Study guide theatre and drama Characters and Vocabulary Fires in the Mirror Ntozake Shange- playwright, poet, novelist= ?The Desert?- Identity Anonymous Lubavitcher Woman- preschool teacher= ?Static? Radio is on so she gets a non-Jew to turn it off Aaron M. Bernstein- Physicist at MIT- ?Mirrors?= Distortions from reflection Reverend Al Sharpton- Well known NY activist, Minister= 1. ?Me and James?s Thing? He has hair just like James to give tribute. 2. ?Rain? Driver fleas to Israel, a special prosecutor sues civilly goes to Israel with court order, but nothing happens. ?If you are going to piss in my face I am going to call it piss. I am not going to call it rain.? Letty Cottin Pogrebin- Author of Deborah, Golda and Me. Editor of Ms. Magazine=1. ?Near Enough To Reach? Jews and blacks live in close proximity, Jews take blacks serious, in order to get on news you have to attack a Jew.2. ?Isaac? Isaac was chosen by his community to come to America to tell his story of herding his town to gas chambers Minister Conrad Mohammed- NY Minister for Louis Farrakhan= ?Seven Verses? Slavery is worse than holocaust, Most significant crime is blacks were subhuman Anonymous Young Man #1- Crown Heights resident= ?Wa Wa Wa? girl pushing brother on bike, Car ran red light and hit boy, man was drunk(wa wa wa), ambulance shows up and takes man and leaves boy Angela Davis- author, orator, activist, scholar, History prof. UC-Santa Cruz= RACE ?Rope? Norman Rosenbaum- Brother of Yankel Rosenbaum, Australian barrister=1. ?My Brother?s Blood? Brother is stabbed and no one does anything for being a Jew. 2. ?Sixteen Hours Difference? Lives in Melbourne, drove home from work and his wife told him that his brother had been stabbed in a riot. Rivkah Siegal- Lubavitcher woman, graphic designer= ?Wigs? Women have to wear wigs to get married because she has to submerge her head and hair tends to float Roslyn Malamud- Lubavitcher resident of crown heights= ?The Coup? Riots broke up, blacks rioting Jews fighting back. Normal citizens don?t commit murder, it was an accident. Carmel Cato- Father of Gavin Cato, Crown Heights resident= ?Lingering? Gavin was in the hospital trying to get revived but they couldn?t do it. Carmel can?t do anything cause he is affected-lingering, lingering, No justice, Jewish people can throw out case Death of a Salesman Willy=n insecure, self-deluded traveling salesman. Willy believes wholeheartedly in the American Dream of easy success and wealth, but he never achieves it. Nor do his sons fulfill his hope that they will succeed where he has failed. When Willy?s illusions begin to fail under the pressing realities of his life, his mental health begins to unravel. The overwhelming tensions caused by this disparity, as well as those caused by the societal imperatives that drive Willy, form the essential conflict of Death of a Salesman. Linda= Willy?s loyal, loving wife. Linda suffers through Willy?s grandiose dreams and self-delusions. Occasionally, she seems to be taken in by Willy?s self-deluded hopes for future glory and success, but at other times, she seems far more realistic and less fragile than her husband. She has nurtured the family through all of Willy?s misguided attempts at success, and her emotional strength and perseverance support Willy until his collapse. Biff=Willy?s thirty-four-year-old elder son. Biff led a charmed life in high school as a football star with scholarship prospects, good male friends, and fawning female admirers. He failed math, however, and did not have enough credits to graduate. Since then, his kleptomania has gotten him fired from every job that he has held. Biff represents Willy?s vulnerable, poetic, tragic side. He cannot ignore his instincts, which tell him to abandon Willy?s paralyzing dreams and move out West to work with his hands. He ultimately fails to reconcile his life with Willy?s expectations of him. Happy=Willy?s thirty-two-year-old younger son. Happy has lived in Biff?s shadow all of his life, but he compensates by nurturing his relentless sex drive and professional ambition. Happy represents Willy?s sense of self-importance, ambition, and blind servitude to societal expectations. Although he works as an assistant to an assistant buyer in a department store, Happy presents himself as supremely important. Additionally, he practices bad business ethics and sleeps with the girlfriends of his superiors. Bernard=Bernard is Charley?s son and an important, successful lawyer. Although Willy used to mock Bernard for studying hard, Bernard always loved Willy?s sons dearly and regarded Biff as a hero. Bernard?s success is difficult for Willy to accept because his own sons? lives do not measure up. Uncle Ben=Willy?s wealthy older brother. Ben has recently died and appears only in Willy?s ?daydreams.? Willy regards Ben as a symbol of the success that he so desperately craves for himself and his sons. Charley=Willy?s next-door neighbor. Charley owns a successful business and his son, Bernard, is a wealthy, important lawyer. Willy is jealous of Charley?s success. Charley gives Willy money to pay his bills, and Willy reveals at one point, choking back tears, that Charley is his only friend. Medea Chorus= Composed of the women of Corinth, the chorus chiefly serves as a commentator to the action, although it occasionally engages directly in the dialogue. The chorus members fully sympathize with Medea's plight, excepting her eventual decision to murder her own children. Nurse=Caretaker of the house, the nurse of the children serves as Medea's confidant. Her presence is mainly felt in the play's opening lament and in a few speeches addressing diverse subjects not entirely related to the action of the play. Medea=Protagonist of the play, Medea's homeland is Colchis, an island in the Black Sea, which the Greeks