Focus on Literary Form: Drama

Focus on Literary Form: Drama

Focus on Literary Form: Drama Soul of the Age! The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage. -- Ben Johnson, To the Memory of My Beloved Master William Shakespeare, and What He Hath Left Us Background: Dramatic Structure Renaissance playwrights were greatly influenced by Humanism, looking not only to the Bible but also to Latin and Greek Scholarship for wisdom and knowledge.

The Great Theme All of Shakespeares plays, like most drama, are about one great general theme: disorder. What is the order in this society? How is that order violated? How do the characters respond to the loss of traditional order? How is order restored? Is the new order at the end of the play something healthy or is it shot through with ironic resonance? Defining Drama A story written to be performed by actors. Sophisticated (classical) dramas

originated in Greek religious ceremonies honoring Dionysus (god of wine, new life, illusion & fertility). Classical Dramatic Structure: Comedy & Tragedy Always involves conflict Opening scene conveys a sense of a normal society A society which is held together by shared rules Large group scene as symbol of social unity

Something unusual and often unexpected happens to upset the normality Creates confusion and conflict Source of humor OR political, personal, and psychological torment Aristotles Definition of Tragedy Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in

the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions. -- Aristotle, The Poetics, Part VI Aristotles Definition of Tragedy Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions.

-- Aristotle, The Poetics, Part VI Imitation (from Greek mimesis, or mimeisthai which means to imitate) The attempt to capture the essence of reality in artificial form. Aristotles Definition of Tragedy Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic

ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions. -- Aristotle, The Poetics, Part VI Pity (from Greek eleos, which means pity or mercy) The feeling of pain one experiences when watching another suffer. Aristotles Definition of Tragedy

Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions. -- Aristotle, The Poetics, Part VI Fear (from Greek phobos, which means fear, panic or flight) The sense of panic or loss of self in terror.

Aristotles Definition of Tragedy Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions. -- Aristotle, The Poetics, Part VI Purgation (from Greek katharsis, which means "purging,

cleansing) purification Removing impurities, as when metal is purified to remove trace elements so that only one material remains. Tragedy purifies pity and fear so that we feel only those two emotions. purging Cleansing, as when something harmful is forcefully removed. Tragedy purges harmful emotions like pity and fear from the body. distillation The purification or concentration of a substance, as when alcohol is distilled to make it stronger.

Tragedy distills and purifies pity and fear so that they become even more intense for the audience. Tragedy Depicts the downfall of a basically good person through some fatal error or misjudgment, producing suffering and insight on the part of the protagonist and arousing pity and fear on the part of the audience. Key Elements of a Tragedy tragic hero An outstanding person of high rank whose downfall is caused by his own flawed behavior.

tragic flaw Part of the heros character that leads him to make a fatal mistake. catharsis A cleansing through the emotions (pity, fear, awe) generated by the play. catastrophe An unhappy ending featuring the destruction of the hero. Tragic Endings The ending of a tragedy: looking back over what has happened. resolution of conflict: occurs only with the death of the main character who usually discovers (just before his death) that he brought about his own demise.

the final series of events: 1) Hero dies 2) Group laments over the body of fallen hero & reflects upon the significance of his life Comedy Depiction of ordinary people in conflict with society. Conflicts are always happily resolved, and typically arise from misunderstandings, deceptions, disapproving authority figures, and mistaken identities. Emphasis is on human foibles & weaknesses of society. Arouses sympathy & amusement. Types of Comedies

Farce Plots full of wild coincidences (full of zaniness, slapstick humor, and hilarious improbability) and seemingly endless twists and complications (i.e. deception, disguise, and mistaken identity). Romantic Comedy Love plot featuring 2 lovers who tend to be young, likeable, and apparently meant for each other, but are kept apart by some complicating circumstance until, surmounting all obstacles, they are finally wed. Satiric Comedy Exploration of human vice & folly through plots that trace the rising fortune of a central character who is likely to be cynical, Comic Endings

The ending of a comedy: looking forward to a joyful future. resolution of Confusion: Occurs when everyone recognizes what has been going on, learns from it, forgives, forgets, and re-established his or her identity in the smoothly functioning social group. final events: Typically ends with a group celebration (especially one associated with a betrothal or wedding), often accompanied by music and dancing. The emphasis is on the reintegration of everyone into the group, a recommitment to their shared life together. All sources of anti-social discord have reformed their ways, been punished, or is banished from the celebration. Reading Shakespeare The plays the thing. Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii

