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.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Elizabethan Theatre

            In England, prior to 1576 or the reign of queen Elizabeth I there were no established theatres in the country. Actors of that time wandered around looking for spectators. They usually performed in the courtyards of Royal Palaces or anywhere that could accommodate large audiences. Along with the drawback of no permanent acting house or theatre, actors had to deal with the social stigma accompanied with their trade; they were usually regarded as vagabonds.
            In 1576, actors could finally enjoy performing in a permanent theatre when James Burbage, an actor who was once a carpenter built England’s first theatre located in Shoreditch. It was given an effortless name, “The Theatre”. The main area of the theatre was opened to the sky with a large yard for spectators who couldn’t afford seats to stand. The cheapest seats in the theatre were normally 2 pence. The theatre was later closed in 1599; however James Burbage’s son stripped it down and hauled it across town to Bankside where it took 6 months to reconstruct. It was called The Globe. It was not known for sure if the theatre was actually shaped like a globe but from Shakespeare’s description in one of his play’s leads historians to believe this.
            Unfortunately, in 1613 during a performance of Henry III, a canon that was fired caught fire to the thatched roof and the theatre burnt down. The Globe was rebuilt; however it was closed permanently in 1644 when all plays were banned by Parliament. It was only in the 20th century was a new theatre built and opened for acting.
            During that era actors did not enjoy the luxury afforded by modern-day actors today. The theatres did not have a set or lighting. Therefore, performances had to be held in daylight. They also utilized little props and costumes and music and songs were used to set the scene. It was also difficult for actors to capture the audience because they were normally loud and frequently ate and drank while watching the play.
            Other theatres included: The Curtain and The Swan which were public theatres and The Cockpit and Blackfriars which were private.


Monday, 17 September 2012

Synopses of Shakespeare 

William Shakespeare is recognized as one of literature’s greatest influences and widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English Language. He was born in 1564 to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden in Stratford-upon-Avon. His birthday is unknown but from his baptismal records it can be ascertained that he was born in 1564. He was the third child of eight siblings.
It is believed that Shakespeare attended the King’s New School in Stratford. Very little is known about his life after this, up until a bond certificate dated November the 28th, 1582, reveals that an eighteen year old William married the twenty-six and pregnant Anne Hathaway. Seven months later they had their first daughter Susanna, William and Anne also welcomed twin Hamnet and Judith in February 1592.
It is not known exactly when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of his plays were on the London stage by 1592. From 1594, Shakespeare's plays were performed only by the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later renamed King’s Men), a company owned by a group of players, including Shakespeare. It soon became the leading playing company in London. Shakespeare’s work includes 38 plays and 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. Amongst these, his well-known plays include: Richard ะจ, The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth  and Hamlet.
Shakespeare retired to Stratford in 1616 where he passed away on April 23rd, 1616 and was survived by his wife and two daughters. Many of Shakespeare’s plays were later developed into films, reinterpreted or used as the main idea behind many literary works. Shakespeare is deemed as one of the greatest writers due to his versatility and genius within his work. His plays and poems have been translated in many languages worldwide.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

What is a theme ?
A theme is the underlying idea which  a literary work attempts to convey or the motivation it seeks to explore.

1.) Friendship means a great deal to me.
2.) Yes, I am still friends with my childhood friend who I met at age 7.
3.) Loyalty means a great deal to me.
4.) I would react passively.
5.)  There has never been a situation where I thought my friend betrayed me then found out I was wrong because my friends are loyal so the idea would never occur to me.
6.) Nope.
7.) I have never been cheated on and my best friend would never do such a thing.
8.) If that were the case I would be too hurt to think of payback.
9.) I once caused discomfort to a female who was spreading rumours about me. She deserved every bit of the embarrassment. 
10.) To be banished from society.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Findings of Cambridge

