Category Archives: Genre

Writing Badge: Reshuffle (New Scene Created)


This scene is based loosely off of King John II of Cyprus who had an illegitimate child named James. In this scene, King John meets a soldier who is said to be the most heroic in all the land. It was rumoured that this soldier (James) looked and behaved like King John. James is unaware of the circumstances. He is invited to a feast at the castle where King John, upon seeing his son becomes very nervous. He sees a resemblance so strong that he becomes convinced that this is his son— Carlos and Orsino (the villains of this story) also know that James is indeed the son of the king. They do not want James to become the heir to the throne in hopes that King John’s legitimate daughter Charlotte (not in this scene) will become Queen and grant them each a great fortune.


 I could not properly format it on here so I included pictures of my word document with references to each play colour coded and the Act, Scene and Line Numbers of each line used in the shuffle.


Fathima Nazir (10138034)#1




(Fathima) Sadiya Nazir (10138034)


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 of The Winter’s Tale

voyantI chose to use Voyant to analyze Leontes’s speech that begins in Act 2, Scene 1 at line 108 (page 158 in the Arden book). This speech displays the first signs of jealousy we see from Leontes and it also foreshadows his skepticism about Hermione’s child, indicated by the question he poses to Mamillius about being his true son. While typing the speech in to get my results, I chose to omit extraneous syntax, such as certain determiners like “this” and “a.” I did however keep determiners that directly indicated towards a person, such as “my” and “thou.” Other things, like quantifiers and the word “to” were also removed to provide more relevant results. What I found was that out of 54 words used, 43 were unique, and “my” was most commonly used (4 times). By having him use that particular word so much, Shakespeare emphasizes Leontes’s expressed priority of his own feelings and thoughts over others. As he is speaking about the apparent affair that has erupted between Polixenes and Hermione, he constantly redirects the reader to how this is making him feel and what he thinks of the situation. This selfish attitude fits with his character, as for the majority of the play Leontes displays complete disregard and even villainy towards his friends and family while he believes his reputation and legacy is at stake. Other common words like “entertainment,” “bosom,” and “hot” can fall into the loosely corralled category of sexual language as they all reflect the major tension present at this point in the play.

Full link to results:

Sinclair, Stéfan and Geoffrey Rockwell. “Summary.” Voyant. 21 Mar. 2015. Web

The Stratford Festival – King Lear

King Lear stands as one of Shakespeare’s most captivatingly tragic plays and watching the Stratford Festival’s performance of it last Saturday, March 7 was a real treat. I definitely enjoyed it, much more than I thought I would. Although the 2008 TV film was also well done, I found myself much more enthusiastic and staying with the storyline when I had audience queues to work off of and when the actors were more interactive with the audience. The atmosphere also played a major role in holding my attention – the dim lights, quiet, lack of distractions (like my phone!) and reactions of the audience to jokes and action made the experience more fulfilling and authentic than staring at my computer screen at home.

Prior to the film starting, a nice introduction played, showing the backstage area, actors, and other plays and behind-the-scenes glances into how the Stratford Festival put on their Shakespearean and other plays. Especially intriguing was the amount and quality of the costumes. Even the Queen was impressed with their rendition of her crown. The authenticity of their costumes and props is very impressive. What also probed my interest was the little questionnaire that was displayed. Did you know that King Lear introduced many new words to the English language? Dislocate, half-blooded and unaccommodated were all used first by Shakespeare in this play.

The play itself began cinematically. A feisty storm with flashy bolts of lightning started the introductory credits. I was worried it would not be true to the style of Shakespeare where props and effects were limited, but the actual play began with a dark stage and only some sound-effects. Once the actors began speaking their lines, I was assured that it would be a well-rounded performance.

I particularly appreciated the interpretation of characters. They differed significantly from the way some actors interpreted their characters in the 2008 TV film (although both interpretations could be deemed accurate portrayals and were well acted). In the 2008 film, I found Regan’s character to be quite discrete and timid, especially during the first scene; in Stratford’s version, her character spoke loudly and confidently. I also found Gonneril’s characterization to be more snooty and stuck-up, which complimented Regan’s character really well, and provided a great contrast near the end when they fight over Edmund. As well, Cordelia’s character was more sassy and rebellious in the 2008 version (at least at first), deliberately going against him to prove her true character and be legitimate. She was more emotional and trying to induce rationality into her father, though clearly outraged at her sisters’ false gushing over their father. Stratford’s Cordelia dealt with a more painful separation from her father than the 2008 character. Kent was also more involved – he speaks and plays a greater role. Edmund’s characterization was, if possible, even more slimy – I found I disliked him even more in this version due to the ability of the actor to portray that sickly suck-up attitude. I wasn’t disappointed with the acting of King Lear – Ian McKellan’s performance had a lot to live up to in my mind. Nevertheless, the actor was dramatic, humorous and had good timing. I was especially impressed during the scene with “Poor Tom” and Gloucester where he has his flower crown on and is sinking into madness – it brought out a mixture of sympathy and hilarity. Overall, all the actors spoke their lines as though they understood exactly what they were saying and were having actual conversations, with either other characters or were announcing to the audience themselves.