Follow the 3Cs How can you tell what kind of Shakespeare play youre reading/watching? Just follow the 3 Cs: Count the Couples, Corpses, and Crowns at the end, and you know what your play is. Histories somebodys named King. Comedies everybody gets married. Tragedies everybody dies. The History Plays Factually based with dramatic liberties. Keeping the monarch, Queen Elizabeth, happy (and, consequently,

staying out of jail) means ignoring potentially great dramatic material. Showing the messy divorces and deaths of Henry VIIIs six wives might have sold a lot of tickets, but at what cost? The History Plays Synopsis of all the History plays (theyre all pretty much the same): An English king (usually named Henry, sometimes Richard, and once John) is fighting the French. At the

same time, someone at home The Comedies Constructing a Shakespearean comedy is like ordering from a Chinese restaurant: Choose one item from Column A (setting), two items from Column B (characters), five items from Column C (unnecessarily complicated plot points), then select a title Make Your Own Shakespearean Comedy! Setting

Characters Plot Points Title Verona Long-lost Shipwreck Love As You Like It identical twins Venice Mistaken Measure for Parents who

identity Gentleman Arden dont understand Unrequited The Comedy of Tyre Dimwitted lowerlove Nothing An island class character Arranged Twelfth Night A forest Girl disguised as marriages Dream

Athens boy A pound of A Midsummers Denmark Cuckolded flesh Winter husband Syracuse Magical The Taming of the Nondescript potions Comedy Schenect

young lovers ady Pretending Much Ado About Half-human/halfto be dead Ends beast Drunkennes Troilus and A quarrelsome s Cymbeline The Tragedies In Shakespeares tragedies you know going in that the title

character is going to die by the end of Act V. Knowing the ending does not diminish the experience. Its like the movie Titanic. You knew from the title that the ship was going down, but you still enjoyed watching Leonardo DiCaprio freeze to death From Reduced Shakespeare Freytags Pyramid Structure of a 5 Act Tragedy he op tr

it io n s ta ca ex po s al rs ve re

co m pl ic at io n climax What all Shakespearean Scholars Know: Hints and Tips for Reading Shakespeare

Shakespeares Language Language changes all the time. The way people spoke 400 years ago was different from the way we speak now. When reading Shakespeare, remember that his words were intended to be performed. The first rule of learning how to read Shakespeare is you must read it out loud!!! The second rule is that you must read it more than once. Characteristics of

Shakespeares English Forms of do Forms of do were not necessary in forming questions or making imperative statement or their negatives. How long within this wood intend you stay? How long do you intend to stay in this wood? Using do was reserved for its emphatic use. I love you not. I do not love you. What said she? What did she say? I think not of them. I do not think of them. Slept she here? Did she sleep here? Characteristics of Shakespeares English

Negatives Negatives were often compounded for emphasis. Today, we would classify the following as double negatives and consider them improper. Which never shook hands, nor bade farewell to him . . . Nor will you not tell me who you are? No, nor I neither. Characteristics of Shakespeares English Pronouns

The pronouns thee, thou and thy are seldom, if ever, used today. They are occasionally employed to suggest elevated language or a style of classical English. During Shakespeares day these words were commonplace and followed a more or less specific structure. Thee and thou, rather than you, were used as objects of a verb or preposition. God give thee joy! You OR thee/thou were used as subjects with only subtle distinctions if any. Wouldst thou have me? Thou hath killed my child! If you would not, it were a good sign. Likewise with your and thy as possessive pronouns:

I do not fear your favours or your hate. So well thy words become thee as thy wounds. Shakespeares Language From Will to Jill The apparel oft proclaims the man. Its gotta be the shoes. There is small choice in rotten apples. Beggars cant be choosers. Now I am in a holiday humor. Party on . . . Suit the action to the word, the word to the action. Just do it. An honest tale speeds best being plainly told. To make a long story short . . .

Whats gone and whats past help should be past grief. Dont cry over spilled milk. And thereby hangs a tail. Thats all, Folks! Shakespeares Language & Legacy Many of Shakespeares idioms or words/phrases have become part of the English language. That boy is always hungry! Hell eat us out of house and home! He hath eaten me out of house and home. Henry IV, Part 2 II.i.75-6 Theres a method in my madness Though this be madness, yet there is method int. Hamlet, II.ii.99

The world is your oyster. Why then, the worlds mine oyster. The Merry Wives of Windsor, II.ii.4-5 Line References Plays are divided into sections called acts and scenes. The following line reference is typically utilized when quoting a Shakespearean play: Macbeth, II.i.35 The plays title is written in italics. The act is written in capital Roman numerals. The scene is in small Roman numerals. The line number is written as a normal number.

