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.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Fyodor on Desdemona and Emilia

Desdemona and Emilia (Fyodor Wheeler)

Desdemona and Emilia talk about a dangerous topic at the end of Act 4 – female infidelity. Both of them have been in some way accused of being unfaithful to their husbands; Desdemona with Cassio and Emilia with Othello. Desdemona is innocent in both senses of the word, having done nothing wrong and being ignorant of how the world works and of what people, including women, are capable. She has been rejected and hit by her husband but she still loves him, “even in his stubbornness, his cheeks, his frowns” (Oth.4.3.21). She even isn't quite sure if women commit adultery, which is suggested by the unfaithful man in the willow song – “If I court more women, you'll couch with more men” (Oth.4.3.61-62). Emilia herself is forced to be a bystander in the unfolding disaster. She knows Iago has the handkerchief because she gave it to him, saying she does “nothing but to please his fantasy” (Oth.3.3.343). Desdemona sees dedication to her husband as a matter of love, whereas Emilia sees it as a practical matter. 

Emilia's view of serving a husband is unusual, especially within the context of this play. She blames men for their wives being unfaithful – “it is their husbands' faults / If wives do fall” (Oth.4.3.97-98). She explains exactly why at the end of her speech – “the ills we do, their ills instruct us so” (Oth.4.3.115). When Desdemona asks if she would ever commit adultery, Emilia says she would not do it for some petty reason, but “for the whole world” (Oth.4.3.85) because “Who / would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch?” (Oth.4.3.85-87).

 These opposing views of wifely duty reflect part of Katherina's speech on the subject in Taming of the Shrew. Katherina says women have three duties to their husband – “to serve, love, and obey” (Shr.5.2.164). Desdemona will obey Othello, but she believes in love as the most important thing – even if he goes mad and accuses her of something that isn't true. Emilia serves Iago, even knowing that he's up to no good.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

FQ 1.6

The Faerie Queene 1.6: Sir Satyrane

This important canto creates a transition from Redcrosse's adventures to Una's plight and demonstrates the workings of “eternall providence” and grace. Though his travels are more exciting, hers are more profound by contrast.  It is the midpoint of the epic as well as the overall narrative, and in the next canto, Spenser delivers the beginning of the story in flashback, which creates the first “rabbit hole” loop, the inception of Redcrosse's quest with Una. Though on one level the author seems to use the canto to criticize fornication and lust, a reader might see this concept usefully complicated. For instance, Redcrosse still falsely believes that Una has been unchaste and thinks of her in the way that the narrator encourages us to consider Duessa. 
Walter Crane illustration for canto 6

Spenser works in his four main medieval genres. He begins the canto with an epic simile and ends it with a romance transition, keeping the allegory in motion by the simple device of Everyman being impervious to the Truth itself, since Redcrosse mistakenly believes Una faithless and ironically regrets abandoning Fidessa-Duessa, Falsehood that he did well to flee.  The lyrical magnificent of the romance stanzas speaks for itself.

Una, the Truth, finds herself captive to Sansloy, Lawlessness. Like a demented Ovidian lover, h“turning wrathfull fyre to lustfull heat,” he tries to woo the unassailable Una by means that might win a Duessa. When Spenser says “Her constant hart did tempt with diverse guile,” it would be best to read “tempt” as “attempt” rather than “fruitfully entice.” Oddly, he uses the "fort" metaphor to describe Una's true chastity just as Duessa used it to mischaracterize her own falsely-labeled honor. 
More unusually, the narrator asks the “heavens,” i.e., the Almighty, “How can ye vengeance just so long withhold?” Could Spenser actually be doubting the concept of Providence that he champions elsewhere as the will of an intermediating God?

A stunning and original line occurs in stanza 6: “The molten starres doe drop like weeping eyes.”  As it happens, the heavens are indeed empathetic, demonstrated by the phenomenon of twinkling stars in the inky sky put to moral use. The sky is crying.

But Una refuses to be passive, or a victim.  the Truth will out. Enter the “Salvage Nation,” not a waste-removal company, but the satyr population in the woods coming to Una’s defense, even including Sylvanus, or Pan.  When Nature, personified by the satyrs, prefers the Truth and defends her, lawlessness fades away in the action of Sansloy fleeing. We will see him again, however
Headliner to canto 6
Though in the clutches of Sansloy, she defends herself by screaming--loudly enough to wake the forest. Clearly

A touch of Spenserian humor: Salvage Nation so loves Una that it wants to “worship her as a Queene with olive girlond cround,” which she will obviously not tolerate. Enter Sir Satyrane, in stanza 20, his name withheld in true epic fashion. Providence delivers him to the aid of Una.  In “Plaine, faithfull, true, and enimy of shame,” he is another doppelganger of RC.

