All posts by jayeshaekram

Undergrad Commerce Student ~ Future Corporate Lawyer ~ Classic Literature

Sonnet: High Aspirations

Of sleepless nights, of hectic days,

Of times spent staring at a parchment,

O, it’s tiring, this craze;

For my melancholy state, this is the argument.

The sun goes down, the moon comes out,

Yet I remain in the same spot.

The stress I face is what I write about,

My nerves wracked, and I distraught.

But I will pursue on my journey to success;

I will thwart any obstacles in my path;

I will foster determination and progress,

And perhaps, when I’m done, I will soak in a bath.

               For I am from hard work and dedication,

               And I will fly high to reach my aspiration.

Close Reading: Twelfth Night (Act 1, Scene 1)


[Music.] Enter Orsino Duke of Illyria, Curio, and other Lords.

ORSINO: If it is so that music feeds the appetite of love, keep

playing. Give me more of it, so I can become sick of it and stop

loving. [To the Musicians] Play that again! It had a sad fall. Oh, it

sounds sweet, like a breeze over a bed of violets, carrying

away its scent. Stop playing. It’s not as sweet anymore.

Oh, love is so restless. It makes your desires as vast as the sea,

and then make you despise everything. Love is so fantastical

and incomparable.

CURIO: Are you going to go hunt, my lord?

ORSINO: Hunt what, Curio?

CURIO: The hart (deer)

ORSINO: That’s exactly what I’m doing, with my own heart. Oh,

when I first saw Olivia, I thought that she cured the diseased

air (with her purity). At that moment, it was as if I was a hart

and my desires, like vicious hounds, attacked me.

Enter Valentine

What news do you have [from Olivia]?

VALENTINE: Excuse me, my lord, but they did not allow me inside.

But I did get an answer from her servant and it reads,

“[Olivia] will be kept inside for seven years, and will not even

show her face to the skies. She will keep herself as if she were

a nun, to remember her deceased brother’s love. This will keep

his love pure and untainted in her remembrance.”

ORSINO: Oh, her heart must be so great that she pays so much

respect and love to her dead brother. Think about all the love I

will get, when she is struck [from Cupid’s arrow] and falls in

love with me – then she will surrender her sweet and perfect

heart and mind to be controlled by only  one – me! Let’s go to a

place with sweet flowers, and think about love.


Shakespeare has used many literary elements in this scene.

First, an example of simile is present in the line 5-7:

“Oh, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing, and giving odor.” (I, i, 5-7)

Moreover, “Receiveth as the sea” (11) and “my desires, like fell and cruel hounds” (21) are also an example of a simile.

Furthermore, an instance when a metaphor is used is when Orsino says “That instance was I turned into a hart” (20).

In addition to, Shakespeare has used puns in this passage. Specifically, the pun of “hart” was evident, when Curio asks Orsino whether he would like to hunt a hart, and Orsino claims that  he is indeed hunting a heart.

Also, there is an example of apostrophe: “O spirit of love” (9).

In this passage, Orsino laments the effects of love, and claims how restless his unrequited love is for Olivia. Furthermore, this scene provides the audience with some of the basics of the story: Orsino is a high lord who is in love with the grieving Olivia, who does not return his feelings.

12th night 112th night 2

(I also performed a reading of this scene which can be found here.)




King Lear: Theater Performance vs. Movie Adaptation

Last weekend, I finally got to see my first live play ever – King Lear at Max Bell Theater.

I found it thoroughly enjoyable (also it was more fun than the movie, for me at least). Here is a response on my experience with the play as opposed to the movie.

My first dilemma with the play was, well, on what I should be wearing. It was my first live play ever, and Shakespearean too – I wanted to be sophisticated (silly little whims, I know). On the other hand, with the movie, the first dilemma was: I have read the play, how long can I delay watching the movie until it is absolutely necessary?

Jokes aside (yes, those were jokes. Ha ha, very funny, Jayesha, please proceed), it was certainly not what I had expected. There were lighting directions and sound effects. It did aid in where the director had wanted to focus the scene on. However, everything else that was not directly under the spotlight was till open to interpretation and analyzing.  With the movie, the camera would zoom into a specific part of the act and force you to focus on that.

