Sunday, July 31, 2011

1 Henry IV Act 1, Scene 3


hey there, people! i have to say, this play is shaping up to be a good'n. i've only just finished act 1 and i am dying to find out what happens in act 2. that's a good thing considering i need to make up for that lost time in June. perhaps i will read a little extraaa tomorrow! (look at me go!) if you haven't read this one, i'm telling you, pick it up. so good. check it out...

act 1, scene 3
King Henry tells Northumberland, Hotspur, etc. that he has been too soft, but he will not be any longer. he wants the hostages Hotspur took, and he wants them now. Hotspur explains what supposedly happened, claiming that the message Henry received was a lot more harsh than he intended it to be. he claims he was down and out in the battlefield with bodies lying all around him when some hoity toity noble pranced up to him demanding the hostages. he was just tired and impatient when he said no so rudely to him. King Henry isn't taking the bait. he points out that Hotspur is still not giving over the hostages, and is demanding the release of Mortimer from the Scots. he feels that Mortimer isn't worthy of being ransomed. Hotspur stands up for Mortimer saying that he fought hand to hand with Glendower (the Scottish guy who captured him) before he was captured. Henry doesn't believe that for a second. he demands the hostages, warning Northumberland to keep his son in check. Henry leaves, and as soon as he does, Hotspur starts talking crap about him. (see quote below.) Worcester comes in, and Hotspur tells him that he vows to help Mortimer, who just happens to be his brother-in-law. Worcester comments that they can't blame Henry for not wanting Mortimer around. Mortimer was, after all, proclaimed by Richard to be the rightful heir to the throne. Hotspur is outraged and he goes on and on about it. Worcester is trying to tell him something, but Hotspur won't shut up long enough to hear it. when he finally does settle down, Worcester lets him in on his plan to overthrow Henry. Hotspur and Northumberland will get the Archbishop (whose brother died because of Henry), the Scots, and Mortimer all rallied together. they will all meet up and overthrow Henry.

Hotspur needs to shut. up. his mouth is going to be the death of him, i swear. just listen for two seconds, you fool! mark my words, he's going down.

i'm a little confused about the plan. who is getting who? and what is Worcester doing? i am all kinds of confused. maybe it will all become clear as it actually happens? if it actually happens? it all just happened so fast! that's actually something i really like about this play so far- it's dense. and by dense, i mean that a lot happens in every scene. granted, i've only read 3 scenes so far, but the pace is great. i hope it stays like this. does it make the play harder to understand in performance? i wonder...

who will win this? Henry or Northumberland and co.? what do you think?

quote of the day:
'an if the devil come and roar for them
i will not send them. i will after straight
and tell him so, for i will ease my heart,
albeit i make a hazard of my head.'

for tomorrow: on to act 2, scenes 1-3

-rebecca may

Friday, July 29, 2011

1 Henry IV Act 1, Scenes 1 and 2


hello Shakespeare readers! new play today! wahoo! i'm super stoked. i am also stoked to go visit my friend today- she had twins! who does that? then on to work for a closing shift. woot. i also just realized that there's less than a month left of Summer. i really need to kick my reading into high gear and make up for some of that lost time in June. i can do it! okay, i know i'm super scattered today, so let's just move on...

act 1, scene 1
King Henry gives a speech to his people, explaining that they would all like to have a time of peace, and that no more civil war will rip England apart. they will all work together against a common enemy- the pagans in the holy lands. Henry asks Westmorland for news regarding their upcoming voyage, but Westmorland delivers very different news: Mortimer has been captured in Wales by Glendower and Hotspur has gotten himself into a battle with the Scots. Henry acknowledges that this probably isn't the best time to leave England, and relays news he has heard of Hotspur's bravery. he also comments, half-jokingly, that he wishes Hotspur were his own son instead of Prince Hal. (see quote below.) the bad news from Hotspur is that he won't give Henry the prisoners. he is keeping them. Westmorland warns Henry that this must be the bad influence of Hotspur's uncle, Worcester. Henry will wait for an explanation From Hotspur.

act 1, scene 2
Prince Hal are hanging out in London, chatting it up. their conversation is a constant battle of wits. they tease each other incessantly, with an undercurrent of: what will happen to Falstaff when Hal becomes king? Poins comes in, asking them to join him on a little adventure. they are going to leave town for a bit to have some adventures in robbery. Hal doesn't want to go. Poins get Falstaff to leave so they can talk in private and reveals the true plan: to play a major trick on Falstaff and the other fools in the group. they will separate themselves from them after they leave town. the group will go through with the robbery, but Poins and Hal will disguise themselves and rob Falstaff and the rest of the group. when they meet up later and ask Falstaff how the robbery went, he and the rest of them will boast about the adventure. calling them on their bluff will be the jest. Prince Hal agrees to join him.

i L-O-V-E that things are going down just as Richard said they would. we have a phrase that we use that totally fits this situation: once a cheater, always a cheater. in this case it'd be, once a committer of treason... weird though how i once felt kinda bad for Richard even though he sucked at his job and now i'm kind of feeling bad for Henry. like i said, Shakespeare is SO good at making you shift your sympathies.

i don't understand a lot of what Hal and Falstaff are saying. i think it would take some great actors for me to really get it. but what i do get is their closeness and the tenuousness of it all. what WILL happen to Falstaff when Hal becomes king? can Hal really do anything to help him? would we blame him if he didn't? i love where the conversation goes around line 50. Shakespeare creates this complicated multi-layer conversation. how much are they just messing around talking about nothing? and how much is it about Falstaff actually having a place once Henry is king? and how much is it about the grim reality that thieves are hung? people like Falstaff are hung by people like Hal. sad and intriguing. must be fun for actors to play with!

predictions so far: Hotspur and Falstaff will meet ugly ends. we shall see!

quote of the day:
'yeah, there thou mak'st me sad, and mak'st me sin
in envy that my lord Northumberland
should be the father to so blest a son--
a son who is the theme of honor's tongue,
amongst a grove the very straightest plant,
who is sweet Fortune's minion and her pride,
whilst i, by looking on the praise of him,
see riot and dishonor stain the brow
of my young Harry. o, that it could be proved
that some night-tripping fairy had exchanged
in cradle clothes our children where they lay,
and called mine Percy, his Plantagenet!'
   -King Henry; act 1, scene 1

for tomorrow: the rest of act 1

-rebecca may

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The First Part of King Henry the Fourth Intro Info


Sean took the MCAT today! yay! done and done. although he plans to re-take it in August just to be safe, i am so happy he has one under his belt. i wasn't happy to stay up til 4:30am to help him wake up and make him a good breakfast, but i think it was totally worth it to make sure he started this important day on the right foot! and tonight we will have vegetarian chili, some of our favorite DVR'd shows, a bottle of wine, and some well-deserved relaxation. that is, of course, after we finish cleaning the apartment and i finish my blog. okay, on your mark get set go!