I would definitely recommend seeing King Lear (or any Shakespeare play) performed on a stage, either live or filmed from the audience as in the Stratford Festival’s performance. It is a great addition to the required watching of it as a movie done cinematically. I personally will plan on seeing the King Lear showing on April 7th!

-Emily George

The Winter’s Tale Movie


The Winter’s Tale (1609-1611) is a story of loss and redemption. In a fit of wild and untrue jealousy, Leontes, the King of Sicily, convinces himself that his pregnant wife is carrying his best friend’s love child. Leontes’s jealousy turns to tyranny as the king proceeds to destroy his entire family and a lifelong friendship. Sixteen long years pass, and we witness one of the most astonishing endings in English literature.

The play is famous for its two-part structure, which makes The Winter’s Tale seem like two entirely different plays that are joined together at the end. The first three acts enact a mini-tragedy and occur in wintery Sicily, while the second half of the play occurs in Bohemia during the summer months and features the kind of restorative ending typical of Shakespeare’s “comedies.

Wheel of War

IMG_0288 (1)

In Troilus and Cressida I keep seeing the image of the wheel when it comes to the main conflict. Each character is a rung in the wheel and is responsible for some action or another that plays a role in the larger battle.  The seven rungs each represent a character who played a part in what lead up to the destruction of Troy. It isn’t a single event that brought on Troy’s destruction, but rather a series of events starting with Paris stealing Helen and ending with Hector killing Patroclus.


Paris has allowed his lust and desire for a woman to cloud his judgement. All he wanted was to possess Helen and he never thought about the consequences. Paris is the horney Trojan prince who started the Trojan War when he stole Helen from the Greek
King Menelaus (Prologue, 8-10). In the play, Shakespeare
doesn’t have a lot of patience for this guy—he portrays him
as a selfish brat who cares more about getting laid than the
people who are killed fighting in the Trojan War. As his dad
points out, Paris acts “Like one besotted on [his] own sweet
delights” (2.2.142).


The wife of Menelaus and cause of the Trojan war. If People magazine had been around in ancient Troy,  Helen would have been the tabloid mag’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” 10 years in a row. (You know, because that’s how long the Trojan War lasted.) Her
beauty is so legendary it “hath launch’d above a thousand ships”
(2.2.82), and she’s always being described as “the mortal Venus, the
heart-blood of beauty, / love’s invisible soul” (3.1.32-33). But don’t
hate her because she’s beautiful—it’s a hard life. Her relationship with Paris is the whole cause of the Trojan War.


Troilus is a young Trojan prince who falls for the wrong girl
(that would be Cressida). If he were a real person living in the 21st
century, he’d be starring in an episode of Cheaters or telling Jerry
Springer all about the time he hid in the bushes outside his
girlfriend’s house and watched her agree to a steamy hook-up with
another guy (5.2).


Cressida, daughter to Calchas and at one time in a relationship with Troilus. She’s Troilus’ girlfriend and the daughter of Calchas, a.k.a. the slime-ball who betrays Troy and joins the Greeks. (Hmm. Looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.) She’s also one of the most famous she-cheaters of all time. In the play, she falls in love with Troilus and promises to be faithful to him forever. Until she’s traded to the Greek army for a Trojan soldier and agrees to become Diomedes’ lover. Oops!


Priam, King of Troy, Priam is the King of Troy and the father of Paris, Troilus, Hector, and Helenus. In the play, he’s portrayed as a loving but overindulgent dad who lets his sons have the final say in everything. It turns out that being a wimpy dad / king has some pretty tragic consequences. Like total ruin.


Hector is definitely the most crush-worthy of the Trojans, at least by reputation. Most stories show him as the biggest,
baddest, most honorable Trojan soldier around. In classic literature like The Iliad, Hector is the poster boy of “virtue” because he’s the ultimate family man and honorable warrior. His killing of Patroclus is what ultimately brings Achilles into the battle and causes Hector his life.


Achilles has a reputation for being the Greek army’s toughest and most important warrior. There’s just one problem: he doesn’t quite live up to his reputation in this play. How can he when he refuses to come out of his tent and fight?

One thing’s for sure. When Patroclus dies in battle, Achilles is back in action in about 2.5 seconds. So, what does our “mighty” warrior do when he returns to the battlefield? Does he perform a bunch of heroic and noble deeds that we can all admire? Not so much. He gathers up his hired goons (the Myrmidons) and proceeds to slaughter an unarmed man. Then he has the guy’s corpse dragged around the battlefield (5.8).

