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.
Let me just start out by saying I’m not an artist. I’m sure you’ve seen my sister’s doodles and been absolutely amazed like I was (If you haven’t, search up ‘King Lear Visual Memory.’ You will not be disappointed). If you’re expecting anything remotely similar from me, prepare for earth-shattering disappointment, for I was not blessed with artistic finesse. My portfolio consists of stick figures and badly drawn, minimalistic pieces that looked a lot cooler in my head than they do on paper. Nevertheless, I’ve still attempted to create a few little doodles while reading these texts.
I’m prepared for judgement.
I liked the idea of having the three daughters inside the crown, since the political throw down and the family breakdown make up the entirety of the play. Cordelia’s silhouette is left white, while Goneril and Reagan are coloured in black, just to emphasize the contrast between the sisters. To add some of the insanity issue into the mix, I coloured in the crown like a jester’s cap, to draw attention to the whole ‘Lear as the fool’ shtick.
Sonnet 19 (and 60…and 116…and…)
In so many of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Time is personified as an enemy that the speaker constantly tries to fight against. I drew the speaker as a generic sort of stick man (cough I can’t draw anything else cough) holding a pen above his head to defend himself from Time’s attacks. He’s clearly going down, but not without a fight. I made Time an indifferent, deathly sort of figure with “his bending sickle” (116.10), facing away from the writer without a care in the world. [Hannah’s now telling me I should have drawn an epic boss battle like something out of Attack on Titan. Now I’m really regretting not doing so to begin with.]
Seriously, how relatable is that line? It seems like people spend a lot of their time in front of a mirror or looking at a clock. We’re never satisfied with what we have until its slipping away from us. So I drew the mirror and the clock side by side. Bang. Point made.
The Rape of Lucrece
First of all, can we all just take a moment to revel in how bad I am at drawing feet?
I tried to draw a foot in the process of crushing a rose. Lucrece is constantly being associated with flowers in this piece, so I drew the rose to represent Lucrece. The foot is obviously Tarquin, trampling over the pure Lucrece to get what he wants. I also added a little bit of red blood coming from the rose, foreshadowing the tragic conclusion to the story.
I also doodled a little drawing of Lucrece, sitting hunched on the floor, contemplating her situation. I used rough lines and a minimalistic lines, combined with a little splash of colour, to convey the despondency and sadness of Lucrece feels, as well as the turmoil she feels as she contemplates what to do next.
Troilus and Cressida
In retrospect, making the Trojan helmet different than the Greek one was a mistake. Now the symmetry is all thrown off. Oh well.
I drew Cressida and Troilus trapped in the helmets of the Greek and Trojan armies. Since they’re separated at this point, Troilus is facing away from the Greeks, focused solely on his sword, while Cressida is still reaching out towards him. I wanted to combine the love plot and the political plot seamlessly in the piece while clearly revealing how the two relate. I think I did pretty well. Hopefully.
In this one, I tried to focus on the contrast between Viola and Cesario. I tried my best to make the two look as similar as possible, even drawing them in the same colour scheme. I wanted to emphasize that they are (obviously) the same person, and how the difficulty in separating the two drives most of the action in the play.
You’ll notice The Winter’s Tale is missing. I direct you to my drafts of possible posters. Yes. I actually had drafts for my doodles. Some good they did me.
Suffice to say every attempt at The Winter’s Tale ended up in the recycling. So here’s my doodle of a polar bear.
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.
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.