Monday, May 30, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream Intro Info


okay. i can do this. i do not love this play, but my mind is open to this experience. i will learn and grow and find things to love. can do!

here's what i learned today about our play today from David Bevington:
-this play is a transitional comedy for Shakespeare. we will see him move from a more simplistic, "imitative" comedy toward something more romantic and "philosophical". it is still lighthearted, but moves in the direction of his more sophisticated work.
-we will see "contrasting worlds of social order and imaginative escape". this theme of contrast will be common in Shakespeare's work from here on out. fairies and mortals together brings up the themes of illusion or escape and reality.
-there are 4 interweaving plots (this i knew) that all come from four different sets of source material (this i did not know). these sources range from the classics Shakespeare grew up with to contemporary texts. each plot has one or more pair of lovers, and each has its own set of struggles.
-while Shakespeare does borrow from Roman comedy, he departs in the classical convention that a young girl must choose (as we saw in Taming of the Shrew) between an old, rich suitor and a young suitor that her family does not approve of. in this play, the lovers are of equal social standing.their struggles come not from class, but from their own emotional situations and seemingly arbitrary parental disapproval.

i plan to watch the film version of Midsummer's that i own- the one with Kevin Kline. woot woot. if anyone knows of another version that's good, please let me know!

for tomorrow: act 1, scenes 1 and 2

-rebecca may

Sonnets 30-35


hello Shakespeare lovers! i am in serious need of some help here. i feel like i'm not getting all i could be getting from the sonnets. i read six between each play, and i always feel like i'm just skimming the surface. do you know a lot about the sonnets? or are you just good at analyzing poetry? or do you just love them and want to discuss them? please, let's start a conversation! comment below if you want to play!

#30- a lovely poem describing the power friendship has to move us beyond our past woes. 'but if the while i think on you, dear friend,/all losses are restored and sorrows end.'

#31- i'm not positive, but i think this sonnet is exploring the idea of finding that one person who has every quality you've wanted in your past loves, all wrapped up in one. ???

#32- in this sonnet, the writer begs the person for whom the sonnet was written to appreciate the love that has been put into his poems even when better writers come along in the future. don't contrast and compare!

#33- in a departure from what we have read prior to this, this sonnet describes the beauty of morning and how unfortunate it is when 'base' afternoon comes and ruins it.

#34- continuing from the previous sonnet, the narrator asks why 'you' have to take morning away for that pest, afternoon.

#35- i love this sonnet. it describes beautifully the complexity of forgiveness. (read below.)

can anyone help me with sonnet 31? i am struggling with it.

what is with all of these sonnets where Shakespeare talks about how his poetry isn't good enough and won't stand the test of time? is this his insecurity popping up, or is it just false modesty? i wouldn't think it was any big deal, but it comes up quite a bit. i saw it today in sonnet 32. it seems a little self-indulgent to me, but maybe that's just my perception. what do you think?

it also seems like Shakespeare is preoccupied with death and living on after death. we see it in 32, but we also see it in all those earlier sonnets when he goes on and on about his "friend" having kids so he will live on. it's a little odd. i wonder if we will see more.

sonnet 34? to whom is he talking to? God? mother nature? etc.?

quote of the day:
'no more be grieved at that which thou hast done.
roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,
clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
and loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
all men make faults, and even i in this,
authorizing thy trespass with compare,
myself corrupting, salving thy amiss,
excusing thy sins more than thy sins are.
for to thy sensual fault i bring in sense--
thy adverse party is thy advocate--
and 'gainst myself a lawful plea commence.
such civil wars is in my love and hate
     that i an accessary needs must be
     to that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.'
   -sonnet 35

for tomorrow: A Midsummer Night's Dream Intro Info

10 plays, 4 poems, 35 sonnets down. 28 plays, 1 poem, 119 sonnets to go!

-rebecca may

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Up Next, Everyone's Favorite!

it might not be my favorite, but it seems to be beloved by many...

A Midsummer Night's Dream!

i will be reading this one quickly so i can catch up on lost birthday time, so keep up if you can. i would LOVE insight from lovers and haters of this super popular play.

-rebecca may

Saturday, May 28, 2011



i'm a mega fail. sean has taken it upon himself to create a super duper weekend of funness to celebrate my birthday. and it's been AWESOME!!! but because of that, we have literally been gone all day every day. last night we got home at 5am, ok? luckily i was lucky enough to sneak some blogging in earlier in the day. today we went out right away to finally go to Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. again, it was awesome, but also awful because it's midnight and i just got home and we have to wake up at 7am and i am EXHAUSTED. i am going to read some Shakespeare and pass out hard core. between tomorrow and monday i have some SERIOUS catching up to do. here's the plan:

tonight: read sonnets 30-35

tomorrow: blog the end of king john, read the intro info for A Midsummer Night's Dream

monday: blog the sonnets, read a ton of Midsummer's, blog a ton of Midsummer's


i must be a good girl from now on or i will never make it through this! i can do it i CAN do it icandoiticandoiticandoit.

-rebecca may

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 5, Scenes 3-7


it's my birthday! yay! i had a lovely midnight call from one of my best friends, followed by an alarm going off 3 hours later, rehearsal, Sweet Tomatoes, nap, and now who-knows-what! we will be on our way to our final destinations for the evening in just a few minutes. i will read my Shakespeare in the car, and either finish my blog tonight when i get home or (if it's too late) tomorrow when i wake up! have a good night!


act 5, scene 3
Hubert reveals to King John that the war isn't going so well, and John complains of a fever. a messenger delivers the news that France's much-needed supplies never reached them because of a shipwreck. John's fever is so bad that he can't even enjoy the good news.

act 5, scene 4
Melun, wounded and near death, finds Salisbury and co. to deliver some important news: they have been 'bought and sold.' even though they have sworn allegiance to the French, the Dauphin plans to cut their heads off if they win. they need to run back to England and beg John for forgiveness a.s.a.p. the lords, who aren't complete idiots after all, desert once again, this came to run back to England and beg beg beg.

act 5, scene 5
the Dauphin receives word from a messenger that Melun is dead, the lords have left, and his shipment has sunk. he is not very happy, but is undeterred.

act 5, scene 6
the Bastard and Hubert run into each other, and we learn that King John has been poisoned by a monk, his food taster. the monk took one for the team and actually poisoned himself in the process. Hubert also reveals that the lords are back and have been forgiven by John. the Bastard, very concerned for the king, rushes back to him.

act 5, scene 7
Prince Henry, John's son, discusses his father's health with the lords. King John would like to join them outside. he believes the fresh air will do him some good. John enters. in the grips of death he is hostile and hopeless. the Bastard arrives to pay respect to his beloved king. John asks for an update on the war, and the Bastard delivers the news that the Dauphin continues to fight. right at the tail end of this bad news, King John dies. no one is very happy with the Bastard for that, because what he didn't know was that some sort of peace (at least for the moment) has been established with France. everyone swears allegiance to Prince Henry, and the Bastard delivers the play's final sentiments. (see quote below.)

it's kind of random, but i am really intrigued by this whole idea of the taster. so this person tries all of the king's food to make sure none of it is poisoned, but this guy eats the food knowing there is poison in it because he is THAT committed to killing him. so what... did he fake feeling fine after he took the bite? you'd think the king would wait a few minutes after the tasting to see if anything bad happened. what's the point of having the taster if you just eat the food right away? the logic seems a little faulty to me. the whole idea is interesting though. i'd love to read a play or story about that guy- the taster who killed King John. pretty freaking crafty of him if you ask me. i wonder if it is true, or Shakespeare's imagination.

i have to be honest and say that i was a little disappointed by the ending. it felt a little anticlimactic to me. sure John dies, but his son that we've never met before in the play takes the throne. i was like- who is this kid? am i supposed to care that he will be king? am i missing some significance here? i guess for the English at the time that would have been a little more interesting? also, the lords who left get off scott free even though they've deserted both sides. we don't ever find out Philip's reaction to these goings on and the whole thing with France is kind of unresolved. overall i really enjoyed this play, but the end didn't wrap things up for me.

quote of the day:
'o, let us pay the time but needful woe,
since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.
this England never did, nor never shall,
lie at the proud foot of a conqueror
but wen it first did help to wound itself.
now these her princes are come home again,
come the three corners of the world in arms
and we shall shock them. naught shall make us rue,
if England to itself rest but true.'
   -Bastard; act 5, scene 7

for tomorrow: sonnets 30-35

10 plays, 4 poems, 29 sonnets down. 28 plays, 1 poem, 125 sonnets to go.