here's what i learned today, and i have to say, i'm pretty excited about this one:
-1 Henry IV starts off where Richard II left off. Henry wants to get his people together against a common enemy in the Holy Lands, but he can't because there's too much civil war going on at home. the Scots and Whales are both giving him trouble, and his men are off fighting.
-here's who helped him win the throne: Percy (aka Hotspur), Northumberland, Worcester, and Edmund Mortimer. remember when Richard warned... Northumberland was it?... that soon things would change? he said that those who participate in treason are likely to do so again. and guess what?!? it's looking like Richard may have been completely correct. Henry's people are frustrated with the outcome, and perhaps Mortimer would be a better option for the throne.
-i find it interesting that Bevington says that 'Shakespeare's sympathies are many sided' in this play because i have been saying over and over again in previous entries that i have found Shakespeare to be incredibly skilled at creating split-sympathy in his readers and/or viewers. if Bevington is pointing it out now, i can't wait to see what Shakespeare has in store for us!
-women are pretty much absent again. boo. but what they do offer is a different perspective on the men in the play. they kind of show the men's true colors. even though they're not a big part of the play which is kind of blah, it's cool that Shakespeare has these women be the voices of reason, the truth-givers, the wise members of their families, etc. i can dig that.
-Shakespeare seems to be exploring the relationships between fathers and sons in this one. there is, of course, King Henry and his son, Prince Hal. there is also Northumberland and his son, Hotspur. but beyond these obvious choices, there is the relationship between Henry and Hotspur (he at one point jokes that he wishes Hotspur had been his son) and the one between Hal and Falstaff.
-yes! he is here! Falstaff. here is something Bevington said about Falstaff that i loved: 'we excuse much in him because he lusts after life with such an appetite and ingratiates himself to others by inviting them to laugh at his expense.' apparently he is a great foil for Hotspur, his complete opposite. can't wait to finally read this character. and can't wait to read this play! treason, action, wit, confusing relationship dynamics, and Falstaff? sounds good to me!

sounds like we're in for a good one. i hope you'll join me!

for tomorrow: act 1, scenes 1 and 2

-rebecca may

Sonnets 52-56


you ever have one of those days where you plan to wake up at a normal time, but then you accidentally wake up at 1:30 in the afternoon? yeah, that was me today. and it's kind of thrown me off kilter all day. it's extra weird because i plan to wake up at 4am to make breakfast for Sean because he has to drive a few hours to take the MCAT in the morning. so i am all kinds of thrown off. and of course it;s a sonnet day! forgive me if i'm not totally with it today.

#52- the writer describes his love as a treasure that he holds in his chest as a rich man might hold his wealth in a safe.
#53- i have. NO. IDEA!!!
#54- just like roses live again in potpourri, love can live again in writing.
#55- (see quote below.) nothing outlives words. all things will die, but the writer's  love will live on in his poems.
#56- let love be renewed with each new encounter! even though you're full of love now, when you wake up tomorrow be hungry for it again as you are hungry for food.

sonnet 53?!? i have no idea what's going on. help!

sonnets 54 and 55 are scaring me! we spent so much time on this sentiment earlier on this year. i don't want to go back! i was getting SO sick of it. please no, Shakespeare!

i love sonnet 56. it's lovely. you should check it out. go!

i got nothing profound to say, but if you do, please share.

quote of the day:
'not marble nor the gilded monuments
of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme,
but you shall shine more bright in these contents
than unswept stone besmeared with sluttish time.'
   -sonnet 55

for tomorrow: Henry IV Part 1

-rebecca may

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Tragedy of King Richard Act 5, Scenes 3-6


so much to do! paper for ASTR, syllabus for Theatre History 3, thesis, clean, read a few plays, blog, etc.! gotta go gotta go!!!

act 5, scene 3
Henry is looking for his son, who is apparently some sort of miscreant boozing about London. Aumerle comes in, completely freaked out. he asks to speak with Henry alone, and Henry obliges. they close the door and lock it. Henry promises not to open the door for anything. Henry also promises Aumerle, who is begging forgiveness, that he will pardon him no matter what the problem is. a moment later, York comes knocking at the door yelling "traitor!" Henry freaks out and opens the door for him. York tells Henry to condemn Aumerle, while Aumerle begs forgiveness. the Duchess, wife of York and mother of Aumerle, comes to beg for Aumerle. everyone pleads with the king. ultimately, King Henry decides to pardon Aumerle. he will, however, persecute every other person who was trying to revolt against him.

act 5, scene 4
Pierce, Exton, and some others are distressed by Henry's distress. they vow to kill the man who is distressing him: Richard.

act 5, scene 5
King Richard is alone in his cell, wordily lamenting his fate. time is his enemy these days. he receives a couple of visitors before Exton and the others arrive. Richard puts up a serious fight, killing a couple of men. eventually, however, he is killed.

act 5, scene 6
Henry is sharing with York the downfalls of some of the English towns.Northumberland and Fitzwater also come to deliver news. Percy, however, arrives with Carlisle and the news that Abbott has killed himself. in a strange move, Henry tells Carlisle that he's letting him go to live a quiet and secret life. he considers Carlisle to be an honorable man. Exton comes in with the biggest news of all: Richard is dead. Henry has mixed emotions. (see quote below.) Henry plans to make a trip to the Holy Land 'to wash this blood off [his] guilty hand.'

Henry has a son? WHAT?!? when did that happen? his 'wanton and effeminate boy'. HA.

here's how i feel about some of these characters... York: moralistic and idealistic to the point that he is going to go DOWN soon. i predict it. Aumerle: he is one. lucky. bastard. he keeps evading consequences. Henry: he's a fool. he's no better than Richard. in fact, he might be worse.

so i'm a bit confused by the end of scene 5. what is it that Exton is feeling about the murder? i can't tell whether he is happy, regretful, or a combination thereof. what's going on there?

what the HELL is going on with Henry? he pardons Aumerle, has a bunch of others killed, pardons Carlisle, is happy that Richard is dead. what is up with him? he seems just as random as Richard was. what is going to happennnnn?

quote of the day:
'they love not poison that do poison need,
nor do i thee. though i did wish him dead,
i hate the murderer, love him murdered.
the guilt of conscience take thou for thy labor,
but neither my good word nor princely favor.
with Cain go wander through the shades of night,
and never show thy head by day nor light.'
   -King Henry; act 5, scene 6

for tomorrow: sonnets!

-rebecca may

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Tragedy of King Richard Act 5, Scenes 1 and 2


okie dokie kiddies. i'm hard core attacking my 5 things to do today: Shakespeare, crunches, work, laundry, read Gem of the Ocean. i got this on lock! if you are reading this, i'm telling you that this 5 goals a day thing really works! check it out. but annnyyyywayyyy, this play is getting good! man, i was really into it when i was reading this morning. check it out...

act 5, scene 1
the Queen is on the path toward the Tower, waiting for Richard to come along the path. when Richard comes by, he begs her not to grieve and to go immediately to France. the Queen cannot believe that he is going out with a whimper instead of a growl. (see quote below.) Richard is VERY 'woe is me' and yet begs his wife not to grieve too much. Northumberland enters with news for Richard. instead of going to the Tower, Bolingbroke has decided to send Richard to Pomfret Castle in Yorkshire. Richard warns Northumberland that corruption leads to more corruption. it won't be long before Bolingbroke will realize that if Northumberland can overthrow one king, he can surely overthrow another. he finishes his warning with: 'the love of wicked men converts to fear,/that fear to hate, and hate turns one or both/to worthy danger and deserved death.' the Queen begs Northumberland to banish both of them, but he says no. she also begs him to let her go with Richard. Richard points out that if they go together, they still won't be able to see each other. they kiss as they part, so full of grief to leave each other.

act 5, scene 2
the Duchess of York is asking the Duke of York to recount what just happened when Bolingbroke and Richard arrived in London. when Bolingbroke arrived, the "greedy" citizens of London cheered him on. when Richard arrived, however, no one cheered, and people threw things at him. Aumerle, their son, arrives. he has been stripped of his title for being a supporter of Richard. York notices that Aumerle has a document on him and demands to see it. Aumerle resists, but eventually York gets it from him. when he reads it, he is shocked to see words of treason. Aumerle has entered into a pact to assassinate Bolingbroke. York will not stand for this treason. although the Duchess begs him not to, York heads out to inform Bolingbroke of this treason. after he leaves, the Duchess sends Aumerle to beat him to Bolingbroke and get out of this mess. she will not be far behind.

one little random thing that's interesting to me- in the beginning of the act, the Queen refers to the Tower of London as being Julius Caesar's. apparently tradition of the time called it Caesar's, but it was actually built by William the Conqueror to keep London in check. interesting! thanks for the history lesson Mr. Bevington.

