Monday, 14 January 2013

Prelude to Sons and Daughters

1.) An unhealthy relationship may be one where there is a dangerous imbalance where one individual is being strained or adversely affected. Both parties however can also be negatively affected by the relationship which makes it unhealthy. 2.) Oedipus Complex refers to the psychoanalytical theory which describes a desire for sexual involvement with a parent of the opposite sex and a fueling rivalry towards the parent of the same sex.
3.) I think that it is quite strange and may be regarded as deviant behavior. However, as a child you are dependent on your parent for love and nurturing and sometimes that may be perceived differently and consequently triggers sexual desire rather than the reciprocal love a child is expected to show their parents.
4.) Negative effects that accompany the scenario of older men having children with young girls can include:
- the young girl being stigmatized
- she may be unable to further her education since she has to take care of the child
- the older man may not want to support his child due to the negative connotations that are attached to this scenario and consequently the baby may grow up in poverty.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Dramatic Significance of Disguises and the character Autolycus

Significance of Disguises in The Winter’s Tale
        Shakespeare, being a skillful play writer, manipulated characters through the use of disguise for various reasons. The use of disguise was sometimes used to develop the plot or a particular theme within the play. In The Winter’s Tale, the presence of disguises aid in the development of the story.
        The existence of disguises within the play allows for the uninterrupted uncovering of delicate issues. In act 4 Polixenes and Camillo disguise themselves as shepherds in order to discover what Florizel was up to. This disguise was necessary because if they were portraying themselves the other character would have acted different around them and it would have been difficult to determine the truth behind Florizel’s whereabouts.
        Additionally, although a disguise may play on deception it used by Florizel to gain a true image of Perdita. Since Florizel is the prince of Bohemia many women would feign love just so he could marry them. He has therefore devised a plan and has disguised himself as Doricles so that he may determine if Perdita’s love is genuine. Her love does in fact prove to be genuine.
        The unintentional disguise used by Perdita helps to establish the theme of spring and rebirth. Perdita plays the role of a humble commoner who adorns her love and guests with flowers. She is effective in depicting the season of spring that is evident in Bohemia. Perdita’s unintentional disguise highlights the theme of rebirth and renewal that is about to come about in the play. This renewal is also significant in regards to Leontes, who will be taken from his period of darkness back into the light.  
        The use of disguises is further seen through the character Autolycus. He utilizes disguise to enable this role or character as a petty thief and peddler. Autolycus who is disguised has tricked Clown and stole his money, he then uses a different disguise so that he would not be recognized and would be able to sell his items at the sheepshearing.  Autolycus’ disguises also help in lightening the mood of the play, aiding in its transition from a tragedy to a comedy.
        Finally, disguise is used as a channel to gain what is most desired, and in this case it is love. Autolycus, who seems to be the master of disguises, helps Florizel and Perdita in their disguise so that they may escape to Bohemia. Florizel who is a prince and Perdita who is believed to be a commoner are unable to freely love each other, as the King will hear nothing of this. The two then decide to run away and disguise helps them to love each other completely without any restraints. Disguise has also contributed in the denouement of the play in that, Perdita is returned home and the series of events in Sicilia take a change for the positive.

The dramatic significance/ role of Autolycus

        In the play The Winter’s Tale, Autolycus plays the role of a peddler and thief. Although his character may seem minor and inconsequential he has a significant function in the play.
        We are first introduced to Autolycus on the highway singing loudly. He runs into Clown and concocts a plan to execute his trickery. He pretends to be a victim of a mugging and while Clown laments his loss he steals the money from his pocket. Clown further enquires into his mugging, asking who did this to him. Autolycus then describes his mugger as himself, this is very comedic as Clown does not realize he is being blatantly tricked and schemed. The audience/ readers may now consider that the character Clown is a pun in itself, and Autolycus is able to considerably alter the mood of the play to a lighter one. This significantly helps in the transition of the play from a tragedy to a comedy as it is tragicomedy.
        Furthermore, Autolycus is important to the play as he greatly assists in its denouement. He helps Perdita and Florizel to disguise themselves and escape to Sicilia. This ‘noble’ act allows the two liberally indulge in their love for each other. This also helps in bringing about a turn of events for the desolate Leontes. The oracle admonished, “The king shall live without an heir if that which is lost be not found” (Act3; Scene2), Autolycus has assisted in bringing the ‘lost’ back home which is significant because this act has relieved the atmosphere in Sicilia.  This is the first step in bringing the King from the gloom and despair that encapsulated him. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Foreshadow in The Winter's Tale