I think that the book Cambridge is a bit boring and sometimes hard to read but through this story the reader is able to gain an insight into the hierarchical structure of the Caribbean Plantation society and England how privileged persons like Emily views it. Caryl Phillips utilizes several narrative techniques in order to develop his story.  One main narrative technique that is evident in the text is setting. This is the place and time in which the narrative is laid. The setting at the beginning of the book is aboard a ship bound for The Americas and the later on Emily's father plantation. Point of view is also used my Phillips where the book gives one character's view of the story , this character is Emily which is the narrator. The book is presented in a very detailed manner, this overly detailed description of surroundings within the book tends to make it somewhat of a bore. A significant narrative device used within Cambridge is characterization, this is the process of depicting character and personality in a narrative so that the characters seem real. Emily, who is one of the main characters in the narrative is a Caucasian woman from England who has came to The Americas to visit one of her father's plantation. Caryl presents this character as morally-blinded, this is seen through her acceptance of slavery. Upon arrival she meets several blacks and immediately refers to them as "niggers", a very derogatory term. However, although Emily is presented in this way readers may be able to be understanding towards her behavior because it's the way in which she is raised and what she is accustomed to. Another main character in the book is the slave Cambridge who is quite aware of the prejudices which come along with being a black slave. He has a profound sense of justice, however as a black slave this is self-destructive.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Biography of F.Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald


F.Scott Fitzgerald was an American author of novels and short stories. He is regarded as one of the greatest author’s of the 20th century. Fitzgerald was born on September, 24th 1896 to Mollie McQuillan and Edward Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  He was named after his uncle, writer of The Star Spangled Banner, his father and his sister Louise Scott who passed away prior to his birth.

Fitzgerald’s parents were Catholics and therefore sent him to several Catholic schools. It was at St. Paul’s Academy at the age of 13 that he made his first literary effort when a detective story he wrote was published in the school newspaper. However, he was expelled when he was 16 for neglecting his academic studies. After attending a preparatory school he attended the Princeton University in 1913. There he wrote for the Princeton Triangle Club and the Princeton Tiger. His involvement in the Triangle Club, a musical- comedy society, led to his submission of possibly his first novel. Although praised by the editor of Charles Scribners Son they rejected the book. Fitzgerald later had to leave Princeton because of poor grades, after which he enlisted in the US army in World War 1.

At a country club of Montgomery, Alabama youth society, Scott met Zelda Sayre, the youngest daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge and soon fell in love with her. This blossoming romance heightened his hopes for the success of his novel but after its second revision it was rejected once again by Scribner’s. The war ended just before he was to be sent overseas, after his discharge in 1919 he went to New York in hopes of gaining his fortune in order to marry, but Zelda who was unwilling to live off of his small salary broke their engagement. He then quit his job in July 1919 and returned to St. Paul to rewrite his novel as This Side of Paradise. It was accepted by Maxwell Perkins editor at Scribners in September. In the fall-winter of 1919 he commenced his career as a writer of stories for the mass-circulation magazines. Fitzgerald continued to write fictional short stories for the rest of his life. The publication of This Side of Paradise on March 26, 1920, made the twenty-four-year-old Fitzgerald famous almost overnight, and a week later he married Zelda Sayre in New York.

In New York, he wrote his second novel, The Beautiful and Damned. When Zelda became pregnant they took their first trip to Europe in 1921 and then settled in St. Paul for the birth of their only child, Frances Scott (Scottie) Fitzgerald, who was born in October 1921.

Scott and his wife moved to France in 1924 where he began writing The Great Gatsby. They spent the winter of 1924-1925 in Rome, where he revised The Great Gatsby and were on their way to Paris when the novel was published in April. The Great Gatsby marked a striking advance in Fitzgerald’s technique.

In the spring of 1927 Scott and his small family moved back to America. In 1932 Zelda was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after suffering from schizophrenia for some years. She spent the rest of her life as a resident of sanitariums. Later, Fitzgerald rented “La Paix,” a house outside Baltimore, where he completed his fourth novel, Tender Is the Night, published in 1934. Scott’s habit of drinking had adverse effects on his writing for some time. His marriage too seemed to be in shambles. He moved to Hollywood on his own where he wrote for Esquire to earn a salary. There he fell in love with movie columnist Sheilah Graham. He began his Hollywood novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, in 1939 and had written more than half of a working draft when he died of a heart attack in Graham’s apartment on December 21, 1940.  

F.Scott Fitzgerald’s friend Edmund Wilson, a literary critic, edited and published his novel The Love of the Last Tycoon in 1941.

Sources :, The F.Scott Fitzgerald Society, and Bio.True Story