considered the edge of the earth--a territory of barbarians. A sorceress and a princess, she used her powers and influence to help Jason secure the Golden Fleece; then, having fallen in love with him, she fled her country and family to live with Jason in Iolcus, his own home. During the escape across the Mediterranean, she killed her brother and dumped him overboard, so that her pursuers would have to slow down and bury him. While in Iolcus, she again used her devilish cleverness to manipulate the daughters of the local king and rival, Pelias, into murdering their own father. Exiled as murderers, Jason and Medea settled in Corinth, the setting of Euripides' play, where they established a family of two children and gained a favorable reputation. All this precedes the action of the play, which opens with Jason having divorced Medea and taken up with a new family. The play charts Medea's emotional transformation, a progression from suicidal despair to sadistic fury. She eventually avenges Jason's betrayal with a series of murders, concluding with the deaths of her own children. Famously, the pleasure of watching Jason suffer their loss outweighed her own remorse at killing them. Creon=The King of Corinth, Creon banishes Medea from the city. Although a minor character, Creon's suicidal embrace of his dying daughter provides one of the play's most dramatic moments, and his sentence against Medea lends an urgency to her plans for revenge. Aegeus= The King of Athens, Aegeus passes through Corinth after having visited the Oracle at Delphi, where he sought a cure for his sterility. Medea offers him some fertility-inducing drugs in exchange for sanctuary in Athens. His appearance marks a turning point in the play, for Medea moves from being a passive victim to an aggressor after she secures his promise of sanctuary. Jason= Jason can be considered the play's villain, though his evil stems more from weakness than strength. A former adventurer, he abandons his wife, Medea, in order to marry Glauce, the beautiful young daughter of Creon, King of Corinth. Hoping to advance his station through this second marriage, he only fuels Medea to a revenge that includes the deaths of his new bride, her father, and his children. Jason's tactless self-interest and whiny rationalizations of his own actions make him a weak, unsympathetic character. Othello Othello=The play?s protagonist and hero. A Christian Moor and general of the armies of Venice, Othello is an eloquent and physically powerful figure, respected by all those around him. In spite of his elevated status, he is nevertheless easy prey to insecurities because of his age, his life as a soldier, and his race. He possesses a ?free and open nature,? which his ensign Iago uses to twist his love for his wife, Desdemona, into a powerful and destructive jealousy Desdemona=The daughter of the Venetian senator Brabanzio. Desdemona and Othello are secretly married before the play begins. While in many ways stereotypically pure and meek, Desdemona is also determined and self-possessed. She is equally capable of defending her marriage, jesting bawdily with Iago, and responding with dignity to Othello?s incomprehensible jealousy. Iago= Othello?s ensign (a job also known as an ancient or standard-bearer), and the villain of the play. Iago is twenty-eight years old. While his ostensible reason for desiring Othello?s demise is that he has been passed over for promotion to lieutenant, Iago?s motivations are never very clearly expressed and seem to originate in an obsessive, almost aesthetic delight in manipulation and destruction. Cassio=Othello?s lieutenant. Cassio is a young and inexperienced soldier, whose high position is much resented by Iago. Truly devoted to Othello, Cassio is extremely ashamed after being implicated in a drunken brawl on Cyprus and losing his place as lieutenant. Iago uses Cassio?s youth, good looks, and friendship with Desdemona to play on Othello?s insecurities about Desdemona?s fidelity. Brabantio=Desdemona?s father, a somewhat blustering and self-important Venetian senator. As a friend of Othello, Brabanzio feels betrayed when the general marries his daughter in secret. Roderigo= A jealous suitor of Desdemona. Young, rich, and foolish, Roderigo is convinced that if he gives Iago all of his money, Iago will help him win Desdemona?s hand. Repeatedly frustrated as Othello marries Desdemona and then takes her to Cyprus, Roderigo is ultimately desperate enough to agree to help Iago kill Cassio after Iago points out that Cassio is another potential rival for Desdemona. Emilia= Iago?s wife and Desdemona?s attendant. A cynical, worldly woman, she is deeply attached to her mistress and distrustful of her husband. Bianca=A courtesan, or prostitute, in Cyprus. Bianca?s favorite customer is Cassio, who teases her with promises of marriage. Terms Plot- The sequence of events in a play. Distinct from the story or myth on which the plot is based. Exposition- Necessary information about the background of the characters and situation of the play. The information is usually presented early in the play and prepares the spectator to understand the developing complications. Action- what happens in the play Myth- Stories of the gods and heroes of ancient Greece on which the plays of classical Greece are based. Dionysus- Greek God of wine, fertility, and revelry, associated with the cycles of the seasons and of birth, maturity, death and rebirth. Hymns sung in his honor(dithyrambs) are thought by some scholars to be the origin of greek tragedy. A temple of Dionysus is located near the theatre of Dionysus at Athens, where tragedies were enacted in a competition, the City Dionysia City Dionysia- A festival in honor of Dionysus celebrated each sprin in classical Athens. The festival combined patriotic displays, religious