Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Megan on Adonis

Adonis (Megan Howard)

From Royal Shakespeare Company 2004 Production of Venus and Adonis

Why Does Adonis Not Love Venus?
Adonis does not love Venus because her love is but lust which is confused for love. “Call it not love, for Love to heaven is fled, / Since sweating Lust on earth usurp’d his name…” (815-816). Adonis loves himself enough to not let lovely lust entertain his heart in youth, but spend his youth enjoying the world, for in experiencing the world Adonis will learn more of himself. “…my heart stands armed in mine ear / And will not let a false sound enter there…” (801-802) “Before I know myself, seek not to know me.” (525). He scorns Venus sharp lust, “He winks and turns his lips another way” (90), as it jails him to solely her instead of freeing him to experience the wonders of the world. “You crush me. Let me go. / You have no reason to withhold me so.” (611-612)“…you will fall again / Into your idle overhandled theme.” (769-770) And thus, he dies doing what Venus kept him from experiencing. In this, two interpretations can be seen. One being, let love go and it may return. Another being, lust is meant to be discouraged as it entraps. Love should be reserved for when one knowns themselves and another has learned of them. Then, when two know each other equally, they will find true love.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Hallie on FQ 1.11

Una shows Redcrosse where her parents are being held captive; it is in a tower guarded by a fierce dragon. Upon Una and Redcrosse seeing this tower, the dragon prepares for battle with Redcrosse. The dragon is covered in impenetrable scales, the gory remains of his last victims in his mouth. Redcrosse and the dragon engage in battle, and Redcrosse is knocked over by the dragon. The knight’s sword strikes the dragon, but doesn’t penetrate the scales of his foe—later, Redcrosse wounds the dragon’s neck, causing an immense gush of blood that partially floods the surrounding land. Subsequently after this, the dragon scorches Redcrosse, causing agony, as he is burned through his armor. After this, Redcrosse is exhausted, wanting to give up.
By luck, he finds himself stumbling into a well called “The Well of Life;” the dragon throws him into it. In this well, Redcrosse is not only restored to physical wellness, but is simultaneously cleansed of his sins. The dragon believes that he has won the battle; all night, Una is terrified, believing this Redcrosse has been defeated. In the morning, Redcrosse emerges from the fountain, stronger than before, and Una is amazed. The dragon is frustrated and also perplexed by Redcrosse’s recovery, and battle ensues once more. The dragon stabs Redcrosse with his poisonous tail, after Redcrosse lands a successful blow to the dragon’s skull. The wound, though severe, does not inhibit Redcrosse from slicing off the tail of the dragon, as he remembers his oath to Una. The fight between the dragon and Redcrosse continues, and the dragon breathes a plume of fire into the sky. This heat is so intense that Redcrosse has to retreat; as a result, he just so happens to stagger into a stream that runs from the Tree of Life. This holy space does not allow the dragon to approach it. In this time, Redcrosse is healed once more by the water of the stream and the healing balm that Una simultaneously applies to his wounds. The next morning, Redcrosse has healed once again. This greatly distresses the dragon, and for the third day, the knight and the dragon engage in battle. The dragon attempts to swallow Redcrosse, hoping to once and for all end his life. However, Redcrosse stabs the dragon through the mouth, which kills the dragon. Dismayed at the fact that the dragon is dead, Una thanks Redcrosse and prays.

Canto 11, stanza 46:

There grew a goodly tree him faire beside,
Loaden with fruit and apples rosie red,
As they in pure vermilion had beene dide,
Whereof great vertues over all were red:
For happie life to all, which thereon fed,
And life eke everlasting did befall:
Gread God it planted in that blessed sted
With his almightie hand, and did it call
The tree of life, the crime of our first fathers fall.

Image: Walter Crane’s 1897 illustration in The Faerie Queene.

Source: http://afrozenator.tumblr.com/

Tara on FQ 1.10

The Faerie Queene 1.10: The House of Holinesse (Tara Olivero)

Illustration by Walter Crane, showing Caelia surrounded by Speranza and Fidelia, with the other characters of the House of Holinesse along the exterior frame (source here).

Canto 10 begins with a reminder from the narrator that “all the good is Gods,” as Una leads Redcrosse to the House of Holiness to recover after his physical weakening from his imprisonment by Orgoglio and his spiritual weakening after his encounter with Despaire. The ancient house is governed by Caelia (“heavenly one”), the mother of three daughters: Fidelia (faith), Speranza (hope), and Charissa (love), the first two of which are virgins and the last and youngest of which is married with children.

