ENGL210: Shakespeare and The Renaissance
Through every class with The Bard
we tackled his strange words
in the end t'wasn't so hard
for his meaning to be heard.
We learnt of love, muddled and messy
on a magic summers night
saw friends descend to hissy
fits 'til the fairies set things right.
We read of Kings with rebel heirs
and plots to take the crown
loyalty, it seems, was rare,
in Shakey's time, as it is now.
A storm, we saw, can make a match
"flame amazment" in young eyes
a royal stud washed up on your patch
of island: oh sweet surprise!
The sonnets taught us more about
the man himself, old Bill
and removed any lingering doubts
of his great finesse and skill
The sun now sets, semester is done
Thanks for the unit MG, I had so much fun!
This week I commented on John's LiveJournal. He took some musings from his commonplace book about the confusion that is life. Interesting indeed.
I'll miss reading your entries!
So the semester is over, nice note to finish on!
The whole time I was reading this I couldn't help thinking "Have you read 'Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead' by Tom Stoppard???"
Because it has a bit of Shakespeare in it, and a bit of existentialist musing, and a bit of hilarity! It's such a clever play, a transformation of Hamlet. There are little bits of Shakespearean script throughout, and then most of it is in modern language. It really explores this whole "What's the point of life if it just ends in perpetual nothingness?" issue which you have touched on here.
I really like your short piece, especially your suggestion that life might just be "oddities". I often feel like that, disconnected and confused about the way things are rolling along, only for me to one day fall into a ditch and be still, silent and forgotten.
Well played, have a good holiday!
This week a member of the Bell Shakespeare company came into class and he got us to try to get into character for our drama presentations by really thinking about how our character would look, talk, contort his face, sit, stand etc etc. My character for the play is Hotspur, the most dashing soldier ever to stride across the earth! He is also a trecherous mongrel, but never mind that.
I found this quiz online and decided to answer it, as if I was Hotspur, alive and well today.
image that I think represents the dashingness that is Hotspur snitched from karenswhimsy.com/
2. What's your favourite drink? Beer!
3. Do you own a gun? Yes! I clean them daily and they are always locked and loaded.
4. What flavor do you add to your drink at Starbucks? Flavour!? I have my coffee black.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor's appointments? The only time I see a doctor is when they are stiching me up after battle.
6. What do you think of hot dogs? Delicious!
7. Favorite Christmas movie? I have no time to watch movies, what tripe!
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? The blood of Scots.
9. Can you do push ups? Ha! Observe my massive biceps and answer this one yourself!
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? A ring from my Grandfather.
11. Favorite hobby? War
12. Do you have A.D.D? No.
13. What's one trait you hate about yourself? I suppose I could be a better husband to my wife.
14. Middle name? Percy.
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment:
A) What is for dinner tonight?
B) I wonder how my prisoners are going...
C) Prince Henry is such a loser.
16. Current worry? We let a nobleman in on the plan to dethrone King Henry, but he has refused to join us, he may tell the King our plot.
17. Current Dislike? King Henry
18. How did you bring in the New Year? Wine and Women!
19. Where would you like to go? Scotland, to get the cogs turning.
20. Do you own slippers? HA! I live in my boots.
21. What shirt are you wearing? The same one I wore to the Battle of Holmedon.
22. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No
23. Favorite color? Red
24. Favorite food? Meat, Bread and Beer.
25. What's in your pocket right now? The letter informing me of the noblemans disloyalty.
26. Last thing that made you laugh? My wife, she told a good joke over dinner last night.
27. Worst injury you have ever had? Stab to the side.
28. Do you have any pets? I have a great Dane, named Tobias and my Horse, Dante
29. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke this morning? How irritating it is that I must bide my time before taking action!
30. Steak or Salad? Pssh! Steak!
This week I commented on Janelle's week 11 entry, inspired by the writers block she recorded in her Commonplace book, it is a lovely little poem which uses different fomatting of the words to convey and emphasise meaning :-)
The subversions of form that you have used also really lend the poem to being read aloud, I can "hear" the poem just by reading it, thanks to your choices in font size, formatting, capitals and structure.