Foreshadowing within The Winter’s Tale

          Shakespeare has utilized the literary technique of foreshadow in his play The Winter’s Tale in order to uncover key aspects and future details to the audience/readers.
          Shakespeare’s first use of foreshadow is done by manipulating the setting of the play. He has made it winter and this foreshadows sad events. Even the young prince Mamillius has established this by saying, “a sad tale's best for winter.”  We are then made to see how the plot unfolds with Leontes jealous passion casing the death of both Mamillius and Queen Hermione and the abandonment of Perdita. He is also indirectly responsible for the death of Antigonus.
            In Act 3 scene3, Antigonus tells baby Perdita of a dream he had where Queen Hermione appeared to him. In this dream along with giving him instructions she tells him that he will not see his home again. This dream foreshadows the events in this scene. Antigonus was  killed by a bear after laying Perdita down. Therefore, it can clearly be seen how Antigonus' dream acted as a foreshadow because in fact he did not return home. 
          Additionally, Shakespeare also manipulates the setting later in the play in Bohemia. It is spring and this acts as foreshadow. Spring symbolizes rebirth and new life. The audience/readers will now see a change in event and the gloom created by the King’s folly will now be overshadowed by the happiness and good events to come. Foreshadowing in this instance lets the audience know that the play will have a happy ending opposed to its beginning. 

Summary of Act 1-3; The Winter's Tale

Summary of Acts 1-3
v     Act 1- The audience/ readers are made aware of the current state of affairs in the play by a lord of Sicilia and Bohemia. King Polixenes is visiting his friend King Leontes of Sicilia. He has been at the palace for nine months and is ready to depart. The King attempts to make him say but is unsuccessful. However his wife Hermione is able to persuade the Bohemian king to stay.  Her ability to do this has planted in the king, a seed of jealousy. From then on Leontes becomes madly motivated by jealousy. He suspiciously inspects his son Mamillius to prove whether he is his father or not and regards Polixenes and Hermione’s interactions closely.
Leontes then summons Camillo and asks if he has noticed anything suspicious between Polixenes and Hermione. Camillo says no but is unsuccessful in convincing the King that he is mistaken. He is the given orders to poison Polixenes. However, he does not comply and shares the plans with Polixenes. The two then flee to Bohemia.
v     Act 2 – In the beginning of this Act we see the interaction between Hermione and her son Mamillius. Mamillius recounts a sad tale to his mother which coincides with the winter atmosphere. Leontes then storms into the room and publicly accuses Hermione of being adulterous. Hermione tries to refute his claims but is unsuccessful and is imprisoned.  After Hermione is taken away Antigonus tries to plead with the King but the King is already convinced that he is right. However, he decides to ask the oracle of Delphi for a prophecy and sends 2 men on the journey.
Paulina, loyal to Hermione, tries to visit the Queen but is denied by the guards. She is able to speak to one of the ladies (Emilia) and finds out that the Queen has had a baby daughter. With some reluctance by the guard Paulina is able to take the baby with her to show Leontes.  An action that she believes will change the King’s mind about the entire affair.
Mamillius, the young prince falls ill due to the absence of his mother, however, the jealous Leontes attributes this to him suffering because of his mother’s shame.  Paulina then presents the baby to Leontes who becomes furious. He asks Antigonus if he cannot control his wife.  Paulina then speaks out and openly argues with the King, and act which defies the traditional role of women at that time. When Paulina leaves the King tells Antigonus to dispose of the baby by burning it, after some pleading by Antigonus he orders him to leave it in the wilderness.

