Thursday, May 30, 2019

Monday, May 27, 2019

Nathaniel on “Upon the King!”

“Upon the king” (Nathaniel Hess)

Image of Alec Clunes’ portrayal of Henry V in disguise; courtesy of Victoria and Albert Theatre and Performance Archive

During the night, Henry disguises himself as a common soldier using Sir Thomas Erpingham’s cloak. He uses his disguise to talk with common soldiers, so that he might gather an honest opinion from them about their king. While sitting around the campfire, Henry learns that his soldiers are very apprehensive about the approaching battle. They criticize Henry, his motives, and his courage. They of course do not recognize Henry, and he becomes infuriated; promising a quarrel later with Williams by exchanging gloves. However, after the soldiers leave, he becomes more somber. He reflects on the difficulties of being a king, and how in some aspects it is easier to be a slave. A king may reap all the benefits of power, wealth, and ceremony; but yet he may never have peace of mind. He is very aware that all of his decisions may lead to the death of his soldiers. This moment shows a very human side to Henry. Kings are often portrayed as legendary characters; however, here Shakespeare shows Henry’s empathy for his people and sadness for his responsibility in any of their deaths. This is truly an interesting moment for Shakespeare’s portrayal of Henry as it adds to the character’s complexity.

Erick on St. Crispin’s Day

St. Crispin’s Day (Erick Mendoza)

The scenes before Henry’s speech reveal to the reader that Henry’s troops have become demoralizedafraid, and regret their part in this battle. Upon hearing Westmorland’s regret that their numbers are so few, Henry launches himself into another one of his eloquent and heart-moving speeches. Henry’s speech relies heavily upon glorifying the idea of death on the battlefield and the traditional promises of “wealth and prestige” if they should succeed. Henry presents himself, and invites those around him to do likewise, as a man who cares not for the materialistic trophies of the war but as someone for whom honor means a great deal. To back up this claim from his part, Henry assures those around him that they are free to leave if they so wish and he will go as far as to give them money for their journey home because that man is not worthy to die by their side. By making this claim, Henry make sit clear that he places no value on coins and all value on the idea of a glory and honor filled death upon a battlefield. This part of his speech reminds me a bit of Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” in which the soldiers charge to their deaths without questioning the danger they are in solely because they must follow their orders and die with honor. In an earlier conversation with his soldiers while in disguise, Henry says something that sounds to me like he’s saying that death and war are God’s instrument for punishing soldiers who have committed crimes in their homeland. By this point, Henry sounds somewhat cold-hearted and immune to the suffering and impending death of his soldiers. But to set their minds at ease, Henry says “we band of brothers” then again, “For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.” By using the word “brothers” Henry gives the soldiers the privilege and pride of being called “equal” with the monarch of England. I believe this was said as a way to revitalize their moral and instill them with a sense of pride and dignity. With the stakes higher than ever before, the massive French army before them, the tattered English forces, and the demoralized spirits of the English armyHenry once again proves his ability to rouse up his army through his eloquent and powerful speeches.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Ryan on H5 3.3

Henry V 3.3, siege of Harfleur (Ryan Ramsey)

King Henry gives the governor of Harfleur an offer he can't refuse. After a long, hard siege, the governor calls for a parley with Harry's besieging forces. Henry, in his endless mercy, offers the governor a chance to surrender. The King tells the governor if he does not surrender immediately the women of his town will be raped and everyone will be cut down like grass. Elders and babes will be dashed against the walls and impaled upon pikes. Naturally, the governor accepts Henry's gracious and generous offer.

Photo courtesy of RSC

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Michael on Henry's speech (3.3)

A more wondrous’r calleth to arms hath yet to be deliv’r’d by any man! (Michael Davison)

(The Siege of Harfleur – Painting by Graham Turner)

Henry V spends a copious amount of time proving his oratory prowess will not be outdone. Whether his speeches are passionate, heartfelt truths or useless bloviation is irrelevant due to his powerful delivery. Once more unto the breach is delivered as Henry’s army is laying siege to Harfleur. After a mildly successful siege Henry uses this speech to encourage his men to finish the job. However Once more is only one of the numerous lengthy speeches that Henry delivers. Many of those speeches also share common themes. Themes include but are not limited to bravery, honor, strength, and the ability to overcome odds. The St Crispin’s Day speech, delivered to the troops prior to the battle of Agincourt, is an attempt to bolster their resolve. Here Henry uses honor as the carrot while using dishonor as the stick.
 ..The fewer men, the greater share of honor. 4.3.25 (overcoming odds)
But if it be a sin to covet honor,
I am the most offending soul alive. 4.3.31-32 (honor)
And dishonor in Unto the Breach:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you. 3.1.23-24 (courage)
Henry is imploring his men with these words. He hopes that by appealing to their desire to serve him as well as their desire to prove their own masculinity, he can achieve victory.
.but when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage.. 3.1.6-9 (courage)
and teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not. 3.1.26-31 (strength)
Henry also uses vivid imagery as a means of encouragement, explaining just how fierce he believes his men to be.
 Then lend the eye a terrible aspect,
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon, let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a gall├Ęd rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base
Swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To his full height. 3.1.10-18 (strength)
Henry’s battle cry has the desired effect as his men rally around him with defiant cries. Regardless of the dire situation the men find themselves in, they still take stock in what Henry says. The speeches give the men the necessary courage and instill a sense of honor and bravery which ultimately leads to Henry’s success on the battlefield.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Taralynn's summary of H5 Act 1

Henry V 1.1 (Taraylynn Stockert)

Archbishop Canterbury and Bishop Ely discuss a new bill that they don't want passed. This bill would take land and money away from the church. Archbishop Canterbury comes up with a plan to raise money for a war, invading France, to distract King Henry V from passing the bill. King Henry V has a meeting with the Ambassador of France. The Archbishop and Bishop head to this meeting so they can join. The king has his advisers and two brothers with him. He asks the Archbishop why he has rightful heir to the throne. The Archbishop explains. The Ambassador of France laughs at Henry's claim and leaves a gift of tennis balls, which represent his youthfulness.