ceremonies, and literary competition over a period of several days. Satyr play- A short play performed after a tragic trilogy at the City Dionysia in classical Athens, usually a burlesque of mythological subjects. The chorus members dressed as satyrs (half-man, half-goat followers of Dionysus) Agon(agonia)- debate Chorus- Narrator, Gives advice Theatron- The seating area of a classical Greek theatre. Built into a hillside, first in wood and later in stone, the theatron in Athens was divided into wedges for each of the tribes of Attica and held between 14,000-20,000 spectators. Literally ?Seeing Place? Orchestra- The circular, flat area located in front of the scene building on which the chorus of a classical Greek play performed. Literally ?dancing place? Skene(Scene Building)- A building adjacent to the orchestra facing the theatron in a classical Greek Theater. The scene building provided a point of entry for actors and space for costume changes and scenic devices. Parados- choral entrace Episodes- Scenes between actors Exodus- The final scene and exit of the charecters and chorus in a classical Greek play Antagonist- The opposing character or force in conflict with the main character in a play. Protagonist- The main character in a play Ekkylema- ?Rolling Out? ? a cart would roll out with dead bodies on it to show death Mechane- ?machine? ?crane for flying gods and heroes Dues ex machine- In classical Greek theatre, a god lowered from a crane at the end of a play to resolve the action. In Medea, the crane provides her means of escape. Hubris- Catharsis- In Aristotles Poetics, catharsis is interpreted to refer both to the recognition of error in the action of the play and the emotional effect of tragedy on spectators. Literally ?purification?, ?purging?, ?cleansing? Aristotle?s Definition of tragedy- Tragedy, then, is a process of imitating an action which has serious implications, is complete, and possesses magnitude; . . . Through a course of pity and fear completing the purification of tragic acts which have those emotional characteristics.? Aristotles six elements Plot- Sequence of Events, considered the Most important to Aristotle. Is the Heart and soul. Has to be complete with a beginning middle and end. No extraneous scenes. Has to make people feel something and has to be believable. Can Be simple or complex: change of fortune preferably with recognition/peripetry Character- Has to have good moral quality, be appropriate to his or her class, similar to human nature, consistent, ideal tragic hero(Not perfect, Not evil, with a flaw) Thought- Passages of thought, -link to arts and rhetoric, characters trying to prove a point or general principle. Verbal Expression- The Conveyance of thought through language Song-Composition- The strongest appeal to the emotions Visual Adornment-: visual effects such as costumes, masks, scenic effects, decorative elements Fourth-wall staging- Realistic staging in which the performer does not acknowledge the presence of the audience or address the audience. The audience observes the action of the play through the implied fourth wall of a room located behind the proscenium arch. Subtext- Unspoken intent or meaning that underlies the dialogue in a play. Usually associated with realistic drama and acting techniques designed to convey the inner life of realistic characters. Mimesis(mimicry)- ?Imitation?, becoming a character through impersonation. Genre- A type or kind of play, such as tragdy, comedy, or theatre of the absurd Ode- Choral Songs between each episode Homosociality- In classical Greece society was divided by gender, Men groups, adult free Males were citizens. Gender Segregation, Permeability of gender, male or not male Open text- Mulitple interpretations are possible and desirable, everyone has to interpret text Bear baiting- Groundlings- Bankside- Public out of town theaters across the London bridge and the Thames river. Where the Globe theatre was Fires in The Mirror Plot- Gavin Cato(African american) is hit by the Jewish lubavitcher driver in Crown Hieghts Brooklyn. The Jewish ambulance arrives and takes the driver away. Gavin Dies and riots breakout. Yankel Rosenbuam is stabbed by an angry crowd and dies. The play is about peoples points of view of the incident. -Racially divided community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn -90% African-American/Afro-Caribbean -10% Lubavitcher -Tensions on both sides -August, 1991*, Crown Heights, Brooklyn -Two deaths: Gavin Cato & Yankel Rosenbaum Performance meets journalism 26 interview subjects Varying degrees of closeness to the incident Arranged to spiral closer and closer to those touched directly by the violence No ultimate statement of truth or fact Words as information, words as poetry Structure- First people we meet from Crown Heights are anonymous Static Look in the Mirror Surrounded by high-profile outsiders Ntozake Shange Angela Davis Letty Cottin Pogrebin Next we meet leaders from Crown Heights Rabbi Joseph Spielman, Robert Sherman, Reverend Canon Doctor Heron Sam Finally we meet people who were there Setting up tension: Structurally Seven Verses/Isaac Visually Black/white Aurally Rhythm/accent What?s left out? Hundreds of interviews 29 excerpts by 26 people Summing up from last time: Tension in juxtaposition of monologues, but also in juxtaposition of contradictory ideas within monologues: Power/powerlessness - Lingering Sameness/difference - The Coup Humor/severity - Sharpton Speakers trapped by their perceptions - The Coup, Pogroms, Lingering Language- Setting- The play changes setting to where each individual was interviewed. Metaphoric Meaning- Art as mirror to life Difficulty of reflecting, difficulty of understanding (see ?Mirrors and Distortions?) Power and danger of reflection The mirror reflects