Richard is seriously playing the martyr here. i understand that he's lost his kingdom, but does he not remember that he was kind of a crappy king? is he not aware? or is his memory just selective? i'm not sure whether or not the answers are in the text. if not, these would be some interesting actor questions. again, i'd love to see this onstage.

what is the significance of Pomfret Castle vs. the Tower? the castle sounds less intense. true or false?

quote of the day:
'what, is my Richard both in shape and mind
transformed and weakened? hath Bolingbroke
deposed thine intellect? hath he been in thy heart?
the lion dying thrusteth forth his paw
and wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage
to be o'erpowered; and wilt thou, pupil-like,
take the correction, mildly kiss the rod,
and fawn on rage with base humility,
which art a lion and the king of beasts?'
   -Queen; act 5, scene 1

for tomorrow: the rest of the play!

-rebecca may

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Tragedy of King Richard Act 4


so here's my latest plan, and so far (for two days), so good: make 5 goals a day. whatever it is i need to do. even if taking a shower is uber-important for the day, put it on the list. if i accomplish those 5 things, then i can move on to other things. of course things like work go on the list, but it's a great opportunity to motivate myself to get things accomplished that i might normally put off. i also have a tendency to become so overwhelmed with the number of things that i have to do, that i don't accomplish as much as i need to. so... 5 things a day. it's awesome. and guess what's on the list every day? that's right...

act 4, scene 1
Bolingbroke asks Bagot what he knows about Gloucester's death. (remember that? from long long ago?) Bagot points his finger at Aumerle. he also accuses Aumerle of not wanting Bolingbroke to be king. Aumerle gets pissed and throws down his gage. Fitzwater refutes Aumerle and throws his gage down. Aumerle continues to deny the charges and Percy points his finger at Aumerle as well. he's so upset, he throws down his gage. soon, yet another gage is thrown down. Surrey gets on Aumerle's side, pointing fingers at Fitzwater. so guess what? he throws his gage down too. more gages are thrown down and taken up. Aumerle even has to borrow a gage! someone's gage is thrown down against Norfolk (the other man banished. remember that?). the news is revealed that Norfolk is actually dead. York enters with news that Richard is giving up his crown "with willing soul". Carlisle, however, speaks out against it. he is a clergyman, and gives his honest opinion. he thinks it's wrong to basically try Richard when he isn't even there. they are going against God's will, and they will be published. Northumberland calls him a traitor and has him taken into custody. Richard is finally brought in. he's talking a little crazy. giving up his crown is obviously taking its toll on him. (see quote below.) he does eventually give his crown over to Bolingbroke, but he is losing it. Bolingbroke plays at being respectful, but it seems like it's just a show. the one thing Richard asks is for Bolingbroke to let him go instead of trying him. if he lets him go, Richard promises he will never be heard from again. Bolingbroke, however, has him taken to the Tower. after everyone leaves, a few of the Lords agree to meet in secret to discuss how to fix this whole situation.

so we remember that the gage being thrown down is a challenge from one person to another? if the other person picks up the gage, the challenge is accepted. got it? ok good.

so all this gage-throwing... is this meant to highlight the ridiculousness of the situation? or is the tension supposed to be mounting here? to me, it's bordering on funny. i wish i could see this on stage!

hm... looks like Bolingbroke is turning into exactly the tyrant that he accused Richard of being. anyone else seeing that?

quote of the day:
'alack, why am i sent for to a king,
before i have shook off the regal thoughts
wherewith i reigned? i hardly yet have learned
to insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my knee.
give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me
to this submission. yet i will remember
the favors of these men. were they not mine?
did they not sometime cry, "all hail!" to me?
so Judas did to Christ. but he, in twelve,
found truth in all but one; i, in twelve thousand, none.
God save the King! will no men say amen?
am i both priest and clerk? well then, amen.
God save the King, although i be not he;
and yet, amen, if heaven do think him me.
to do what service am i sent for hither?'
   -King Richard

for tomorrow: act 5, scenes 1-3

-rebecca may

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Tragedy of King Richard Act 3, Scenes 3 and 4


alright kids, i have to be honest. i am really struggling with this one. i can't quite get into it. there's so many characters, and i'm not attached to any of them but York. the plot isn't very exciting. and i'm not connecting with the words very much. is there anyone out there that loves this play? i would love it if you would share your love with me. help me get it!

act 3, scene 3
Bolingbroke has learned of the goings on of King Richard and the Welsh army. he is pleased by the news, but York warns him to be respectful of his king. Percy arrives with news that King Richard is currently in the castle just ahead. Bolingbroke has Northumberland approach the castle to let Richard know that he comes in peace as long as he is un-banished. Richard appears and is rather snarky about Bolingbroke's presence in his country, as well as his own divine rights as king. (see quote below.) Northumberland swears that Bolingbroke is only there to receive his pardon. Richard grants it to him, but immediately admits to Aumerle (still on Richard's side) that he hates having to do this. he does not want to pardon Bolingbroke. he is only doing it because he will be overpowered if he does not. Northumberland asks King Richard to come down and meet Bolingbroke in the courtyard so they can talk face-to-face. Richard begrudgingly agrees. Bolingbroke kneels to Richard who retorts with, 'up, cousin, up. your heart is up, i know,/thus high at least (reaching for his crown), although your knee be low.' then...???

act 3, scene 4
the Queen is wandering about in York's garden with her lady. she is extremely depressed, and nothing can sway her from it. she sees the gardeners approaching. knowing that they will likely talk about current events, she decides to hide and listen in on their conversation in hopes that she will learn something of her Richard. the gardeners inadvertently reveal to her that Richard was 'seized' by Bolingbroke. the Queen reveals herself and prods them for more information. the gardener is unhappy to have to tell her that all is lost for Richard. the Queen immediately decides to go to him and leaves.

so York is really confusing me. we are told that York is on Bolingbroke's side, but he's not acting like it. he is physically with Bolingbroke, but his allegiance still seems to lie with Richard. what's up with that?

i am really confused about what happens at the end of act 3, scene 3. in the next scene we learn that Richard has succumbed to Bolingbroke. is that what is going on here? it's around line 196 that i get confused. any insight out there? love that zinger from Richard that i included in my little synopsis. so good!

scene 4 is an interesting little thing. Bevington calls this English garden a metaphor for the 'despoiled garden of Eden'. innnnnteresting. what do you think of that?