-rebecca may

The Life and Death of King John Act 5, Scenes 1 and 2


this is the unfinished blog from the day i couldn't log into my account on my phone, to be caught up on soon...

alright kiddies. i am writing to you after a long birthday filled with love and awesomeness, followed by an equally long day of tubing at the awesome rock springs in kelly park. we are about to do some night swimming, so i have to squeeze my blog in while i can! boy oh boy am i going to have to do some extra reading next week because in addition to the past 2 days of time-consuming fun, i heard through the grapevine that we're going to harry potter at universal tomorrow!!! another gloriously busy and fun day, but hard on the Shakespeare project. there's only so much reading you can do in the car, ya know? anyway, let's get to it, because this play totally rocks.

act 5, scene 1
King John yields his crown to the Cardinal so that the Cardinal can officially give it back to him under the name of Rome. John asks the Cardinal to keep his promise of going to the French and telling them to stop their attack because Rome and England are now reconciled. the Bastard enters to deliver the news that Lewis, the Dauphin, is on English land with his army. he also explains that the Lords would not return to him because Arthur is actually dead. John is angry with Hubert, but the Bastard defends him. John explains the deal he made with the Cardinal to make peace with the Dauphin, but the Bastard urges John 'to arms!'

act 5, scene 2
the Lords are with the Dauphin, readying themselves for war. Salisbury is reluctant to draw his sword against his own countrymen, and weeps for what he is about to do. Lewis, the Dauphin, thinks Salisbury's sentiment is noble, but urges and reassures him to move on. the Cardinal delivers the news of Rome's reconciliation with England. Lewis basically tells him that that is nice, but he's come too far and worked too hard to give up the fight now. (see quote below.) the Bastard enters as a messenger from John to find out what the Dauphin's plans are. Pandulph explains that the French will not back down from this fight. the Bastard boldly and brashly speaks on behalf of John and England, and everyone parts to prepare for battle.

i ask again, why is the Bastard so bloodthirsty? he always wants to go to war. it's so weird! i understand that we are supposed to identify with him because he's more like a commoner than the rest of the characters and he is often the outsider in different situations. so were the people of the time that ready to battle and settle things through force? or is it just a random character choice? what do you think?

i am a little confused about what John means by his last line of act 5, scene 1. is he agreeing with the Bastard and calling for soldiers? i'm not really sure.

also, i am upset we don't get to see Hubert tell John off. i know he's the king but come on... he totally deserves it!

i am wondering what King Philip of France would think of the Dauphin's decisions expressed in the monologue below. i feel like he would be pretty unhappy. in the earlier scenes, Philip seemed to be a pretty stand-up legit guy, i hope we find out his reaction!

quote of the day:
'your Grace shall pardon me; i will not back.
i am too highborn to be propertied,
to be a secondary at control,
or useful servingman and instrument
to any sovereign state throughout the world.
your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars
between this chastised kingdom and myself,
and brought in matter that should feed this fire;
and now 'tis far too huge to be blown out
with that same weak wind which enkindled it.
you taught me how to know the face of right,
acquainted me with interest to this land,
yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart.
and come ye now to tell me John hath made
his peace with Rome? what is that peace to me?
i, by the honor of my marriage bed,
after young Arthur, claim this land for mine;
and, now it is half conquered, must i back
because that John hath made his peace with Rome?
am i Rome's slave? what penny hath Rome borne,
what men provided, what munition sent,
to underprop this action? is't not i
that undergo this charge? who else but i,
and such as to my claim are liable,
sweat in this business and maintain this war?
have i not heard these islanders shout out
"vive le roi!" as i have banked their towns?
have i not here the best cards for the game
to win this easy match played for a crown?
and shall i now give o'er the yielded set?
no, no, on my soul, it never shall be said.'
   -Lewis; act 5, scene 2

for tomorrow: the rest of act 5! and my birthday! woo!

-rebecca may

blogger = grrrr

so frustrated.

my only option was to publish my blog on my phone today, but nothing would work to log me into my blogger account. that's the second time this month that blogger has been a total fail. that means i get to do 2 blogs tomorrow. but guess what?!? tomorrow is my birthday. yay blogger! :OP

-rebecca may

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 4, Scene 3


second to last day of Oprahhhhh! no i can't stand it!!! that woman is my life coach, mentor, and just like... favorite person ever. i cannot deal. if you didn't know that tomorrow is the last day, clear your schedules, plan a party, and get ready to cry with millions of other Americans.

act 4, scene 3
Arthur is on the castle wall, in disguise, attempting to escape and save his life. he jumps from the castle wall a little too hard, and dies. Salisbury, Pembroke, and Bigot enter. they intend to meet with the Dauphin and align themselves with him. the Bastard enters and tries to get them to go back to the king, but they won't have it. eventually they discover Arthur's body, and they all freak out, even the Bastard. led by Salisbury, Pembroke and Bigot swear with him to avenge Arthur's death. Hubert enters with the good news that Arthur is, in fact, alive. the others take extreme offense to this, of course. swords are drawn and threats are made. Hubert sees that Arthur is dead. he weeps and swears he had nothing to do with it, but they don't believe him. they leave and Hubert continues to plead his case to the Bastard. the Bastard delivers a threat to Hubert (see quote below.) but Hubert continues to stand his ground. Hubert takes Arthur's body into the castle and the Bastard foreshadows the death and destruction to come in England.

after all that, Arthur died anyway! i cannot beLIEVE that. Shakespeare got me so good. i wasn't expecting that at all!

how historically accurate is this? i have no idea. i read that the Bastard character is fabricated, but how true-to-life are the situations? did Arthur really fall off the wall to his death? anyone know?

if Hubert has to take the fall for this, i am going to freak out. remember how i said i didn't know what side to be on- Arthur or John? England or France? yeah, well it's pretty clear now. down with John! bring it France!

quote of the day:
'if thou didst but consent
to this most cruel act, do but despair;
that ever spider twisted from her womb
will serve to strangle thee; a rush will be a beam
to hang thee on; or wouldst thou drown thyself,
put but a little water in a spoon
and it shall be as all the ocean,
enough to stifle such a villain up.
i do suspect thee very grievously.'

for tomorrow: act 5, scenes 1 and 2

-rebecca may

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 4, Scene 2


a week off from rehearsal? yes please! do i have to do work on my thesis? yes, i do. but i also get to sleep in, watch the last 3 episodes of Oprah live, go swimming in the afternoons, and celebrate my birthday all weekend long! whose life is this? i haven't done this since before grad school! and i am going to enjoy every single second of it.

act 4, scene 2
John is re-coronating himself in a few days now that he is home and it looks like England has defeated the French. John is acting all weird, and Salisbury and Pembroke request that Arthur be released. Hubert enters, and the news of Arthur's "death" is revealed. Pembroke and Salisbury are basically like-knew it! and they leave, turning their backs on John completely. John repents for a mere moment when a messenger enters. the messenger reveals several pieces of bad news: 1. the French have pulled together an army which is there and ready to fight 2. Eleanor, John's mother, is dead 3. Constance, Arthur's mother, has died "in a frenzy". the Bastard enters with even more bad news: the people of England are full of fear and a "prophet" has foreseen John's loss of power on the day of his coronation. John doesn't like that news, and orders the prophet be killed, and the Bastard after Pembroke and Salisbury to try to gain their loyalty back. Hubert enters, and John basically blames everything on him. Hubert reminds John that he was the one to write out the orders, but John continues to blame-shift. (see quote below.) in light of this, Hubert reveals that Arthur is actually alive. John half-heartedly apologizes and orders that they make the news known right away. they exit separately.