Megan on H5 2.2

Henry V 2.2: "The mercy that was quick in us but late" (Megan Stillwell)

Henry V Discovering the Conspirators (Henry Fuseli 1790)

In his speech, the King calls out the traitors who do not see it coming at all, Scroop, Cambridge, and Grey.  He finds out that they are set to kill him, but they feel as though they can get away with it by putting the blame on someone else. However, the King makes a speech to address the traitors and have them put to death for their actions. He explains how he has felt betrayed by the men who have worked so closely with him, but want him dead. Since the men showed little compassion towards the man they wanted to frame, the King shows no compassion for them when sentencing them to death. It is an emotional speech that is also filled with anger as the King prosecutes the three men that he felt was loyal to him and even says that he will weep for them. (137)

Monday, May 20, 2019

James on TN 4.3

TN 4.3 (James Dreyer)

Ahhh, love is truly an incredible thing, full of happiness, joy, excitement, pain, and insanity.  Throughout this play, two themes are explored: love and madness.  A commonly believed idea, in that time, was that love was a disease of madness.  Shakespeare really goes out of his way to show this concept in Act 4 Scene 3.  Olivia is madly in love with Sebastian, who she thinks is Cesario.  
Sebastian is going to marry someone he just met.  He even talks about ignoring his own rational brain and eyes in favor of an irrational action in lines 10-14.  Olivia is portrayed to be love, and Sebastian is portrayed to be madness.  Shakespeare shows that love and madness play off one another and need one another to survive by figuratively having them marry.  Shakespeare at the beginning of the play describes love to be a fantastical, full of variety, thing (Act 1, Scene 1, lines 14-15), as well as a maddening disease that everyone in love is mad.  So, when Sebastian and Olivia go to get married, it is as if Shakespeare is saying that love and madness are married to each other and cannot be parted.  Madness is brought about by love

Jen on TN 3.4.60

TN 3.4.60  (Jen South)

Jennifer South

Act III Scene 4 Line(s) 60-75 "Oh, ho, do you come near me now?"

This particular section is a silique from Malvolio. During said accounts, Malvolio believes himself to be in Olivia’s graces, that he might have a change to woo her.

In the prior letter that he was left by Maria, the actions of Sir Toby being sent to speak with Malvolio after Olivia left the room is told, and as such, Malvolio believes himself to be in the right position to win over her favor. The letter from Maria (though Malvolio doesn’t know this) says that he should act in a certain way in order to impress her.

One interesting part that was not footnoted or given a new word for clarification was Jove.  Jove is a Hebrew term for God, but also holds meaning for the god Jupiter (mythological reference), and the term itself can be used as emphasis (English Oxford Dictionary [OED]).

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Sarah on TN 3.1.1-50

Twelfth Night III.i.1-50 (Sarah Rusher)

Act III of Twelfth Night opens up with a bit of verbal sparring between Viola—dressed as Cesario—and a clown, probably Feste. The whole of their exchange is hilariously metadiscursive at moments, with the clown, almost paradoxically, stating some startling truths about language, marriage, all while getting in some slight jabs at Viola/Cesario’s questionable gender identity. 
After a few puns and the aforementioned metadiscursive asides about double-entendre and the limitations of language, the conversation devolves a bit.Cesario reminds Feste that he is Olivia’s fool. Feste, however, remarks that Olivia will not truly have no fool “till she be married” seeing as “fools are as like husbands as pilchards are to herrings; the husband’s the bigger” and that he is no foolhe is simply Olivia’s “corrupter of words” (III.i.32, 33-5, 36).

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Natalie on Viola’s Soliloquy (TN 2.2)

Viola’s Soliloquy (Twelfth Night 2.2) (Natalie Erwin)

Viola’s soliloquy in Act 2 Scene 2 of Twelfth Night is the introduction of the love triangle present in the play. This is Shakespeare’s first sign to the audience that not only is this play,what we today would consider, a romantic comedy but a messy one at that. Viola recounts to the audience her interaction with Olivia, making it clear with lines like, “She made good view of me, indeed so much / That straight methought her eyes had lost her tongue.” These two lines describe Olivia’s conversation with Viola, she was looking very closely at Cesario’s appearance, so much so that it was as if she had forgotten how to speak. As the soliloquy continues, Viola reveals that Orsino did not send her with a ring for Olivia and that this was in fact a trick by Olivia to have the opportunity to see Cesario again. Viola notes how easily women are fooled by the appearance of men, perhaps this is Shakespeare playing with irony. Finally, Shakespeare makes the love triangle explicit with the lines:

           How will this fadge? My master loves her dearly,
           And I, poor monster, fond as muchon him, 
What will become of this? As I am man, 
As I am woman, now, alas the day,
What thirftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe! 
O time, thou must untangle this, not I.
 It is too hard a knot for me t’untie.

Due to the fact that this is a comedy, I can only imagine that the situation will become much more tangled and complicated. Viola, Olivia, and Orsino are in for an adventure of love and misfortune, first introduced in Viola’s soliloquy of Act 2.