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Carmenere_lady
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Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Our own judgement?



Everyman wrote:

Carmenere_lady wrote:
I have been reading the critics of which some are entirely above my head.




Everyman wrote: Take heart!



So to the extent that you find a critic's comments understandable and constructive and helpful in enabling you to enjoy the plays more, good-o. But if they aren't understandable and constructive and helpful, put them down and go back to reading the play for yourself. They're all ancillary to your own reading and understanding and enjoying.

Always keep in mind: The Play's the Thing!




Thanks for the encouraging words, Everyman. I was beginnning to think I wasn't scholarly enough to add my two cents to the dialog. I don't normally read critics because I do not want them to blemish my initial thoughts on the play. I will, however, refer to them as well as the dvds to clear up the fuzzy areas.
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Our own judgement?



cjmiller1973 wrote:I also am new to all of this, and I must admit that as a teenager, I always wondered if we as critical readers, particularly in a more "scholarly" environment, do not read more into these classics than even the author intended (did an author pick a green light because green symbolizes hope or did he just happen to like green lights). I am just trying to peel away one layer of this text at a time, and enjoying your discussions. In the end, we will each find something(s) we will relate to in the story, and isn't that what enjoying a good piece of literature is all about :smileyhappy:

One thing I wish I had done was attempt to read this through the first time before reading all of the critical summaries. I won't make that mistake the next time.





I agree with you cj. I tend to believe that the language itself confuses us and we all interpret it a different way. The joy in shakespeare, to me at least, is walking thru the fog and finally seeing the clearing as the day progresses. Hang in there with me, ok?
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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cheryl_shell
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Re: Critics and Other Readers


Everyman wrote: The problem is that when you stop looking at the plays to find out what Shakespeare intended, and look for things that you might want to find there whether or not he intended them, you step off a cliff and may or may not have a functional para glider to bring you back safely to earth.

One classic example is his line from 2 Henri VI 4.2, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

This is emblazoned across sweatshirts, coffee mugs, hats, and all sorts of other items by anti-lawyer contingents to prove that Shakespeare was anti-lawyer. Ask the average person on the street how Shakespeare felt about lawyers, and those who have any response at all will most likely say that he hated lawyers, and cite this line.

But if you attend a lawyers convention and slide the line into the conversation the almost universal response you will get is that read within its context it is a strongly pro-lawyer statement, that the conspirators want to kill the lawyers because lawyers would interfere with or prevent success on their parts.



That was a good example of how Shakespeare is taken out of context, Everyman. People often forget that lines from Shakespeare are spoken by characters, who may or may not have been expressing Shakespeare's thoughts or feelings. The most we can say is that they were expressing the feelings appropriate to the situation and their own character. We have to be careful, therefore, what opinions we attribute to the playwright.

As for the "kill all the lawyers" line, it was spoken by one of Jack Cade's men, who were leading an uprising (a historical event) against the nobility who were perpetrating crimes against the people, supposedly without the king's knowledge. The line was not meant as a compliment to lawyers. From the point of view of the peasantry, lawyers were dangerous because they were always on the side of the people with power. In a new government, one more just, there would be no lawyers to cause poor people harm. There is a serious message being sent, I think, one designed to warn people in power. But as with much of the criticism conveyed by Shakespeare, it's delivered tongue-in-cheek. The scene is viewed as comical by many audiences. I think you can take it as you like--serious criticism from a beleaguered peasant, or foolish talk from a rebel buffoon. It depends on whose side you're on.
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Laurel
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Re: Critics and Other Readers

:smileyvery-happy: Can we put all the lawyers in a pit, anyway? :smileyvery-happy:



cheryl_shell wrote:

Everyman wrote: The problem is that when you stop looking at the plays to find out what Shakespeare intended, and look for things that you might want to find there whether or not he intended them, you step off a cliff and may or may not have a functional para glider to bring you back safely to earth.

One classic example is his line from 2 Henri VI 4.2, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

This is emblazoned across sweatshirts, coffee mugs, hats, and all sorts of other items by anti-lawyer contingents to prove that Shakespeare was anti-lawyer. Ask the average person on the street how Shakespeare felt about lawyers, and those who have any response at all will most likely say that he hated lawyers, and cite this line.

But if you attend a lawyers convention and slide the line into the conversation the almost universal response you will get is that read within its context it is a strongly pro-lawyer statement, that the conspirators want to kill the lawyers because lawyers would interfere with or prevent success on their parts.