ugh. i can't believe what a blame shifter John is! i can't even believe that mess. i am SO MAD AT HIM. he's just ready to throw Hubert to the wolves. and then he tries to backpedal when he finds out Arthur is dead? oh PLEASE. and i was SO disappointed that we didn't get a response from Hubert at the end of the scene. i was waiting for that so hard core and it just didn't happen! if Hubert couldn't get back at John in words, i hope he does in deeds!
quote of the day:
'hadst thou but shook thy head or made a pause
when i spake darkly what i purposed,
or turned an eye of doubt upon my face,
as bid me tell my tale in express words,
deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,
and those thy fears might have wrought fears in me.
but thou didst understand me by my signs
and didst in signs again parley with sin,
yea, without stop didst let thy heart consent,
and consequently thy rude hand to act
the deed which both our tongues held vile to name.
out of my sight, and never see me more!
my nobles leave me, and my state is braved,
even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers.'
   -King John

for tomorrow: act 4, scene 3

-rebecca may

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 4, Scene 1


on my way to a birthday party after a long day of rehearsal, celebrating a job change for Sean's boss, and wondering whether or not the rapture is going to happen. feeling exhausted to tell you the truth. i am also wondering what the heck is the deal with which Shakespeare plays are super popular and which are not. i just don't get it. this play i'm reading is awesome. Two Gentlemen of Verona was fantastic. so what's the deal? why is it that it's A Midsummer Night's Dream that everyone's done a million times? i never knew these other plays would be so great. how do these things happen? how can these other great plays become more visible?

act 4, scene 1
Hubert and some executioners plot Arthur's torture and death in a room of the castle. he tells them to heat their irons in the fire. when Arthur comes in and it's time, he will call for them and they will burn his eyes out. the executioners hide and Arthur enters. Arthur explains to Hubert how melancholy he has been. (see quote below.) Arthur can tell that something is wrong with Hubert, and Hubert explains by showing Arthur his death order. Arthur cannot believe that Hubert would do this to him, but Hubert explains that he must. Arthur can hardly believe it. the two of them have grown so close and Arthur loves him so much. this betrayal is unfathomable to him. Hubert calls out the executioners, who roughly bind Arthur to a chair. Arthur tells them he will not run, so there is no need to tie him up. Arthur begs Hubert to send the executioners away and to do it himself if it must be done. Hubert excuses the executioners, who are relieved to be free of the task. Arthur then begs Hubert to kill him without burning his eyes. Arthur uses his poetic senses to finally talk Hubert out of killing him at all. Hubert explains that John must think he is dead, and they leave together to hide Arthur away.

oh my gosh this scene was so incredibly sad! this would be a great duet scene for an acting class or something. (except i still have no idea how old Arthur is.) the dialogue is gorgeous, and the journey that these 2 characters go on in this scene is nothing short of epic. just sayin'. check it out. stat.

why was it that Hubert was supposed to burn his eyes? that seems so specific, yet random. is there some reason for this particular order that i am unaware of?

what is the true turning point in the scene? i know that Arthur getting Hubert to get rid of the executioners was a big step in the right direction for him, but from a critical standpoint, i can't figure out Hubert's true point of no return. any thoughts?

i am loving this play! if you haven't read this one, i highly recommend it.

quote of the day:
'by my Christendom,
so i were out of prison and kept sheep,
i should be merry as the day is long;
and so i would be here, but that i doubt
my uncle practices more harm to me.
he is afraid of me, and i of him.
is it my fault that i was Geoffrey's son?
no, indeed, is't not; and i would to heaven
i were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.'

for tomorrow: act 4, scenes 2 and 3

-rebecca may

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 3, Scenes 3 and 4


fact: i'm not cut out for rehearsal for 7 hours a day, 6 days a week. maybe acting? but not being on the directing side. like, i get that that's normal, but i suck at making it through that. maybe i just need to build my endurance? ha. not sure. all i know is, it's crazy! and my brain is friiiiiiied! so forgive me if this ends up loopy or incoherent or whatever.

act 3, scene 3
King John asks the Bastard to go back to England and take care of business there. he then talks to Hubert, who is to be Arthur's guardian. he is acting really fishy, telling Hubert over and over how great he is and obviously withholding something. at long last, the truth comes out: John wants Hubert to kill Arthur. (see quote below.) Hubert agrees.

act 3, scene 4
King Philip and the Cardinal argue over the battle. Philip feels that all is lost, but the Cardinal assures him that everything will work out for the best. Constance enters and she is a mess. she is so incredibly worried for her son, sure that he will soon be killed, that she wishes for death herself. the Cardinal criticizes her for grieving because he's obviously a huge jerk. Philip says, 'you are as fond of grief as of your child.' because he is also a jerk. Constance leaves and Philip follows her, fearing she might try something crazy. Lewis expresses to the Cardinal that he feels all is lost. the Cardinal tells his why all is well: he is sure that John will have Arthur killed and that the English people will turn on him. at that point, John will surely go down.

okay, i didn't really write about it in my synopsis because i wasn't totally sure how to include it, but there was this really weird thing going on in scene 4 that i have to share. when Constance comes in, she has her hair down. and she talks about pulling it out. and i think her hair becomes some sort of metaphor for her independence and life force and obedience to the king? and he asks her to put it back up, and she does, but then she takes it back down out of defiance. and it's somehow linked to her giving up on life. anyway, it was pretty strange. i don't mean that in a bad way necessarily, i just wanted to call attention to it. i was like- am i back in avant-garde class?

this feels kind of like Henry 6 part 2 to me in that i'm not entirely sure whose side to be on. i was understanding where John was coming from, but this death order for Arthur is a little too much for me. i mean i get that it's a pressured situation but come on...

is Shakespeare like... anti-church? do we know what his religious affiliation is? i feel like church officials in his plays are often villains or fools. please share if you know!

quote of the day:
'good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye
on yon young boy. i'll tell thee what, my friend,
he is a very serpent in my way,
and wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread
he lies before me. dost thou understand me?
thou art his keeper.'
   -King John; act 3, scene 3

for tomorrow: act 4

-rebecca may

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 3, Scenes 1 and 2


what a great scene today! i was getting worried yesterday, but today's scene was great. i zipped right through it. check it out:

act 3, scene 1
Constance, Arthur's mother, is freaking out big time about Lewis and Blanche's wedding and the fact that King Philip has broken his oath with her to battle England until Arthur takes the throne. she gives a kick butt monologue about her situation (see quote below.) both kings, he newlyweds, Eleanor, the Bastard, and Austria enter, discussing how happy they all are. Constance curses the day and yells at Philip, saying 'you are forsworn, forsworn!' Austria tries to calm her down, and she calls him out hard core for being a brown-noser. all of a sudden, a cardinal arrives, sent from the Pope. he demands that John give up the throne. he is directly confronting the Pope by taking power unlawfully. John, of course, refuses. the cardinal informs him that he will be cursed and excommunicated and anyone who kills him will be considered a hero. the cardinal then turns his attention to King Philip. If France doesn't turn from England and battle England for Rome, he will suffer the same fate as John. Philip really really struggles with what to do and everyone tries to sway him. most surprisingly, Lewis tells him to break from England even though his new English wife begs him not to. Philip finally decides to break his new pact with England for the good of himself and his country. Blanche is torn between the two, but must go with Lewis. both kings leave with their entourages to prepare their armies.

act 3, scene 2
mid-battle, the Bastard enters with the head of Austria. John enters with Arthur captive. he is worried that his mother, Eleanor, has been taken prisoner, but the Bastard reassures him that she is safe.

so good! so much happened and the psychology behind everyone's decisions was so complex and interesting. read this scene! there are some stellar monologues and the Bastard has some hilarious bits running throughout.

i understand why Constance is upset, but she seems to be upset with Philip on a really personal level. my theory is that she slept with or has been sleeping with him. i mean, she came from his quarters for cryin' out loud.

the insulting jokes in this scene are hilarious. biting. they balance out the extreme desperation occurring throughout the scene perfectly. check out around 125-200ish in particular. so good!