Una and Redcrosse find the door locked upon arrival but the Porter, Humilta (“humility”) lets them in. They meet the host, Zele, and a squire, Reverence, who leads them to Caelia, who embraces Una, whose parental plights Caelia is already aware. Caelia asks Una what “grace” led them to this place and notes that few choose the narrow path to righteousness as she and Redcrosse seem to have done. Una explains that they came to visit Caelia and rest.

Caelia’s virgin daughters arrive and the narrator describes each in turn. Fidelia (faith) is dressed in white, the color of purity, and holds a golden cup of water and wine in one hand and a book in the other, a common representation of St. John the Evangelist. The footnote in the text explains that Fidelia “establishes the priority of faith as the basis for good works” (13). Speranza (hope) is dressed in blue, the color symbolic of hope, and carries a silver anchor on her arm that seems to unbalance her, but she keeps her balance and her course by keeping her eyes set on heaven above. Their other sister, Charissa (love) is not able to visit Redcrosse and Una because she recently had a child. A manservant named Obedience leads Una and Redcrosse to their beds.

After they’ve rested, Una requests Fidelia to teach Redcrosse “celestiall discipline” (18). She teaches him from her book and imparts “heavenly learning” and the wisdom of her divine words. Upon hearing of all this heavenly grace, Redcrosse begins to feel guilty, “greev’d with remembrance of his wicked wayes,” and feels suicidal like he did back in the previous canto with Despaire (21). Speranza comforts Redcrosse, encouraging him to take hold of hope, while Una is described as being confused about Redcrosse’s guilt and unhappiness. Caelia, who has been well acquainted with humans plagued by guilt and regret for their sins, proscribed a Leach named Patience. Redcrosse’s heart is lightened by Patience but not completely cured. Still feeling the corruption of his sin, he fasts and prays with Amendment (correction, reformation) at hand, as well as Penance, Remorse, and Repentance (the three stages of addressing sin: punishment, sorrow, and resolution not to sin again).

During this soul cleanse, Redcrosse often tears at his flesh in torment, which distresses Una to the point of tearing at her own clothing and hair, though she resolves herself to patiently wait for him to bear it out. Finally, once he’s recovered, he is brought to Una, who kisses him. She then brings him to Charissa (love), who is wearing a golden headdress, is surrounded by a number of children, and is seen with a pair of turtle doves (symbols of true love). Una requests Charissa to teach Redcrosse even further, so she begins to instruct him in love and righteousness, teaching him “the ready path” (33). Charissa also calls on help from an ancient matron, Mercie (mercy, obviously), who takes Redcrosse on a narrow path blocked by thorns and briars, which she removes along the way to let him pass, symbolizing God’s mercy clearing the path to righteousness. She leads him to a charitable hostel for the reception of pilgrims and travellers, housing seven pensioners who pray for the welfare of others and help take care of them. The narrator describes the jobs of each one and notes that Mercie is the patroness of this hostel, and Charissa (love) is the founder.

Redcrosse remains there to be instructed in “godly worke[s]” until he has reached mortal perfection (45). After his schooling, Mercie takes him to a Hermitage - though unlike Archimago’s hermitage in Canto 1 down in a valley, this one is on a hill. Contemplation is the blind, white-haired holy man who resides there. He calls Redcrosse a “man of earth,” referencing both his true identity as St. George and his transformation from a man of earth to a man of heaven (52). Contemplation leads Redcrosse to the “highest Mount” compared to many high mountains of revelation from the Bible, upon which they can see the city of Hierusalem in the distance, surrounded by angels.

This leads to one particularly good stanza, stanza 55:

From thence, far off he unto him did shew
A litle path, that was both steepe and long,
Which to a goodly Citie led his vew;
Whose wals and towres were builded high and strong,
Of perle and precious stone, that earthly tong
Cannot describe, nor wit of man can tell;
Too high a ditty for my simple song;
The Citie of the great king hight it well,
Wherein eternall peace and happiness doth dwell.

The stanza contains another reference to the “narrow path” that Caelia mentions in stanza 10, and which has been alluded to throughout The Faerie Queene so far, a path which contrasts the wide path that Redcrosse and Una head down in Canto 1. The walls of the city are built high like those of the House of Pride in Canto 4, but while those walls were “nothing strong, nor thick” (Canto 4, Stanza 4), Hierusalem’s walls are, in fact, strong, and made of pearls, which are white, another symbol of purity. Mortal descriptions cannot do this city justice, which is why the narrator doesn’t go on about it at length.