some of both the light and heat of the ?fire? of the conflict Distance and disconnection Observers can?t reach/find the original events Props/costume elements- The afro Americans all looked the same, afro carribeans all dressed the same, The Lubavitchers all dressed the same. One could tell what ethnicity you were just by looking at you. Central Character actions- No central character except Gavin but he was dead from the very beginning Major Ideas- Smiths Method=?Early on in my work, I wanted to use my body as the evidence that a human being can take on the identity of another. I think we all have immense potential for compassion as individuals. But that gets stopped when we take on fixed positions.? Richard Schechner - ?deep mimesis,? ?shamanism? Attempt to break free of linear structures, ?boxes? Search for ?place where words fall away? ?I?m not trying to get you speechless, I?m trying to find you in your silence and then speechful? Three questions: What were the circumstances of your birth? Have you ever come close to death? Have you ever been accused of something you didn?t do? ?Character lives in language. If you say a word often enough, it becomes you.? ?Becoming? a character through impersonation Mimicry/mimesis - ?imitation? Kerouac reference Search for religious experience/values Exploring the world outside your comfort zone Formal innovation - ?spontaneous prose Author-Anna deavere Smith Date of first performance-1992 Scene?s Seven Verses- Slavery is greatest Crime Issac- Holocaust was the worst crime Pogroms- Russian women comes to America to get rid of problems, Jew Haters, She commits suicide, An organized massacre of a particular ethnic group(Russian/Eastern Jews) ?Claims another suffering Al Sharpton to blame? The Coup-The communities are separated in Crown heights, but they all have same dream, Sameness/difference, Shes not sure shes different. Lingering- Dad tries to do something, but can?t focus so he lingers,Power/powerlessness He was born special so he knew Gavin would die(Power), But he couldn?t help(powerlessness) his son and the community did nothing. Death of a sales Man(Arthur Miller 1949) Plot- Willy loman is a salesman with a tragic flaw. He tries to raise him son?s with the best of intentions, but raises them with the wrong morals. Now unable to keep his job, seeing his son?s become unsuccessful, and seeing he can?t support his household, he commits suicide. Structure- New kind of tragedy, The plot is nonlinear story telling made mainstream. Also first tragedy of a common man. Language- Prose. Reveals back story in dialogue, no exposition. Setting- The last day of Willy?s Life, but there are instantaneous flashbacks of the past. Metaphors- Past- Open yard/garden, grass, light=Dream. Present- buildings, dirt, dark=Reality Props/costume elements- -The Rubber Hose The rubber hose is a stage prop that reminds the audience of Willy?s desperate attempts at suicide. He has apparently attempted to kill himself by inhaling gas, which is, ironically, the very substance essential to one of the most basic elements with which he must equip his home for his family?s health and comfort?heat. Literal death by inhaling gas parallels the metaphorical death that Willy feels in his struggle to afford such a basic necessity -Linda?s and The Woman?s Stockings Willy?s strange obsession with the condition of Linda?s stockings foreshadows his later flashback to Biff?s discovery of him and The Woman in their Boston hotel room. The teenage Biff accuses Willy of giving away Linda?s stockings to The Woman. Stockings assume a metaphorical weight as the symbol of betrayal and sexual infidelity. New stockings are important for both Willy?s pride in being financially successful and thus able to provide for his family and for Willy?s ability to ease his guilt about, and suppress the memory of, his betrayal of Linda and Biff. Major Ideas- A tragedy of Time Willy?s unstable opinions about his life the refrigerator- Well advertised vs. It eats Belts the Chevrolet- Loves vs. Hates for breaking Biff?s character- Football Star vs. Can?t hold a job Willy?s unstable relationship to time- he is in all moments of his life at the same time Dreams become reminders of failure Willy and Ben Biff and his father?s hopes The cruel immutability of the past- he has failed, can?t change moments already past Willy?s affair Biff?s self assertion- I am a thief, liar, loser, wants to take it back Willy?s suicide Melzingers Revolutionary Design Challenges Last day of a man?s life 36 years of flashbacks Indoor and outdoor scenes Instantaneous transitions Solutions No walls Use of projecton and backdrop= Pink to blue, Buildings to leaves Time and Memory The present: 1949 Frank?s Chop House Howard?s office Charley?s office The kitchen The past Scenes from 1933-34 Scenes with Uncle Ben The yard and garden Dialogue about Willy?s family Dialogue about Biff?s life after he left home Some important sounds Flute: Beginning and ending Music of Willy?s father Contrast with Ben?s ?Idyllic? music Contrast with whistling Wire recorder: confuses past and present Raucous music: restaurant and hotel Laughter: hotel and memory triggered by stockings Car engine and music: end Act 2 Medea (Euripides 431 BCE) Plot- Euripedes' Medea opens in a state of conflict. Jason has abandoned his wife, Medea, along with their two children. He hopes to advance his station by remarrying with Glauce, the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth, the Greek city where the play is set. All the events of play proceed out of this initial dilemma, and the involved parties become its central characters. Outside the royal palace, a nurse laments the events that have lead to the present crisis. After a long series of trials and adventures, which ultimately forced Jason and Medea to seek exile