Aside from that I just love the concept, I like your final suggestion that maybe the reason why you can't quite put something into words is because you're not supposed to, sometimes thoughts are just for yourself :-)
So we finished up The Tempest this week. This creative piece may seem unrelated. I think that the only really obvious parallel is that both this piece and The Tempest begin with a shipwreck. Though obviously this is a metaphorical shipwreck.
If you read closely, and think outside the box, you may find a few more parallels.
Shipwrecks Are a Chance to Show Off Your Survival Skills
You are flung from the ship and land in the wet, gasping for breath and sinking deeper into the sea. Out of the corner of your eye you spy something bright and bouyant, a life jacket to wrap around you and keep your head above the blackness, as the big waves break around you, you feel safe and special.
With no land in sight, the jacket begins it's deflate. You are too heavy and have depended on it for too long. It is sick and tired of supporting your survival. Refusing to let go, you try to float but as you begin to, a dinghy appears on the horizon. Relieved to be rid of the pathetic and useless life jacket, you climb aboard and enjoy this new dryness. You bask in the sun and snooze, cradled and cocooned. You do not wonder why a dinghy would be floating, free and easy, all alone, this far out at sea. You do not worry that you cannot continue this way.
When I hit the ocean, it is cold and sends me crazy. Planks of wood from the wreck float by and I grab onto the biggest one. I cling to it until the splinters start hurting and making me hateful, then I decide it is time to swim. I float and freestyle, propelling my exploration. I pass oil drums and jackets, wood and life rings. Remnants of the wreck. They offer me a chance to rest, stop moving for a moment, enjoy the view. Then they soon become a burden, and it's easier to float alone, letting the waves rollercoaster me across the world. I'm aware that I can't swim forever. I can't float alone for too much longer. I will continue for as long as I can, until I reach an island. It will nourish and provide, while I cultivate and explore. We will know what laps at our edges, we will understand our stillness in the middle of the sea, and we will understand that sometimes I'll need to dive in, float away, swim alone and be free.
By Elise McKenzie
I don't think the language is all that great in this one, but the metaphor means a lot to me, so I'm going to say it's a good piece of writing.
Manson V Shakespeare
Love this entry Kelly, I heart Manson, he is amazing.
I think the thing they have in common, which stands out the most to me, is that they can both seem inaccessable at first glance. Obviously Shakespeare with his language (which true, is only difficult for us modern plebs) may appear impossible to comprehend, and many people never even bother to get more involved with his work, because they "don't understand it". For Manson, it is his confronting image and screamy metal music which makes him, at first glance, seem inaccessable.
With both Shakespeare and Manson, once you push through those initial reactions, you can really appreciate the meaning behind their work and then lo and behold, you begin to really appreciate the thing that put you off them in the first place!
Oh my how the year is progressing! I don't know where the weeks have gone.
In the lecture we watched a film version of The Tempest. I have not had much exposure to The Tempest, except for an amature production of the play in Hong Kong, which was biligual and had about 40% of the dialogue in Cantonese. I generally like the idea of it, except that Prospero always seemed a little inscestuously creepy with his whole keeping-his-young-daughter-on-an-island thing. But that's probably just me.
In the Tutorial we looked closely at Ariel's character and how verbose he is, and MG suggested that Shakespeare used that verbosity to convey the narrative through dialogue, as obviously the Bard was not able to create a movie-montage of Ariel "flaming amazement" and wreaking havoc on the unwitting crew of a ship. I think Ariel's longwinded recounts and explanations effectively portray him as an oversharing and flamboyant attention seeker, as well as conveying the unseen, peripheral narratives that contribute to the plot.
I completely sympathise with Ariel, though he is a talker, often uneccessarily, because I am an uneccessary talker myself, as anyone who has been in a lecture or tute with me will know.
