So a semester has come and gone, and it’s time to reflect on this unit and my own progress through it.
To start things off, I really enjoyed this unit. I’ve enjoyed Shakespeare’s work the moment my year 10 English Teacher put on Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. The beauty of the language, the harshness of the insults and the creativity of the two intertwining captivated me.
I think the unit was delivered extremely well by Michael, who I would like to say a big thank you too! The amount of effort you put into teaching your subjects doesn’t go unnoticed and I look forward to being in more units with you.
I enjoyed the three plays we looked at, but I think The Tempest may be my favourite due to the comedy aspect of the play. I look forward to reading more of Shakespeares works as prior to this unit had only ever really read/watched Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth.
Where I struggled, however, was the blog posts themselves. I really fell behind this time around and found myself playing catch up constantly. This was mainly due to personal issues so I won’t go into that but I think next time around I’ll definitely have to take more initiative and do them the day we get the topics.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this subject, the lectures were full of great knowledge and the tutorials were small enough to hear a vast arrange of views on the topics which allowed for great discussion.
Thank you again to Michael for putting the time and effort into us!
For the final Shakespeare blog entry I have decided to answer the second blog topic presented:
“Blog Topic 2: In Act 1 scene 2 what image do you get of Caliban? Is he being mistreated by Prospero”
After both watching the globe theatres rendition of The Tempest and reading along with a script the image I get of Caliban is that of a man who has been broken down over time by a cruel ruler, however, from Prospero’s perspective I can understand why he would have such a disdain for Caliban as he did try to rape Miranda. From his own description of event sit sounds as if Caliban, while uninhibited by the English language was a much more peaceful living man. He was one with the island and nature itself which in a way I think was a clever way for Shakespeare to make the audience question the role that language has on society and whether it truly makes us more civilised.
I can see both sides of the argument about his treatment from Prospero. On one hand, it would be very valid to argue that Prospero is a complete tyrant. Causing immense pain and suffering to be brought upon Caliban as well as essentially stealing the island from him.
On the other hand, I can also see the argument that Caliban brought this pain and suffering upon him when he tried to rape Miranda and that Prospero is doing what he is doing out of a mix of anger, resentment and to some extent fear, fear that his daughter was almost harmed by someone he helped become the man he is today. And despite knowing what extent I would be punished by the law if I were to commit violence against someone who attempted rape on my hypothetical daughter, It would be very hard to not do so.
Which at that point I ask my own question in response to anyone viewing this. Is Prospero’s mistreatment of Caliban warranted?
For this blog entry I have chosen the topic:
“1/ What are your first impressions of the The Tempest.”
First off, I have never read or watched a play or movie adaption of the Tempest, so when I heard it was a comedy I was a bit thrown back. When I think of Shakespeare comedy is not often something that comes to mind. Usually, the first thing that pops into my head is a tragedy. However, after reading and getting to see a bit of the play I am really interested in watching and reading more. I think the premise of the story is quite interesting and look forward to delving into it in more depth. I also really liked the use of music within the segments we have already watched, from the heavy drum beats being used to represent a storm, to the hauntingly beautiful siren song that Ariel is able to use to draw different characters to specific points on the island.
I really look forward to seeing more and reading more of the Tempest, as I think it’s already becoming one of my favourite Shakespeare plays.
For this blog entry I’ve chosen to respond to this creative question:
CREATIVE: Write a paragraph that describes vividly three of things that for you fall into the category of BEAUTY. In other words, say what for you is BEAUTY. (This topic, of course, relates closely to Shakespeare’s ideas in his sonnet 65)
I’ve chosen this topic because I think it’d be interesting to delve into my own emotion/opinions on beauty and it would be interesting to see other peoples perceptions of beauty.
The first thing that Beauty is for me is a warm smile. A smile that no matter how crappy of a day your having can make everything better, one that lets you know that they care. The second thing the Beauty is for me is a laugh. When someone’s laugh is able to make you forget about the world’s problems when someone’s laugh lets you know that they enjoy your company.