Furthermore, I felt that the actors that played the characters were more close to my own imagination when I first read the play. The costuming, however, were very similar in the movie and the play. King Lear is initially dressed in red: madness, passion, rage. The two sisters are dressed in darker colors: evil, cunning, deceitful, jealous. And  Cordelia is in lighter colors: pure, innocent, untarnished.

Moreover, I did notice the play was easier to follow along with, when compared to the movie. The lines were still powerfully delivered, but they were clear and carried more raw emotion. Perhaps, it was because the actors knew that this was now or never, as opposed to in a movie, when you have the liberty of redoing a scene if there is a light mishap.

I also found the play more captivating than the movie. The movie seemed to lag on and on, although they were the same lengths.

The Ticket 😀

All in all, it was a wonderful experience and I know this is something I would like to make a part of my hobbies – live plays and reviews on them.


Voyant Analysis for Troilus and Cressida (1.2.172-231)

For a long time, I’ve been having issues with Voyant. But in the dark shadows of yesternight, I gathered up each and every ounce of determination and submitted my hours to analyzing Voyant.
And well, well, wasn’t it fun.
I chose to analyze a portion of Troilus and Cressida, more specifically the dialogue between Pandarus and Cressida as they comment on the passing warriors, Aenaes, Antenor, Hector, Paris, Helenus, and last but not least, Troilus.

My findings? “…mark Troilus above the rest” (1.2.175), “…mark Troilus” (1.2.181-2), “When comes Troilus? I’ll show you Troilus anon…”(1.2.187-8), “Would I could see Troilus now.” (1.2.208) and so on…."...but mark Troilus above the rest." (1.2.178)

“…but mark Troilus above the rest.” (1.2.178)


As Pandarus introduces each soldier by name, he emphasizes again and again upon Troilus. Almost as if Cressida would fall in love with the repetition of Troilus’ name, and Pandarus’ deed will be done! (On the contrary, I believe that if mentioned too much, Cressida will start to harbor frustration towards “Brave Troilus, the/ prince of chivalry!” (1.2.220-1). I mean, she does rebuke her uncle by saying “Peace, for shame, peace!” (222))

Similarly, the word “brave” is mentioned quite often. Either Pandarus wants enforce Troilus’ brave nature, or he just lacks a better adjective (seeing how that’s all he uses to describe all of the soldiers). If the “brave” technique is all Pandarus can think of for making Cressida fall head over heels for Troilus, he needs to come up with something better!

“That’s Aeneas; is not that a brave man?” (1.2.180)

“O brave Hector!” (1.2.194)

“…yonder comes Paris!/ Look ye yonder, niece, is’t not a gallant man too, is’t/ not?” (1.2.204-6)

I believe that my findings through Voyant have summarized what’s happening in this passage: Pandarus points out certain soldiers but returns again and again to Troilus, mentioning him so that Troilus will be safely nestled in the back of Cressida’s mind. Evidently, Pandarus has no way of being subtle and acts like a complete “bawd”, selling Troilus to Cressida, in this scene, and vice versa, in others.


Big Idea 7: Topics – Light vs. Darkness

In Rape of Lucrece,  I noticed a heavy play on the themes of light vs. darknHateful, vaporous, and foggy Nightess/ night.

Initially, when Tarquin is planning out his heinous act, he says (possibly out of guilt):

“Fair torch, burn out thy light, and lend it not/ To darken her whose light excelleth thine” (190-1)

Here, Tarquin describes Lucrece’s virtue as a light brighter than a torch (or in this case his lust). In the same stanza, he recognizes that his act is that of darkness/ evil. Tarquin calls his act the “blackest sin” (334).

This theme is also evident when, during the night, Tarquin first rests his eyes on Lucrece, he is (once again) astonished by “a greater light/… that she reflects so brightly” (375-6).

Moreover, when Tarquin initiates his crime, it is noted that Lucrece loses her ‘light’:

“… her locked up eyes,/…/ are  by his flaming torch dimmed and controlled.” (446-8)

Furthermore, after Tarquin ravishes her and runs off, Lucrece expresses her shame by cursing the Night and wishing that it will never be daylight again.

Shakespeare uses the theme of light and darkness to highlight the aspects of innocence and evil throughout the play, where the light is symbolized to be pure and untouched and the darkness is evil and full of evil opportunities.