quote of the day:
'we are amazed; and thus long have we stood
to watch the fearful bending of thy knee,
because we thought ourself thy lawful king.
and if we be, how dare thy joints forget
to pay their awful duty to our presence?
if we be not, show us the hand of God
that hath dismissed us for our stewardship;
for well we know, no hand of blood and bone
can grip the sacred handle of our scepter,
unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.
and though you think that all, as you have done,
have torn their souls by turning them from us,
and we are barren and bereft of friends,
yet know, my master, God omnipotent,
is mustering in his clouds on our behalf
armies of pestilence; and they shall strike
your children yet unborn and unbegot,
that lift your vassal hands against my head
and threat the glory of my precious crown.'
   -King Richard; act 3, scene 3

for tomorrow: act 4

-rebecca may

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Tragedy of King Richard Act 3, Scenes 1 and 2


home from North Carolina. super bummed. missing my friends. haven't been feeling well. praying Sean gets into med school somewhere a little more north of here! let's jump in...

act 3, scene 1
Bolingbroke calls forth Bushy and Green. he harbors a grudge against them, blaming them for his banishment. and apparently, after he was banished, they plundered his belongings. Bolingbroke sends them off to be executed. he also sends word to the Queen that he has nothing but love for her and means her no harm.

act 3, scene 2
back in Wales, Richard finally arrives. he is happy until he is chided about Bolingbroke winning over England. without missing a beat, he comes right back with confidence that he is in the right and the traitor Bolingbroke will never win. (see quote below.) Salisbury enters to deliver bad news: Richard is a day too late. the Welsh army that was there to help him have all fled to Bolingbroke. they thought Richard was dead. Richard, however, feels optimistic. Scroop enters to deliver more bad news: Bolingbroke is wreaking havoc on England. many people are rebelling and joining his forces. Richard asks after Bushy, Green, etc. Scroop delivers even more bad news: they are dead. at this, Richard starts to FREAK OUT. Richard recovers momentarily to get a message sent to York to try and muster up an army. then he receives the worst news of all: York has deserted. he is now on Bolingbroke's side.

York?!?!? NOOOOOOOO.

whose side are we supposed to be on here? yet again, i don't know. Shakespeare is pretty darn good at that. what do you think? feel bad for Richard? think he deserves it?

quote of the day:
'discomfortable cousin, know'st thou not
that when the searching eye of heaven is hid
behind the globe that lights the lower world,
then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen
in murders and in outrage boldly here;
but when from under this terrestrial ball
he fires the proud tops of the eastern pines
and darts his light through every guilty hole,
then murders, treasons, and detested sins,
the cloak of night being plucked from off their backs,
stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves?
so when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke,
who all this while hath reveled in the night
whilst we were wand'ring with the Antipodes,
shall see us rising in our throne, the east,
his treasons will sit blushing in his face,
not able to endure the sight of day,
but, self-affrighted, tremble at his sin.'
   -King Richard; act 3, scene 2

for tomorrow: the rest of act 3

-rebecca may

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Tragedy of King Richard II Act 2, Scenes 2-4


so we drive from Florida to North Carolina to see Alice Ripley in Next to Normal- the last stop in the U.S. on Saturday, we have tickets in the 2nd to last row. we can't see anything, but at least we can hear the show. lol then on Sunday afternoon we have FRONT ROW tickets that we paid a pretty penny for. we are SOOO excited. we walk in the theater, and discover that Alice Ripley is not performing. i literally cried. because i'm ridiculous. (no offense, but it's just not even close to the same without Alice.) we wait around for a couple hours to see if she would perform that night, but no... SO BUMMED. so. bummed.

act 2, scene 2
the (no-name) Queen of King Richard is seriously depressed. her husband is gone to Ireland, but she also has a nagging feeling that there is more grief to come. just as Bushy is trying to convince her that she has no reason to be worried, Green enters with news of Bolingbroke's arrival on English soil. many of their kinsmen have fled to Bolingbroke, to fight on his side. York comes in. he is worried that the people of England are on Bolingbroke's side too. York asks their kinsmen that are left to muster up as many men as possible to fight for England. after York leaves, the men discuss how impossible they find this task. is anyone on Richard's side anymore? Bushy and Green plan to head to Bristol Castle, and Bagot will head to Ireland to fetch Richard.

act 2, scene 3
Bolingbroke, Northumberland, and co are trudging through England near Berkeley Castle when they catch up with Northumberland's son, Harry Percy. Percy delivers more bad news about the country falling apart to his father. York comes to talk to Bolingbroke and find out what the heck is going on. he basically gives Bolingbroke a big WTF. (see quote below.) Bolingbroke explains that he was banished as Bolingbroke, but when his father died, he became the new Duke of Lancaster. he returns as Lancaster now. York says that he understands where he is coming from, but he doesn't think it's right to take matters into your own hands. you must trust in God. Bolingbroke announces that he is headed to Bristol Castle to (talk?) with Bushy and the rest. York accompanies him.

act 2, scene 4
a Welsh captain is talking to Salisbury. the captain is explaining that they have been waiting for 10 days without word from King Richard. they are ready to split. Salisbury tries to convince him to stay just a little longer, but he won't. they fear that King Richard is dead.

this play is so weird. we start with this formal event, and i would call it the point of no return. but then it feels like it launches straight into the crisis. there's no build to that. it's just pow! right out of the gate! i really do wish we could see more of what has happened to Richard and how he has changed rather than just hearing from the characters that he has. what was he like before? what are his bad influences like? what do they do to get him to make these bad decisions? is he really a good guy underneath all that? i am also surprised by how little stage time Richard has actually had so far. where is he? what is he doing? i think that actually adds a lot. he's the king, but he doesn't ever seem to be around.

this play has too many characters!!! i just didn't even mention them all. there's so many guys coming in and out, pretty inconsequentially, and it's nuts. how would you even pay this many actors? lol. i wonder how much of this people cut when they produce this play.

i. love. York. he seems to be the only one with a good head on his shoulders. anyone else with me here?

quote of the day:
'grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle.
i am no traitor's uncle; and that word "grace"
in an ungracious mouth is but profane.
why have those banished and forbidden legs
dared once to touch a dust of England's ground?
but then more "why?" why have they dared to march
so many miles upon her peaceful bosom,
frighting her pale-faced villages with war
and ostentation of despised arms?'
   -York; act 2, scene 3

for tomorrow: act 3, scenes 1 and 2

-rebecca may

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Tragedy of King Richard II Act 2, Scene 1


we are currently in North Carolina having a fabulous time. there's nothing i would rather do than spend the weekend hanging out with my fiance, my roommate, one of my oldest friends, and her gorgeous family. oh yeah, and add the amazing Alice Ripley in the phenomenal Next to Normal? yes please! Shakespeare time is scarce, so let's go! it's going to be a quick one...

act 2, scene 1
Gaunt is dying and desperately wants to talk to Richard. (see quote below.) when Richard shows up with his peops, Gaunt really lays into him. he tells Richard to slow down and basically be better at his job or he will pay for it. Richard brushes him off, of course. Gaunt leaves. moments later, he is dead. Richard immediately turns his attention toward warring with Ireland. Richard plans to seize everything of Gaunt's to help fund his plans. York can't take it anymore. he speaks out against this plan, but Richard won't listen. York leaves, disgusted. Richard makes plans to leave the next day for Ireland and leaves. left behind are some of his men, who begin to reveal that they are actually unhappy with Richard's plans. they are concerned that he is not himself lately. he has squandered so much money (on who-knows-what), taxes his people unfairly, and is losing the favor of the people. these men have heard that Bolingbroke is on his way back ready to fight Richard. the men leave to meet with him.