quote of the day:
'if thou that bidd'st me be content wert grim,
ugly, and slanderous to thy mother's womb,
full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains,
lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,
hatched with foul moles and i-offending marks,
i would not care, i then would be content,
for then i should not love thee, no, nor thou
become thy great birth nor deserve a crown.
but thou art fair, and at thy birth, dear boy,
Nature and Fortune joined to make thee great.
of Nature's gifts thou may'st with lilies boast,
and with the half-blown rose. but Fortune, Oh,
she is corrupted, changed, and won from thee.
sh'adulterates hourly with thine Uncle John,
and with her golden hand hath plucked on France
to tread down fair respect of sovereignty,
and made his majesty the bawd to theirs.
France is a bawd to Fortune and King John,
that strumpet Fortune, that usurping John!
tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn?
envenom him with words, or get thee gone
and leave those woes alone which i alone
am bound to underbear.'
   -Constance; act 3, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 3, scenes 3 and 4

-rebecca may

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 2, Scene 1


some bad news today. let's jump directly into the play.

act 2, scene 1
King Philip arrives at Angiers, a French town, with Lewis (the Dauphin), the Duke of Austria, Arthur, and Arthur's mother Constance. they are awaiting John's answer to their demand that Arthur be named king. Austria swears his allegiance to France's struggle. the king's herald enters with word back from John, provoking him to war.
King John enters with the Bastard, Eleanor, and his niece, Blanche. John and Philip argue over who has the right to the throne. the moms of Arthur and John get involved, family fighting family, which prompts Arthur to declare that he would rather be dead than have all this going on over him. they pay him no mind, and continue to argue.
a citizen of Angiers appears on the wall to the city. both kings give their version of the story to convince him to let them into Angiers. the citizen won't let any of them in until the dispute is over. at that point, they will allow the 'rightful' king in. Angiers refuses to take sides. they continue to try to get in and it continues not to work. the Bastard is ready to go to war over it, but the kings continue to ask the citizen to be let in.
at the Bastard's suggestion, Philip and John decide to join forces to fight Angiers. this makes the citizen a little nervous, so he offers an alternative solution: if Blanche and the Dauphin get married, everyone but Constance will gain and perhaps be happy enough to drop the dispute. Lewis proclaims that he has suddenly fallen in love with Blanche. (see quote below.) Blanche says that if John thinks it's a good idea, she will do it. the match is made, and the kings decide that this is enough for them. only Constance and Arthur (who doesn't want to be king anyway) are left in the lurch. John will make Arthur the duke of several places and England will have a princess married to a French prince. everyone exits and the Bastard scrolls the kings' craziness.

how old is Arthur?

why is Austria helping Philip? does he have ulterior motives, how does he benefit from any of this?

speaking of ulterior motives, what is going on with Philip (the Bastard)? why is he so blood-thirsty? why is he so hungry for war? i'm not quite sure i fully understand his last monologue. also, is he doubting the validity of Lewis' proclamation of love? what is that all about?

last but not least, i am enjoying this play but oh my word was this section repetitive! holy cow! they asked the citizen the same thing over and over and stated their cases over and over. we GET IT. i hope the rest of the play isn't like this.

quote of the day:
'i do, my lord, and in her eye i find
a wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
the shadow of myself formed in her eye,
which, being but the shadow of your son,
becomes a sun and makes your son a shadow.
i do protest i never loved myself
til now unfixed i beheld myself
drawn in the flattering table of her eye.'

for tomorrow: act 3, scene 1

-rebecca may

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 1, Scene 1


first day of rehearsal for Veronica's Room and first act of King John today! AND I got a visit with grandma. i feel so accomplished. the bad news is that as of now i have to wake up at 6:30 in the a.m. i know i know. boo flippin hoo, right? but dang that's hard when you're not used to it! and you don't even want to know how cranky i am in the morning. yeesh. i'm like King Phillip of France cranky. (see what i did there?)

act 1, scene 1
the newly-crowned King John is approached by an ambassador from France. Philip, King of France is demanding that John steps down and let Arthur, the 'rightful' king, rule. if John doesn't do so, war will be declared. John says: bring it. his mother, Eleanor, scolds him for exacerbating the situation when he could have attempted peace talks.
two brothers, Philip (not the French King) and Robert enter to have John settle their dispute. their father has died, and although Philip is the elder, Robert claims full entitlement to their father's land. his story is that Philip is a bastard. John and his mother recognize that Philip is the spitting image of the late King Richard. Robert claims that Richard sent his father, Robert, off to Germany and had his way with their mother. Philip is a bastard, and has no right to the land. Robert also didn't want Philip to have the land. John is about to say tough luck to Robert since Philip is the first born, but Eleanor takes a liking to him. they decide to knight him Sir Richard Plantagenet and take him right into their family. he sacrifices his land to his brother and takes the deal. (see quote below.) John and Eleanor head to France and Robert heads home while 'Bastard' ruminates on his good fortune.
Lady Faulconbridge, the mother, enters to find her sons Robert and Philip. he calls her out on her past misdeeds with Richard. after much prodding, she fesses up. Philip/Bastard/Plantagenet admits he wouldn't trade fathers for the world.

do i love this play already? yes. yes i do.

here's my favorite thing from today: in the footnotes i discovered an explanation for why Richard the Lionheart is thus named. according to Bevington, Richard was imprisoned in Austria and forced to face a lion. he was, of course, expected to fail. instead, he reached down the lion's throat and pulled his heart out. and then he ate it. ...

i'm not quite getting yet why we are supposed to identify with the Bastard character. maybe this will become more clear in the next act? any insight out there?

quote of the day:
'brother, take your land. i'll take my chance.
your face hath got five hundred pound a year,
yet sell your face fr five pence and 'tis dear.--
madam, i'll follow you until death.'

for tomorrow: act 2!

-rebecca may

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Intro Info


new day new play! i am so excited to read this play because i know absolutely NOTHING about it. so if any of you out there know anything about this play, please share! i am also excited because surprisingly, the histories have been my favorite so far. i never would've guessed that, but it's true. i am ready to dig in!

stuff i learned today:

-this play marks the transition between Shakespeare's style in his first tetralogy (the Henry VI, Richard III series) and his second tetralogy (the Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V series). it'll be interesting for us to note the changes from his first set of histories!

-the play centers around John, who has claimed the throne because his brother, the king who has just passed away, will it to be so. the "rightful" successor to the crown is Arthur, a young boy who has no interest in the crown. the uncertainties that surround this situation and the situations that develop are what make up our story.

-in other writings of this same subject, authors have either heavily sided with John or with the church (Arthur is rightful heir). apparently, Shakespeare takes a very balanced view to the situation. we will have to check that out along the way too.

-also, look out for Philip, the Bastard. his character is largely fictional, but is important to the play. he is an outsider, just like us, the audience. we are meant to see the situation partly through his eyes. how will this slant our view of the situation, if at all?

-as far as i can tell, there is only one film version of the play, which was made in the 80's. i will let you know if i can get my hot little hands on a copy and how it is if i do!

thanks for reading!

for tomorrow: act 1

-rebecca may

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sonnets 23-29


guess what? good news! as of the completion of this blog, i am completely caught up on my blogs from the camping/blogger shutdown debacle! thank goodness. that means i can enjoy Typhoon Lagoon tomorrow without thinking of the multiple blogs i have to do. it probably doesn't seem like it, but these things take me forEVER. so yay! i'm free! now let's get to the sonnets.

24- describes the picture we have in our hearts of the ones we love. that image, however, can never hold the truth of the other person's heart.

25- let those who are blessed with fame and fortune enjoy it because it won't last. love lasts forever.

26- this poem is written humbly for love, in hopes that it is enough for the reader. a little confused by this one.

27- i love this sonnet! it expresses love so deep and desperate that the writer thinks about their love just as much in dreams as during the day. i could never possibly do it justice. just read it!

28- this poem is like a continuation of the previous poem. it describes the sun and moon's battle as a metaphor for the battle in his mind and heart.