I am especially into recounting somewhat mundane or unimpressive stories about my life with much drama and detail. Here is an example:
imagine snitched from http://www.muse-eek.com/gallery/shapiro/images/mess%20around_72.jpg
So I unlocked the door and padded down the corridor, desperate to drop the heavy shopping bags that were cutting into my palms. It is no surprise that people get fat, food is pretty heavy. Anyway, so I walked down the corridor, and dropped the bags on the carpet, then flicked on the lights. I kid you not, I nearly died. She'd obviously decided to cook pasta or something and the mess was EVERYWHERE, splattered across the back of the stove, dripped all over the floor. Then she'd filled the sink with water, apparently intending to do the dishes, and just LEFT it there! So much time had passed that there wasn't so much as a sud left, if she'd ever put any detergent in to begin with. The water was oily and murky with a crust of bolognese sauce. The plates were marinating. I stormed into her room and she woke up with a grunt, I screamed at her for a good 30 seconds then slammed the door and went back into the kitchen, put on my rubber gloves and tried not to vomit at the stench which rose, directly into my nostrils, mind you, as I broke the water's (if you can really call the vile substance "water")dank surface, to retrieve my crockery. I know I should have made her do it, otherwise she'll never learn anything for herself, but there was no way I was going to bed until I knew that mess had been completely eradicated in a Pine-o-Clean apocolypse.
As you see, all that really happened was: I got home from a big day to find my sister, as usual, had made a mess of the kitchen and had not thought to clean it up, so I got mad and did it myself.
Just like how all that really happened was that Ariel turned into flames and freaked out the ship's passengers so much that they jumped overboard.
You have very eloquently demonstrated the reasons for my resignation: I was playing a role I did not like. me being the primadonna that I am, I refused to work under such conditions and trotted out to my trailer and started auditioning for better roles.
Retail asks a lot of it's assistants, with a very contrived script with little space for ad libbing, and very specific stage directions on the delivery of each repeated line (SHOPGIRL stands up straight, hands by her side, smile plastered on face)
I decided I'm more into Improv and comedy sketchwork, so became a nanny.
Well done Bec, I think you really captured the drama and theatrics of a job in retail!
I'm actually writing a comic called SHOPGIRL about a superhero ninja shop assistant who uses coathangers like lethal boomerangs and has an uncanny super-ability to calculate the discounted price of an item without running it through the register. Some of the super villians she faces are obviously (shop)LIFTER, and A.M. (Area Manager) I might run it by you in the later stages, if you wouldn't mind.
She switched herself off with the same stuff she used to switch herself on, the blood stopped pumping in time to the music and her lungs stopped sucking in the sweet tar and nicotine that hung around the heads in clouds and drenched her as she decayed, fast and tragic. She didn’t see it coming so she didn’t say a prayer, though she was in no state to plead for anything except another hit from both her dealer and the DJ. She went from present tense to passed out on the floor, tense and twitching, out of time and in big trouble. Her brain exploded and (if you believe that sort thing) catapulted her soul up and away from her carcass, still twisted on the sticky floor.
image snitched from http://leedeely.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/on_the-dancefloor.jpg
In the next room she stares back through the mirrored glass and panics as the clarity fills her head, blocking out the view of the cadaver wearing her dress and heels. With nothing to ache or itch or burn, all she can do is see and hear every moment of her meaningless life, a speck of dust on a kitsch ornament on the mantle piece of an old lady in a parallel universe. The emptiness of nowhere is crammed with everything. She stares at the blood and gore of transcendent wounds she sustained and inflicted with words and actions that sliced and bludgeoned. An endless loop of the mistakes she thought had gone unnoticed plays to the sneering melody of a pipe organ. She has no eyelids so she can’t stop seeing, she has no voice so she cannot scream. Doomed to a perfect understanding, she must re-live but cannot rectify.
By Elise McKenzie
Oh my god Georgina, I LOVE your train trip narrative! It is just delightful in every way! I especially love how you met the challenge of trying to write about the changing light, it's always such a race to get something good on the page before it's changed, while your head was down, scribbling in your commonplace book. When I do it, I feel as if, while I'm recording the colours and mood that I've just seen, I'm missing other stuff that might have been better to record.
