I chose the background image for this poster to be a picture of helen of troy from greek mythology as she is the reason the war is being fought and also cressida is a parallel for helen in the play. the quote is also a paraphrase from greek mythology as feel that it brings focus to the ridiculousness of the reasons behind the events of the play.
Wow, This was just amazing!
So last weekend on Saturday, April 4th I had gone to see King Lear at Theatre Calgary, and my what an experience. It was my first time seeing a Shakespeare play live, and my goodness, the production was excellent. I won’t elaborate too much since many others on the blog have posted similar thoughts on the play.
I will say though that, after watching the 2008 film with Ian McKellen, I somehow feel that this play did a better job telling a more cohesive story. The finer focus on the family relations, both in Lear’s family as well as between Gloucester and his sons, made the story all the more touching and dramatic. I will also say I came into the play thinking that the props and costumes would be minimal, with a focus on performance. Much to my surprise, I found the props to be fantastic, and the stage was flexible enough to convincingly transform into a new setting both efficiently and effectively. Of course the performances were also great, and every performer was able to not only hold their own, but contribute to the emotional weight of the story.
One of the scenes that stood out most to me was the one were Gloucester gets his eyes gouged out. The live visual effects were just gripping, with blood gushing out, and included the Duke of Cornwall dropping a fleshy prop eye on the ground and stepping on it. But perhaps my most favorite scenes were the ones that included the live sword battles, particularly when Edmund was on screen. I find these are quite effective and worth including in a production whenever possible since they really good at holding an audiences attention and provide a nice break from the more speech-y parts, keeping the audience interested and entertained. Obviously the best of these was the final showdown between Edmund and Edgar. I never though I could experience the same epic blockbuster action feeling from a live play, but I’m sure many would agree this was as good as it gets on stage.
If you haven’t seen it yet and are still thinking about it, I definitely recommend it.
I worked very hard kissing pieces of paper to make these visual representations of Twelfth Night and Troilus and Cressida.
Basically my thought process is this: both of these plays deal with gender in one way or another. What’s more heavily gendered than lipstick? And how can I alter the appearance of a simple smooch to address some more themes in these plays?
So here they are:
Twelfth Night on left, Troilus and Cressida on right (in case the quotes weren’t obvious.)
Kisses are more popularly recognized as small acts of romance which is present in both of these plays, but as I said earlier, my goal here was to use one obvious symbol in different ways.
In the Twelfth Night piece, the lipstick represents makeup, costumes and disguise. One half of the mark is intact, representing Viola and her complete femininity, and the other half is smudged, representing Cesario and his apparent lackthereof.
In the Troilus and Cressida piece, the lipstick is lust and the sword is war. In our society, some women are seen as ‘false’ for wearing makeup, and this ties in as well. Not only does Cressida become false because of what she says to Troilus (with her lips, get it?) but for acting on the lust between herself and Diomedes. I drew the sword in because war is literally half of the plot, and I think it works to create a sinister contrast between something sexy and comfortable and something undesirable and dangerous.
Why don’t we rewind a little and go back to Twelfth Night. As many of you already know, She’s the Man is based on Twelfth Night. I’ll be honest; it took me until the second act to figure it out. When I finally did, I just sat stunned and amazed. I should probably let you know that I have seen She’s the Man more than I really care to admit. I used to love Amanda Bynes (pre-head shave). Any ways, I wanted to share with you the similarities and differences I noticed with this adaptation.
The most prominent difference is that in She’s the Man Viola intentionally disguises herself as her brother (there is no mere coincidence that her and Sebastian look the same). However, Viola in the play and movie decide “such disguise” “become[s] the form of [their] intent.” (1.2.55-6).
Only the main characters are the same in both. Viola and Sebastian are twins in both as well. There is no Andrew-Toby-Maria subplot in the movie because it is centered on Viola, Duke, Olivia and Sebastian. Viola by far is the main character though. Orsino (the Duke) in the play is represented by a gentleman named Duke Orsino- as in Duke is his first name. Genius right? Sebastian, Olivia and Viola are all represented by characters of the same name. Malvolio is represented by a character named Malcolm. Similarly to Malvolio in the play, Malcolm has a creepy infatuation with Olivia although she shows no interest. Malcolm is also similar to Sir Andrew in his repeated attempts to court Olivia and his contempt for Viola as Sebastian. Ironically (well not so ironically actually), Malcolm has a tarantula named Malvolio!
In the movie Viola disguises herself as Sebastian (who is in London playing music) to prove that girls can play soccer as well as guys. This attempt to prove that as a woman she can play soccer as well as the guys allows for several gender references in the movie. Examples such as extensive negative emphasis on Viola’s similarities to Sebastian, a soccer coach saying “girls can’t play soccer” and Viola’s mother encouraging her to become a debutante (class reference!) exemplify perceived roles of women in She’s the Man. Both Violas use their disguise to “allow [them] very worth” (1.2.60) the things women are denied.