29- this poem is lovely. (see it below.) it's a reminder that when he feels at his worst, jealous of other men's talents, friends, and possessions, he must remember that he has the most wondrous thing: love.

i am finding the sonnets more and more enjoyable. it just goes to show that you have to stick with it!

sonnet 26 was a little perplexing to me. i had trouble, in particular, with the couplet at the end. can anyone help?

is the narrator still talking to the friend here, or is he know talking to the lover? it's a little unclear to me. if he's talking to the friend then i would have a hard time believing his not gay or bisexual. either way, these sonnets are gorgeous. i particularly enjoyed numbers 27 and 29.

quote of the day:
'when, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
i all alone beweep my outcast state,
and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
and look upon myself and curse my fate,
wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
with what i most enjoy contented least;
yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
haply i think on thee, and then my state,
like to the lark at break of day arising
from sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gates;
     for thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
     that then i scorn to change my state with kings.'
   -sonnet 29

9 plays, 4 poems, 29 sonnets down. 29 plays, 1 poem, 125 sonnets to go.

for tomorrow: The Life and Death of King John Intro Info

-rebecca may


here's what's next on the sched:

sunday: sonnets 23-29

and the next play will be:

monday: intro info for King John
tuesday: act 1!
wednesday: act 2

i hope you will join me. i know NOTHING at ALL about this play, so i am pretty psyched. thanks for reading!

-rebecca may

The Taming of the Shrew Act 5, Scene 2


sadly, i had to finish reading the play without Seany because he had to work, but finish i did. i was a little shocked at the ending. for some reason, this is not at all what i remembered from my 10+ years ago reading. check it out...

act 5, scene 2
pretty much everyone arrives at Lucentio's house for a wedding banquet for Lucentio and Bianca. everything seems perfect, all problems have been solved. Bianca, Kate, and the Widow (Hortensio's wife) all exit and the men get to talking. Baptista tells Petruchio that he has the most shrewish wife of all. Petruchio disagrees. the men then bet 100 crowns on it. Lucentio sends Biondello to fetch Bianca but she won't come. Hortensio sends Biondello to fetch the Widow, but she won't come. Petruchio sends Grumio to fetch Katharina, and no one thinks she will come. but she does. then Petruchio sends Kate to drag Bianca and the Widow back in, which she does. Baptista awards him with another 20,000 crowns, "another dowry to another daughter." Petruchio brags that he will show off her "obedience" even more. he tells her he doesn't like her hat and tells her to take it off. she immediately does so. he tells her to tell Bianca and the Widow how they should treat their husbands. she tells them that their husbands are their lords and they must not cause them any bit of trouble. (see quote below.) Petruchio is happy and takes Kate off to bed. Lucentio and Hortensio are left to deal with their troublesome wives.

it's so interesting how this has all developed. i feel like a lot of Shakespeare's plays so far have featured unruly women of one sort or another. we've had the Princess in Love's Labor's Lost, Margaret in the Henry plays, Sylvia in Two Gentlemen of Verona, etc. they've been such fun to read. it's seemed so far like Shakespeare was ahead of his time in his depiction of these headstrong, ambitious, independent characters. then we get to Kate. and it can be argued that she is considered to be the most unruly of the unruly women. she is celebrated as a character for that feature. and yet she is the one who completely kowtows to the man. our queen of unruly is the one who fell the hardest. it's almost embarassing.
was Kate miserable before? maybe. but she was independent. is she happier now? unclear. she seems just as lost as she ever was. i find it tragic. i mean, check out the quote below if you're not with me on this. Kate is a woman who has no idea who she is or what she wants. it is easier to obey her husband, and that's why she does so. she is trained. if she doesn't, she will be punished as she was earlier in the play. Petruchio will deprive her of food, sleep, her family, companionship, clothing, sanity, etc. making choices based on fear? that's not happiness. that's an abusive relationship. i don't know what we're meant to get out of this play, but that's what i got.
the only glimmer of hope was that maybe Bianca was breaking out of the chains a little bit and finally starting to stand up for herself. the way that it was meant, however, didn't really put a positive spin on this situation. i perceive it that way, but within the play it's portrayed as a 'Lucentio is totally screwed because his wife doesn't do everything he says' kind of way.
this play just seems strange and out of place to me in context with Shakespeare's other work so far. up to this point we have seen Shakespeare portray a misogynistic world, but i've never felt that those sentiments were his own. this play might cross that line for me.
what do you think?

quote of the day:
'i am ashamed that women are so simple
to offer war where they should kneel for peace,
or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway,
when they are bound to serve, love, and obey.
why are our bodies soft, and weak, and smooth,
unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
but that our soft conditions and our hearts
should well agree with our external parts?'

9 plays, 4 poems, 23 sonnets down. 29 plays, 1 poem, 131 sonnets to go.

for tomorrow: sonnets 24-29

-rebecca may

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew Act 5, Scene 1


we're almost to the end of yet another play! i feel like this play whizzed right by. everything happened so quickly, perhaps because there are two pretty equally weighted plots. neither got the amount of time i was expecting. i guess with all the movies out there that fill in the blanks between these scenes, i was expecting a bit more. oh well! let's get to it.

act 5, scene 1
Vincentio, Petruchio, Kate, and Grumio arrive at Lucentio's house. the merchant is there, pretending to be Vincentio, and he won't let them in. they argue over who the real father is. (see quote below.) when Biondello and Tranio enter with Baptista, they back up the merchant as Vincentio's father in order to support and stay true to Lucentio. Vincentio thinks that the servants have taken over and his son is dead. Baptista thinks that the real Vincentio is an impostor and tries to get him arrested. just in the nick of time, Lucentio and Bianca enter from their wedding, and reveal the truth. everything is explained and everyone is whisked off except Kate and Petruchio. Petruchio makes Kate kiss him right there in the street, and they exit to follow the rest of the group.

so i'm assuming that the end of this scene is meant to show us that Kate has truly bended to Petruchio's will once and for all. and that they are... happy? i suppose? subservient = happy, right? and here we have the line "Kiss me Kate" which, of course, is the title of the musical Kiss Me Kate, based on this play. what startles me most is that i didn't notice how messed up this all truly is when i first read this play in high school. i'm not judging or anything, i recognize that this was written in a very different time and place, but i'm surprised that the misogyny was not clear to me at a younger age.

when you look at the quote of the day, you will see my new favorite word. it means 'rogue likely to be hanged'. awesomely specific.

quote of the day:
'come hither, crackhemp.'

for tomorrow: act 5, scene 2

-rebecca may

The Taming of the Shrew Act 4, Scenes 3 - 5


back on the right track here! i got two blogs finished tomorrow, and i will do two tonight and tomorrow to get all caught up. wahoo! camping + the Blogger website being down all day = extra work for me now. can i do it? yes i can! and then finish my night with housework galore. hurrah summer?

act 4, scene 3
Katharina is talking to Grumio about her marital problems. she is starving and sleep deprived, and all Grumio does is tease her. Petruchio enters and makes matters even worse, cruelly teasing her. Petruchio reveals that they will be returning to her home town of Padua, and tailors arrive with new clothes for Kate. she tries to express her feelings about the clothes, but he shoots her down. (see quote below.) although Katherine loves the clothes, Petruchio claims that they are awful (to further mess with her) and sends the tailors away. Petruchio insists they will go to Padua in the old clothes they have. Petruchio begins to severely mess with Kate's mind, forcing her to agree to things even if they are clearly untrue.

act 4, scene 4
Tranio (as Lucentio), the merchant (as Vincentio), Baptista, Biondello, and Lucentio (as Cambio) all meet up. the match is done between "Lucentio" and Bianca, and they will finish the arrangements at Lucentio's home. everyone leaves except Lucentio and Biondello. and... i'm not really sure what's going on between them.

act 4, scene 5
Petruchio, Kate, and Hortensio are on a road to Padua and Petruchio continues to force Kate to agree with him, even if he spouts obvious lies, such as the fact that the sun is the moon. the real Vincentio enters, and Petruchio calls him a woman. some hilarious confusion ensues. as it turns out, Vincentio is on his way to Padua and Petruchio, not knowing that he doesn't know, spills the beans about Lucentio getting married to Bianca. Vincentio is a little flabbergasted, and continues on with them to Padua.

is this clothing scene meant to be similar to the way it was done in the movie with Liz Taylor? it's a little hard to understand what it's supposed to be. so he's showing her all these beautiful clothes, saying they're ugly, and ripping them apart or sending them away? or what?

somebody help me with act 4, scene 4! i'm pretty lost! sean and i just looked at each other and shrugged.

i loved the whole bit in scene 5 when they first run into Vincentio. i literally laughed out loud when Petruchio is calling him a woman and whatnot. yeah, he's exerting his power over her, but it's in a much less abusive and much more comedic than what we saw in the previous scenes. pure comedy. hilarious. check it out.

quote of the day:
'why, sir, i trust i may have leave to speak,
and speak i will. i am no child, no babe.
your betters have endured me say my mind,
and if you cannot, best you stop your ears.
my tongue will tell the anger of my heart,
or else my heart, concealing it, will break.
and rather than it shall, i will be free
even to the uttermost, as i please, in words.'

for tomorrow: act 5, scene 1

-rebecca may

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blog Update

hey there Shakespeare people!

so Blogger was 'down for maintenance' ALL DAY yesterday! needless to say, i was quite frustrated. i couldn't finish my camping blogs, and i couldn't write my blog for yesterday! grrr. my plan is to finish my camping blogs tonight and hopefully yesterday's. tomorrow i will write today and tomorrow's. YEESH! thanks a lott Blogger for messing up my schedule!