Yeah, so much for “great warrior.” More like big, whiny bully.

Betrayal and Sex

art work-page-001

The scene that speaks to me the most about Troilus and Cressida relationship or rather the demise of the relationship is when he finds out that she has betrayed him with Diomed.The look of absolute anger and hatred speaks to the very hurt that he was feeling,

I choose this painting because it not only shows Troilus’ emotions but it also portrayed Cressida as being sweet and innocent. Something we know is not the case.

In all four corners I talk about the very emotions that must have gone through the mind of Troilus:


Troilus feels like he has been used and made a fool of. All he wants to do is kiss Diomed when the person he should really be mad at is Cressida. She is the one who flirted with Diomed and agreed to sleep with him.


Troilus would gladly have gone anywhere Cressida asked him to go so being betrayed like this spits at the love that he had for her. Her actions makes it look like she never really loved him at all.


In spite of his hurt and betrayal he loved her, but as a woman her actions were unforgivable. It didn’t matter that she was traded for a Trojan prisoner. She showed no love for him in the end.


Cressida’s actions were not only a show of dishonor to Troilus, but also to her uncle and father. As Cressida arrives at the camp, the Greek leaders line up to greet her. And by “greet” we mean kiss her, paw at her, and flirt / talk dirty to her. Cressida flirts back and kisses each of them, except for Ulysses, who snidely refuses to lock lips with such a “sluttish” girl.

Disclaimer: I Am Not An Artist

I am not an artist. I can’t stress that enough, and when I was looking over the things to do for badges, creating a work of visual art didn’t strike me as something I could do well, but then today I was thinking about it and wondered about the visual of Lear’s crown, how I might go about making a visual work out of it. And I did. In my own unpracticed, unskilled hand.

King Lear

When I was working on this, I had this quote of Shakespeare in my head: “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” (Henry IV, II, III). The crown had to be gold to represent the wealth of Lear as a king, but also it is a heavy metal, and his crown, his being king, is a heavy burden that cost him.

I made leaves and little flowers on the crown, symbolic of Lear’s crown of weeds and flowers towards the end of the play. The flowers have three petals, symbolic of the three daughters, and the red jewel stands for the bloodshed caused by the division and union of the sisters. At the centre of the crown is a black and red space where a different jewel would be but has been removed – this colour represents the darkness and death brought by Lear’s disowning of Cordelia, and to the left you can see the jewel.

I decided on a pearl for the jewel because of the line in Act IV that compares Cordelia’s tears to pearls – “as pearls from diamonds dropped”. Pearls are beautiful (as Cordelia is frequently called) and are extremely rare – I think there is something to be said about one third of Lear’s daughters being good and loyal. The pearl is crushed and there is blood around it to symbolize Cordelia’s end. On either side of the space of the removed pearl are two red jewels to symbolize Regan and Goneril, and also there is a pattern of two blue dots – there is clearly a space for one in the middle, and I decided not to fill one in to represent the loss of Cordelia from the family.

The broken pearl is in the shadow of Lear’s crown, symbolizing the darkness in the play that is spurred by her disownment. As well, the shadow under Lear’s crown is several different colours to represent the madness of Lear, as there is no clear path for him, shown by how there is no one clear colour.


For Love or Just For Giggles


The love that was shared by Troilus and Cressida was based on animalistic emotions. While Cressida does love Troilus she also feels torn by her loyalty to her father. Many consider her to be unfaithful because after being captured she kisses all these men and even allows Diomedes to sleep with her. She isn’t very faithful to Troilus even though she swore she wouldn’t cheat. This behaviour makes her appear to be not only promiscuous but also a commodity to be traded.

Check out what she says about leading Troilus on:

Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing:
Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.
That she beloved knows nought that knows not this:
Men prize the thing ungain’d more than it is:

In this play, women are treated like objects whose “worth” depends on whether or not men think they have any “value.” When Cressida’s dad arranges for her to be “exchanged” for a Trojan prisoner, it’s pretty obvious that Cressida is seen as an object that can simply be traded among men (3.3.19-28).

We hear you: but isn’t the prisoner being traded, too? Yeah. But he’s being traded because he’s a prisoner in the wrong camp. Even after the exchange is official, she’s treated like a piece of meat. As she arrives at the Greek camp, the leaders greet her by pawing at her, talking dirty, and taking turns kissing her (4.5.17-51). Pretty depressing, don’t you think?

What does Cressida do? She plays it off and flirts with each of the men. Ulysses sees this as evidence that Cressida is corrupt and calls her a “daughter of the game” (a.k.a. a prostitute): “Fie, fie upon her! / There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip”(4.5.54-55).