Contemplation goes on to describe how the city was built by God for his chosen people “purg’d from sinfull guilt” (57). Redcrosse notes that his city, Cleopolis (a stand-in for London), where the Faerie Queene lives, was the most glorious city he had seen until now, and that Hierusalem far surpasses it. Contemplation agrees that Cleopolis is the fairest city on earth, and also that Redcrosse may have supposed himself as “Elfins sonne” but in actuality, he’s from the English race. He says that when Redcrosse has won victory, he should seek this long, narrow path to make a pilgrimage to Hierusalem, because he will one day be called Saint George. Redcrosse wishes to remain with Contemplation and not return back to the “fruitless” joys of the world, but Contemplation reminds him not to forget his commitment to help Una. He also reveals that he knows Redcrosse’s actual identity because Redcrosse was born from a line of Saxon kings but was stolen by a Faerie and brought to Faerieland as a baby. Redcrosse returns from high upon the hill and finds his eyesight to be dazed by the brightness and divinity which he’d seen, and the canto then ends with his departure, with Una, from Caelia and the House of Holinesse.

Kristen on VA

Venus and Adonis: Does Shakespeare Humiliate His Heroine? (Kristen Black)

Venus and Adonis by Shakespeare is an interesting piece of work that portrays the goddess of love as a device to an allegory. Venus is humiliated, but in a way that humanizes and relates her to readers. Loving Adonis becomes an obsession, and proclaiming his beauty is the most recurring element in the piece of poetry. She vigorously chases him, despite his refusal to comply with his wishes, and stumbles over herself endlessly for the promise of a single kiss. One of the most profound things about the work is that Love never reveals exactly why she admires the young man so much; she discusses his youthful qualities and charming appearances, but never addresses if there were any other characteristics that made her believe she was in love. All of her efforts to praise him involve lustful, earthly senses, such as in lines 430-45. She is continuously made into a verbose, emotional fool as the seemingly endless pursuit carries on. Although she is not shown in the most flattering light, this gives the audience an opportunity to be sympathetic with a celestial being. Being affected by the alien experience of unrequited love, Venus becomes a symbol for those who have been subject to such a thing. In her hunt for romantic satisfaction throughout this poem, it can be easy to find elements of hilarity, but also universal connection to the public. 

Painting: Venus and Adonis by Georges Barbier (1882-1932) 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

D'Jara on FQ 1.8

The Faerie Queene 1.8 (D'Jara Culpepper)

The Faerie Queene 1.8 (D’Jara Culpepper)
King Arthur, faire Vna, and the Squire—as led by the Dwarfe—traveled in search of Redcrosse until they came upon a castle. The Dwarfe confirmed that his master must be enslaved inside of it, so Arthur and the stepped up to the castle and twice blew his bugle horne to draw out the Gyant. Duessa, upon her “manyheaded beast,” followed the Gyant out. Wasting no time, Arthur began fighting Orgoglio and cut off his arm. Duessa has the beast get involved. The Squire held off the beast. Duessa poisoned the Squire in a wrathful rage; he fell before the beast. Arthur saw this and turned his attention to the beast, inflicting a gnarly wound of vengeance in good time. Orgoglio stepped back in to relieve the beast, but ‘twas a mistake: his blow to the “carefull knight” tore away the veil upon the knight’s “magic” shield. The brightness of the shield blinded and terrified both Orgoglio and the beast. Arthur finished the job and towed the Squire and Duessa away from the mess.
Reunited with Vna, all began investigating Orgoglio’s castle, meeting his foster-father Ignario, the holder of keyes, along the way. Though based on his name, Ignario was of no help beyond the keyes he held, the troupe came to find the castle ornate and beautiful but also just filthy with the blood of innocent children, Christians, and Martyrs upon floors; the air was littered with continuous wailing of Martyr and Christian souls. Soon after, Arthur found Redcrosse, tearing off the door to his iron prison. Having been locked up as a slave to the likes of Dues—I mean Orgoglio, Redcrosse was in a poor, weak state. Vna advised the rest not to kill Duessa because, bluntly put, she wasn’t worth it. Instead, Vna suggested stripping Duessa of her robes and letting her flee in her exposed cowardice, which was what the troupe did exactly. After all of this, “that faire crew of knights, and Vna faire” decided to stay in Orgoglio’s castle despite itself.