-rebecca may

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew Act 4, Scene 2


another great day of camping and Shakespeare! Sean and i really enjoyed this scene, very clever. between kayaking, biking, swimming, bug battles, and friends on their way to grill with us before a campfire and outside movie, there is very little extra time! i will catch up on today and yesterdays blogs tomorrow when i am in the comfort of our apartment with our computer. writing blogs on my phone is not fun! happy Wednesday! back tomorrow!


act 4, scene 2
Tranio (as Lucentio) and Hortensio (as Litio) chat about Bianca. Hortensio confirms that Bianca is clearly in love with Cambio (really Lucentio). Hortensio reveals his true identity to Tranio, and Tranio convinces him that they should swear off Bianca forever since it is clear she loves "Cambio". Hortensio agrees (see quote below). Hortensio leaves and Biondello comes in to deliver the news that he has found someone to imitate Vincentio, Lucentio's father. the man, a merchant, is in town from Mantua. Tranio weaves a tall tale about trouble between the Paduans and Mantuans. but he, Tranio, will offer to allow the man to pose as his (Lucentio's) father so that he may be safe. the only caveat is that he must act as Vincentio no matter what! also, the merchant shouldn't worry because Tranio will guide him every step of the way.

i'm obsessed with Tranio. he's totally awesome. he just freaking lies and lies and lies and keeps getting away with it. he's totally slick and i love him. i can't believe he's getting away with all of this, and i can't wait to see how it will all come down in the end.

it's crazy how much cleaner and less clunky this play is than say... Comedy of Errors. it's so cool to see Shakespeare progress across time. i say this knowing, of course, that we don't know the exact order that the plays were written in, but we can get a general idea anyway.

are we ever going to see Sly and all those characters again? what the HECK is going on?

quote of the day:
'would all the world but he had quite foresworn!
for me, that i may surely keep mine oath,
i will be married to a wealthy widow,
ere three days pass, which hath as long loved me
as i have loved this proud disdainful haggard.
and so farewell, Signor Lucentio.
kindness in women, not their beauteous looks.
shall win my love. and so i take my leave,
in resolution as i swore before.'

for tomorrow: act 4, scenes 3 and 4

-rebecca may

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew Act 4, Scene 1


okay, here's the situation. i am at Fort Wilderness with Sean celebrating our 3 year anniversary! yay! we read our Shakespeare tonight whilst bugs flew around and on our book. it's so buggy and gross out here and i can't look at my book without turning the lamp on. and i can't turn the lamp on without attracting a zillion bugs. and i need the book to write the blog. AND i'm attempting to write my blog on my phone, which is super tricky. moral of the story: i will write it when we get home on Thursday. good night!


act 4, scene 1
Grumio enters Petruchio's house ahead of Petruchio and Kate to prep the fire and the servants. one of the servants, Curtis, enters trying to get the news out of Grumio. they battle it back and forth for a bit before Grumio learns the fire is already lit and the servants enter, disheveled. just then, Petruchio enters. he is really ticked off that the servingmen weren't ready at the door to cater to his every need. he and Kate sit sit down to dinner, and Petruchio proceeds to be a complete JERK to the servants. Kate tries to convince him to stop, but he won't, eventually throwing meat at them. Petruchio takes Kate off to bed, and then re-emerges to proclaim his soon-to-be victory over her. (see quote below.) he will starve her and deprive her of sleep until she bends to his will.

i can hear the sighs and see the eyes rolling now, but Petruchio's stunts aren't very funny to me. spousal abuse and mind games! yay! in this day and age, it just feels a little socially irresponsible to portray this as funny. i know i KNOW the objections, but that is how i feel on a personal level.

quote of the day:
'thus have i politicly begun my reign,
and 'tis my hope to end successfully.
my falcon now is sharp and passing empty,
and till she stoop she must not be full-gorged,
for then she never looks upon her lure.
another way i have to man my haggard,
to make her come and know her keeper's call:
that is, to watch her, as we watch these kites
that bate and beat and will not be obedient.
she ate no meat today, nor none shall she eat.
last night she slept not, nor tonight she shall not.'

for tomorrow: act 4, scene 2

-rebecca may

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew Act 3, Scene 2


yay! Seany's back! we came up with our preliminary guest list for the wedding (300 people? that's not going to happen!) and read our Shakespeare together. it was SO nice to have him to read with again! i can't say enough how much more enjoyable it is to read Shakespeare aloud with someone than it is to sit reading it to myself.  if you or someone you know struggles with Shakespeare, try reading aloud. and this is going to sound crazy, but just go with it... try reading with a southern accent. i'm serious. it's so good.

act 3, scene 2
it is Katherine and Petruchio's wedding day and everyone is assembled, waiting for Petruchio to show up. Kate is feeling pretty foolish and leaves, crying. Biondello comes in announcing the arrival of Petruchio in very strange clothing. Petruchio enters, looking wacky indeed, and demands to see Kate. Baptista tries to get him to change, but he won't do it. she's marrying him, not his clothes! everyone leaves but Tranio and Lucentio, and Tranio reveals their need to find someone to pretend to be Vincentio. Gremio enters, back from the wedding. according to him, it was a circus. Kate behaved just fine, but Petruchio cursed, hit the priest, and laid a huge kiss on Kate in front of everyone. everyone else enters, on their way to the reception. Petruchio announces that he cannot GO to the reception because he has to leave town right away. Kate tells him to do whatever he wants to do, but she is going to stay. Petruchio begs to differ. (see quote below.) he drags her off, and everyone else heads off to the reception, dumbfounded.

nice. i like how Petruchio found Kate, they went to the church, they got married, and Gremio made it all the way back to Lucentio and Tranio in 20 lines of dialogue. oh Shakespeare...

so what is Petruchio trying to do by dressing all crazy? show he doesn't care? which does what? puts him in the position of power? is this all a part of the process of "taming"? how much of this is an act? is this guy a total control freak, or just trying to have a good time, or what? i know that's a lot of questions...

also, i am obsessed with this line that Gremio says: 'Petruchio is Kated". ahahaha. see what he did there? so good.

quote of the day:
'they shall go forward, Kate, at thy command.
obey the bride, you that attend on her.
go to the feast, revel and domineer,
carouse full measure to her maidenhead,
be mad and merry, or go hang yourselves.
but for my bonny Kate, she must with me.
nay, look not big, nor stamp, nor stare, nor fret;
i will be master of what is mine own.
she is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
my household stuff, my field, my barn,
my horse, my ox, my ass, my anything;
and here she stands, touch her whoever dare.'

for tomorrow: act 4, scene 2

-rebecca may

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew Act 3, Scene 1


happy mother's day! i have spent my day so far watching Harry Potter 1-5 with my mama, cooking for her, and having a glorious day all around. the only thing that wasn't spectacular was not having Seany to read with again! so i decided to only read one scene instead of 2 so i could have more to read with him later this week. also, Harry Potter has kept me very busy. DUH.

