentleman on this boat knows that Margaret loved Suffolk. how do they know these things? everyone knows!

i am loving this play. it seems more sophisticated to me than part 1. anyone else think so?

quote of the day: (btw, they call Gloucester 'Humphrey' in this play)
'thy lips that kissed the Queen shall sweep the ground,
and thou that smiledst at good Duke Humphrey's death
against the senseless winds shalt grin in vain,
who in contempt shall hiss at thee again.
and wedded be thou to the hags of hell
for daring to affy a mighty lord
unto the daughter of a worthless king,
having neither subject, wealth, or diadem.'
     -Lieutenant; act 4, scene 1

for tomorrow: ??? as much as i can!

-rebecca may

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 3, Scene 2


nooooooooooooooooo!!! as if today wasn't hard enough! i am totally wiped out, got to my reading way too late, and what happened? the worst thing! i am mourning the loss. my favorite Shakespearean character that we've read so far was tragically murdered in today's reading. whyyyy?!?! i can't even deal.

okay here we go:

Murderer: we killed Gloucester!
Suffolk: i will reward you for your work. did you cover up the evidence?
Murderer: yup.
   (exit Murderers, enter Henry, Margaret, Cardinal, Somerset, etc.)
Henry: where's Gloucester? let's do this trial and hopefully find him not guilty.
Suffolk: ok. i will go get him.
 (Suffolk exits and re-enters)
Henry: what's wrong?
Suffolk: he's dead in his bed.
Cardinal: it was 'God's secret judgement' that killed him.
   (Henry passes out and soon after comes to.)
Henry: get away from me, Suffolk. while i was passed out, i had a vision that you killed Gloucester!
Margaret: why would you accuse Suffolk? he looks like he's grieving to me. i didn't like Gloucester either, and everyone will probably hate me for it. (see quote below.) poor me. wah. you loved Gloucester more than you love me! poor me! 'Die, Margaret! For Henry weeps that thou dost live so long.'
   (Warwick and others enter.)
Warwick: everyone is saying Suffolk and the Cardinal killed Gloucester.
Henry: actually, no one knows how he died.
Warwick: i will go check.
   (Warwick leaves and comes back.)
Warwick: he was def. murdered.
Suffolk: prove it.
Warwick: okay i will. here's like... seven things that prove it.
Suffolk: why... who would do that?
Warwick: well, i'm pretty sure you and the Cardinal hated Gloucester. and when you see a dead cow and a butcher holding an ax, you kinda just put 2 and 2 together.
Suffolk: slanderer!
Warwick: i wish i could kill you and send you straight to hell myself.
Suffolk: i'll kill you right now. want to go?
Warwick: hell yes. i will avenge poor Gloucester.
   (Suffolk and Warwick exit, and come back in fighting.)
Henry: what do you think you're doing? it's illegal to fight like this in my presence.
   (Salisbury enters.)
Salisbury: the people say that unless you put Suffolk to death for killing Gloucester, they will break in here and rip him apart themselves.
Henry: tell them i say thank you for their love and care, but i will take care of this. Suffolk, you have 3 days. if you are not completely gone from English soil by then, you will regret it.
   (all but Suffolk and Margaret exit.)
Margaret: this isn't happening. i can't live without you.
Suffolk: i can't live without you!
   (she kisses his hand and they embrace.)
Suffolk: 'for where thou art, there is the world itself'
   (Vaux enters)
Vaux: the Cardinal is on his death bed. he suddenly became ill and confesses all of his evils in his delerium!
Margaret: i can't deal with all of this at once. Suffolk, you have to go or Henry will kill you. go to France. you have my heart.
Suffolk: ditto.

dear Cardinal, i hate you. love, me.
he is despicable! 'God's secret judgement'? FOR REAL?!?! that would be terrible anyway, but he plotted to kill him! and he's supposed to be a cardinal! a lot of people talk about the state the church is in today and whatnot, with supposed holy men turning out to be not-so-great people. but it's not today. there have always been, will always be, evil hidden amongst the best intentions. know what i mean? i feel like people often talk about it like it's some semi-recent development. or that it's so much worse now. i just don't think that's true. and this jerk reminded me. he's about to get what's coming to him!

i am seriously in mourning for Gloucester. it's like they had to kill him because he was too good. without G protecting Henry, i fear for what might happen to him. to me, it seems like Henry is just too innocent to make the really serious decisions for himself. this is partly G's fault, of course. i feel like Henry might get eaten up, and G will be partially to blame. and that's just even more tragic to me. *sigh* can't wait to see what happens next!

quote of the day:
'is all thy comfort shut in Gloucester's tomb?
why, then, Dame Margaret was ne'er thy joy.
erect his statue and worship it,
and make my image but an alehouse sign.'
     -Queen Margaret; Act 3, Scene 2

for tomorrow: act 3, scene 3 and act 4, scenes 1 & 2

-rebecca may

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 3, Scene 1


i've got to be honest. i. am. tired. i am stressed out. i am in rehearsal for 3 things and i'm in 6 classes and i'm (foolishly?) trying to make this happen. at this point, i could probably sleep for 24 hours straight if i had the time and i didn't have all these weird dreams i've been having. i thought today i could read a bigger chunk of the play, but it just couldn't happen. i've decided that i will probably frequently have to change my daily reading plan, and i can't feel guilty about it every time. i have to accept that i won't always have as much time as i would like to devote to this. especially during this spring term. i think that as long as i stay close to my intended schedule, i have to be okay with it. correct? correct.