my favorite part of this is that the Queen's name in the play is "Queen". she has no real name. GREAT.

i also found it interesting that line 280 is missing. possibly censored? ooooh. wish i knew what it was!

we keep hearing that Richard is acting differently lately. why is that so? we keep hearing that he is surrounded by bad influences. who? and why? and instead of deserting him or working against him, why doesn't anyone just try to help him get away from those bad influences? what's the deal here? and also, as always with the histories, i wonder how close to reality this is. anyone know any of these answers?

quote of the day:
'methinks i am a prophet new inspired,
and thus expiring do foretell of him:
his rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
for violent fires soon burn out themselves;
small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;
he tires betimes that spurns too fast betimes;
with eager feeding food doth choke the feeder;
light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
consuming means, soon preys upon itself.'

for tomorrow: the rest of act 2

-rebecca may

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Tragedy of King Richard II Act 1, Scenes 2-4


1 day til harry potter, 2 days til north carolina, and 3 days til Next to Normal! SO EXCITED IT'S INSANE!!! i'm ready! i do have to get through 2 days of work before the fun begins, but i can do it. and speaking of work, i work a late shift tonight, so let's do it to it!

act 1, scene 2
Gaunt and the Duchess of Gloucester (widow to the Duke of G, supposedly killed by Mowbray) are in the middle of a heated discussion. the Duchess wants Gaunt to take matters into his own hands and take care of Mowbray, but Gaunt prefers to do nothing. he will leave matters to fate, a.k.a. the will of God. the Duchess tries everything, but Gaunt will not budge. they part, the Duchess alluding to her death.

act 1, scene 3
it is St. Lambert's Day! everyone is gathered for the battle between Mowbray and Bolingbroke. according to their beliefs in "trial by combat", the person who is guilty will die in this fight. they go through all the formalities of getting the fight underway, but at the last minute, King Richard calls it off. he really doesn't want them to fight. (remember, he thinks it will be bad luck for England for this to happen at this time of year.) Richard reveals that the he and the other powers that be have come up with a sentence for the two men. Bolingbroke will be banished for ten years. Mowbray, however, is banished forever. Richard also has them swear that they will under no circumstances meet again. Bolingbroke has some final words for Mowbray (see quote below.) and Mowbray warns Richard that Bolingbroke may not be what he appears to be. Mowbray leaves. Richard sees how sad Gaunt is. he feels so sorry for him that he reduces Bolingbroke's banishment from ten years to six years. Richard leaves. Gaunt and his son Bolingbroke say their goodbyes. Gaunt tries to get Bolingbroke to think positively, but he just can't.

act 1, scene 4
King Richard receives word about Mowbray and Bolingbroke's exit from England. Richard is concerned about the way the commoners reacted to Bolingbroke leaving. he is wary of his relationship with the people. now that the banishment is out of the way, they will turn their attention toward the ;rebels which stand out in Ireland'. Richard tells his peops that they will farm out their land or get extra tax money from the wealthy people of England- whatever it takes to fuel their battle against Ireland.

in scene 2, is the Duchess saying she is going to kill herself? i'm not sure i'm reading that right.

is Mowbray's warning about Bolingbroke in scene 3 a bit of foreshadowing? i have a bad feeling about Bolingbroke. he seems like bad news. and then this warning from Mowbray. i think Bolingbroke might cause some trouble for Richard and England.

now to scene 4... so Richard is a little concerned about Bolingbroke's relationship with the people of England. is this the real reason Bolingbroke is banished? was this whole thing just an excuse to get rid of him? or is this concern something new?

oooh Richard. in scene 4 i am really starting to see the seeds of an inadequate ruler. anyone else with me on this?

quote of the day:
'Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy:
by this time, had the King permitted us,
one of our souls had wandered in the air,
banished this frail sepulcher of our flesh,
as now our flesh is banished from this land.
confess thy treasons ere thou fly this realm.
since thou hast far to go, bear not along
the clogging burden of a guilty soul
   -Bolingbroke; act 1, scene 3

for tomorrow: act 2, scene 1

-rebecca may

The Tragedy of King Richard II


only 3 days til we are in North Carolina!!!!!!! yahoo! we will get to see one of my two best friends, her husband, her wonderful children, and we get to see Next to Normal on tour with Alice Ripley! TWICE!!! gah! it's going to be an AMAZING weekend and i just can't wait to be there. and hoppppefully the car ride will afford plenty of time for Shakespearing! yeah, that's right, i just made a proper noun into a verb. i hope to finish this play this week. woot.

act 1, scene 1
in some sort of royal formal setting, King Richard and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster are entertaining complaints brought to them by Bolingbroke (John's son and Richard's cousin) and Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Lancaster. Bolingbroke and Mowbray are there to accuse each other of high treason. the accepted course to take care of a dispute of that nature is trial by combat, and the two men are ready and willing to battle it out. Bolingbroke accuses Mowbray of three different counts of treason. Mowbray denies it all, of course, with reasonable explanations. King Richard asks them to make peace. (see quote below.) the men, however, will not give in. King Richard, unhappy with the outcome, tells them they will have their opportunity to battle on September 17, Saint Lambert's Day.

so this is that formality Bevington was warning us about that open and conclude this play. i certainly hope it drops off for the rest of the play. i find this style of writing to be extremely difficult to read. anyone else?

i'm not sure i'm completely clear on the nuances of this dispute. i understand that Bolingbroke and Mowbray don't like each other and are accusing each other of various things. Richard tries to get them to let it go, but they won't.  my questions are: why is it Bolingbroke turning Mowbray in for treason? what is their relationship? and what exactly does Mowbray have against Bolingbroke? i'm extremely unclear on that.

Saint Lambert's Day! how cool. so Saint Lambert's Day is September 17. September 17 also happens to be my lucky day. and i have celebrated it as such every single year since... 2000 or so. so it's cool to learn about this. i also learned that Saint Lambert was killed for upholding marital fidelity. what a cool dude. he was like- no hoes for me! i can stand behind that.

quote of the day:
'wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruled by me;
let's purge this choler without letting blood.
this we prescribe, though no physician;
deep malice makes too deep incision.
forget, forgive; conclude and be agreed;
our doctors say this is no month to bleed.'
   -King Richard

for tomorrow: the rest of act 1!