let's do it! act 3, scene 1
Hortensio and Lucentio, disguised as teachers, vie for Bianca's attention. Hortensio argues that Lucentio should let Bianca spend time with him first to practice music. Lucentio argues that music is meant to refresh the minds of people AFTER they study. Bianca interrupts their little fight, reminding them that she gets to decide what she will do. she tells Hortensio to tune his instrument while she studies and then she will work with him. (see quote below.) while Hortensio tunes off to the side, Lucentio reveals his true intentions to Bianca. Bianca, however, plays coy and tells him that she does not know him well enough yet to consider him. Hortensio is growing suspicious, so interrupts their lesson to start his own. Lucentio steps aside, but he is also growing suspicious. Hortensio also reveals his true intentions to Bianca, but she seems not to like his antics one bit. a servant comes in and bids Bianca off to get ready for Katharina's wedding. she leaves and so Lucentio leaves too. Hortensio, alone, proclaims that if Bianca cheats on him, he will get even with her by cheating too.

is Hortensio DELUSIONAL? i think he must be. what is he thinking? i mean, he doesn't actually say 'cheating', but the idea is that she would give a crap if he showed attention to another woman. seriously? he is delusional. there is no way she would care at all! he acts like they're together, but they are definitely not. and i'm pretty sure she was kind of sort of flirting with Lucentio a little bit. oh Hortensio. you are lost.

my only other question is this: is Bianca coyly playing the game? or is she truly innocent and naive? i truly can't tell. here is my guess right now, and we can keep guessing as we go... i think we are meant to think she is sweet and innocent, but she's really playing that game. i mean, Katharina hates her for a reason (i think) and i think her deceptiveness might be part of it. also, her sister is really smart, which leads me to believe that Bianca might be too smart to be as silly as she appears to be. hm... we shall see!

quote of the day:
Bianca: take you your instrument, play you the whiles;
            his lecture will be done ere you have tuned.
Hortensio: you'll leave his lecture when i am in tune?
Lucentio: that will be never. tune your instrument.

hahaha Lucentio is sassy. i like it.

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

-rebecca may

The Taming of the Shrew Act 2, Scene 1


sad day! Sean worked a double today so he couldn't read with me today. and sadder still? he works a double again tomorrow so i will have to read alone agaaaaaiiin! and now i have to catch him up on two days of reading. booo! the good news is that the play's still awesome! woo!

act 2, scene 1
Katharina drags Bianca in with her hands tied, demanding that she tell her which of her suitors she loves the most. Bianca insists that she loves none of them, but Katharina doesn't believe her. Katharina hits her, and their father, Baptista, comes in. he tries to break up the fight, but to no avail. only sending Bianca out of the room will save her from Katharina's wrath. Katharina leaves in a huff, and Gremio, Lucentio (as schoolmaster), Petruchio, Hortensio (as musician), Tranio (as Lucentio), and Biondello enter. Petruchio asks after Katharina and presents Hortensio (as teacher) as his offering to Baptista, calling him Litio. Baptista is wary, but Petruchio reassures him that he is of a good background and has good intentions. Gremio then presents Lucentio (as teacher) to Baptista, calling him Cambio. finally, Tranio puts his name in the hat as a suitor to Bianca, offering a lute and books. Baptista sends the "teachers" off to Bianca and Katharina. Petruchio presses Baptista to make haste with his arrangements with Katharina, but Baptista wants to give them time to fall in love. Petruchio insists that that will happen over time. Hortensio enters 'with his head broke'. (see quote below.) Hortensio has failed miserably with Katharina, and Petruchio is loving it. finally, Petruchio and Kate have some time alone. the dialogue between them is fast, witty, and sharp. he teases her mercilessly, and she comes back at him at every turn. he tells her that she will be his wife just as everyone else re-enters. Petruchio tells Kate that he will 'tame her' and she is seriously ticked off. Petruchio announces that Sunday is the wedding day, and lies to everyone, telling them that when they were alone Kate showed him love and kindness. that pair of lovers leaves and Gremio and Tranio (as Lucentio) argue over who will be allowed to woo Bianca. Tranio/Lucentio turns out to have the better offer of lands and goods, but his father is still alive. if he were to die before his father, Bianca wouldn't inherit. in order to win the right to woo Bianca, Tranio/Lucentio must receive consent from Lucentio's father to sign over all of his land and belongings to Lucentio while he is still alive. Gremio is pretty happy about this, thinking that no father would ever do it. Tranio plots to cheat his way through this task.

so does Kate just hate Bianca because she's young and beautiful and their father loves her more? or is there something deeper? does Kate perceive Bianca's whole sweet and innocent thing to be an act? IS it an act? hmmm...

i died when it said Hortensio entered 'with his head broke'. and i died even more when i read the footnotes that explained that that means his head was 'emerging through a broken lute'. BAhahahaha. that kills me.

questions: is Petruchio attracted to Kate at all? or is it really all for the money? is Kate attracted to Petruchio at all? is it even partially an act that she hates him? or is she so programmed to hate that she can't even see how awesome their battling is? when i read the scene between the two of them, it felt super sexually charged. just me?

and how is Lucentio going to get away with the Lucentio/Tranio switch? hmm...

quote of the day:
Baptista: what, will my daughter prove a good musician?
Hortensio: i think she's sooner provide a soldier.
                iron may hold with her, but never lutes.
Baptista: why then, thou canst not break her to the lute?
Hortensio: why, no, for she hath broke the lute to me.


for tomorrow: act 3, scenes 1 and 2

-rebecca may

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew Act 1, Scene 2


another great day of Shakespeare! it's so great to see Sean introduced to these characters. i love it. i am finding that sharing Shakespeare with someone and seeing their discoveries is even more fun that discovering it for myself! i love that when i am finished with this project, i will have so much still to discover for myself and also so much to share with others. awesome! and a good motivator.

act 1, scene 2
Petruchio arrives in Padua with his servant Grumio (not to be confused with the old man Gremio) and goes to visit his friend Hortensio. Petruchio's father has just died, and Petruchio is ready to see the world and perhaps to get married. Hortensio tells him he knows a woman who might be shrewish, but who also has some money and is fair to look at. (see quote below.) Petruchio basically says that he doesn't care so much about the shrewishness, but he does care about the money. as it turns out, Petruchio knows Baptista, Katharina and Bianca's father. Hortensio explains his particular situation with Bianca, and he and Petruchio decide to head off to Baptista's house. Hortensio is planning to disguise himself as a teacher to get closer to Bianca when Gremio and Lucentio (disguised as a teacher) enter. Gremio tells them that he promised to find a teacher for Bianca, and so has found this young man. Hortensio reveals the news about Petruchio and Gremio cannot BELIEVE it. Tranio enters, disguised as Lucentio, and declares his intentions to court Bianca as well. Gremio and Hortensio try to argue him out of it, but he wont be deterred. the three lovers of Bianca all agree to pay for Petruchio's wooing of Katharina, and everyone heads off to Baptista's house.

so wait... Petruchio just wants money? that's it? and probably someone to take care of him?

is there NO ONE who cares about Katharina? no one who is trying to get through her rough exterior? and how the heck did she get to be so sour? what happened to this poor girl?

i don't have anything else particularly interesting to say or ask today, but i hope you are reading along and enjoying this great play!

quote of the day:
'i can, Petruchio, help thee to a wife
with wealth enough, and young and beauteous,
brought up as best becomes a gentlewoman.
her only fault, and that is faults enough,
is that she is intolerable curst
and shrewd, and forward, so beyond all measure
that, were my state far worser than it is,
i would not wed her for a mine of gold.'

for tomorrow: act 2, scene 1

-rebecca mat

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew Act 1, Scene 1


Sean and i happily jumped into reading this play today, and we are having a great time! i have to say that reading this aloud with him rather than reading it by myself makes a HUGE difference. first of all, it takes far less time, even when we stop to discuss what's going on. it's also much more enjoyable in general. and i have to say that it's easier to follow and great to share the experience with someone! my advice: find someone to read Shakespeare with and enjoy Shrew with us!