That was a good example of how Shakespeare is taken out of context, Everyman. People often forget that lines from Shakespeare are spoken by characters, who may or may not have been expressing Shakespeare's thoughts or feelings. The most we can say is that they were expressing the feelings appropriate to the situation and their own character. We have to be careful, therefore, what opinions we attribute to the playwright.

As for the "kill all the lawyers" line, it was spoken by one of Jack Cade's men, who were leading an uprising (a historical event) against the nobility who were perpetrating crimes against the people, supposedly without the king's knowledge. The line was not meant as a compliment to lawyers. From the point of view of the peasantry, lawyers were dangerous because they were always on the side of the people with power. In a new government, one more just, there would be no lawyers to cause poor people harm. There is a serious message being sent, I think, one designed to warn people in power. But as with much of the criticism conveyed by Shakespeare, it's delivered tongue-in-cheek. The scene is viewed as comical by many audiences. I think you can take it as you like--serious criticism from a beleaguered peasant, or foolish talk from a rebel buffoon. It depends on whose side you're on.



"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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cheryl_shell
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Re: Critics and Other Readers


Laurel wrote:
:smileyvery-happy: Can we put all the lawyers in a pit, anyway? :smileyvery-happy:





Definitely! :smileywink:
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Everyman
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Re: Critics and Other Readers



Laurel wrote:
:smileyvery-happy: Can we put all the lawyers in a pit, anyway? :

As long as it's the money pit.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Re: Shakespeare's portrayal of women

I am presently looking at Hemingway's portrayals of women so when we are done with this train of thoughts maybe we'll discover that nothing much has changed. ;-)

Thanks for your thought, I'll have it in mind as I read the play and return with comments if I find any along the way.

ziki
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Re: Act I: The Court (opposites)

Q:What is the purpose of making this contrast so evident, do you think? What might Shakespeare have been trying to show us?
---------
I think no matter what labels we assign to the opposites the message might be that we exist in the tension between them (in duality) and that they work together (like the primary and secondary processes, the conscious reason and instincts or unconscious fears, night and day) etc. Any time we choose one above the other we are out of balance and suffer. We need two feet to walk comfortably.

ziki
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cheryl_shell
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Re: Act I: The Court (opposites)



ziki wrote:
Q:What is the purpose of making this contrast so evident, do you think? What might Shakespeare have been trying to show us?
---------
I think no matter what labels we assign to the opposites the message might be that we exist in the tension between them (in duality) and that they work together (like the primary and secondary processes, the conscious reason and instincts or unconscious fears, night and day) etc. Any time we choose one above the other we are out of balance and suffer. We need two feet to walk comfortably.

ziki




Well put, Ziki.
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2lynx



Lynx wrote: I am starting to wander too far afield...that's a bad pun....




Not at all, not at all..each pun is fun.
I think I am going to read the book.
thank you for your post

ziki
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Re: Act I: The Court : Escape into the surreal



alfprof212 wrote: I do believe that upon writing the play, Shakespeare specifically chose the forest because he knew his audience would identify with its magical implications.




It was quite usuall to people the forests with small creatures, trolls and fairies in folk tales. The forest was impenetrable, one could get easily lost,all these are good metaphors for dreams, primal processes and spheres where reality is shapeshifting.

ziki
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simple love



cheryl_shell wrote: And it seems as though the forest is as strewn with obstacles in the path of true love as is the court!




Was love ever simple in any of Shakespeare's plays?

ziki
not trying to be ironic
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Re: Act I: The Court (opposites)

[ Edited ]
Usually after I just awake there is a special kind of clarity and seeing that gets dimmed by the rational thinking, memories of the past days, who I think I am , what I did and have to do etc = the court. Actually in that case the court can feel like a fog blowing in and hiding what is real....

Before that happens the 'wood' melts into the day and both facilities are at work simultaneously. These are usually my best moments. Then as if a veil were drawn over the 'wood' that is forgotten and I am moved into the day, spat out from a sea (moving, female principle) onto a shore (firm, male principle)

The fact is we can't exist without sleep (wood). Often we are adviced to leave a problem and to sleep on it and then trust that the solution will arrive 'magically' by itself. Often it does as if fairies delivered it.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-22-200711:28 PM

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Re: Act I: The Court (opposites)



cheryl_shell wrote:


ziki wrote:
Q:What is the purpose of making this contrast so evident, do you think? What might Shakespeare have been trying to show us?
---------
I think no matter what labels we assign to the opposites the message might be that we exist in the tension between them (in duality) and that they work together (like the primary and secondary processes, the conscious reason and instincts or unconscious fears, night and day) etc. Any time we choose one above the other we are out of balance and suffer. We need two feet to walk comfortably.

ziki




Well put, Ziki.