okay, let's go over what happened in act 3, scene 1:
(Henry, Margaret, and all the meanies at Parliament)
Margaret: you know what? G has really changed. he's really moody and insolent, and i'm not feeling it. we  need to be careful because the people of England really like him. he could probably gain control really quickly considering the fact that he's next in line for the crown and the fact that people would back him up. we should take care of this now.
Suffolk: Gloucester is guilty of secret treason. fact.
Henry: he is innocent! i'm sure of it!
Margaret: any wolf can hide in sheep's clothing.
   (enter Somerset)
Somerset: all of France is lost to us.
Richard, Duke of York (aside): damn. i wanted France. i will have it one day.
   (enter Gloucester)
Suffolk: you're under arrest for treason.
York: you took bribes, kept our soldiers' pay for yourself, and it's your fault we lost France.
Gloucester: not true. if anything, i've been too generous.
York: and you tortured people inhumanely.
Gloucester: also not true. the only ones i tortured at all were murderers. i'm probably too soft on criminals.
Suffolk: whatever. there's other things.
Henry: i hope you are innocent. i still believe you are.
Gloucester. these are dangerous times. everyone is after me, and after the crown. and you, Margaret, are trying to turn your husband against me. you're all plotting against me.
Cardinal: take him away.
Gloucester: (see quote below.)
   (Gloucester leaves in custody)
Henry: i'm leaving. i'm so sad for Gloucester. how could they hate him so much? with the power of all of them against him, he doesn't stand a chance. but i will never turn against him.
   (Henry and others leave)
Margaret: Henry is foolish. we are better to be rid of Gloucester.
Cardinal: yeah, but we have to do this through the courts.
Suffolk: i'm not sure about this. Henry will defend him, the people will back him up, and we have no real
evidence against him.
...some stuff i don't understand... they agree to kill him somehow?
Messenger: the rebels in Ireland have risen! do something!
York (sarcastically): let's send Somerset since he did such a great job in France.
Somerset: shut it.
Cardinal: York, go to Ireland and take care of business.
York: will do. get soldiers ready and i will get myself ready.
Cardinal: and i will take care of Gloucester.
   (all leave except Richard, Duke of York)
York: i must be strong now. those idiots are giving me soldiers, which i will use as my weapon to gain 
England. I have this guy John Cade who has sworn to help me stir things up here in England while I do my work in Ireland. when i get back, i will reap what he sowed. Gloucester will be dead, and Henry will be done. (cue evil laughter.)

i know that was a little long. will work to shorten it up next time. i just gotta get the hang of it!

as susan brought up in a comment yesterday, i am loving this whole hypocrisy thread that is running through the play so far. it's kind of perfectly set up. i feel like Shakespeare makes you like Gloucester. G is a good guy and he makes good decisions. see, Henry is a good guy too, but he makes dumb decisions and he's really oblivious to... everything. which is kinda annoying. Gloucester is wicked smart and often perceptive, so he's more likable. this is my impression anyway. so all these people working against him really makes me mad. and those people basically accuse him of the crimes they themselves are committing. so you hate them more and love Gloucester more. brilliant. and the web gets stickier all the time. if they get Gloucester in the end, i am going to be t-i-c-k-e-d. we shall see! any other thematic thoughts?

quote of the day:
'ah, thus King Henry throws away his crutch
before his legs be firm to bear his body.
thus is the shepherd beaten from thy side,
and wolves are gnarling who shall gnaw thee first.
ah, that my fear were false; ah, that it were!
for good King Henry, thy decay I fear.'
     -Gloucester; act 3, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 3, scene 2

hope this was more user-friendly! either way, we keep on keepin' on.

-rebecca may, Lover of Gloucester

and now for something completely different

okay. so. i had a heart to heart with the lovely alexis fuentes today and we discussed this blog. thanks to her brilliant mind and some re-thinking of my own, i've accepted that i need to breathe a little more life into this thing. i have the habit of doing this, i'm comfortable. so now it's time to improve and maybe have a little more fun? and maybe if i'm having more fun, i will dread doing it daily? and if i dread it less, it will be more fun to read? but remain a useful tool. it's worth a try. and eventually maybe i'll get to something. okay, here we go...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 2, Scenes 2-4


here's how the saga in unfolding:
Richard is hanging out at his house with Salisbury and Warwick. he explains to them in detail why he, and not Henry, is the rightful heir to the throne. a lot of it is mush in my brain, but what i do understand, i will explain below. Warwick and Salisbury pledge their allegiance to Richard. Richard tells them to lay low because all those other guys are just going to destroy each other anyway. Warwick re-affirms his allegiance, and Richard promises Warwick that he will be his right hand man when he is crowned.
in scene 3, a trial is held for Eleanor, the witch, and the others that helped with the conjuring. the witch is burnt, the others are strangled, and Eleanor is banished. (fair, right?) Gloucester is completely distraught. Henry tells him that the best thing to do would be to give up his post, and he does so graciously. (see quote below.) the Queen Margaret acts super... ahem... witchy as usual, and York changes the subject. for some reason i can't quite figure out, the armorer and his servant (remember the guy accused of treason?) come in to duel. the armorer is drunk, so he loses. Henry says this was God's way of revealing the truth and sentences him to death.
in the last scene of the act, poor Gloucester has a lovely moment when he talks about the fleeting quality of happiness. he sees his wife paying penance in the streets and is much aggrieved. she kind of half warns him that everyone is after him, but it seems like he can't quite accept that. he is summoned to court mysteriously and Eleanor is taken away to serve her life of banishment.

here's what i've figured out about bloodlines (read as a family tree):

                                                          Edward 3

Edward       William       Lionel (Clarence)       John (Lancaster)       Edmund (York)       Thomas      William

Richard I                       Richard somehow     Henry 4
                                     comes from this
                                     line but i don't           Henry 5
                                     quite get it yet.
                                                                      Henry 6

so you see, if our Richard somehow comes from the line of Edward's third son, he would be ahead for the throne I guess?

i am intrigued by all the talk of witchcraft. maybe it's because i'm working on a show about women accused of witchcraft. women accused of it basically had no way to get out of it. it's the go-to way of getting rid of someone. crazy! just quote the Bible and there you go. i wonder if Shakespeare will make a theme of this. i mean, obviously we have the witches in Macbeth, but other than that? in rehearsal we talk about unruly women. (and we've been talking about that too, yes?) to get rid of an unruly woman, you accuse them of witchcraft. i know we're not getting into witch trials here, but that persecution is still evident. hmm... let's see...

not entirely sure why, but Gloucester is my favorite character. he seems to have the best head on his shoulders to me. he's loyal and unambitious. he's genuine. so, of course, he's the one who gets dragged down. of course. with my luck, he'll die in the next act.

quote of the day:
'as willingly do i the same resign
as ere thy father Henry made it mine;
and even as willingly at thy feet i leave it
as others would ambitiously receive it.
farewell, good King. when i am dead and gone,
may honorable peace attend thy throne!'
     -Gloucester; act 2, scene 3

for tomorrow: act 3, scenes 1 and 2

-rebecca may

Monday, January 24, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 1, Scene 4 and Act 2, Scene 1


here we go:
a witch and 2 priests arrive at Eleanor's to raise a spirit for her. they ask the spirit what will happen to Henry, Suffolk, and Somerset and receive answers for all 3. (i will go into this more when it comes up later.) in the middle of all this, Richard and Buckingham storm in and arrest them all for practicing witchcraft. they do, however, decide they can use the information they've gained to their advantage. and off Buckingham goes to deliver word to Gloucester and Henry.
act 2 begins with Henry, Margaret, the Cardinal, Suffolk, and Gloucester off in St. Albans hawking. Suffolk makes this snipey comment about Gloucester. (see quote below.) everyone starts picking at Gloucester, accusing him of being power-hungry. then there's this super weird and random tangent about this guy who is pretending to be blind and lame, and Gloucester figures him out. i'm not sure, but i don't think it's relevant. after that whole weirdy weird, Buckingham comes in and tells everyone what Gloucester's wife, Eleanor, has done. everyone but Henry is mean to him of course. he tells them that he is loyal to Henry and will drop Eleanor flat. oh snap.

it's interesting to me that these plays so far are less about Henry than they are about Gloucester and the various other jerks that revolve around that world. i wonder if that was a concern at all. like, would royalty be mad about that? maybe Susan has some thoughts on this considering the comments she provided earlier on?