Reading Shakespeare for comprehension Due to the nature of the theater, Shakespeare had to create atmosphere and setting though language. He used words to paint scenery and language to achieve lighting effects. People went to hear a play, not see it. Questions to ask about comprehension: Who are the characters in the play? (The way characters speak and the language they use tell us a great deal about them and their situation.) What is the situation in the play? Where do the events take place? When do the events take place?

How can the words be lifted off the page and hold the attention of the audience? Reading Shakespeare for Literary Aspects Identify literary devices and figurative language: puns imagery repetition antithesis simile metaphor onomatopoei malapropism

a monosyllable rhyme s hyperbole lists apostrophe personificati on bombast

synecdoche assonance irony alliteration oxymoron rhetoric Reading Shakespeare for Theme Some Common Shakespearean

Themes: conflict, appearance & reality, order & disorder, change (metamorphosis) Questions to ask about theme: Is there a specific point the author is trying to get across to the reader/ viewer? How does the theme or controlling idea relate to your world? Historical Context You Need to Know Elizabethan Beliefs Elizabethan Beliefs

Marriage Age of Consent, for a female child: (from The Laws Resolution of Womens Rights, 1632) 7: Father shall have aid of his tenants to marry her 9: she is able to deserve and have dower 12: can consent to marriage *A woman married at 12 cannot disagree afterward. But if she be married younger, she may dissent till she be 14.* 14: considered to be outside wardship 16: to be past the Lords tender of a husband 21: able to make a land grant Worthiness:

(from A Very Fruitfull and Pleasant Booke called Instruction of a Christian Woman, 1523) . . . first let her understand that chastity is the principal virtue of a woman. Elizabethan Beliefs Myths & Magic Fairies, magic, witches, spells and prophecies all formed part of the Elizabethan view of life. Folklore and superstition were often as important to people as the official religious beliefs taught by the church. Many Elizabethans thought that fairies, goblins and sprites came out at night to play tricks on innocent people. It was believed they could make people go

insane, give them terrible nightmares or even lure them into a devilish underworld. Diseases and disasters were often blamed on witches. Many women who didnt fit into society were branded as witches and accused of working for the devil. Elizabethan Beliefs Ghosts There were many explanations of a ghostly visit during Shakespeares time. A ghost could be . . . a hallucination brought about by stress, poor diet, or exhaustion. a specter seen as a portent or omen a spirit of a dead person returned to perform some deed left undone in life

a spirit of a dead person returned from the grave or from purgatory by divine permission an angel disguised as a dead person, or a devil disguised as a dead person to tempt a living relative into eternal damnation Elizabethan Beliefs Little & Large The human body was thought to be a miniature representation of the universe as a whole. Various parts of the body were linked to the planets and the signs of the zodiac. Things that happened in the universe (the macrocosm), were suppose to happen on a much smaller scale

within the human body (the microcosm). Elizabethan Beliefs The 4 Humours The body was thought to contain four humours, or fluids black bile, phlegm, blood & choler. A persons temperament depended on the way the humours were mixed. In Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony describes Brutus as a man in whom all these humours are mixed perfectly. But most people were thought to have one humour that was more dominant than the others. Illnesses & mental disorders were blamed on an imbalance of the humours. For example,

melancholia (depression) was thought to be caused by an excess of black bile. Elizabethan Beliefs & Shakespeare Strange States of Mind Characters have mental problems in several of Shakespeares tragedies. They go insane with grief or with the pressure of having to make a decision. Feelings of guilt may come out in strange ways. Some examples: Lady Macbeth pretends to be tough and mocks Macbeth for feeling guilty for their crimes, but her own horror is revealed when she starts sleepwalking and imagines she can see blood on her hands.

Ophelia in Hamlet goes insane with grief, eventually committing suicide, when Hamlet rejects her and kills her father, Polonius. Elizabethan Beliefs The Chain of Being A concept inherited from the Middle Ages as an attempt to give order or degree to the vastness of creation. The idea was that God created everything in a strict hierarchy, or chain that stretched from God himself down to the lowest things in existence. Everything had its own place. Humans occupied a place in the chain below angels but above animals, plants, and stones Humans, from Highest to Lowest: Monarch Nobles

Churchmen Gentlemen Commoners All women were considered to be inferior to men; except Queen Elizabeth her position as monarch outweighed the fact that she was a woman. Accepting ones place in the chain was a duty that would be rewarded by God in heaven. Disrupting the chain was

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