In stanzas 21-26  Spenser constructs an “inlay” to contribute to his modified romance pattern, here providing Satyrane’s history and touching on several themes in FQ 1 as a whole. This knight is “A Satyres sonne, yborne in forrest wyld, / By straunge adventure” indeed. His mother, Thyamis, a beautiful young woman of an amorous disposition, seeks her wayward husband, Therion, in those dangerous woods “to serve her turne” and satisfy her desire for her spouse. Unfortunately for her, a satyr finds her, “And, kindling coles of lust in brutish eye,” takes her captive and “made her person thrall unto his beastly kind.” This compromising and debilitating lustfulness concatenates with virtually all other such activity in Book 1: RC’s guilty stirrings in canto 1, Duessa’s falseness to Sansfoy in canto 2, as well as RC’s own succumbing to lust to come in cantos 7 and 8. However, this sinfulness does not touch Satyrane whatsoever. There is an irony here in that though Satyrane was the product of brutish male lust and undisciplined female wantonness, he is pure and good and sweet, spotless, like his analogue, Sir Galahad. He indicates a mild interest in Una, who with equal mildness lets him know that RC is her man. Satyrane seeks to liberate Una from her kind, well-meaning, but overwhelming forest captors.

Just because one is a product of a lustful encounter between a half-wild creature and an ovulating female does not mean one will turn out to be a bad three-quarters of a person, one quarter goat.   
Chiron and Achilles fresco from Herculaneum
The satyr father teaches his son Satyrane to be a great hunter and knight, analogous to Chiron the centaur who helped rear Achilles. Spenser creates a minature loop back to stanza 21 in delivering Satyrane to Una’s aid.in 29.

Toward the end of the canto, a curious pilgrim crosses paths with Una and Satyrane and informs them that a "Sarazin" has killed Redcrosse.  The three go in pursuit of this criminal, who turns out to be Sansloy. Satyrane does battle with him and Una disappears, believing her champion to be dead. Since the pilgrim turns out to be Archimago, and because we know that Redcrosse is alive, clearly this is a lie told from maliciousness, since he despises Una for no reason besides her goodness: “Her he hated as the hissing snake.”

“The molten stars do drop like weeping eyes” is a difficult line to top for profundity and originality and visceral effect.  However, the sixth stanza from the end shows Spenser at his best, master of sound, onomatopoeia, in describing the fierce combat between Satyrane and Sansloy:

Therewith they gan, both furious and fell,
To thunder blowes, and fiersly to assaile
Each other, bent his enimy to quell,
That with their force they perst both plate and maile,
And made wide furrowes in their fleshes fraile,
That it would pitty any living eie.
Large floods of blood adowne their sides did raile;
But floods of blood could not them satisfie:
Both hongred after death; both chose to win, or die.

Voiced consonants imitate the sounds of battle: “g,” “b,” “f,” “p,” “m” stand for the clash of broadswords and the ringing of steel on armor.  Spenser’s conspicuous use of short rather than long vowels contributes to the idea of the swiftness of the combat. In exaggeration worthy of Le chanson de Roland, “floods of blood,” a repeated phrase, evokes the seriousness and peril of the lists, mortal one-on-one combat. The two lines not devoted to describing the furious action in the stanza play off one another concerning the idea of “pitty.” Though it would be pitiful for any of us to see such a ferocious spectacle featuring double floods of blood, and we might understand that the combatants “hongered after death” with the exhaustion of it all, the final phrase overturns the notion of pity, since the deaths Satyrane and Sansloy hunger after one another’s deaths, not their own.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Kathye on FQ 1.4

The Faerie Queene 1.4 (Kathye Macias-Ramirez)

But this was drawn of six unequall beasts,
On which her six sage Counsellours did ryde,
Taught to obay their bestiall beheasts,
With like conditions to their kinds applyde:
Of which the first, that all the rest did guyde,
Was sluggish Idlenessse the nourse of sin;
Upon a slothful Asse he chose to ryde,
Arrayd in habit blacke, and amis thin,
Like to an holy Monck, the service to begin.
(Spenser, 1.4.154-162)