v     Act 3- On their way back from the oracle of Delphi, Cleomentes and Dion discuss the atmosphere and remark that their journey was pleasant. They also express their hope of the Queen’s innocence. In the mean time, Leontes holds a case in court regarding Hermione’s adultery, he also charges her with treason for involvement in the escape of Camillo and Polixenes.  Hermione pleads and defends herself by saying her blatant loyalty makes her innocent. The two men then enter the court with the oracle’s prophecy. Hermione is found innocent of course and the King is regarded as a jealous tyrant. The oracle also prophesizes that he will be without an heir if he does not find Perdita. However, in his jealous madness he disregards the oracle’s prophecy. A servant then enters and announces that Mamillius has died, consequently Hermione faints and is later pronounced dead.  The King belatedly realizes that he has been wrong all along; Paulina fiercely defends the Queen and blames him for her death.  Leontes promises to visit his son and wife’s grave once every day and also promises to repent for all his sins.
Meanwhile, Antigonus who is unaware of the oracle’s prophecy has arrived at the Bohemian coast with the baby. In an aside, he tells the audience that Hermione appeared to him in a dream bearing the child’s name (Perdita) and telling him that he would not see Sicilia or his wife again. He then lays Perdita down and lays jewels and a note with her name around her.  He is chased away by a bear and after a while, a shepherd and his son come upon Perdita. The clown establishes that he saw a bear kill a man (Antigonus). They vow to raise the baby as their own. 

Friday, 12 October 2012

Character sketches
Leontes – The King of Sicilia who exacts his power throughout the play. He is deeply consumed in jealous thoughts as he believes that his best friend Polixenes and his wife Hermione are having an affair. He is so deeply rooted in jealousy that he begins to act irrationally. He has ordered Camillo to poison Polixenes, imprisons Hermione and abandons his infant daughter. This has consequently caused the death of his son Mamillius. Although Leontes is called a ‘jealous tyrant’ by the Oracle, when he has finally realized that he is wrong he begins to repent.
Leontes finds happiness once again at the denouement of the play when his daughter Perdita returns and his wife is revived.
Polixenes -  The King of Bohemia who has spent 9 months away from his kingdom with his friend Leontes in Sicilia. Polixenes can be regarded as a kind/good friend as he is willing to spend such a long time away from his palace to be with Leontes.  Polixenes’ fondness of his friendship can further be observed through his conversation with Leontes in Act 1 Scene 2.  He is wrongfully accused of being an adulterer with Hermione and is supposed to be poisoned but he escapes with Camillo back to Bohemia.
Later in the play he tries to prevent his son from marrying Perdita, believed to be a commoner. However, some may regard Polixenes as being a protective father and a watchful King while other may him as being unreasonably unfair.

Camillo – He is the servant of King Leontes. He is the first to find out about the King’s jealous thoughts and is given the burden of poisoning King Polixenes. Camillo is brave enough to assert the Queen’s innocence; however the King exerts his power over Camillo and orders him to carry out his plans.
Although Camillo is the servant of Leontes and bound to him by duty, he betrays the King’s orders by informing Polixenes of the plan to have him poisoned.  He then flees to Bohemia along with the King. This act by Camillo can be viewed as betrayal to the King or a kind act to help an innocent man.

Archidamus – A lord of Bohemia who discusses the friendship between the two kings with Camillo in the opening Act.

Hermione – The Queen of Sicilia and wife of Leontes. She is virtuous and faithful to her husband; however she is wrongfully accused of being unchaste, by Leontes.  Hermione’s devotion to her husband can be seen through her successful attempt to convince Polixenes to stay longer after he has already denied the King in Act 1 Scene 2. However, it is ironic that this very notion makes the King suspicious and jealous. She is later imprisoned although she is pregnant and has her baby daughter during this time. Hermione dies later in the play at her trial after hearing of her son’s death. She is then revived at the denouement of the play.
Perdita - The daughter of King Leontes and Queen Hermione, who is wrongfully labeled as an illegitimate child by her jealous father. She is abandoned as a child and is raised by a shepherd in Bohemia. Perdita later falls in love with Florizel and is aided to flee Bohemia because of Polixenes’ refusal to let the two coexist as lovers.  
Mamillius- The young prince of Sicilia who dies as a result of the grief sue to the wrongful imprisonment of his mother.
Paulina- A noble woman of Sicilia and the wife of Antigonus. She is very loyal to Hermione and firm in her stance that the Queen is innocent. Paulina openly battles the King’s accusations which is uncommon of a woman to do in that era. She therefore represents the opposite of a woman of that time, fearless of men, outspoken and unremitting in her claims.
Antigonus- Nobleman and husband of Paulina. He also believes in the innocence of the Queen and uses strong analogies of his three daughters to express this. He is given the task to dispose of Perdita at the Bohemian coast. Sadly he is attacked by a bear and dies.
Cleomentes- Dispatched to visit the Oracle of Delphos in order to gain a prophecy of Hermione’s status. He is hopeful of the Queen’s innocence.
Dion- Also dispatched by the King to visit the Oracle of Delphos. Dion, like Cleomentes hopes that the Queen is pronounced innocent.
Florizel- The prince of Bohemia, son of Polixenes. He falls in love with Perdita, who is believed to be a shepherd’s daughter (commoner). As such the two are forbidden to be together but secretly elope and flees to Sicilia with the help of Camillo.
Shepherd- an old and kind shepherd who finds Perdita as a baby and raises her as his own.
Autolycus – He resides in Bohemia and is a peddler and a thief. However, he redeems all his wrong doings by helping Perdita and Florizel to flee Bohemia so that they could freely love each other.  