-rebecca may

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Tragedy of King Richard the Second Intro Info


new play! woohoo! wow, life is so good. today i got to sleep in, do a little Shakespeare, watch some tv, and tonight i get to go out for dinner with my amazingly wonderful and handsome fiance. yay for today! also, as far as Richard II goes, i know nothing going into this. and by nothing i mean NOTHING, so if there's anyone out there with knowledge of this play, do share! please and thank you!

stuff i learned about Richard II today:
-okay so i just figured out that this tetralogy (comprised of Richard II, the two Henry IVs, and Henry V) immediately precedes the Henry VI/Richard III tetralogy chronologically. so Henry V will leave off where we started 1 Henry VI. it's kind of cool to read them in reverse like that, when we already know what will ultimately happen at the end of the Wars of the Roses. wouldn't it be cool to see all 8 done... like across a year or something... starting with this play? i'm sure someone has done that before. would. be. awesome.
-be on the look out for this one central paradox explored in the play: a good man and a good ruler in one person is... impossible? does one cancel the other out? Richard is charming, interesting, and introspective, but an incompetent king. is Bolingbroke the opposite?
-also look for 'dirty politics going on behind the display' of what looks like a perfectly sound government. the doctrine of passive obedience was common during Richard's time, and still was during the Elizabethan time that this was written in. divine right and passive obedience go together, basically meaning that the ruler of England is chosen by God. whoever it is, good or bad, is meant to be in power. if the ruler is bad, the people are meant to see it as a test given them by God. they should remain passively obedient and deal with it until someone better comes along. to fight against the powers that be is to question God's authority.
if you think about it, it's pretty ingenious of the ruling powers to pass down this doctrine. of course rebellions happened, but it was a pretty smart way to keep them at a minimum. clever. very clever.
-maybe we see a slight anticipation of King Lear in Richard II? we can determine that as we go.
-and apparently this play kind of fits in with the "lyrical" period with Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

i'm excited for this one! and i hope you will read along with me!

for tomorrow: act 1, scenes 1 and 2

-rebecca may

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sonnets 48-51


hola everyone! brace yourselves, it's another day of sonnets. and guess what starts tomorrow? Richard II! i am super stoked because i know absolutely nothing at all about the play or the Henry IV plays that follow. i do know and love Henry V which comes up right afterward, and i love that play! (and the Branagh film version.) so if that's any indication of what's to come, it's gonna be a great run! and holy crap, after this set there's only one history to go! crazy. anyway, it feels good to finally feel like i'm starting to conquer this beast. i can do it!

#48-the poet has gone on a journey, being very careful to make sure all of his possessions are secure from thieves. the one thing he forgot to lock away was his lover. (see quote below.) will his lover be safe until he returns?
#49- if his lover should be untrue to him, he wouldn't defend himself. he doesn't have any good reasons why she should love him. he's a little paranoid.
#50- his journey is long and hard. he feels a strange paradox: all he wants is for the trip to be over because he is so tired, but the closer he gets to his destination, the further he is from his love and his happiness.
#51- why should he travel quickly when his journey takes him far from her? on the way home is when he will use speed.

i'm getting more used to the sonnets, but i honestly can't yet say that i love them. i maintain that they would be better enjoyed one at a time rather than in blocks. and i wish i had someone to talk to about the sonnets. someone who knew more than me and/or has some insight to share. i feel like they would be more fun if we discussed them.

no real insight to offer. it's a light day for me in Shakespeare Land!

quote of the day:
'how careful was i, when i took my way,
each trifle under truest bars to thrust,
that to my use it might unused stay
from hands of falsehood, in sure wards of trust!
but thou, to whom my jewels trifles are,
most worthy comfort, now my greatest grief,
thou best of dearest and mine only care,
art left the prey of every vulgar thief.'
   -sonnet 48

for tomorrow: Richard II Intro Info!

13 plays, 4 poems, 51 sonnets down. 25 plays, 1 poem, 103 sonnets to go. yikes! it's time for Shakespeare overdrive!

-rebecca may

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Merchant of Venice Act 5


wahoo! another play under my belt! i am going to have to knuckle down through July and august and really attack this stuff so i can get a bunch of them read and a lot faster or i'm never going to make it! I CAN DO IT i can do iticandoitiCANdoit! woot!

act 5, scene 1
Lorenzo and Jessica engage in friendly banter until Stephano arrives with news that Portia and Nerissa will arrive soon. Lancelot also enters with news that Bassanio and Gratiano will arrive with Antonio in tow. Portia arrives first, and makes everyone promise they will not tell the boys that they have been gone from Belmont. everyone agrees just in time for the boys to arrive. introductions are made and everyone is happy until Gratiano and Nerissa get into a fight. she has 'noticed' that he isn't wearing the ring she gave him. Portia 'notices' the same of Bassanio. Portia and Nerissa give them a REALLY hard time about it although they, of course, have the rings. Bassanio makes excuses, and Portia meets them every step of the way. (see quote below.) eventually the girls 'forgive' the guys and offer them new rings, which are actually the old rings. they momentarily pretend that they got the rings by sleeping with the doctor and the clerk, but the truth is soon revealed. all is well. Portia reveals that (gasp) some of Antonio's ships have made it after all. he is saved! Portia also reveals to Lorenzo and Jessica that they are inheriting Shylock's estate when he dies. and they all lived happily ever after... except Shylock.

FOR THE RECORD: i am still on Shylock's side til the very end. the lovers are mean-spirited fools. i don't think Shylock's a villain at all. to me, he;s just a man at the end of his long, weary, frayed rope.

big question: what's the point of this scene? and it's so long for no reason! opinion: this scene is dumb. why is it that in these plays people always lie to each other and are immediately forgiven? it's nuts!

what a strange little play this is. seriously. weird. it starts as a romantic comedy. it ends as a romantic comedy. but in the middle it's sort of a social drama. it reminds me of how Romeo and Juliet starts off feeling like a romantic comedy but turns into a tragedy. he's really good at this genre-bending thing. i wonder how revolutionary (or not) that was at the time these plays were performed. i know it is surprising to me now! loving it. hope there's more to come.

i do love how Shakespeare keeps writing these sassy, take-charge, intelligent women. not always, of course, but there have definitely been a few. get it Shakespeare!

quote of the day:
'Bassanio: sweet Portia,
if you did know to whom i gave the ring,
if you did know for whom i gave the ring,
and would conceive for what i gave the ring,
and how unwillingly i left the ring,
when naught would be accepted but the ring,
you would abate the strength of your displeasure.

Portia: if you had known the virtue of the ring,
or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
or your own honor to contain the ring,
you would not have then parted with the ring.'

for tomorrow: sonnets!

-rebecca may, unabashed Shylock lover!

The Merchant of Venice Act 4, Scenes 1 and 2


hellooooo everyone! second day off is at hand. i hoped to wake early this morning to get a lot accomplished so i could spend my evening reading or playing video games, but unfortunately our car got towed last night. we had to get a ride to the tow place. the towing guys were complete and utter JERKS (i'm sure you've experienced this before). and we had to pay a bunch of money to get our car back even though i parked at my own church, where i've parked a dozen of times outside of church hours. !!! but whatevs. so anyway, we didn't get home til like 4 am. it was INSANE! so i couldn't drag myself up early and i didn't get started soon enough and so... no fun and games tonight for me. but eventually I WILL TRIUMPH! oh yes, i will. my goal is to have one whole day where i do no chores, no errands, no tasks for other people-- i spend the WHOLE DAY just relaxing, watching movies, playing games, reading, and having a good ol' time. just mark my words, it WILL happen... but for now... on to Shakespeare!

act 4, scene 1
the Duke, Shylock, Antonio, etc are all gathered in court. the Duke offers his sympathy to Antonio, but Antonio is resigned to accept his fate. the Duke spends a lot of time trying to talk Shylock out of taking the pound of flesh, but it doesn't work. Shylock has a pretty credible argument. (see quote below.) the Duke has called a doctor to court. this doctor is conveniently Portia's uncle (remember, she got men's clothes from him?), and so Portia and Nerissa arrive dressed as men. Portia plays the young doctor sent by her uncle. she/he tries to talk Shylock out of this pound of flesh thing, but it still doesn't work. Shylock is resolute. finally Portia proclaims that there is nothing she can do; Shylock will have his pound. he is stoked! but wait... the doctor has just thought of something... Shylock can have his pound of flesh, but he's not allowed to shed one drop of blood or he's in violation of the bond. Shylock immediately realizes where this is going and tries to just get the money back instead. instead, Portia continues to taunt him: oh yeah, if an 'alien' threatens a citizen, it's against the law. that means the government and Antonio are entitled to all of his assets. Antonio offers this option: if Shylock will become a Christian, he can have half of his assets back. also, he has to agree to leave everything to his deserting daughter and her husband when he dies. Shylock is crushed. he asks to be given leave because he is not feeling well. if the papers are sent to him, he will sign them. he leaves and everyone else celebrates.
act 4, scene 2
papers are delivered to Shylock. and Bassanio gives the ring his wife (Portia) gave him to the disguised Portia. (it's complicated.)

why is Antonio so resigned? why?!? WHY?!?!?!?

why was a doctor called to court? i'm not quite understanding that one.

oh yeah, also... i'm still on Shylock's side!!!