Shakespeare uses the word 'drab' to describe some lying hag. apparently 'drab' means 'slut'. hahaha. Will is getting racy.

i'm out of time for today, i will try to be more in depth tomorrow. stick with me!

quote of the day:
'no marvel, an it like Your Majesty,
my Lord Protector's hawks do tower so well;
they know their master loves to be aloft
and bears his thoughts above his falcon's pitch.'
-Suffolk; act 2, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 2, scenes 2-4

-queen rebecca may

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 1, Scenes 1-3


for your sake, as well as mine, i am trying to figure out who is who and who everyone is allied with. i don't have it worked out yet, but i will fill this in more clearly as i go. here's what i have so far:

Lancaster (red rose)               York (white rose)                       anti-Henry's with questionable alliances
Henry VI                                Richard, Duke of York               Buckingham and Somerset
Gloucester- ally                       Salisbury- ally?                           Suffolk
                                               Warwick- son of Sal & ally?      Cardinal (formerly known as Winchester)

this might not be terribly helpful yet, but i will try and pin this thing down.
okay. here we go:
our play begins in the royal court of London.  Suffolk has brought Margaret to England for Henry, who is very happy with her. she appears to feel the same. Suffolk presents Henry with the deal he made with Reignier and everyone is totally pissed off. they're mad that Henry married this poor nobody, gave up Reignier's lands, and called for a truce with France for 18 months. most of the people at court feel that all the fighting that Henry V and all of them did for all that time was for nothing. even Gloucester is displeased. Richard feels like Henry is incompetent and he would handle all of this much differently. after Gloucester leaves, the Cardinal tells everyone to watch out for Gloucester. he is the next in line for the crown, after all. after he leaves, Somerset and Buckingham decide to also be wary of Cardinal. after they leave, Salisbury and his son Warwick decide to play friends with Gloucester and be careful with all of them. and after they leave, Richard complains that he has to sit around waiting while Henry screws everything up. he is anxious to gain the crown. (see quote below.)
in scene 2, we move to Gloucester's house. G is upset over a dream he had and shares it with his wife, Eleanor. he dreamt that his badge of rank (as Protector of Henry) is ripped in half by the Cardinal and that the heads of Somerset and Suffolk are on the two broken pieces. freaky stuff. Eleanor shares her dream, in which Gloucester has all the power and she is the queen instead of Margaret. Gloucester chides her, but she tells him it was only a dream. he leaves and we learn that her ambitions are true. she plans to gain that power somehow. a messenger comes in from the cunning woman and conjurer she sent him to. they told him that the answers to Eleanor's questions about gaining the throne will be answered by spirits. she is pleased. after she leaves, this messenger admits that he was paid by Suffolk and the Cardinal to tell her that. they are on to her, and will bring her down.
in scene 3 we head back to court, where Margaret complains to Suffolk about Henry. she doesn't understand why Gloucester has so much sway with him and wishes Henry was more like Suffolk. she also HATES Eleanor. Suffolk tells her not to worry, to pretend like everything is a-ok, and eventually they will 'weed them' all out. (line 99) Henry comes in, trying to choose a regent to France. York and Somerset both vie for the position. everyone fights about it and Eleanor and Margaret have a little cat fight. then Suffolk brings in a man who accuses his master of treason. according to this person, his master was saying he wished Richard was king instead of Henry. the master denies it, but it still seems fishy to everyone. Gloucester advises Henry to send Somerset to France in light of this suspicious activity. he also advises to have the master and accuser duel each other to settle this argument. Henry agrees and all exit.
the name of the game for me right now is to juggle all these names and really understand what the hell is going on. if we can do this, we can get through this play. if anyone has any insight as we go, please share! if anyone has questions, please ask! this is a forum for questioning as much as it is for sharing.

we have two new female characters, right? Eleanor, the duchess/wife of Gloucester and Margaret, the new queen. as of right now, i can't distinguish any major differences between the two. they are both power-hungry and seem to care little for their husbands. they are super sneaky and definitely don't follow the rules. let's see how these characters flesh out before we get into this.

quote of the day:
'watch thou and wake when others be asleep,
to pry into the secrets of the state
till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love
with his new bride and England's dear-bought queen,
and Humphrey with the peers be fall'n at jars.
then will i raise aloft the milk-white rose,
with whose sweet smell the air shall be perfumed,
and in my standard bear the arms of York,
to grapple with the house of Lancaster;
and force perforce i'll make him yield the crown,
whose bookish rule hath pulled fair England down.'
     -Richard, Duke of York; act 1, scene 1

for tomorrow:
act 1, scene 4 and act 2, scene 1

-rebecca may

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth Background


hello friends. we are moving on to 2 Henry 6! i did a little reading today about this play, and found some interesting tidbits to share.

well first of all, we need to know that this play picks up right where we left off. we are in 1445. the war between France and England is called off for now. Suffolk has secured Margaret for Henry. and Henry is totally oblivious to the fact that half the people he's close to want to overthrow him. York, named regent of France, is definitely hungry for that crown. he feels it is rightfully his. that awful bishop, Winchester, became a cardinal and is wicked evil. we'll see what he does. and then of course, there's Suffolk, who got Margaret for Henry but really wants her for himself. craziness! this play will take us from 1445 to 1455, when the civil war in England was just beginning.

something brought up in the introduction that piqued my interest: apparently, Shakespeare depicts Cade's uprising, a rebellion of the common people, in a very strange way. Shakespeare frequently portrays common characters with depth and sensitivity. when it comes to this uprising, however, he seems to be warning playgoers not to participate in this type of action. he accentuates the worst of what happens in this uprising, and portrays those involved in quite an unflattering light. he basically says that any group of common people who try to uproot the government are participating in an absurd act that will never pan out. they are being foolish. interesting, huh? i wonder where that comes from, and i wonder what it will seem like when i read it for myself.

i am also interested to see the role that prophecies play in this story. they always eventually come true i've been told, but often in unexpected ways. exciting.