Picture believed to be by Walter Crane, “King Arthur Fights the Gyant”
Introduced Character(s): Ignaro, the foster-father of the Gyant

Characters in Canto (no particular order): Duessa, Orgoglio, the Hydra, King Arthur, Vna, Redcrosse, Ignaro
Good Stanza: page 888, 1.8.46:
So as she bad, that witch they disaraid,
And robd of royall robes, and purple pall,
And ornaments that richly were displaid;
Ne spared they to strip her naked all.
Then when they had despoiled her tire and call,
Such as she was, their eyes might her behold,
That her misshaped parts did them appall,
A loathly, wrinckled hag, ill favoured, old,
Whose secret filth good manners biddeth not be told.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Zac on "What you know, you know"

Iago's Last Words  (Zac Kieser)

My task today is to try to explain one of the most hotly debated topic among Shakespeare scholars. That is, what is Iago’s motivation, or more specifically, why does he refuse to reveal his motivation even when he is caught at the end of the play? Let’s look at the potential motives. In Act 1, Scene 1, Iago tells Roderigo how angry he is at Othello for choosing Cassio, not Iago as his lieutenant. So, is revenge the motive? Also, in Act 1, Scene 3, line 354, Iago talks about it being “a sport” for him to hurt Othello. So, is Iago just a sadist? In Act 1, Scene 3, line 366, Iago also talks about Othello having done his marriage “office”, so maybe belief that Othello has cuckolded him is what motivates Iago.
Or, maybe his motive is the misogyny that he expresses in his jokes to Desdemona around line 100 in Act 2, Scene 1. However, I believe all these potential motives are just fronts for Iago’s real motive. What Iago really wants is power. Yes, it is that simple. One reason for this is Iago’s talk in Act 1, Scene 1, line 40 about how he follows Othello to “serve my turn upon him.” In modern speech, this means “serve my own interests.” So, Iago seems to be saying he believes he can gain power by following Othello, not just take revenge on Othello for slighting him. He also goes on in that passage to speak admiringly of people who thrive off those above them and gain honor for themselves independently of their masters. Another reason is that Iago enjoys talking to us about the plans he is going to enact and seems to revel in thinking about how he will play everyone’s weaknesses against each other. This suggests that he enjoys having the power to destroy people, especially those with more wealth, strength, beauty, or political power than him. This is supported by Act 5, Scene 1, line 16, where we learn that Iago has defrauded Roderigo of “gold and jewels”, pocketing the money instead of giving it to Desdemona. Also, in Act 5, Scene 1, line 128, Iago tells us that this night (the night that he believes Othello will kill Desdemona) is the one that either “makes” him or undoes him. The word “make” in this phrase seems to be the equivalent of Iago saying he is going to have it made—that is, have the power he craves—if his plan ends how he hopes. Finally, we come to Act 5, Scene 2, lines 296-297, where Iago refuses to reveal his motive, saying “Demand me nothing. What you know, you know; From this time forth I never will speak word.” Viewing this through the motive of power, I believe this is Iago’s final display of power. He realizes that his plans have failed, but by refusing to say why he deceived Othello, he exercises a display of power over the devastated Othello who would probably at least like to know why Iago tricked him so horribly. But Iago is unwilling, even at the end, to stop fighting for more power.

Beth on FQ 1.7

The Faerie Queene 1.7 (Beth Olry)

The Redcrosse knight is being held captive by the giant Orgoglio. Duessa begs the giant not to kill Redcrosse. The giant takes Duessa instead, as a lover, and then imprisons Redcrosse in the dungeon. The dwarf escapes and tells Una about Redcrosse being captured and how Archimago deceived him. Una faints twice but journeys to try to find her love.
While Una is trying to find Redcrosse, she meets King Author and sees his glimmering shield made of diamonds. Arthur listened to her and vows to free Redcrosse. King Arthur calls the giant out with his horn and Duessa appears riding the seven-headed beast. While King Arthur battles the giant and cuts off his arm, the squire nearly dies from the seven-headed beast. When Arthur gets knocked down he pulls out his shield, which inadvertently blinds the beast and the giant. Una and Arthur help Redcrosse escape, who is weary and weak from his imprisonment. Duessa’s true character is exposed when they strip her to show Redcrosse that she is a witch. Duessa flees into the woods and they all celebrate their victory in the castle.

Good stanza: pg 876 Canto VII, 25:

Tempestuous fortune hath spent all her spight,
And thrilling sorrow throwne his utmost dart;
The sad tongue cannot tell more heavvy plight,
Then that I feele, and harobour in mine hart:
Who hath endur’d the whole, can beare each part.
If death it be, it is not the first wound,
That launched hath my breast with bleeding smart.
Begin, and end the bitter balefull stound;
If lesse,, then that I fear, more favour I have found.