In canto 4 , Redcross and Fidessa/Duessa stop at the House of Pride where Lucifera appears in the company of her six counselors. All six counselors are riding on what Blythe describes as “ emblems of their respective vices” (342): Pride, Sloth, Gluttony, Lechery, Avarice, Envy, and Wrath. Each an allegorical images of the seven deadly sins. A source for this passage has been said to be John Gower’s Speculum meditantis, or Mirour de l’omme. Gower was an English poet “whose reputation once matched that of his contemporary and friend Geoffrey Chaucer” (John). Though his popularity grew thin after the 16th century, he did inspire writers of his time. In relation to Gower’s influence, the idea of the Seven Deadly Sins was not foreign but instead necessary of  a Christian education. In addition, Spenser’s use of Sins is modern for his time and appropriate in this context.

Blythe’s argues that while at the House of Pride, the house is representative of Redcross’ pride and becomes a “psychic construct of the state of his soul”. Medieval-Renaissance observes a relationship between pride and despair. Pride is the origin and beginning of all sin, and despair is “its end product”. Redcross’ pride is motivated by chivalric behavior and worldly honor that has set him astray from his quest.
He creates distance from the Sins due to his vanity,  “not from any awareness of guilt or disgust”. These Sins are “uneven beast” that are presented in three pairs: Idleness and Gluttony, Lechery and Avarice, and Envy and Wrath. Idleness indulges in food, and women which leads him to consume more than required--hence Gluttony. Idleness rides on a donkey and is cloth like a monk while Gluttony, who is deformed, sweats and wears vines for clothes while riding on a pig Lechery and Avarice are paired due to their aim to possess “material wealth or gain”. Lechery wears a green gown and holds a burning heart riding on a goat that resembles his looks. Despite his less than good looks he is still able to seduce. Avarice is thin and dresses in poor clothing, but carries gold while on a camel. Finally Envy and Wrath, envy is a form of malice that is not obvious but can become obvious through Wrath. Envy is projects joy when others suffer loss and rides on a wolf with a poisonous toad in his mouth. Wrath who suffers with rage wears bloodstained rages and rides a lion.


Andrew find de love in Othello

Findin' the Love in Othello  (Andrew Patterson)

The Willow Song, sung in Act 4, Scene 3 of Othello, was a piece of music that dates 20 years before being implemented into Shakespeare’s work. The song is short and is about a man who lays by the willow to cry after ending a relationship. The traditional version of the song has several differences form the version that is sung in Othello including the change in gender of the subject of the song. Desdemona sings a shortened version of the song that doesn’t go into as much detail as the original in front of Emilia. She skips several lines that are different ways of saying how sad the singer is. She then adds a line at the end giving a reason why the singers lover left, the reason being that the lover could not trust someone who is as willing to cheat as they are. This line is a completely different theme then the original song that has the subject state that the love they gave was true. Desdemona’s version of the song has the singer stating the love between the subject and their love was false.

Brittany finds de love in Othello

Findin' the Love in Othello (Brittani Reeves)

At the heart of Shakespeare's play Othello stands the tragic romance between Othello and Desdemona. Despite criticism from others around her, including her own father, Desdemona chooses to love and later marry Othello. Nevertheless, she remains loyal and loving to her husband. Desdemona speaks of her love for Othello in Act 4, Scene 3: “My love doth so approve him / That even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns - / Prithee unpin me - have grace and favour in them”. Towards the end of the play, their love turns into a downhill spiral, as Othello is made to believe that Desdemona was having an affair. Their story concludes with Desdemona’s murder at the hands of her own husband, which in turn leads to Othello committing suicide. Romantic, right? 

Kara on FQ 1.2

The Faerie Queene 1.2  (Kara Beasley)