and, as always, let's see how these female characters develop. our last unruly woman, Joan of Arc, was burned at the stake. nice knowing Richard III, i already know that Margaret won't meet such horrific ends, but i have no idea what her character will be like. we shall see!

thanks for reading! stick with me! and spread the word.

for tomorrow: act 1

~rebecca may

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Rape of Lucrece Lines 1359-End


here's how Shakes wrapped this thing up:
yesterday we left Lucrece waiting for her husband to receive her message, understandably very anxious for him to come home. while she waits, she stumbles on a picture (perhaps in a tapestry?) which portrays a scene involving Helen, Priam, Ulysses, Paris, Sinon, etc. i think the scene is after Paris and Helen's affair is made known and war breaks out. i am only vaguely knowledgeable about this whole Trojan thing, so i won't even pretend like i am and try to describe it to you. that's not the point anyway. the point is that Lucrece spends her waiting time obsessing over this picture. she examines the sorrowful faces, connecting her pain to the pain of the figures she sees there. she talks about the power of art and verisimilitude. she connects to Hecuba in particular. she feels sad that this painting cannot speak its sadness and wants to be the voice for this lonely figure. she likens their situation to her own, wondering why innocent people have to suffer for the evil and selfishness of others, and cries for them. she notices how honest Sinon's face looks, and connecting him to Tarquin, wonders how a face that looks so sweet can hide such evil. in despair, she claws at the painting.
as she ponders the painting and the nature of empathy, her husband arrives home with some sort of entourage that includes Lucrece's father. he is taken aback by the state he finds her in. he sweetly and gently asks her what is wrong. (great moment.) it is hard for her to find the words to express what happened, but she eventually does, re-capping the whole situation. Lucrece's husband is hard hit by the news, and Lucrece struggles to handle seeing him grieve on top of her own grief.
Lucrece makes everyone swear that they will seek vengence on the person who raped her before she will tell them who it is. she questions whether she could ever recover from this. (see quote below.) they assure her that she can, but it doesn't get through to her. she finally tells them it was Tarquin who raped her and then stabs herself.
this is when things get weird. Lucrece's dad and husband talk about how sad they are. then, they compete over who is more sad. THEN, this random Brutus guy takes the stage. apparently he was pretending to be crazy or something? but now he decides not to? he tells them that crying is letting Tarquin win. if they want to win, they have to seek revenge. they all vow to get back at him. in the very last stanza, they march Lucrece's body into town, tell everyone what Tarquin did, and get him banished. THE END.

i am fascinated by the section during which Lucrece looks at the painting of Troy. Shakespeare explores the emotional nature of art. art can move you, validate you, make you feel you are no longer alone. that's what a great piece of art does for me. i can think of a few books and plays and films in particular that make me feel understood and connected in a way that is beyond words. i could never put it as eloquently as he does here. check it out. but he also explores the idea that no matter what, its still just a painting on the wall. it's not living and breathing. there's still a disconnect somewhere, always a tension there. this passage is gorgeous and much more mature than anything we've read yet, in my opinion.

what the hell is going on with the last few stanzas of this poem?!?!? Lucrece's husband and father fight over who is more sad for her loss? then random guy we've never met, Brutus, gets all this time? he was pretending to be insane or something, and now he's not? he's like... the main player in the last section. this feels weird and unbalanced. i am not feeling that. where did this come from? thoughts?

this poem engaged me. overall, i kinda loved it. it was a pleasant surprise. now i am SO ready to get into another play!

quote of the day:
'what is the quality of my offense,
being constrained with dreadful circumstance?
may my pure mind with the foul act dispense,
my low-declined honor to advance?
may any terms acquit me from this chance?
     the poisoned fountain clears itself again,
     and why not i from this compelled stain?'
       -Lines 1702-1708

for tomorrow: Henry 6 Part 2 Introduction
Sunday: Act 1 (warning: its long)

2 plays, 2 poems down. 36 plays, 3 poems, 154 sonnets to go. rock on.

-rockin' rebecca my

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Rape of Lucrece Lines 1002-1358


i had to cut back a page due to time constraints, but i can only do what i can do. right? so anyway, this is what's going down in Shakespeare Land:
Lucrece feels that what Tarquin has done is worse because he comes from a royal family. he should be held to a higher standard. then she decides that the way to save her honor is to kill herself, but she can't find a weapon. she doesn't want to have his child and she doesn't want him to get away with his crap. she knows her husband will avenge her death.
then, Lucrece realizes that day is dawning and fear overtakes her. she wants to hide, but the light reveals everything. she struggles to adjust to the new day. (see quote below.) Lucrece ponders suicide again. she feels that her soul has already been ruined, and to ruin her body would be simply to dispose of the leftover half of her spoiled self.
Lucrece realizes, however, that she needs to see her husband before she can go through with this. she will kill herself and her husband will kill Tarquin. she calls in her maid, who has no idea what's going on. her maid stays by her side, and feels so sorry for her that she begins to cry as well. the maid lets Lucrece know that Tarquin has gone and asks what happened, but receives no response.
Lucrece writes her husband a letter to ask him to come home quickly. she doesn't tell him what happened in writing so she can be sure that he gets the story straight and can understand what she's going through. she sends the letter off with a messenger, worrying that he is judging her.

so when day breaks, these people are coming out of the woodwork. the maid shows up. we find out that Lucrece's husband has men who work for him on the grounds. my question is: where the heck were they when their mistress was being raped? just sayin'. if there was someone within running distance of me, i think i would go for it.

lines 1149-1162 sound a little like 'to be or not to be' to me. is preoccupation with suicide another theme we're going to see? i sat here for awhile trying to describe this passage, but its too lovely. anything i say just sounds stupid. just read it.

i might be totally off base here, but it seems like Shakespeare inserts a little social commentary in lines 1254-1260. again, i might be wrong, but it feels like he's saying that women shouldn't be blamed for the abuse they suffer from men. during this time period, being raped meant you lived in shame. that's why Lucrece wants to kill herself. she doesn't want to deal with it, and she doesn't want her husband to deal with it. maybe Shakespeare is saying it shouldn't be that way? maybe not. but if he is, that's pretty darn cool of him. what does it seem like to you?

quote of the day:
'so she, deep-drenched in a sea of care,
holds disputation with each thing she views,
and to herself all sorrow doth compare;
no object but her passion's strength renews,
and as one shifts, another straight ensues.
     sometimes, her grief is dumb and hath no words,
     sometimes 'tis mad and too much talk affords.

the little birds that tune their morning's joy
make her moans mad with their sweet melody,
for mirth doth search the bottom of annoy;
sad souls are slain in merry company.
grief best is pleased with grief's society.
     true sorrow then is feelingly sufficed
     when with like semblance it is sympathized.