in Corinth, the pair had settled down and established their family, achieving a degree of fame and respectability. Jason's recent abandonment of that family has crushed Medea emotionally, to the degree that she curses her own existence, as well as that of her two children.Fearing a possible plot of revenge, Creon banishes Medea and her children from the city. After pleading for mercy, Medea is granted one day before she must leave, during which she plans to complete her quest for "justice"--at this stage in her thinking, the murder of Creon, Glauce, and Jason. Jason accuses Medea of overreacting. By voicing her grievances so publicly, she has endangered her life and that of their children. He claims that his decision to remarry was in everyone's best interest. Medea finds him spineless, and she refuses to accept his token offers of help.Appearing by chance in Corinth, Aegeus, King of Athens, offers Medea sanctuary in his home city in exchange for her knowledge of certain drugs that can cure his sterility. Now guaranteed an eventual haven in Athens, Medea has cleared all obstacles to completing her revenge, a plan which grows to include the murder of her own children; the pain their loss will cause her does not outweigh the satisfaction she will feel in making Jason suffer.For the balance of the play, Medea engages in a ruse; she pretends to sympathize with Jason (bringing him into her confidence) and offers his wife "gifts," a coronet and dress. Ostensibly, the gifts are meant to convince Glauce to ask her father to allow the children to stay in Corinth. The coronet and dress are actually poisoned, however, and their delivery causes Glauce's death. Seeing his daughter ravaged by the poison, Creon chooses to die by her side by dramatically embracing her and absorbing the poison himself.A messenger recounts the gruesome details of these deaths, which Medea absorbs with cool attentiveness. Her earlier state of anxiety, which intensified as she struggled with the decision to commit infanticide, has now given way to an assured determination to fulfill her plans. Against the protests of the chorus, Medea murders her children and flees the scene in a dragon-pulled chariot provided by her grandfather, the Sun-God. Jason is left cursing his lot; his hope of advancing his station by abandoning Medea and marrying Glauce, the conflict which opened the play, has been annihilated, and everything he values has been lost through the deaths that conclude the tragedy. Structure- Episodes = scenes between actors Odes = choral songs between each episode Parados = choral entrance Exodos = choral exit Agon = debate Jason and Medea Medea and Creon Slow beginning (exposition) Fast ending (murders) Progressive meetings with men, progressive rhetorical strategies Language- Verse and Prose Setting- Jason to Colchis flees to Lolcus for fleece. Medea is from Colchis, the play happens in Corinth where Medea and Jason Fled. Medea flees to Athens at end Metaphors- Physical and metaphorical prominence of Medea Allegiance with Aegeus, representative of Athens Center of the play Crux of plot Aggression against Corinth, enemy of Athens 431 BCE = first year of war with Sparta (& Corinth) Victory over her enemies (cf. Orestes) Physical elevation by means of the mechane Athenians didn?t see her as a hero(Mechane)-Euripides is trying to change this Props/costume elements- The Golden Crown and coat that makes Jason wife start on fire. Major Ideas- Competion- Jason trying to climb the political latter. Feminism- Medea says she would rather stand in battle three times then give birth Tragedy of Foriegness Significant features of Athenian culture Importance of speech / competition Gender segregation (homosociality) Permeability of gender lines - male/not male Men vs. Women, Slaves, Foreigners, Young Men, Homosexuals Men are ?hot?, hard, impervious to disease, positive, strong Women are wet, pearmable to demonic possession and disease Significant conflicts in Medea Clever speech vs. gullibility(Creon) Masculinity vs. femininity (or non-masculinity) Greekness vs. foreignness(Medea) Medea as Villain Outsider to Athenian morality (for women) Faithless to her father & brother Faithless to her children Breaks taboo - infanticide Lies (powerful significance of speech) Immoderation Tricky sorceress Use of poison (woman?s weapon) and cloth (woman?s tool) Evidence: Chorus?s reaction in Ode III and thereafter(Chorus turn?s on her-Villain) Medea as Hero Construction of Medea as masculine(Athenians don?t like this) Powerful - ?She is formidable. No one who crosses her can hope to greet the morning light victorious?? Nurse, lines 45-46 Self-interested - ?Don?t you know by now that men put self-love first?? Tutor, line 88 Rhetorically sophisticated - ?I know to grant your plea is a grave mistake, and yet I grant it?? Creon, lines 378-379 Cf. Odysseus, chameleonlike speaker Hot, firey - ?Fire is [my] element? Medea, line 434 Medea and the ?heroic code? Related to a god - Helios Strong & powerful Concerned with glory ?let no one think me weak, the object of their simpering pity or contempt, but see me as I am - and that the opposite: a scourge to my enemies, a benefactor to my friends. For those who act as I do, forever their names live on in glory?? Medea, lines 886-890 Construction of other characters as feminine Jason - Disloyal, oath-breaker ?Let the man die unloved who will not stand firm by his friends?? Chorus, lines 735-736 ?Can it be true that he has dared to act so shamefully?? Aegeus, line 776 Jason and Creon - gullible, weak ?I know to grant your plea is a grave mistake, and yet I grant it?? Creon, line 378-379 Creusa as ?real woman? - silly, superficial Whose Tragedy is it? Medea?s: mistake = marrying Jason Reversal of fortune /suffering = losing her father Medea is angry