Canto II starts off with the two Sprights from Canto I reconfiguring into a young knight and having the “Una” Spright get into bed with either Archimago himself or someone else. The point of this is to separate Redcrosse and the real Una. This canto is about Una, and according to the last line of stanza 8, “He so ungently left her, whom she loved best” (Book I, Canto II: stanza 8). What Archimago uses as torture toward the knight (Redcrosse), actually turns out to be Una’s true feelings. She is in love with Redcrosse! Una goes off on her donkey which is too slow to catch up to Redcrosse, so to make her time even worse, Archimago disguises himself as Redcrosse just to watch her suffer more. Redcrosse, who is also known as St. George in the story, finds himself far away from Una and runs into someone named Sarazin. Sarazin is an infidel which is a person who does not believe in religion or who adheres to a religion other than one’s own.
The lady that is with Sarazin is Duessa who is actually a sorceress who calls herself Fidessa to disguise her true nature. She has them dual and after a long fight, Redcrosse comes out on top. She starts to flee until Redcrosse catches up with her and she begs for mercy thinking Redcrosse is going to end her also. But, he doesn’t of course, and she lies to him saying she is the daughter of an Emperor and came across Sarazin when she was wandering far and wide in sorrow because the prince she was supposed to marry had died. With Redcrosse convinced of her story, they set off and stumble upon a shading of trees which actually turns out to be a man named Fradubio who was turned into a tree by Redcrosses’s lady Fidessa. Fraudubio warns them that the same terrible thing that happened to him could happen to them. He goes on to say how he too had a beautiful lady until he had fought Duessa’s champion and had to choose between the two. Duessa made Fradubio’s ex-lover (Fralissa) ugly and he left her thinking Duessa was the most beautiful lady there was. Later on, he finds out she is an ugly old women and tries to run away, but she turns him into the tree he is now. Determined to help Fradubio, Redcrosse asks him if there is anything he can do to break the spell, and the only thing is to be “bathed in a living well” (Book I, Canto II: stanza 43). As Duessa listened to this, she was afraid Redcrosse would find out that she wasn’t this Fidessa she claimed to be, so, she pretended to be dead and Redcrosse becomes instantly worried and revives her. In the end, they were both so relieved that they started to make out.

Picture source: https://www.pixelsandpedagogy.com/pedagogy/teaching-the-opening-to-book-i-of-the-faerie-queene

Laura on FQ 1.5

The Faerie Queene 1.5 (Laura Laudeman)

Sansjoy and Redcrosse have agreed to fight each other the next day, and Redcrosse doesnt sleep because he is so eager to conquer Sansjoy. As soon as the sun comes up, he goes to the great hall of the palace, where all of Luciferas court is waiting anxiously to witness the battle. Sansjoy arrives, and the two men consume exotic food and wine to prepare themselves to fight, and they each agree to abide by the rules that govern man-to-man challenges like this. Lucifea arrives and takes her seat. Duessa and Sansfoys shield are situated where everyone can see them, and they are understood to be the rewards for whichever man wins. 
            The battle begins, and both men are fierce and deal heavy blows to the other. Then, Sansjoy sees his brothers shield and his desire for vengeance is strengthened, and he nearly overtakes Redcrosse, striking him twice on his red cross. But then, Duessa shouts her support for Redcrosse, and he recovers, is heartened to continue fighting, and narrowly misses a fatal blow from Sansjoy. Just as Redcrosse is about to win the fight, a darkness appears and envelops Sansjoy, and he disappears. Duessa jumps up and runs to Redcrosse, exclaiming his victory, but Redcrosse continues to look for his opponent until trumpets signal the end of the battle. 
            Redcrosse kneels before Lucifera, who congratulates him and sends him to a bedchamber where he rests and has his wounds tended to. At the same time, Duessa weeps, but nobody realizes the real reason why. She briefly visits the place where Sansjoy is trapped in darkness, and then leaves to meet Night. Night is stunned by Duessas gold and jewels and almost retreats, but Duessa begs her to stay and listen to what she has to say. She complains about the three brothersfates, and asks Night to help them. Night asks who she is, and she reveals herself to be Duessa, daughter of Deceit and Shame. Night then recognizes her and welcomes her. 
            Duessa rides with Night in her wagon and they go to Sansjoy, bind up his wounds, and then take him with them to the underworld. They reach a dark cave where Aesculapius (god of healing and son of Apollo) is imprisoned in chains for what hes done to Hippolytus. Hippolytus was a handsome and talented hunter who was greatly desired by women. Among these women was his own stepmother, whom he refused. In retaliation, she made up lies about Hippolytus to tell his father. So, his father, Poseidon, had him killed by two sea monsters and his body was dismembered and the pieces scattered. Hippolytusstepmother, feeling guilty, then admitted to what shed done and killed herself. Then, Poseidon, horrified that he had his son wrongly killed, gathers up all of his sons body parts and brings them to Aesculapius to be mended and revived. But Jove was displeased at his ability to defy death, so he forced Aesculapius into the underworld, alive, where he has remained ever since. 
            Duessa pleads with Aesculapius to restore Sansjoy, but because this is the thing that Aesculapius was punished for, he is reluctant to help. But Duessa convinces him by explaining that he has already been imprisoned in the underworld, so what more does he have to fear? Aesculapius heals Sansjoy, and Night returns to her job. 
            Duessa returns to the palace of Lucifera and learns that Redcrosse has departed because his dwarf has discovered a dungeon of captives. Among the prisoners are the king of Babylon, Antiochus, Nimrod, Romulus, Tarquin, Hannibal, Caesar, and Pompey, all condemned for their pride. Along with them are some women who have been imprisoned for their vanity, including Semiramis and Cleopatra. Redcrosse, determined to save them all, sneaks out of the palace before dawn. 