Christianity by force? good one, Antonio! i repeat, i am on Shylock;s side here. was this common then? harass someone and pressure them into being a Christian until they really have no choice? nice. it really does feel like Shakespeare is trying to shed some light on huge social injustices. what do you think?

here's how i feel about this: you beat a dog until it learns to growl and bite at you. it growls and bites at you. you beat it. (get where i'm going here?)

quote of the day:
'what judgement shall i dread, doing no wrong?
you have among you many a purchased slave,
which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
you use in abject and in slavish parts,
because you bought them. shall i say to you,
"let them be free, marry them to your heirs!
why sweat they under burdens? let their beds
be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
be seasoned with such viands?" you will answer
"the slaves are ours." so do i answer you:
the pound of flesh which i demand of him
is dearly bought, is mine, and i will have it."
   -Shylock; act 4, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 5, or parts thereof

-rebecca may

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Merchant fo Venice Act 3, Scenes 3-5


first of two days off! wahoo. i mean, of course i will end up spending all my time cleaning and working, but i'd rather do it at home than at work! right??? ok but for real there's a lot to do so let's hop to it!

act 3, scene 3
Shylock, Antonio, a jailer, and Solanio are on the streets of Venice. Antonio asks Shylock to hear his pleas, but Shylock will not. (see quote below.) Shylock leaves them and Antonio admits that he understands why Shylock wants him dead. Solanio thinks that the Duke won't let it happen, but Antonio understands that the Duke won't get in the way of the law.

act 3, scene 4
back in Belmont, Portia tells Lorenzo, Jessica, and Nerissa that she wants to be alone in prayer until Bassanio comes home. she and Nerissa will go to a convent. Portia asks Lorenzo and Jessica to watch over her people for her while she is away. they agree and go about their business. once they are gone, Portia sends her man Balthasar off to fetch some men's clothing from her uncle. he goes, and she admits to Nerissa that her plan is for them to go to Venice dressed as men to aid their husbands.

act 3, scene 5
Lancelot tells Jessica that he thinks she is damned for turning on her father. that is, unless her father isn't actually her father. Jessica is feeling pretty low until Lorenzo comes in to comfort her. Lancelot goes to make sure dinner is prepared and set, and Jessica tells Lorenzo how much she likes Portia.

booya! Antonio admits he understands! so is he also admitting that he consciously tried to screw up Shylock's business? also, do i have it straight- when someone owed Shylock money, Antonio would give it to the person (interest-free) so Shylock wouldn't gain the interest? that's Shylock's livelihood he's messing with! no wonder he's a miser. he never knows when Antonio is going to screw things up for him. i understand that i am saying this from the perspective of a society where gaining money from interest is very VERY common. in fact, it's expected. back then it wasn't yet. but still! Antonio admitted he was screwing with Shylock's business. while hurling racial slurs and spit at him. Antonio is no saint, no matter what Bassanio thinks.

why is Antonio so resigned? guilt? weariness? defeat? martyr syndrome?

what in the HECK is the point of act 3, scene 5? like... for real? each scene has moved so much until now.

quote of the day:
'i'll have my bond. speak not against my bond.
i have sworn an oath that i will have my bond.
thou calledst me dog before thou hadst a cause,
but since i am a dog, beware my fangs.
the Duke shall grant me justice.
   -Shylock; act 3, scene 3

for tomorrow: act 4!

-rebecca may

The Merchant of Venice Act 3, Scenes 1 and 2


happy fourth of July, everyone! i celebrated by sleeping in, visiting my grandma for a couple of hours, working, and finishing my night off at my friend Robin's house over a yummy dinner and some sangria while fireworks went off in her neighborhood for hours. it was quite a fun and eventful day.this did not leave much time for Shakespeare, but i managed to squeeze in bits and pieces here and there to get my reading donezo! hope you are reading along and enjoying this play as much as i am!

act 3, scene 1
Salerio and Solanio are discussing the current state of affairs for Antonio. unfortunately, he has lost one of his ships. Shylock comes on the scene, very upset by the loss of his daughter and his money. Salerio and Solanio give him a hard time about it, but Shylock won't hear it. they also bring up Antonio's lost ship to Shylock, doubting that he will actually take that pound of flesh he said he would. he shuts them up real quick. (see quote below.) the gentlemen exit as Tubal enters to deliver news to Shylock. Tubal has searched high and low, but he hasn't found Jessica. he has, however, learned that a bunch of Antonio's ships have wrecked. Shylock also learns that his daughter traded a ring of her mother's in order to buy a monkey. fueled by his rage toward his daughter, Shylock sends Tubal to fetch a bailiff to take care of this Antonio business.

act 3, scene 2
Bassanio, Portia, Gratiano, and Nerissa are in Portia's house, enjoying each other's company. Portia doesn't want Bassanio to try the challenge yet because she doesn't want him to leave, but he just wants to do it and get it over with. when he does choose, he passes right over gold and silver to choose lead. in that case, of course, Bassanio finds an image of Portia and a little rhyme that tells Bassanio that he has won Portia's hand. Portia is extremely happy, as is Bassanio. Portia gives him a ring to seal the deal. Gratiano then reveals that he and Nerissa want to get married too. although Portia and Bassanio are shocked, they are happy for them as well. Lorenzo, Jessica, Salerio, and a messenger arrive. Salerio has dragged them there to give Bassanio a letter from Antonio. from Antonio's letter they learn of what has happened back in Venice with Antonio. Bassanio also admits the full truth to Portia. Portia supports Bassanio completely. she tells him to get the heck out of there and go help his friend.

i must say... i am still totally on Shylock's side here. yeah, if my daughter sold my dead wife's ring for a monkey, i'd be pretty ticked off too. and if this jerk messed with me every single day and i had a chance to get back at him, i might do that too. okay, i wouldn't cut off a chunk of his flesh but you know what i mean... is anyone else with me on this one?

i also noticed that i was actually a little moved by Portia and Bassanio's romance. i find the romances in Shakespeare's work to be more and more touching. the first few plays, i didn't care at all about the couples, but now i'm starting to come around. i don't know if it's me or Shakespeare, but i'm diggin' it. i can't wait to see what happens next!!!

quote of the day:
'Salerio: ...thou wilt not take his flesh. what's that good for?
Shylock: to bait fish withal. if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. he hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? i am a Jew. hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? if you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? if we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. if a Jew, wrong a Christian, what is his humility? revenge. if a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? why, revenge. the villainy you teach me i will execute, and it shall go hard but i will better the instruction.'
   -act 3, scene 1

for tomorrow: the rest of act 3. wahoo!