because she did all these things for Jason(Fleece, kill brother). Jason argues she did it for herself Medea Films- Difference from classical staging: -women performers, all dialogue is spoken, unmasked 1959 film- Medea is Crazy, double sided, Is all over the stage Creon seems stupid 1982- Medea is Evil, creepy, more intelligent and in control, sexual energy, more contained in one place on stage Othello (Shakespeare 1604) Plot- Othello begins on a street in Venice, in the midst of an argument between Roderigo, a rich man, and Iago. Roderigo has been paying Iago to help him in his suit to Desdemona. But Roderigo has just learned that Desdemona has married Othello, a general whom Iago begrudgingly serves as ensign. Iago says he hates Othello, who recently passed him over for the position of lieutenant in favor of the inexperienced soldier Michael Cassio.Unseen, Iago and Roderigo cry out to Brabanzio that his daughter Desdemona has been stolen by and married to Othello, the Moor. Brabanzio finds that his daughter is indeed missing, and he gathers some officers to find Othello. Not wanting his hatred of Othello to be known, Iago leaves Roderigo and hurries back to Othello before Brabanzio sees him. At Othello?s lodgings, Cassio arrives with an urgent message from the duke: Othello?s help is needed in the matter of the imminent Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Not long afterward, Brabanzio arrives with Roderigo and others, and accuses Othello of stealing his daughter by witchcraft. When he finds out that Othello is on his way to speak with the duke, -Brabanzio decides to go along and accuse Othello before the assembled senate. Brabanzio?s plan backfires. The duke and senate are very sympathetic toward Othello. Given a chance to speak for himself, Othello explains that he wooed and won Desdemona not by witchcraft but with the stories of his adventures in travel and war. The duke finds Othello?s explanation convincing, and Desdemona herself enters at this point to defend her choice in marriage and to announce to her father that her allegiance is now to her husband. Brabanzio is frustrated, but acquiesces and allows the senate meeting to resume. The duke says that Othello must go to Cyprus to aid in the defense against the Turks, who are headed for the island. Desdemona insists that she accompany her husband on his trip, and preparations are made for them to depart that night. In Cyprus the following day, two gentlemen stand on the shore with Montano, the governor of Cyprus. A third gentleman arrives and reports that the Turkish fleet has been wrecked in a storm at sea. Cassio, whose ship did not suffer the same fate, arrives soon after, followed by a second ship carrying Iago, Roderigo, Desdemona, and Emilia, Iago?s wife. Once they have landed, Othello?s ship is sighted, and the group goes to the harbor. As they wait for Othello, Cassio greets Desdemona by clasping her hand. Watching them, Iago tells the audience that he will use ?as little a web as this? hand-holding to ensnare Cassio (II.i.169). Othello arrives, greets his wife, and announces that there will be reveling that evening to celebrate Cyprus?s safety from the Turks. Once everyone has left, Roderigo complains to Iago that he has no chance of breaking up Othello?s marriage. Iago assures Roderigo that as soon as Desdemona?s ?blood is made dull with the act of sport,? she will lose interest in Othello and seek sexual satisfaction elsewhere (II.i.222). However, Iago warns that ?elsewhere? will likely be with Cassio. Iago counsels Roderigo that he should cast Cassio into disgrace by starting a fight with Cassio at the evening?s revels. In a soliloquy, Iago explains to the audience that eliminating Cassio is the first crucial step in his plan to ruin Othello. That night, Iago gets Cassio drunk and then sends Roderigo to start a fight with him. Apparently provoked by Roderigo, Cassio chases Roderigo across the stage. Governor Montano attempts to hold Cassio down, and Cassio stabs him. Iago sends Roderigo to raise alarm in the town. The alarm is rung, and Othello, who had left earlier with plans to consummate his marriage, soon arrives to still the commotion. When Othello demands to know who began the fight, Iago feigns reluctance to implicate his ?friend? Cassio, but he ultimately tells the whole story. Othello then strips Cassio of his rank of lieutenant. Cassio is extremely upset, and he laments to Iago, once everyone else has gone, that his reputation has been ruined forever. Iago assures Cassio that he can get back into Othello?s good graces by using Desdemona as an intermediary. In a soliloquy, Iago tells us that he will frame Cassio and Desdemona as lovers to make -Othello jealous. In an attempt at reconciliation, Cassio sends some musicians to play beneath Othello?s window. Othello, however, sends his clown to tell the musicians to go away. Hoping to arrange a meeting with Desdemona, Cassio asks the clown, a peasant who serves Othello, to send Emilia to him. After the clown departs, Iago passes by and tells Cassio that he will get Othello out of the way so that Cassio can speak privately with Desdemona. Othello, Iago, and a gentleman go to examine some of the town?s fortifications. Desdemona is quite sympathetic to Cassio?s request and promises that she will do everything she can to make Othello forgive his former lieutenant. As Cassio is about to leave, Othello and Iago return. Feeling uneasy, Cassio leaves without talking to Othello. Othello inquires whether it was Cassio who just parted from his wife, and Iago, beginning to kindle Othello?s fire of jealousy, replies, ?No, sure, I cannot think it, / That he would steal away so guilty-like, / Seeing your coming? (III.iii.37?39). Othello becomes upset and moody, and Iago furthers his goal of removing both Cassio and Othello by suggesting that Cassio and Desdemona are involved in an affair. Desdemona?s entreaties to Othello to reinstate Cassio as lieutenant add to Othello?s almost immediate conviction that his wife is unfaithful. After Othello?s conversation with Iago, Desdemona comes to call Othello to supper and finds him feeling unwell. She offers him her handkerchief to wrap around his head, but he finds it to be ?