'tis double death to drown in ken of shore;
he ten times pines that pines beholding food;
to see the salve doth make the wound ache more;
great grief grieves most at that would do it good;
deep woes roll forward like a gentle flood,
     who, being stopped, the bounding banks o'erflows;
     grief dallied with nor law nor limit knows.'
       -lines 1100-1120

for tomorrow: lines 1359-the end!

-rebecca the conqueror

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Rape of Lucrece Lines 540-1001


here's what happened next:
Lucrece pleads with Tarquin not to do this. the more she begs, the more aroused he gets. he feeds off of her helplessness. (it's pretty sick, actually.) she goes through these tactics to get him to stop: i was kind to you, think of your friend (her husband), you're not yourself, you'll live with this forever, you're supposed to be a leader, etc. he tells her that the more she begs, the more he wants her. and yet she continues with: you're drowning in sin, you're a slave to lust, you're above this, etc. he repeats his earlier threat about her slave. he's a predator, and nothing but raping her will satisfy his hunger.
so finally, it happens. he rapes her and slinks off, already hating himself. this is when we switch completely to Lucrece's POV. she's devastated. she knows she can't hide this or escape from herself. she talks about how this could only happen at night, but then she hopes the night will kill the day so she won't have to face it. there's a beautiful passage saying that if night were Tarquin, he would violate the moon and the stars too, and then at least she would have someone to relate to. heartbreaking stuff.
Lucrece worries that: everyone will talk about her, her husband will be shamed, she will be ruined, etc. then she gets really pessimistic saying that nothing good and pure can stay. everything becomes corrupted. she thinks it's impossible to have any happiness because it will always be taken from you. sin lurks around every corner. and sin paired with opportunity is evil. (see quote below.) evil will always find you, but virtue's way will always be barred.
now that she's blamed the night, sin, and opportunity, she also blames time. but then she goes on about "time's glory", which is basically that it heals and grows and strengthens. if she could only have changed time the slightest bit, she could've presented this. now is her time to suffer, and her deepest desire is that now time will punish Tarquin.

in this section, we've moved to Lucrece's point of view. it is intriguing to me that the writing from her point of view doesn't seem as strong as it did from Tarquin's. it's much more repetitive, and the journey she goes through isn't as intricate as Tarquin's. it's a bit surface-level. i was disappointed! is it because Shakespeare is still at the beginning of his career as a writer and  doesn't quite get the female POV yet? also, the woman in this story is another simple and pretty type of character. like Venus. she goes through something intense, but she's still this simple, subservient little thing. i'm ready for more of the unruly women we've been talking about in earlier posts!

don't know if these 2 things are connected, but i also had more trouble with this section. there were a few stanzas i just couldn't wrap my head around. like, for instance, the second stanza of this section. is it the POV change? not sure, but i'm hoping to get back to the place i was yesterday. everything clicked.

i love that Shakespeare doesn't really describe the rape itself. it literally happens in like... one stanza. he is unconcerned with the act itself, and focuses on the emotional driving force leading up to it and the emotional devastation that happens afterward. brilliant. why do you think he might do it this way?

so... if you know someone who likes Shakespeare or someone who should like Shakespeare, ask them to check this out. without readers and commenters, doing the blog is pretty pointless. i want to have input and questions from readers every day. that is what will make this worthwhile. spread the word!

quote of the day:
'o opportunity, thy guilt is great!
'tis thou that execut'st the traitor's treason;
thou sets the wolf where he the lamb may get;
whoever plots the sin, thou 'point'st the season.
'tis thou that spurn'st at right, at law, at reason;
     and in thy shady cell, where none may spy him,
     sits sin, to seize the souls that wander by him.'
       -lines 876-882

for tomorrow: lines 1002-1442

-rebecca may

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Rape of Lucrece Lines 92-539


here’s what you missed:
Tarquin has arrived at Lucrece’s, and seems to be a good guy. Lucrece is too innocent to pick up on his true intentions. he pretends like he's going to bed, and instead stays up contemplating what to do. Tarquin struggles a lot with this choice. he recognizes that what he is doing is greedy, and to trade his honor for gratification is an ugly thing. he is both scared of the reprecussions of his act and partially hateful of himself. he tries to get rid of his bad thoughts and focus on honor. he knows he would scar his family tree forever for a mere few moments of pleasure. he wishes he weren't such good friends with her husband. if Tarquin hated him, it would be so much easier to do whatever he wants.
his mind wanders, and he begins thinking about Lucrece. his resolve for honor wanes. he decides he doesn't want to be afraid of or deny his passions. lust takes over and he goes to her. nothing can stop him, not even the creaking doors threatening to announce his approach or the wind blowing out his torch.
by the time he finds Lucrece, he is in total denial. he has justified his actions in his mind. she lies there peacefully, and he is blinded by her beauty. his desire for the forbidden fully takes over. he touches her boobs? yeah, i'm pretty sure that's what happens. she wakes up and is, of course, terrified. she doesn't understand why this is happening. he is so twisted that he tells her it's her fault for being so beautiful and enticing to him. he tells her he understands the consequences and thinks it's worth it.
as if this isn't bad enough, Tarquin tells Lucrece that if she struggles with him, he will punish her. he will kill her and a servant and put the servant in her arms. when asked, he will tell her husband that he caught her cheating and that's why they were killed. her husband and children will be disgraced forever. if she succumbs to him, however, everything will be fine. crazy, right?

i am enjoying this. thank GOD. i sat alone in the grad office at school today and read the dang thing aloud. and it made sense. i went slowly, re-reading when i had to. i took the extra time and it paid off. this is SO different from Venus and Adonis. this one is hitting on some deep issues. to me, it felt like V & A was really surface level. this piece is so much more mature than V & A. dig it.

i love how Shakespeare explores the struggle Tarquin goes through before he steals into Lucrece’s room. it's not just as easy as going in to get some. a lot is going on in this guy's head. i love when Shakespeare says he "is madly tossed bwteen desire and dread." although the introduction says that this poem isn't about character, he spends almost a couple hundred lines developing what's going on in Tarquin's mind. if it's not about character, i don't know what it is about. i am interested to see if Lucrece gets the same development. let's hope.

quote of the day:
'the aim of all is but to nurse the life
with honor, wealth, and ease in waning age;
and in this aim there is such thwarting strife
that one for all or all for one we gage:
as life for honor in fell battle's rage,
      honor for wealth; and oft that wealth doth cost
      the death of all, and all together lost.