act 1, scene 1
Lucentio and his servant Tranio arrive in Padua, Lucentio having been sent there by his father to study. some people enter, and the two men stand aside and listen in on the conversation. Baptista, father of Bianca and Katharina, enters with them and Gremio (an old man) and Hortensio, suitors of young Bianca. Baptista makes it plain that he will not allow Bianca to marry until Katharina is married. at that point, anyone who wants to can court her. Katharina complains that her father is making a laughingstock of her, but they all go on anyway. Bianca is sent inside to practice her music and read as Gremio continues to complain that she will forever be locked up in his house. it isn't fair that Bianca should have to pay for Katharina's shrewish nature. Baptista tells them that no man will spend time with her except for a schoolmaster. the Baptista family all exits and Gremio and Hortensio cook up a plan: although they are rivals for Bianca's love, they will work together to find a husband for Katharina. (see quote below.) after they do so, they will go back to being rivals again. they leave and Lucentio and Tranio re-emerge. in this short time, Lucentio has fallen in love with Bianca. he wants to pose as a schoolmaster in order to get closer to Bianca, but Tranio reminds him that if he plays schoolmaster, no one will be there to act as Lucentio. his father will send visitors and packages and whatnot that will all need to be received and entertained. Lucentio realizes that no one in Padua yet knows who they are, so that Tranio could pose as Lucentio in his place. they trade clothes just as Biondello, another servant to Lucentio enters. Lucentio lies and tells Biondello that they must trade places because he has killed a man, and Tranio is helping him hide. Biondello, although a little confused, agrees to pretend that Tranio is Lucentio and vice versa.

fun fact: at the top of this scene, Lucentio says that he is in Lombardy, but apparently Padua isn't in Lombardy. according to Bevington, the imprecision of map-making at that time may have caused Shakespeare to believe that it was.

while reading i noticed that Katharina's lines were more difficult to decipher than anyone else's. whenever she spoke we had to sift through the footnotes in order to figure everything out. was it just us? or maybe just this scene? or is her manner of speaking more complicated than everyone else's? Biondello was by far the easiest to understand, which would make sense because he is a servant and Kate is wealthy and probably educated?

this makes me want to watch 10 Things I Hate About You SOOO bad! this must happen soon!

quote of the day:
'i say a devil. think'st thou, Hortensio, though her father be very rich, any man is so very a fool to be married to hell?'

for tomorrow: act 1, scene 2

-rebecca may

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew Inductions 1 and 2


today was epic. last day of Writes of Spring and my first official night of summer! aaaand Sean started reading Shakespeare with me today! whaaat?!?!?! i'm pretty sure he has never read Shakespeare before, so it's a red letter day in our household.

okay, so basically the inductions set up the play within a play. Sly is a drunkard who passes out onstage. a Lord comes in and decides to play a trick on him for no reason in particular. he sends Sly up to his (the Lord's) room while Sly's passed out, with all of the Lord's people attending on him. when Sly wakes up, they go on and on to convince him that he's not a poor drunk, but a wealthy lord who's been mad these past 15 years. Sly, of course, ends up falling for it. a troop of players comes in, hired by the true Lord, to present a play for Sly. and the play begins.

as amusing as this is, do we need it? i have never seen this play produced, although i know it is produced quite frequently. do people usually cut the inductions for the sake of clarity and/or time? i am super intrigued to find out. i'm not trying to seem ignorant, i'm just wondering!

i am so excited to read this play with my Sean! find a reading partner and read along!

for tomorrow: act 1, scene 1

-rebecca may

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew Intro Info


excited to start a new play today! AND it's opening night of Writes of Spring! two awesome things in one day. oh yeah, AND i get to go to Chili's after the show. doesn't get much better than this.

here's some stuff i learned about our play today from the ever-informative David Bevington
-this play explores the battle of the sexes through 2 juxtaposed plots and an induction which frames the plot. this frame takes shape as a play within a play, an old motif known as "The Sleeper Awakened". through this device, Shakespeare is also able to shed light on the artifice of the theater.
-there is a strong theme of illusion in this play, in the plots as well as the induction. as Bevington puts it, "the dwellera of Padua have grown so accustomed to the mad and improbable fictions of their life that they are not easily awakened to reality."
- both plotlines involve conventional character types and situations. the plot involving the young lovers explores the attempt to foil parents, and the plot involving Kate and Petruchio explores the attempt to foil each other.
-get ready for some sexism. taming the shrew is probably going to be just as sexist as it sounds. but as i recall, it goes a lot deeper than that. let's see if my high school self was right about that when i read it back then.
-also get ready for more parallels with Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado!

what a great excuse to rent the Elizabeth Taylor version of this movie! and even better, what a stellar excuse to watch 10 Things I Hate About You!

for tomorrow: Induction 1 and Induction 2

-rebecca may

Sonnets 18-23


hello all my Shakespeare people! another day of sonnets today, and a new play tomorrow. tomorrow i start The Taming of the Shrew, and i am so excited about it! i loved that play when i read it... oh... 10 years or so ago i guess. super excited!

Sonnets 18-23
18- the famous sonnet that begins with: 'shall i compare thee to a summer's day?' the narrator of this poem feels that the subject is better than a summer's day because she is never-ending and 'more temperate'. (see quote below.)

19- in this sonnet, the narrator begs Time to do anything to any creature, but to please not take away his love's youth and beauty. no matter what Time does, however, the narrator's love will live forever in verse.

20- um... i'm not sure...? notes below.

21- ummmm... now i'm really confused. help!

22- in this poem, the narrator measures his youth not by his mirror, but by the face of his love. at the end i think he's saying that he's going to take his love's heart with him when he dies?

23- in sonnet 23, the narrator explains that he might not be the best at expressing his love, but his love is just as strong as if he could find just the right words. there's a great line in here about actors who don't know their lines.

ok. help! sonnet 21? i'm lost. can anyone help?

as for sonnet 20 i have to bring up that it makes me feel like Shakespeare was gay. like for real. i was already kind of thinking that after sonnets 1-17, but this one makes me feel that even more so. check it out. what do you think?
quote of the day:
'but thy eternal summer shall not fade
nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
when in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
   so long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
   so long lives this, and this gives life to thee.'

8 plays, 4 poems, and 23 sonnets down. 30 plays, 1 poem, and 131 sonnets to go!

for tomorrow: intro info for Taming of the Shrew!

-rebecca may

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 5, Scene 4


i am the worst blogger ever. Writes of Spring is consuming my life! i barely make it through meals, reading my Shakespeare, and showering! i mean, technically i AM writing my blogs, just not complete and good ones! Writes of Spring is almost coming to a close so reading and blogging can be more of a focus. anyway, let's get 'er done!

act 5, scene 4
Valentine is in the woods, and Proteus, Sylvia, and Julia (disguised as Sebastian) enter. Proteus, as usual, is pleading with Sylvia. she continues to make it clear that she's not into him, and he continues to beg for her attention. Sylvia swears her love for Valentine and proceeds to rip Proteus a new one. (see quote below.) Proteus

quote of the day:
'when Proteus cannot love where he's beloved.
read over Julia's heart, thy first, best love,
for whose dear sake thou did'st then rend thy faith
into a thousand oaths, and all those oaths
descended into perjury, to love me.
thou hast no faith left now, unless thou'dst to,
and that's far worse than none. better have none
than plural faith, which is to much by one.
thou counterfeit to thy true friend!'

8 plays, 4 poems, 17 sonnets down. 30 plays, 1 poem, 137 sonnets to go!

for tomorrow: Sonnets 17-23!

-rebecca may

The Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 5, Scenes 1-3


so... i slept til 3pm today... yeah. i think that's what happens when you push PuSh PUSH yourself for months, then stay up til 5am finishing a paper and typing up rehearsal notes, and then go to bed without setting an alarm for yourself. yup that's what happens. i thought i was going to play video games all day as my day of rest, but my day of rest was spent resting instead! and it's almost rehearsal time! EEP!

act 5, scene 1
Sir Eglamour and Sylvia meet, and Sylvia fears she is being followed. they head off into the forest.

act 5, scene 2
Thurio, Proteus, and Julia disguised as Sebastian enters. Thurio asks Proteus what Sylvia has said about him, and Proteus lies through his teeth about it. Proteus didn't try to woo Sylvia for Thurio, he tried to woo her for himself! He makes up a bunch of lies about what she's said about him until the Duke enters. the Duke asks them if he has seen his daughter, which they of course have not. the Duke tells them that she has fled to find Valentine and asks them to help him find her. they all agree, although Thurio seems pretty much over Sylvia by now, and exit for the forest.

act 5, scene 3
Sylvia has been captured in the forest by the outlaws. while one of them takes her to their leader (Valentine), the rest head off to capture Eglamour who has run off.

things were pretty much straight to the point today!