The basic Viola-Orsino-Olivia love triangle from the play remains in the movie. Duke is interested in Olivia (whom is pretty and popular) but she expresses her interest in Viola as Sebastian and Viola/Sebastian falls in love with Duke. As in Twelfth Night, Duke requires Viola’s assistance with courting Olivia. The setting of Illyria is similar as well. The school that Sebastian (or Viola as Sebastian) goes to is called Illyria. Lines in the movie are even the same as in the play. The lines “be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve/ greatness and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.” (2.5.129-31) are spoken in both. Near the end of the movie, Duke delivers the lines to the soccer team and Viola and Malvolio reads them aloud from the letter in the play. She’s the Man and Twelfth Night both end with the formation of relationships. In the play everybody gets married and in the movie there is a debutante ball to which everybody has an escort.
As I read Twelfth Night, I struggled with thinking about and comparing it to She’s the Man. Perhaps, after reading this, you will too (if not you should at least watch the movie). If you live under a rock and have no clue what She’s the Man is, you can watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UiPki2uxM8 . I also thought I would let you know that the Roger Ebert movie even compares She’s the Man to Twelfth night (or at least makes references)! You can read that here: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/shes-the-man-2006. Lastly, I came across this comparison of She’s the Man and Twelfth night I thought might be interesting: https://prezi.com/jpta3qwk-bfb/comparison-of-twelfth-night-and-shes-a-man/. Enjoy!
- Ebert, R. “She’s the Man.” com. Ebert Digital LLC, 16 Mar. 2006. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
- Gounder, V. “Comparison of Twelfth Night and She’s the Man”. Prezi. Prezi Inc, 4 Dec. 2013. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
- Paramount Movies. “She’s The Man Trailer.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 21 Oct. 2013. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
- Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Ed. David Carnegie and Mark Houlahan. Peterborough: Broadview Press/ Internet Shakespeare Editions, 2014. Print.
- She’s the Man. Dir. Andy Fickman. Perf. Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, Vinnie Jones, David Cross. DreamWorks, 2006. DVD.
I wrote this sonnet for my best friend as we were visiting our boyfriends on an army base in (basically) the middle of nowhere. We were stranded for an extra day as weather made it dangerous to drive; she was sad and didn’t want to leave. I, on the other hand, was about to go insane because I had no WiFi or cell reception. So naturally, I ended up doing Shakespeare homework.
This sonnet is inspired by the theme of war explored in Troilus and Cressida. I tried to put myself in the position of the wives and mothers who had to send their husbands and sons to battle. All they could do was wait for the day when the men would come home. Although I haven’t experienced this first hand, I cannot imagine the pain and worry that goes through the minds of those with loved ones currently in battle overseas.
I also apologize for my sorry attempt at writing in iambic pentameter. I tried. 🙂
My love, duty-bound to serve your country;
Rugged and fearless, yet gentle and sweet.
My brave knight in green, marching forward humbly;
It is danger and war you willingly greet.
Not wound nor death may break your composure.
An honorable man you are, a hero of peace;
You are my hero, my knight, my soldier.
Yet I want nothing more than the war to cease.
I patiently wait for the day you come home
As I spend night after night in bed all alone.
I dream of the barren and bloody fields you roam;
When news of battle arrives, I fear the unknown.
I long to have you in my arms again;
This love for my soldier, words cannot explain.
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.
I found the theme of jealousy to be very important in the winter’s tale and i also thought that jealousy was the main instigator for most of the issues and conflicts in the play. Because of this i decided to use a green monster as the background to represent leontes’ jealousy and chose the quote that i did.
this poster for king lear involves a background photo of opium flowers which i chose because while they are very pretty on the surface they are poisonous which i felt represented the eldest two sisters in the play. their words are pretty and nice but their intensions are not. this was also the reason for the line “beautiful lies”
Facetime badge (publish your reflections on ideas, discussions, and questions we didn’t have time to consider in class) / Writing badge
I want to discuss Twelfth Night and the topic that we covered extensively in tutorials and lecture – the topic of gender and homo-eroticism. Many people were saying that Shakespeare wrote a progressive text, especially in regards to the character of Antonio since he apparently displayed affectionate feelings for Sebastian. The one point that I would like to make that has not been covered in tutorial is that basically all the characters received a happy ending – Orsino ended up with Viola, Sebastian with Olivia, and Sir Toby with Maria. The three main characters who did not receive a happy ending are as follows: Malvolio who was depicted as being a malicious character, Sir Andrew who was shown as being a fool, and lastly Antonio. Antonio was helpful, kind, caring, but since he showed homoerotic tendencies, he was not given a happy ending in Shakespeare’s view, meaning a marriage. What does it say about progressive behaviour in the play if the only possible gay character in the play does not receive a happy ending? It is open for debate, I suppose and is based on different individual’s point of view.
Side note: You might have seen this included with my other writing discussion but I realized it was over the word limit so I separated them, so it could be included for more points. Thanks