[t]oo little? and lets it drop to the floor (III.iii.291). Desdemona and Othello go to dinner, and Emilia picks up the handkerchief, mentioning to the audience that Iago has always wanted her to steal it for him. Iago is ecstatic when Emilia gives him the handkerchief, which he plants in Cassio?s room as ?evidence? of his affair with Desdemona. When Othello demands ?ocular proof? (III.iii.365) that his wife is unfaithful, Iago says that he has seen Cassio ?wipe his beard? (III.iii.444) with Desdemona?s handkerchief?the first gift Othello ever gave her. Othello vows to take vengeance on his wife and on Cassio, and Iago vows that he will help him. When Othello sees Desdemona later that evening, he demands the handkerchief of her, but she tells him that she does not have it with her and attempts to change the subject by continuing her suit on Cassio?s behalf. This drives Othello into a further rage, and he storms out. Later, Cassio comes onstage, wondering about the handkerchief he has just found in his chamber. He is greeted by Bianca, a prostitute, whom he asks to take the handkerchief and copy its embroidery for him. Through Iago?s machinations, Othello becomes so consumed by jealousy that he falls into a trance and has a fit of epilepsy. As he writhes on the ground, Cassio comes by, and Iago tells him to come back in a few minutes to talk. Once Othello recovers, Iago tells him of the meeting he has planned with Cassio. He instructs Othello to hide nearby and watch as Iago extracts from Cassio the story of his affair with Desdemona. While Othello stands out of earshot, Iago pumps Cassio for information about Bianca, causing Cassio to laugh and confirm Othello?s suspicions. Bianca herself then enters with Desdemona?s handkerchief, reprimanding Cassio for making her copy out the embroidery of a love token given to him by another woman. When Desdemona enters with Lodovico and Lodovico subsequently gives Othello a letter from Venice calling him home and instating Cassio as his replacement, Othello goes over the edge, striking Desdemona and then storming out. That night, Othello accuses Desdemona of being a whore. He ignores her protestations, seconded by Emilia, that she is innocent. Iago assures Desdemona that Othello is simply upset about matters of state. Later that night, however, Othello ominously tells Desdemona to wait for him in bed and to send Emilia away. Meanwhile, Iago assures the still-complaining Roderigo that everything is going as planned: in order to prevent Desdemona and Othello from leaving, Roderigo must kill Cassio. Then he will have a clear avenue to his love. Iago instructs Roderigo to ambush Cassio, but Roderigo misses his mark and Cassio wounds him instead. Iago wounds Cassio and runs away. When Othello hears Cassio?s cry, he assumes that Iago has killed Cassio as he said he would. Lodovico and Graziano enter to see what the commotion is about. Iago enters shortly thereafter and flies into a pretend rage as he ?discovers? Cassio?s assailant Roderigo, whom he murders. Cassio is taken to have his wound dressed. Meanwhile, Othello stands over his sleeping wife in their bedchamber, preparing to kill her. Desdemona wakes and attempts to plead with Othello. She asserts her innocence, but Othello smothers her. Emilia enters with the news that Roderigo is dead. Othello asks if Cassio is dead too and is mortified when Emilia says he is not. After crying out that she has been murdered, Desdemona changes her story before she dies, claiming that she has committed suicide. Emilia asks Othello what happened, and Othello tells her that he has killed Desdemona for her infidelity, which Iago brought to his attention. Montano, Graziano, and Iago come into the room. Iago attempts to silence Emilia, who realizes what Iago has done. At first, Othello insists that Iago has told the truth, citing the handkerchief as evidence. Once Emilia tells him how she found the handkerchief and gave it to Iago, Othello is crushed and begins to weep. He tries to kill Iago but is disarmed. Iago kills Emilia and flees, but he is caught by Lodovico and Montano, who return holding Iago captive. They also bring Cassio, who is now in a chair because of his wound. Othello wounds Iago and is disarmed. Lodovico tells Othello that he must come with them back to Venice to be tried. Othello makes a speech about how he would like to be remembered, then kills himself with a sword he had hidden on his person. The play closes with a speech by Lodovico. He gives Othello?s house and goods to Graziano and orders that Iago be executed. Structure- Structural analysis: the progression of deceit Act I: Problem established - Iago - how to destroy Othello (and Cassio) Othello - how to overcome his disadvantages Act II: Plan of attack - Iago sets in motion the pattern of deceit Act III: Struggle - Iago tries to convince Othello to believe him Act IV: Turning point - The curtain scene The handkerchief Act V: Outcome Deaths: Roderigo, Desdemona, Emilia, Othello, (Iago) Multiple smaller deceits: Desdemona and Brabantio Iago and Roderigo Emilia and Desdemona Iago and Emilia Othello and Cassio Gossips and Iago Environment where stories/appearances matter Othello and Desdemona Cassio - reputation Iago and Montano Othello and Montano Gradual stripping away of truthful counselors Act I: The Venetians Act II: Cassio Act III: Desdemona, binding to Iago Act IV: Iago alone Act