Stanza 51 is a notable one:

Besides the endless Routs of wretched Thralls,
Which thither were assembled day by day,
From all the World after their woful Falls,
Thro wicked Pride, and wasted Wealth's Decay.
But most of all, which in the Dungeon lay,
Fell from high Princes Courts, or Ladies Bowers,
Where they in idle Pomp, or wanton Play,
Consumed had their Goods, and thriftless Hours,
And lastly thrown themselves into these heavy Stowres.

It is didactic and reminds the reader that those from the highest echelons of society are perhaps the most predisposed to the sins of vanity and pride. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sierra on Othello Intro

Introduction to Othello (Sierra Miranda)

Solomon Alexander Hart:  Othello and Iago Shakespearian scene, 1855 (oil on canvas)

In his intro to Othello, Walter Cohen discusses what makes the play so “painfully moving” for the audience. Through the course of the play, the audience sees the Othello’s love for Desdemona cause a tragic end for both. Iago, the antagonist, has suspicions that his wife, Emilia has committed adultery with Othello. To get back at him, he convinces Othello, the protagonist, that his wife Desdemona has committed adultery with Cassio. Although referred to as “Honest Iago”, and coming off as attempting to help everyone in the play, he is actually dishonest as he himself says “I am now what I am” (1.1.163). Through planted evidence, he ignites jealousy and rage causing Othello’s demise as Othello murders his wife and then commits suicide. Cohen notes how the audience experiences an overwhelming sense of loss at the end of the play and how they can relate as “we, too, operate via best guesses. This is the way of the world” (Choen, 1291).
            Also found in the intro is Shakespeare’s references to race, sexual anxieties, and religious concerns throughout the play. There are multiple references to Othello’s African race. Stereotypes include Africans not naturally being jealous, but once provoked they were fierce, na├»ve nature (1.3.377-380), and the belief that Africans attribute magical powers to objects (the handkerchief, 3.4.64-72).  Typical to Shakspearian work, there are hidden sexual references as “to die” (2.1.181-182) means to have an orgasm and “spotted with strawberries” (3.3.431) refers to the presence of blood upon losing virginity. As a murderer and one who committed suicide, Othello is therefore condemned from meeting Desdemona in heaven. Tragedy is bound to happen with the racial prejudices, Iago’s manipulation, and Desdemona’s and Othello’s love for each other. 

Zac on Othello Intro

Introduction to Othello (Zac Kieser)

The intro to Othello mentions how Iago uses the characteristics of Desdemona and Othello to make Othello believe his wife is being unfaithful to him. One of the characteristics Iago uses in his evil plot is Desdemona’s willingness to deceive her father to marry Othello. Iago makes Othello suspicious that if Desdemona was willing to deceive her father, she will also be willing to deceive her husband. Surprisingly, this idea is not originally planted in Othello’s mind by Iago. It is actually first mentioned by Brabanzio, who in Act 1, Scene 3, says to Othello, “Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see: \ She has deceived her father, and may thee.” At the time, Othello just passes this off as nonsense, swearing, “My life upon her faith.” Of course, this proves to be prophetic as Othello, once he no longer believes in his wife’s faithfulness, ends not just her life, but also his own. And this is why Iago brings up the idea Brabanzio had already planted in Othello’s mind. Iago knows that Othello is so trusting of his friend and so willing to take decisive action when he believes something that Othello will kill or at least hate Desdemona if he believes her unfaithful. So, Iago re-plants the idea of being cuckolded into Othello’s mind, mentioning the word “cuckold” in Act 3, Scene 3, and then later in that scene, telling Othello, “She did deceive her father, marrying you.” And this immediately lodges itself in Othello’s mind as he replies, “And so she did.” It appears to me that Othello’s faithful character is what makes this line of attack by Iago so effective. Othello views faithfulness as important in others because this characteristic is important to Othello himself. Therefore, if his beloved Desdemona has lost her faithfulness, Othello not only cannot love her but must hate her. And that change from love to hate is what causes the tragic ending of the play.