so that in venturing ill we leave to be
the thing we are for that which we expect;
and this ambitious foul infirmity,
in having much, torments us with defect
of what we have. so then we do neglect
     the thing we have, and, all for want of wit,
     make something nothing by augmenting it.'
       -lines 141-154

for tomorrow: lines540-1001

-rebecca may

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Rape of Lucrece Introduction and Lines 1-91


so here's what i learned about The Rape of Lucrece:
this poem was written around the same time as Venus and Adonis. the two poems have a kind of yin and yang relationship. V and A is about lust and infatuation, while this one deals with the darker and deeper side of love, as you can probably tell from the title.
this poem is also dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley. (if anyone has any more information on this person, do tell!)
both this poem and V & A were widely loved. this poem, however, was the one that gained Shakespeare more acclaim and respect, while V & A was more popular. apparently, plot and character are again secondary in this poem. oh boy. not again. with little plot or character to follow i'm like... zzzzzzz. so what i'm saying is, this is going to be a struggle. there is a full story to this, but Shakespeare chooses to cut away most of the plot and focus on one tiny part of the story. we'll see how it goes.

before the poem starts, we get some backstory. basically, Lucrece's husband is sitting around after dinner with his army guys, and he brings up his wife. he tells them how virtuous and beautiful she is, and for some reason Sextus Tarquinius becomes obsessed with her. this is where the poem starts. i don't know how much of the story will be covered in the poem, so let's just go over it now. Tarquinius steals back to the home of Lucrece and asks for lodging for the night. his social class is above hers, so she is required to let him in and she does so graciously. in the night, he creeps into her bedroom and rapes her. in the morning he leaves and she sends for her father and husband. she makes them promise to avenge her, and after they do so she tells them what happened. before anything else can happen, she stabs order to save her husband's honor. his honor, after all, is more important than her life. the father and husband are on fire to avenge her and end up getting the family of her rapist exiled from Rome. cool.

in the first 91 lines of the poem, we cover the time period between Tarquinius leaving to go to Lucrece's home and the time when he gets there and starts lusting after her. Shakespeare talks about happiness and how difficult it is to retain it. happiness is something that must be guarded or someone like Tarquinius will steal it away. yeah, that's mostly what i got from it. so far, i am finding this poem surprisingly difficult to read. it's really out there for me. i am concerned. maybe tomorrow will be better. AH!!!

quote of the day:
'this earthly saint, adored by this devil,
little suspecteth the false worshiper,
for unstained thoughts do seldom dream on evil;
birds never limed no secret bushes fear.
so, guiltless, she securely gives good cheer
   and reverend welcome to her princely guest,
   whose inward ill no outward harm expressed.'
       -lines 85-91

for tomorrow: lines 92-539

-rebecca may

Sunday, January 16, 2011

1 Henry 6 Act 5, Scenes 2-5


here's how the play ended:
scene 2 starts with Charles and the Frenchies marching off to Paris. the Parisians are ready to fight England, so Charles is off to help them.
in scene 3, Joan is conjuring up spirits of some sort. she asks them to help her, offering sacrifices to secure their aid. they just hang or shake their heads, not speaking to her. not a good sign. nothing appeases them, and they leave. Joan knows she's screwed. fighting breaks out and Joan is taken captive by the English. York is like- hey, if you're so powerful, then let your spirits save you. they don't of course, and she curses them up a storm. then, in a weird turn of events, Suffolk happens to meet Margaret. she is the daughter of Reignier (French King of Naples who hangs out with Charles), and he falls madly in love with her right away. they have a pretty hilarious exchange and he decides to woo her for Charles since he can't have her for himself. he asks her if she wants to be queen and she tells him to ask her dad. Suffolk asks Reignier, who agrees as long as the English leave his territory alone. Suffolk goes off to tell Charles, but not before making it clear to the reader/audience that he plans to have Margaret for himself in one way or another. creeper.
in scene 4, Joan's dad comes in to see her and she denies being his daughter! he begs her and she is SO mean to him. he finally curses her and leaves. she tries to put off her execution by telling them she's pregnant. they think it would be Charles' baby, but she says it's Alencon's. and then she says its Reignier's. so obviously she's lying. they take her off to execution as she curses England and everyone there. then gross Winchester comes in talking about the peace between France and England. York thinks it was a waste of time and resources to do all that fighting just to end up making peace. the deal Charles has to make is to swear allegiance to Henry, and England will stop attacking. Charles will be a viceroy and retain the towns he is currently in control of. he waivers for awhile on this, but ultimately agrees to it.
in the last scene, Suffolk tells Henry all about Margaret. he falls in love with her (even though he hasn't met her but whatev) and says he wants to marry her. Gloucester thinks this is inappropriate because he's already betrothed. after some arguing, Suffolk says that if Henry wants Margaret, he should have Margaret and not proceed with the arranged marriage. (see quote of the day.) It's agreed he will have her. Suffolk concludes the play saying that he will rule over Margaret, thereby ruling the King and England as well. THE END.

okay so in scene 2, Charles is marching off to Paris. but i thought they already did that. i thought that's how act 4 ended. i am confused. check out lines 95 & 96 of act 4, scene 7. now check out lines 4 & 5 of act 5, scene 1. am i just thinking too hard?

my main question still surrounds Joan of Arc. she is killed, i'm assuming. it's not quite as obvious as Shakespeare usually makes it. usually we see a dead body or someone drifts off to death onstage, or at least we hear specifically what happened offstage. this time, we just see her taken out to be burnt at the stake. anyway, my real ??? is that Joan is portrayed as a total crazy. she's a witch and a liar, and by the end I had no sympathy for her. Shakespeare tries to justify her death by making her unlikeable. does he do this because it probably doesn't look good that England killed an innocent young girl? or is this what he thinks happened? or is it what really happened? or is it just better theater that way? anyone know?

i feel like Shakespeare led us to believe that France would win this whole thing by the end of the play. but then they didn't. interesting. very interesting. did anyone else feel that way?

quote of the day:
'for what is wedlock forced but a hell,
an age of discord and continual strife?
whereas the contrary bringeth bliss,
and is a pattern of celestial peace.'
     -suffolk; act 5, scene 5

for tomorrow: The Rape of Lucrece, introduction and lines 1-91
tuesday: lines 92-539
wedensday: lines 540-1001
thursday: 1002-1442
friday: 1443-1855

2 plays and 1 poem down; 36 plays, 154 sonnets, and 4 poems to go.