And the third thing that is Beauty to me, is support. When someone’s willing to help you out, to take time out of their own busy life to just keep you company, to me, is one of the most beautiful things someone can do for you.
For this blog entry I’ve chosen the creative question:
“Be Hippolyta: tell us what you really think about the imagination and what you really think about Theseus’ point of view.”
How can someone deny imagination? Relegate something so magical to the corner of their minds and forget about it like a long lost relic? Imagination is what drives us, it’s what helps us strive ever forward. Without imagination would we ever sail the seas? Would man or woman ever create fine works of art? To say imagination is useless is to deny one’s essence of creation. As much as I love Theseus I cannot neigh, will not ever understand his disdain for imagination. Perhaps it is the rule of law that clouds imagination from his mind? Maybe without so much responsibility, he would have time to let his mind wander into the magical realm?
For this blog entry, I’ve chosen question three.
“3/ Write a brief synopsis of what you think Bottom is trying to express in the prose passage where he describes his dream at the end of Act 4 scene 1.”
Below is Bottom’s monologue at the end of Act 4 scene 1.
“(waking) When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer. My next is “Most fair Pyramus.” Heigh-ho! Peter Quince? Flute the bellows-mender? Snout the tinker? Starveling? God’s my life, stol’n hence, and left me asleep? I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream—past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was—there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had—but man is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream. It shall be called “Bottom’s Dream” because it hath no bottom. And I will sing it in the latter end of a play before the duke. Peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death.”
Within this scene, I think Bottom is trying to tell the audience about a profound dream that he has had. Within this dream, Bottom has clearly experienced something that even he cannot comprehend yet he still feels that he needs to get his thoughts out to the public. It’s only halfway through the monologue we see Bottoms ego kick back in.
” I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream. It shall be called “Bottom’s Dream” because it hath no bottom. And I will sing it in the latter end of a play before the duke. Peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death.”
It’s also at this point that the humour within Bottoms lines can be seen as he has just claimed “I have had a dream—past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he goes about to expound this dream.” yet he immediately want’s to get Peter Quince to “write a ballad of his dream”.
I think within this scene Shakespeare wanted to portray Bottom as a kind of Jester/fool. Not in the sense that he is dumb or a laughing stock but similar to what a Kings Jester would be, being a wise yet comical individual that contains some profound wisdom.
It’s that time of year again, where the old blog is dusted off and a new life is breathed, or typed? into it. So, lets just jump straight into it with week 1’s blog topic:
“Write an impromptu review of the play seen on Friday night. Make any comments you wish on how you understood the director’s decisions to caste Antony and Cleopatra in the way he did, and maybe why Pompey was caste as a woman.”
A buzz of anticipation rippled throughout the air as the house lights dimmed, Philo, Played by Joseph Del Re took center stage to deliver his monologue, imploring the audience to judge the Story of Antony and Cleopatra love.
Both the casting and production of the Bell Shakespeares rendition of Antony and Cleopatra was nothing less than stunning, employing the use of militaristic stage design, modern day attire and props, projection technology coupled with atmospheric lighting and sharp sound design that created at times, such an intense feeling of drama that at times the play itself felt more cinematic then some modern day blockbusters.
The cast (listed below) felt real and relatable, with each actor adding a level of authenticity to their character it was hard to believe that we, the audience, were not simply watching an every day scene from their lives. When A character felt pain the audience felt the pain along with them, and when Antony (Johnny Carr) and Cleopatra (Catherine McClements) engaged in passionate romance the rooms sexual tension grew to levels not seen since Sharon Stones infamous scene in Basic Instinct.
The Bell Shakespeare company certainly knows how to put on a fantastic show, and one can tell the amount of time, dedication and love that went into this production was phenomenal. If you haven’t had a chance to go to a Bell Shakespeare production, please, do yourself a favor and go treat yourself to a fantastic night out.
I’m giving this production of Antony and Cleopatra a “Hey, that’s pretty good” out of five…that means five out of five…