-rebecca may, fellow traveler of Shylock

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Merchant of Venice Act 2, Scenes 6-9


it's been another crazy day! meeting at LUSH for two hours, closed Veronica's Room, went to lunch after with the cast and crew, went to see Tree of Life (so good), ran errands, read Shakespeare, and now i'm watching Falling Skies with my Sean. good times! but as usual, it puts me in a mad dash to get some sleep! so before i pass out, let's get our Shakespeare on!

act 2, scene 6
Gratiano and Salerio are waiting for Lorenzo to show up at Shylock/Jessica's house. Lorenzo finally shows up with his apologies, and calls Jessica down. she is dressed as a boy in order to flee more easily. she is super self-conscious about it, but Lorenzo reassures her that he loves her regardless. Lorenzo, Jessica, and Salerio exit, but Gratiano is caught by Antonio's entrance before he leaves. Antonio tells Gratiano that he must go at once. Bassanio is leaving that night! the masque is cancelled. it's time to go to Belmont!

act 2, scene 7
Portia is with Morocco, trying to beat the riddle so he can marry her. the curtain is drawn and 3 chests are revealed: one with gold, one with silver, and one with lead. each has a little rhyme on it. Morocco tries to work it out, and eventually picks the chest of gold. that, however, is the wrong choice. (see quote below.) he is sent packing, and Portia is not sorry to see him go.

act 2, scene 8
meanwhile, Salerio and Solanio update us on what's been going on in Venice. Bassanio and Gratiano have taken off in their ship toward Belmont. Jessica and Lorenzo have disappeared, but didn't make it to the ship. Shylock is RAGING. it is unclear whether he's more upset about losing his daughter or the money she took with her. and in worse news, they've heard that one of Antonio's ships might have come to a bad end.

act 2, scene 9
a new suitor has come for Portia. this time, the Prince of Aragon is the one to take a stab at the challenge. unlike Morocco, however, Aragon picks silver. just like Morocco, he has chosen wrong. as he leaves, a new suitor is arriving. according to a messenger, this suitor is different. Portia and her waiting gentlewoman hope it's Bassanio.

again, i am feeling bad for Shylock rather than seeing him as a villain. i remember in a couple of the other plays that it was around late act 3 or early act 4 that Shakespeare does the old switcheroo on us. and then we change sides. so will Shakespeare pull that on us again? right now i see a man who has fought to make a living, suffered against prejudice, and has a defense mechanism of being a stickler about money because he had to work so hard to get it. he hates Christians because they hate him. he hates Lorenzo because he took his daughter and his money. so far, i completely understand where Shylock is coming from. is a change of heart looming?

i heard a great RadioLab about speech where they talked about all the different words and sayings that Shakespeare invented that we still use today. it is actually quite remarkable. there are SO many of them. check it out if you can! and see one such phrase below...

quote of the day:
'all that glisters is not gold;
often have you heard that told.
many a man his life hath sold
but my outside to behold.
gilded tombs do worms infold.'
   -act 2, scene 7

for tomorrow: act 3!

-rebecca may

The Merchant of Venice Act 2, Scenes 1-5


crazy times, crazy times! workin workin workin. LUSH is a great summer job and a STELLAR company. if you've never used LUSH before, you are seriously missing out! check it out. okay, now that i've plugged my new favorite green company, on to shakespeare. oh yeah.

act 2, scene 1
Morocco, the latest of Portia's suitors, begs her not to judge him by the dark tone of his skin. he is much adored by the ladies of Morocco. Portia isn't particularly impressed by that, but assures him that she likes him just as much as any of her suitors. she makes Morocco promise that if he fails the 'lott'ry' set out by her late father, he will never try to woo her again. he agrees. it is decided that he will face the challenge after dinner.

act 2, scene 2
Lancelot, Shylock's servant, is going on and on about... something. he is debating whether or not to leave Shylock to work for Bassanio, that much is clear. it is also clear that he doesn't like Shylock for many reasons, one of which is because he doesn't feed Lancelot enough. Lancelot's blind father, Gobbo, comes down the road looking for Shylock and Lancelot. Gobbo has a gift for Shylock. but instead of just helping him, Lancelot has to have his fun and confuse the poor old man. finally, Bassanio comes along. Gobbo and Lancelot ask him to let Lancelot be his servant. with all of his borrowed money, Bassanio is preparing to go to Belmont. he is trying to look upper crust, with his servants decked out in uniform. Lancelot wants in on this action. Bassanio agrees to take him on and sends orders for Lancelot to have the nicest uniform of all. Gratiano enters, begging Bassanio to take him to Belmont with him. Bassanio is hesitant because Gratiano tends to get a little rowdy. Gratiano promises to be on his best behavior... after tonight. tonight they will feast and get their drink on.

act 2, scene 3
Jessica is sorry to see Lancelot go. she is miserable living with her father, and Lancelot has provided her with some joy. before Lancelot can go, however, Jessica gives him a letter to give to Lorenzo. Jessica feels bad that she is ashamed of Shylock, but desperately wants to get out of his house so she can marry Lorenzo.

act 2, scene 4
Lorenzo, Gratiano, Salerio, and Solanio are plotting. what they are plotting is unclear to me. (see questions below.) they are supposed to dine with Shylock that night, but something fishy is going on. and part of it has to do with Jessica.

act 2, scene 5
Shylock calls for his daughter, Jessica, as he talks to Lancelot. Shylock explains to Jessica that he is headed out to dinner with Bassanio and his crew. he has a bad feeling about going to dine with his enemies, but will anyway. Lancelot lets it slip that there is something going down with masques. Shylock is taken aback, but still decides to go, demanding that Jessica shut herself up in the house as tight as can be. Shylock reflects that he likes Lancelot, but he eats too much and is too slow. he's happy for his enemy to have these problems instead of him. (see quote below.) Shylock leaves and Jessica is left home alone.

this play is really clipping right along, isn't it? i feel like the scenes in other plays have been so much longer. is this a trend we are going to see more of? and either way, why? would be interesting to look into. anybody have any insight?

ew Morocco. he's a little full of himself, isn't he? he reminds me of the suitor in Aladdin hahaha. and Raja eats his pants. hahaha. good times. now here's my question: does Portia really like him, or is she giving him a backhanded compliment when she says: 'yourself, renowned Prince, then stood as fair/as any comer i have looked on yet.' she hasn't liked any of her suitors. is this an obvious joke she's making and i'm questioning it for no reason or what?

i'm gonna say it- Lancelot is really hard to follow. when he talks i mostly have no idea what's going on. or i think i do and then it doesn't make sense in context or doesn't amount to anything. first monologue in scene 2? help!

i am also a little confused about the masques. like... what the heck is going on? i think the boys are up to no good, but i don't really get it further than that. and i'm not sure what Jessica is up to either. i get that she's in love with Lorenzo, but i don't get what it is they are trying to do. maybe it will all become clear in the scenes to come?

quote of the day:
'the patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder,
snail-snow in profit, and he sleeps by day
more than the wildcat. drones hive not with me;
therefore i part with him, and part with him
to one that i would have him help to waste
his borrowed purse. well, Jessica, go in.
perhaps i will return immediately.
do as i bid you. shut doors after you.
fast bind, fast find--
a proverb never stale in thrifty mind.'
   -Shylock; act 2, scene 5

for tomorrow: act 2, scenes 6-9

-rebecca may