Category Archives: Romance

April 9, Tutorial Follow-up

(Facetime Badge) April 9, 2015

Today’s tutorial left me with lots of new considerations regarding Shakespeare’s interpretation of beauty and sin, particularly through his ability to create the exterior attractiveness and intoxication of sin.  The imagery of virtue removed and falseness revealed reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s, Imp of the Perverse- the urge to sin just for the sole purpose of doing so.  Placing one’s carnal desires and actions on another is a very common element in Shakespeare’s sonnets (often towards women) but ultimately because the sonnet is a more personal slice of writing, the ownership of lust ultimately reflects back onto the speaker. It unites and blends the lines of gender as we are all ultimately vulnerable to jealously, deceit, longing and loneliness.  Many consider beauty and sin to be opposing forces, however each contains identical emotions and reactions, as Shakespeare brilliantly demonstrates, they truly are one of the same.

Open Links to Performances (Performance Badge)

As You Like It – 1936 film version

Helpful version as it contains subtitles for retention and comprehension of material not covered in class. A great comedy to pair with Twelfth Night, and resourceful for unpacking themes within the pastoral mode.

To Kill Myself – Rape of Lucrece 

Wonderfully artistic visioning from The Royal Shakespeare Company.

Act 3, Scene 2 – The Winter’s Tale 

Perhaps for me the standout example of a well spoken, educated, strong woman in all the texts covered this semester. A great reminder of our lectures covering the power and importance of words.

Romeo and Juliet – Onscreen footage

Everyone’s classic introduction to Shakespeare. I was reminded heavily of the play when reading The genres of Shakespeare’s plays, by Susan Snyder as she talks in depth about the reflection of youth in Shakespeare’s works. Characters become representations of the time period and a refection of society. This is set up immediately  in Romeo and Juliet’s prologue, “Two households, both alike in dignity|In fair Verona, where we lay our scene|From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,|where civil blood makes civil hands unclean” (1.Pro.1-3).

Act 5, Scene 3 – King Lear 

Continuing the consideration of genre, King Lear is a great example of ego and pride leading to a tragic end (which cannot be evaded). This is a very emotionally powerful clip displaying the effects of time within a tragedy.



Visual Art: Troilus, the Brave

This visual art is symbolic of how Troilus finds himself to be torn in act one; he is expected to maintain his strong and stable composure as a soldier, but on the inside, his desperate love for Cressida tears him apart.
This visual art is symbolic of how Troilus finds himself to be torn in act one; he is expected to maintain his strong and stable composure as a soldier, but on the inside, his desperate love for Cressida tears him apart.

The image of Troilus on the left is symbolic of the archetypical soldier that he is expected to be. The armour symbolizes strength, order, conformity, and illusion. The image of Troilus on the right, dressed in darker clothing to symbolize his woe, depicts the way he really feels while he is forced to wage war instead of profess his love to Cressida. His lack of armour represents the vulnerability that is a natural product of such intense emotions.

Visual Art: Cressida Fair

This visual art represents the idealistic way that Troilus thinks of Cressida before he learns of her infidelity. He worships her fair complexion, her cheeks, her lips, her face... He dreams only of her, and sees not her flaws.
This visual art represents the idealistic way that Troilus thinks of Cressida before he learns of her infidelity. He worships her fair complexion, her cheeks, her lips, her face… He dreams only of her, and sees not her flaws.

I chose to draw Cressida in a cloud to represent the way that she falls short of Troilus’ daydreams in real life. She is only so fair and pure to him since love is clouding his vision.

Movie Poster: Troilus and Cressida

My theatrical poster for Troilus and Cressida, in keeping with both the play's tragic genre and the two main plots (the romance and the war).
My theatrical poster for Troilus and Cressida, in keeping with both the play’s tragic genre and the two main plots (the romance and the war).

The rose is symbolic of the (failed) love between Troilus and Cressida, and the sword is symbolic of the Trojan War in which the story takes place. I chose red and black as accent colours: red for the rage, the blood, and the passionate love, and black for the death and suffering that occurs.

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.)




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

Betrayal and Sex

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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.

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).

Movie Poster

I chose to do my poster this way because as someone who is Maori I noticed how you can take a story like Troilus and Cressida by Shakespeare and add cultural elements in order to make it relatable to others. What this does it makes the story easier to understand for those who are not familiar with the actual story.

There are many cultural similarities that were used in telling this story. Instead of the battle scene the actors performed a traditional war dance called the Haka and delivered their lines in the Maori language.

For those who don’t speak the language you can gain an understanding of what is being said through the emotions.

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