V: Othello?s awful act, his and Emilia?s recognition (anagnorisis), replacing Othello with Cassio Language- Linguistic/poetic analysis: the failure of reason Playing with blank verse: Moments of rhyme and comedy Loss of control, loss of rhythm Iago?s control over speech 1000+ lines vs. 800+ Setting- From Venice to Cyprus where the action happens Metaphors- Props/costume elements- The Handkerchief The handkerchief symbolizes different things to different characters. Since the handkerchief was the first gift Desdemona received from Othello, she keeps it about her constantly as a symbol of Othello?s love. Iago manipulates the handkerchief so that Othello comes to see it as a symbol of Desdemona herself?her faith and chastity. By taking possession of it, he is able to convert it into evidence of her infidelity. But the handkerchief?s importance to Iago and Desdemona derives from its importance to Othello himself. He tells Desdemona that it was woven by a 200-year-old sibyl, or female prophet, using silk from sacred worms and dye extracted from the hearts of mummified virgins. Othello claims that his mother used it to keep his father faithful to her, so, to him, the handkerchief represents marital fidelity. The pattern of strawberries (dyed with virgins? blood) on a white background strongly suggests the bloodstains left on the sheets on a virgin?s wedding night, so the handkerchief implicitly suggests a guarantee of virginity as well as fidelity. Major Ideas- The Politics of the play Relationship to outsiders Fascination with and repulsion from the ?exotic? Ambivalent attitude toward slavery and empire Conception of the ?Moor? Venice: paradoxical utopia Site of the Renaissance Connected with East and West Beautiful and strange (physically and metaphorically) Catholic but progressive, righteous but lascivious Political utopia? The play?s main Venitian: Iago Othello?s Critical Ambiguities Who is Othello, and what is his society?s relationship to him? Is this a tragedy of racism? Is Othello a righteous man? What is this world?s attitude toward women? Is this a tragedy of misogyny? Why does Iago do what he does? Cultural analysis: the failure of society Is Venetian society to blame? Yes: Iago is Venetian Yes: Racism in the play?s language No: Tragedy occurs in Cyprus No: 1st act = tragedy averted Does this play reflect flaws in English society? Ancient Greek Theatre Locate Audience- Performance Space- Scenic Space- Relationship between audience and performance- Technical capabilities- Restrictions/challenges No onstage violence Daylight/no curtain Mostly old stories Only 3 actors (max) Protagonist Antagonist ?4th wall? remains intact Agon/agonia (contest/suffering) Plots surround horrific acts/mistakes that may lead to greater suffering Agon between characters, and between characters and chorus, over which action to take Hubris - ?pride,? and/or hamartia - ?mistake? Conventions of performance- The City Dionysia - religious festival Dionysus Late March/early April, 4-5 days Procession of phalli, military tribute, sacrifice 18000 in attendance (largest public gathering) Publicly funded, subsidized tickets Contest among playwrights (didaskalos) 3 days of tragic contest, 1 day of comic 3 tragedies + satyr play Chorus and 1-3 actors (all male) Song, dance, mask choregos - wealthy citizen Prominent military presence Ephebes - war orphans Chorus of young men viewed as athletes Militaristic choral dance Subject and form bound up in agon - ?debate/contest? Elizabethan Outdoor Theatre(Globe) Private, in-town theatres Small, Indoors Elite Expensive - up to 26 pennies Open to censorship Public, out-of-town theatres - Bankside Large, Open-air Cheap - 1-5 pennies ?Lowbrow? Nearby activities in the district: gambling, bear baiting, drinking, prostitutes Courtly masques and command performances For profit enterprise Continuous operation No religious dimension Competition for dollars rather than prizes Shares system for company members Patronage of upper-class citizens Conventions of acting: No women onstage - boy actors Little scenery Lush costuming reflecting status, identity Select props Challenges for actors Multiple plays in repertory New plays every couple weeks Learning through ?rolls? Open air amphitheatre 3 tiers of seating Raised rectangular stage Decorated pillars and ?heavens? Upstage doors Standing room for 1000 ?groundlings? Tiered covered seating for other patrons Decorated pillars and ?heavens? Upper seats more expensive ?Machine room? supported by decorated pillars Audience ?up close? Simple/limited scenery Economy Thrust stage Fast transitions, constant movement (sight lines) Trap doors Balcony Crane to enable ?flight? Fireworks, sounds, and other special effects Borrowed plots Othello comes from a story by an Italian novelist Five-act structure ?PASTO? plot Problem is presented Characters Develop Plan of Attack Struggle Turning Point Outcome Blank verse - Iambic Pentameter - 10 syllables, unstressed/stressed pairs Note breaks in the verse Queen Elizabeth I 1558-1603 Raised English profile Military strength King James I 1603 -1625 Absolutism Financial woes Disrespect of parliament Plots against the throne Venice as paradoxical utopia Site of the Renaissance Connected with East and West Beautiful and strange (physically and metaphorically) Catholic but progressive, righteous but lascivious Meritocracy, viewed as a political utopia Relationship to outsiders Fascination with and repulsion from the ?exotic? Ambivalent attitude toward slavery and empire Great Chain of Being Hierarchy of creatures, from God to Man to Stones Justification for monarchy and empire Religious turmoil Emerging science and rationality Francis Bacon & the Scientific Method Galileo & cosmology Modern Proscenium stage
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