I had a similar experience on a flight back to Sydney from Hong Kong, the sun was setting and I was up in the sky, trying to record the perfect view of a beautiful, but quickly changing and disappearing phenomenon. We are lucky that it happens every 24hrs, so you always get another chance!
I love reading books which are set in real places which include a lot of details about the place. I've read Chinese Cinderella and Falling Leaves so many times and gone to the streets and places in Hong Kong that she speaks about. Your trip to Paris will probably make you love Hemmingway EVEN MORE, and you'll probably come up with your own creative works to rival his!
My version uses the exact same structure and rhyming sounds as the original, but obviously follows my own theme... If you read them together you may see a few parallels but other than that mine is qutie different :-)
terrifying image snitched from http://img.webme.com/pic/e/endo-depression/aging.jpg
I'm Only Having A Quarter Life Crisis Because I Know The Other Three Quarters Will Be Terrible
Then sprung up first the golden age, which of itself maintained
The fun and flight of everything unforced and unconstrained.
There was no fear of consequence, no concern for law
Brazen hearts and drunken heads, spilt across the floor.
There was no soul who’d bow their head or stop to lend a hand
We lived inside our little minds with dreams and wishes grand.
The lustful thoughts were not ignored, instead misunderstood
as something more, as something sweet as something true and good.
We knew none of that around us, to our delusions we would keep
There was no need for knowledge, sobriety or sleep.
When war was waged, there’d be no blood: we’d mock and jeer and scorn
‘Til foe’s fragile self-esteem was bruised, broken and torn.
Our bodies once untouched and pure, craved corruption here and now
Fumbling, we realised in the dark that we didn’t quite know how...
And every soul was ne’er content and could often be quite rude
Never doing much at all, but sulk and whinge and brood,
‘Everyone else’ had brand new clothes, surfboards, and Blackberries
the latest Apple laptop and a trip to Buenos Aries,
Their families all seemed perfect, liberal and much better heeled.
The summer lasted all the year, long after sunburn peeled
with parties, dates and drug abuse we never could be bored,
emulating the twisted lives of the rock stars we adored.
No lessons would be learned from those who symbolised The Man
we scoffed at their raised eyebrows, turned on our heels and ran,
Then friends brought beer and friends brought pills and gold tequila flowed
We collapsed in our delinquent mess and in shadows our grins glowed
But then into our twenties we each were cajoled and thrust
The rules had changed, the world revealed, and we all had to adjust,
And then the silver age came in, with more burdens than gold
(But less stressful than the bronze) we were distinctly growing old
And the endless summer ceased, responsibility rose with every dawn
Four duties: Classes, Work, Friends... and Family off and on.
With each deadline the heat would rise, under pressure we would melt
Then finish off, down a few drinks, and the stress was no more felt.
All night glued to computer screens: so jacked on caffeine we were sick
with jelly beans for sustenance, into the dawn we’d tap and click.
Then for the first time savings plans kept all our spare cash bound
When the bills came in we bought cheap wine and all our stresses drowned
Next after this the big three oh, home stretch to middle age
Aghast we slapped on potions to prevent turning the page
But yet not wholly past all grace, our hearts stayed in the past
as we signed a mortgage, settled down, tried to make a marriage last.
And when entering this wicked age, there opened up a vein,
Therein all trauma tumbled forth: Then Fun and Laughs were slain
And Careless Joy died with them, and guess who charged right in,
Anxiety, Insomnia, Depression and Cancer Riddled Skin.
To shrinks we sailed and sought our souls, convinced we did not know
ourselves and what we wanted, as our metabolisms slowed
Slaving all day behind a desk, our waistlines grew more round
We had no time for anything but stacking on the pounds.
Reminded every morning as our knees and backs were sore
we lamented the springing step we had wasted years before.
We cursed ourselves for all the fun, the coffee, booze and ciggs
sending us to the bowels of the ground at the end of this mortal gig.