Hmmm....I was startled today that I used feet not legs...feet are more feeling, while legs are more stiff (male). Feet are female....now I am really taking out the turns...heheh.

ziki
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Re: Act I: (Spoiler) The Court at the end.



Choisya wrote:
According to my Notes the fairies only enter the Palace when all the humans are in bed asleep and this, IMO, makes them IN the Palace but not OF it, therefore Chery's delineation twix stability and reason and magic and madness is kept. Puck's speech at the end infers it may have all been a dream anyway and therefore no-one was anywhere:smileyhappy:




This is the most mystical summary, yeehaa!

ziki
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love

[ Edited ]

mef6395 wrote:I would like to believe that Shakespeare wanted "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to be about love and not just sexual attraction ... that love could be complicated and complex and topsy-turvy; but if it is true it will conquer most odds and differences, and will triumph in the end!




I think it is not about love but about romantic love, the infatuation, the folly (but I didn't finish the play yet).

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-22-200711:39 PM

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Re: Court versus the Woods



samantilles wrote:
In addition to the comparision of Theseus's Court to the Forest as reality vs fantasy, I also see a direct comparision to the Laws of Man versus the Laws of Nature. Demitrius claims his right to Hermia based on his rank in society, a man-made and respected rank. Lysander claims his rank is just as good as Demitrius, and to top it off, he actually is in love with Hermia. But natural attraction has no worth in the law of man, only that of the rights of the patriarch, Hermia's father, Egeus. The Law of Man is determined to overrule the natrual attraction between Lysander and Hermia in the Court, and so the lovers must leave the court of man to pursue their love. The forest does not fall under the jurisdiction of man, and so the forces of love are the only law required. In the forest, a man is not determined by his rank in the city, nor a daughter required to adhere to the wishes of her father. All artificial worthiness is shed from the men. When the four enter the forests, which will reign supreme: the natural attractions of the lovers or the law of man?




Walden.

ziki
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many lit sources



samantilles wrote: I expect the watchers of the play in Shakespeare's time would have been much more familiar with the mythologies alluded to (Theseus/Hippolyta and now Pyramus/Thisbe) then perhaps we in the modern age are.




My intro says that SHKSP had an ability to bring together in a single work plots and characters derived from diverse literary sources.

It refers to Chaucer (Thes.& Hip.).
T.North (translation of Plutarch)
Pyr. and Thisb. from Ovid's Metamorphosis
Apuleius and other lit sources that SHLSP mixes together in his own way.

ziki
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Re: (Possible Spoiler) A psychological interpretation of the themes.



Lynx wrote:
Let us not forget that "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a comedy and deserves to be responded to in the comic spirit.




You know.....I can't really see the comedy in it yet. i wonder isn't it meant in the same style as 'divine comedy'? Like: look what's going on here...how absurd?

(rhymes for me with the 'mystical Puck', is he guiding us through? "I am that merry wanderer of the night.")

ziki
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alfprof212
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Re: (Possible Spoiler) A psychological interpretation of the themes.



ziki wrote:


Lynx wrote:
Let us not forget that "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a comedy and deserves to be responded to in the comic spirit.




You know.....I can't really see the comedy in it yet. i wonder isn't it meant in the same style as 'divine comedy'? Like: look what's going on here...how absurd?

(rhymes for me with the 'mystical Puck', is he guiding us through? "I am that merry wanderer of the night.")

ziki





To me, the comedy comes from the absurdity of the character Bottom and the mischeivousness (is that even a word? and did I spell it wrong? doesn't matter, I guess) of Puck. It's also quite funny to me that we can see real people in these characters. Maybe the situations are fantastic, but these characters (some more than others) are quite three-dimensional. I always chuckle and roll my eyes when Bottom goes of on an "I-can-play-that-part-too" tangent...I tend to identify with Titania and her relationship with Oberon, feeling her power and his frustration...I love to hate whiny Helena, but also feel her pain from her unrequited "love"... I could go on, but I won't bore you.

Any other thoughts?
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