-rebecca the tired

Saturday, January 15, 2011

1 Henry 6 Act 4, Scenes 2-7; Act 5, Scene 1


here we go:
so good old Talbot is doing his war thing in France. he marches up to Bordeaux and demands to be let in, like he does. the general at the gate basically gives him the bird and tells Talbot that he is surrounded by Charles' army. he. is. screwed. Talbot, in true Talbot fashion, remains brave.
in the next scene, Richard (now called York, but for continuity's sake we will still call him Richard) hears about what's going on with Talbot from Lucy (not a girl). he is not happy. he talks about how much he hates Somerset and how this is all Somerset's fault. then we learn that Talbot's son John, who we hasn't seen in seven years, went to his father's aid. Richard leaves to take some troops off to Talbot's aid as well.
after that, Somerset saunters in saying it's too late to help Talbot. Lucy tells him it's his fault and he needs to go help. Somerset says it's Richard's fault. Lucy guilts him a bit and Somerset finally agrees to send some reinforcements.
Talbot and John are back at Bordeaux. Talbot wants to help his son escape so he will be safe, but John won't leave his father. they go back and forth the whole scene about leaving or not and who of the two of them is more important to save and why. there's a lot of love and dignity going on.
the next scene is... kind of the same as the last one. they are in battle and Talbot saves his son's life. John says this beautiful thing about being born twice: once when he was born by his mother and once when his father saved his life. lovely. and then they go back and forth in a mutual reverence about who is more important to save. again.
in the last scene of the act, John is brought in, having died in battle. Talbot holds him in his arms and dies as well saying, "now my old arms are young John Talbot's grave." so sad. Charles and the Frenchies come in saying (get this) that they are so happy Richard and Somerset weren't there to help Talbot because if they had been, the French probably would have lost the battle. ROUGH. they do some war talk until Lucy comes in, claiming the bodies of the dead Englishmen and mourning the loss of Talbot.
act 5 begins with talks of peace and of Henry marrying. then Winchester comes in (remember that jerk?) in a Cardinal's outfit. gr. yeah, he's pretty hungry for power. the king calls for peace and Gloucester announces to everyone that Henry will be married. Henry sends some jewelry to his future wifey and heads out. in the last passage, i'm not sure, but i think Winchester is saying that he will gain power and have Gloucester kissing his feet ASAP.

things are getting exciting!!! how will this all wrap up?!?!

as we said before, Henry started as a baby? and then he was supposedly 5 but talking like an adult? and now he's getting married? all very confusing.

Henry seems to love peace and calm. i can dig that. i'm wondering how that will shape up for him.

i wonder if people cut a lot of this stuff when they produce this play. i feel like there's a lot of repeated information, which i guess is understandable considering the time period. if my audience was as distracted as those audiences probably were, i would repeat vital information for sure. i know that those audiences could get pretty rowdy at times (especially when dealing with potentially violent material like this?) and that a good portion of them were not 'educated' per se. so, my best guess is that repeating information was the best way to make sure the central ideas got through. however, if i were producing this show today for an adult audience, maybe i would snip here and there? because our problem today is attention span? i don't know. what do you think?

i need to work really hard to keep this from being a chore. i do love it, but keeping this up every day is hard, especially when school and rehearsal and family and friends are pulling me in other directions. besides positive thinking, anyone got a good idea on how to keep this from turning into a chore?

thanks for reading. as always, i appreciate it.

quote of the day:
'stay, go, do what you will- the like do i;
for live i will not, if my father die.'
     -John Talbot; act 4, scene 5

for tomorrow: the rest of act 5. woot woot! and after that, we will jump into another poem! soon it will be sonnet time. woohoo!

-reading rebecca

Friday, January 14, 2011

1 Henry 6 Act 3, Scenes 3 & 4; Act 4, Scene 1


here's what happened today in Henry-land:
we start the scene with Joan telling Charles not to worry because the French will still be ultimately victorious. Charles tells her he isn't worried and still believes in her. then Joan has the great idea of getting the Duke of Bergundy (formerly on the side of England) over onto their side. coincidentally, the English march into Paris at exaclty that moment and they are able to secure a meeting with him immediately. and when i say immediately, i mean a hanfdul of lines later. Joan is very persuasive and through sympathy and Jedi mind tricks, gets Bergundy to switch sides a few more moments later. the Frenchies are super stoked and further plot their revenge on the English.
in the last scene of act 3, Henry arrives in Paris, and Talbot graciously pauses his fighting to receive him. Henry tells Talbot how much his father loved him and offers to make him an Earl at his upcoming coronation. they leave and then the servants of Richard and Somerset get in a huge fight over the white vs. the red roses that they wear in honor of their masters. i assume this is foreshadowing the upcoming war between the Yorks (Richard) and Lancasters (Henry and Somerset).
in the first scene of act 4 the coronation is taking place, crowning Henry the King of France. Falstaff comes in with a letter he somehow got from Bergundy and they rip him a new one. Talbot is crazy pissed off. Falstaff's knighthood is stripped from him and he is banished. harsh. then they read Bergundy's letter. the fact that he has defected completely doesn't make them mad though. they just send Talbot to go talk to him. double standards? i think so. anyway, the fighting servants from act 3 come in and ask Henry for permission to duel. he begs them to forget the whole thing and live in peace, but they're not hearing it. Henry wisely says that the English families must stay united at least to the public because if the French sense a chink in the armor, they will be able to take them down. Henry makes Richard the Regent to France and peaces out back to England. York almost gives away that he wants to take over the whole shebang, but bites his tongue. Exeter finishes the scene with the quote of the day, below.

i have further questions about Joan. my understanding was that in real life she was a brave woman of God who died a martyr. am i mistaken? Shakespeare depicts her here as having more of like... Jedi powers. she's a witch! she is able to convince people to do things they would normally never do, she can see the future, and who knows what else? this connects back to my question about how true these 'histories' are. i know he takes some liberties, but i still need to find out how far he goes in imagining and/or altering the 'facts'. and why alter them at all?
another liberty taken is in the scene with Falstaff. apparently in real life, Bedford stripped his knighthood from him, not Talbot. in the play, however, Bedford is dead for some reason. also in real life, Talbot was being held captive by the French at this point. why change these facts? i'm not really sure, but i would love to find out. does anyone have any information on this?

so Henry gets crowned King of France. can they just do that? because they have a hold on Paris, apparently? that seems crazy. march into a country and crown yourself. sweet deal.

today i remembered that in high school my best friend alicia and i began to read Shakespeare with a southern accent. for some reason, this really helped us. besides being entertaining, it somehow made the text make sense. the best we can figure is because the rhythms and sounds of the accents are similar somehow. i know i sound nuts, but it's true. anyway, if you're having trouble, i dare you to try it. let me know when it works. because it will!

stick with me, kids!

quote of the day:
'tis much when scepters are in children's hands,
but more when envy breeds unkind division
there comes the ruin, there begins confusion.'
     -Exeter; act 4, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 4, scenes 2-7; act 5, scene 1