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The role of prophecies and gods in The Winter's Tale

What role do prophecies and the gods play in the story? Cite specific examples from the play to support your answer.

In the Shakespeare play The Winter’s Tale, the role of prophecies and gods play a vital role. They assist in highlighting themes such as hope and rebirth within the play.  Gods such as Apollo and the goddess Proserpina are discussed along with their surrounding significance. The roles of these gods play such a significant role that although the King is regarded as truly powerful they seem to lie above him in the hierarchical structure of that era.
Prophecies seem to be dire in the play as the King relies on a prophecy from the Oracle of Apollo in Delphi to confirm his accusations of the Queen’s infidelity; he himself calls it a ‘greater confirmation’.  In Act 2 Scene 1, King Leontes refers to the oracle as “spiritual counsel” which imparts the idea that he holds the prophecy to be delivered with high esteem. Prophecies are important because they determine the outcome of situations and proclaim what is destined to happen. Although the King disregards the Oracle’s claim that Hermione is innocent because he is so deeply rooted in his jealousy, the prophecy acts as a foreshadow. This is so because in fact, “the king will live without an heir, if that which is lost be not found,” the burden of this prophecy is great due to its truth. Since the king has abandoned his daughter and Mamillius is now dead he has no heir to his thrown. This will have severe repercussions.
Along with prophecies we are made to see the great importance that the gods play. It is Hermione who first calls upon the gods saying, “I do refer me to the Oracle: Apollo be my judge!” It is quite evident that Apollo plays a great role in her life since she relies on him to be her judge against her husband’s great accusations. The god Apollo is also symbolic of hope, this can be seen through Hermione’s prayer to him, his position as a symbol of hope can also be observed through the wishful conversation of  Cleomenes and Dion.
 Later in the play in act IV; scene IV, Perdita adorns Polixenes and Camillo who are both disguised, with flowers.  She is then compared to the goddess Proserpina, who is the goddess of spring and all growing things. This mention of the goddess and the comparison to Perdita is significant because it highlights a very important contrast that occurs within the play. In the beginning it is winter and this is symbolic of gloom and the upcoming tragedies that will occur. Perdita and the goddess Proserpina are symbolic of spring, a season of rebirth. This contrast also acts as a foreshadow as Perdita will eventually restore the king to a place of happiness when she returns home.  One can now see the implicit importance that the gods as well as prophecies embody within the play.
In conclusion, prophecies and gods play an important role within the play because they aid in bringing forth important themes such as hope and rebirth or renewal. They also highlight the faith that each character holds, seen especially in Hermione. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Act 3 Scene 1 –
1)      He is referring to the temple of the oracle.
2)      The oracle is located in Delphos
3)      The oracle is located in Delphi 
4)      Two characters speak in this scene.
5)      They speak about the beauty of the place they have just visited in Delphos.  
6)      They want her to say that Hermione is innocent.
7)      They say that it has been pleasant and speedy.
8)      That she is unfaithful.
9)      The oracle is dedicated to Apollo.
10)  This refers to the sealed message they have.
11)  They get horses.
12)  They think little of it and think it is accompanied with violent carriages.

Act 3 Scene 2 –
1)      He calls for the ‘prisoner’.
2)      Committing adultery is one of her charges.
3)          She thinks her integrity and loyalty is enough proof.
 4)      She thinks the accusations make her life not worth living.
5)      She says they exist only in his dreams
6)      The officer of the court reads it.
7)      He characterizes Leontes as a jealous tyrant.
8)      He lives without an heir.
9)      A servant gives him this news.
10)  She faints.
11)  Paulina tells the king that the queen dies.
12)  He says he’ll visit the grave once a day.