We began to get a little scared about the chance of fiery hell,
remembering all the times we flipped the bird and then rebelled.
Then eventually we realised that yes, in fact, we’re getting old
the young ‘uns have all the energy to be stupid, brash and bold
We didn’t try to fight it as it creased our work-worn hands
time came and knocked us off our feet, overtook our best laid plans
to write a novel, learn to fence, complete a world-wide quest,
direct a film, win the Nobel, attend a peaceful protest.
Between our birth and death our lives aren’t what they ought to be
We spend so little time of it being young and free
So while we’re standing tall, and until we wake up frail
It’s best to open up our hearts so that life and love prevail
All goodness lives within ourselves, for us we know what’s best
Don’t let your youth be wasted while you’re too busy being stressed.
By Elise McKenzie
This week I commented on Rob's LiveJournal, he went to Canberra and visited the National Art Gallery, which I have been to and found simply delightful!
I love the National Art Gallery! Katie, Bethany and I went down around this time last year and it was indeed rather splendid!
Blue Poles is confusing, ESPECIALLY because of it's price tag, but I like how they have that little bench in front of it, almost as if they expect that anyone who looks at it for long enough will need to sit down. It can be quite mesmerising.
I really like your comments on Rene Magritte's "Les Amants" and agree that their faces are irrelevent, you can sense the feeling of love from their positions and the closeness of their covered heads. I think it emphasises the beauty of love, regardless of the lovers outward appearances. This dual portrait is an asthetic representation of something that isn't (or shouldn't be) asthetic, and by covering their faces Magritte conveys that message.
Please assess me on my WHOLE journal, because I think I've done pretty well this semester, but especially week two!
The rancid affliction hit me particularly hard on Tuesday and I was out of action until I cajolled myself into rising late Wednesday morning.
My original plan for my Week Six LiveJournal Entry was to discuss and argue the readings for this week on my own, in a schizophrenic dialogue between myself and Jemima, my insipid alterego who always reads too far into everything and comes up with forty million different notions that a simple phrase could insinuate, and the eighty million possible implications of each of those potential meanings. She is a bit crazy.
However, I remembered my poem about The Fire (elisriture.livejournal.com/8760.html) , which prevented me from attenting lectures/gallery visits last year and I recalled how I didn't fail that Unit, so obviously writing about how I didn't manage to attend class is something I can get away with, if I use enough figurative language, probably because MG knows of my general enthusiasm and participation in the unit.
So I created a magical formula, (Failure to Attend Class x Creative Piece) ÷ Overall Enthusiasm and Participation in Course = MG Forgiving me and still passing me in this Unit... and remembered that there was a definite reason I made the decision to Drop Maths, Especially Alegbra, Forever after the HSC, forgot about the formula, and wrote this poem. Without the help of my commonplace book.
(randomly appropriate image snitched from
The sliver of wet light
cracks the curtains,
slicing my brain.
My retinas scream
to the back of my skull.
I go to moan but
I must've swallowed a few
as I slept, my hermit voice
crawls from her hole,
hurting as she
gasps and stumbles
toward the grey pane.
The rain pours,
my tears well...
everything between my ears
from the explosions.
I inhale dis-ease then
am racked and shaken
as my body makes a bid
to get rid of whatever
bug has bitten me.
Dozing without dreaming,
as the ache conquers my head
I decide to skip my classes
and spend today in bed.
By Elise McKenzie
And I know, I know you're going "I really would much rather have seen this whole schizo shenanigan" but never fear, stay tuned! Week Seven's entry will involve a schizophrenic dialogue between me and Alter-ego Jemima. I suppose it will be amusing, and a rare instance of Elise self-deprecation (I really don't like Jemima, though she is a part of me that emerges a. when I am over-tired b. when I am (or think I am) in love. She's a total moron.)
Anyway, please don't fail me MG, I will probably come to every other class this semester!