-rebecca may

Thursday, January 13, 2011

1 Henry 6 Act 3, Scenes 1 & 2


curiouser and curiouser. here's what's up in act 3:
King Henry VI is in England with Winchester, Gloucester, and their respective posses. they are still fighting of course. they argue for a few pages and Henry begs them not to. not gonna lie, there's some great dialogue in there. my favorite is when Gloucester calls Winchester a "saucy priest". HA. then we find out that the masses outside are in a civil brawl over the dispute between W and G. the fight is getting out of hand, and everyone's lives may soon be in danger. a decision has to be made STAT. eventually, Gloucester gives in to save Henry and the lives of the people involved in the fight. this is how you know he's the good guy. Winchester is being a jerk and won't even shake Gloucester's hand until Henry rebukes him. (see quote of the day below.) afterward, Henry restores Richard to his hereditary right. (Somerset is not happy.) then Henry is off to France to try to re-gain the crown. Exeter explains to us about the prohecy saying that Henry VI will eventually lose France.
in scene 2, we are back in France, before the gates of Rouen, not Orleans this time. Joan and the Frenchies get tricky and gain access into the town. they storm and gain control of Rouen. Talbot and Joan speak some fierce words to each other. Talbot vows to get back at them. Talbot dares them to come out and fight but they don't. LAME. then Falstaff comes in for 4 hot lines. i thought he was long-gone, but apparently he is back just to leave again. then the English fight. again. and gain control of Rouen. again. Bedford dies. Talbot and the English celebrate.

okay, so at the beginning of the play it seems like Henry VI is a baby. at the time he finally appears in the play, according to history, he is 5. there's no way that many years have taken place. also in the play, he talks and acts like an adult. nice. anyone care to explain?

also, i learned from the footnotes that Bedford, who dies in act 3, scene 2 actually outlived Joan of Arc by four years. in fact, the events in this scene did not happen for another 18 years. this probably explains why it feels so completely ridiculous that they are in another battle. another one! no wait... another two!!! there have been SO many.

this play, while enjoyable, feels a little clunky. there is so much going on so fast. it just doesn't have the flow i'm used to in the Shakespeare i've read. am i crazy? am i imagining it? i look forward to seeing how this compares to further histories in particular.

thanks for reading!

quote of the day:
'fie, uncle Beaufort! i have heard you preach
that malice was a great and grievous sin;
and will not you maintain the thing you teach,
but prove a chief offender in the same?'
     -Henry VI; act 3, scene 1

for tomorrow: the end of act 3 and act 4, scenes 1 and 2

-rebecca may

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1 Henry 6 Act 2


this play is getting more complicated. this is the best i can figure out:
so Talbot is pretty ticked off that the French pulled that stunt in the last act, so they decide to counter-attack in the dead of night. the stage directions say they scale walls on ladders. YUP. true story. they feel like God is on their side and evil spirits (i.e. Joan, because she has some sort of psychic powers) are on the side of the French. this means they will be victorious. the French are caught off-guard and many of them are described as running away half-dressed. i'd love to see that. Charles is so mad at Joan for not foreseeing this, but Joan defends herself saying that she can't use her powers 24/7. she blames the guards and the blame game ensues. Charles talks about being with Joan (see 2 paragraphs down) and ultimately decides to calm down and get his army back together.
in scene 2, Talbot is feeling victorious and good about himself because he has avenged Salisbury's death. they all think it's pretty funny that even Charles and Joan fled when they invaded. then this messenger comes in saying a French Countess wants to meet with Talbot. fishy, right? yeah, Talbot thinks so too, but he says he will go anyway.
in scene 3, Talbot meets with the Countess. she's poking fun at him for not seeming as fierce in person as he does from the stories she's heard of him. then, she tries to take him prisoner. ha. he goes into this whole thing about how she's only met his shadow and not the real Talbot. the real Talbot includes his army, and it is from his army that he gets his full fierceness. (see quote of the day.) then he calls the army in! bet she wasn't expecting that. it was pretty B.A. she then backtracks and apologizes, of course, and he agrees to forgive her in exchange for food for his men.
in scene 4... i have no idea. seriously. i am stumped. this scene was so lost on me and i just couldn't quite put it together. anyone care to help?
in the last scene, richard talks to his dying uncle who explains why, in his view, Richard is the true and rightful heir to the throne. he tells Richard to be careful, and then dies. Richard vows to get his rights back.
whew! lot's going on! and it's not even half-over yet.

although they are all intertwined in the big picture, in the small picture it feels like a lot of different storylines are going on simultaneously. goodbye neoclassicism! let's get this together.
1. Charles and Joan and his Frenchies and their fight to have France back for the French
2. Gloucester and Winchester and their fight for proper rule in England
3. Talbot and his exploits with the English army in France (including his business with Group 1)
4. Richard (aka Plantagenet) and his desire to regain his hereditary rights
and then there's Warwick and Somerset who i have no clue about... YET...

yesterday i was wondering if Charles was talking about marriage when he said he would split his crown with Joan. well, in this act there is further mention of their relationship. charles says in act 2, scene 1 that he spent the night in joan's quarters. he says he was "passing to and fro" and the footnotes suggest that this might be a sexual reference. hmm... let's see how this further unfolds.

i'm excited to meet another female character who's pretty cool. Countess of Auvergne is bolder than the average female. i mean, she's pretty much trying to single-handedly capture the most feared war hero alive. that takes guts. of course, in the end she gives up, but to go through with the attempt seems pretty brazen to me. so far it seems like shakespeare's women either feel kind of static and pathetic (like Venus and Luciana from Comedy of Errors) or theyre super bold and unruly (like Adriana from Comedy of Errors and Joan from this play). so far there's not a lot inbetween. the latter section of women feel to me, so far, to be better developed and more honest. i would love to know what kind of women Shakespeare encountered in his everyday life. what woman, or women, did he most like or admire? what were they like? did they inform his character development? they must have, to some degree at least. does anyone know anything about this? i would love more information and to hear others' opinions.

thank you to everyone reading, and extra thanks to everyone who is commenting. it means a lot. the more comenters we have, the more this project will grow and be a useful resource for those who read it!

quote of the day:
'no, no, i am but a shadow of myself.
you are deceived. my substance is not here;
for what you see is but the smallest part
and least proportion of humanity.
i tell you, madam, were the whole frame here,
it is of such a spacious lofty pitch
your roof were not sufficient to contain't.'
     -Talbot; act 2, scene 3

for tomorrow: act 3

i can do this i can do this i can do this...

-rebecca may