This week I am not going to comment on any of my classmates LiveJournals. This is partly because I couldn't find any that I could a) understand without having been to the lecture b) really be interested in. I don't know, they were mostly sort of dull this week, no offense, there is obviously just some kind of inspiration void this close to the Easter holidays. c) none of the comments I could have made on classmates LiveJournals this week would have been as important as the comment I am about to make.
I recieved an email from one of my best friends who lives in London this morning. She and one of my other best mates went to the G20 Protests and have returned quite shaken after seeing some terrible police brutality, during what was always intended to be a peaceful protest.
What has left them even more upset is the media's glossing over of "so much bad shit" she witnessed, including "horrible things" by the police, with international reporters and newrooms instead focussing on the out-of-line antics of some unruly deliquent protesters who are not supported by the majority of the men and women who attended the G20 protests to simply make their opinion heard.
I am putting this in my LiveJournal because I know first hand that the media in Australia is an out of control, story spinning, bullshit machine, which uses the isolation of it population to it's advantage to hype up stories, inspire fear and, most importantly to them, raise ratings. I hope by posting this here a few of my class-mates might read it and pass the message on, we have a small uni so word spreads fast if you let it.
I am commenting here on my LiveJournal because I think as Literature students, we are people who frequently analyse and criticise texts which are openly and intentionally fictional. This is wonderful, but after all, it is just practise and fun. As people with this skill, we need to analyse and criticise ALL texts we are exposed to, especially those which are thrust in our faces as fact by local media outlets. Do not believe what you watch on the news, they will twist the truth to push their own, and their governments agenda. Be critical, be analytical of everything they say to you or show you.
Don't pretend that Orwell's 1984 is a completely implausible concept. It is happening.
In Australia we are particularly suseptible to the media's inscrupulous behaviour and techniques, due to our isolation from the rest of the world and the general ignorance of this extremely insulated population. Fight back. Read international newspapers online, to try to get more perspectives on a story. Switch off A Current Affair. Do not dellude yourself into believing that The News is synonymous with The Facts.
And please, send your good wishes to the 111 who were arrested, and countless who were injured at the G20 protests. Of course some of them were behaving innapropriately, but so were people who are entrusted with the safety of society. Why did the police get to go home to their families after participating in the violence of the day, while civilians who are speaking for those who are suffering in silence were thrown into jail?
It is a serious problem.
Think For Yourself.
I see you out of the cliché corner of my eye, just standing there quietly amongst the others. You’re tired, tested... edges rough and weary, though you keep your spine straight as you give me a blank look full of answers. I need to know you. I sidle a step closer, until I’m standing inches away and everything you can tell me tickles me behind the eyes. Gently, slowly I reach out and touch you, your rough skin matching the temperature of mine... it doesn’t take much to make you open up and everything you tell me is new because it’s old. Everything you say is special because it’s been said before. I close my eyes and lean in closer, filling my head with the particles of everyone who has touched you before I had this chance to. Then I’m briskly told I’m not allowed to hold you, so I bashfully return you to the shelf.
By Elise McKenzie
That is a short prose piece about how much I loved the State Library and how irritating it was that I wasn't allowed to get all the books off the shelf and smell them all and strew them about a room open to all my favourite pages and read them by the light of one of those kerosene lamps while stretched across a really soft, ornate carpet. I'd read into the early hours of the morning and eventually fall asleep with one covering my face. Kelly said she was amazed that there are other people in our course that get as excited as she does about books... I will also admit that it was comforting to know that my deep love for anything printed and bound (especially if the printing and binding happened over 30 years ago) is not a crazy mental-patient style personality disorder, it's fairly common. Nerd factor: 10/10.
* * * * * * * * *
I really enjoyed your poem, it was mostly very funny and the last stanza is rather poignant...
Over the past 2 years we've sat together, engaged in discussions with people, disagreed and argued, backed each other up, and shared opinions and experiences. Our class has gone from a bunch of strangers to a group of 'learned colleagues'. It's sad to know that after uni we'll all disperse along our separate paths and probably won't see each other again...
This poem is good enough to be just your Six Week entry, none of this "for now" rubbish!