Edward Albees play Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Edward Albees play Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a drama exploring the anxieties of modern life. By personalizing aspects of the epic Albee has inverted many of its features to create satire. This internalization pits individuals against each other and themselves. M. H. Abramss definition of epic, in his book A Glossary of Literary Terms, is used comparatively to demonstrate how Albee achieves satire. Abramss first definition of epic is the closest to which Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? adhere- it is about a serious subject.

The seriousness of the play is developed through its language, which is not elevated or formal as in a traditional epic, rather, it is crude and intoxicated. When Nick and Honey arrive at George and Marthas place they are sober and speak formally. Any hesitation they have comes from the unusual situation they find themselves in. As they drink, Nick and Honeys involvement in the conversation becomes more fluid and the remarks become more poignant. This, in turn, increases the intensity of the insults between George and Martha.

For them prodding is a game of one-upmanship with words their only weapon. As the play progresses the implications of this become increasingly serious. In an epic, Abrams explains that the fate of a tribe, a nation, or the human race lies in the out come of the heros battle. The battle between George and Martha only affects their relationship and on this night spills into the lives of Nick and Honey. Drunkenness exaggerates their actions, so that the extremes of the situation are explored. This allows the reader to experience feelings which may be outside their own experience.

George and Martha continually try to gain the upper hand in the relationship by degrading each other. This degradation is an fact a type of self loathing. For George it seems particularly acute. He can not come to terms with his past both because he is not able rid himself of it and Marthas insistence on making it public – on her own terms. George wants to talk (or write) about his past and in so doing, let it go. This type of vulnerability is unheard of in a traditional hero, yet in this play is the basis of each character’s actions.

Abrams writes that the epic is centered around a heroic or quasi-divine figure. Albee has created an anthesis; George and Martha are pathetic characters. There is nothing heroic, and certainly nothing divine about them. All of their regret and unfulfilment come to the fore on this drunken night. George is bitter about not progressing within the college and Martha is unfulfilled with the life and status she has.

Why, then, are they important characters when they are not, as in an epic, figures of great national or even cosmic importance. 4) In their degraded state, contemporary readers are able to sympathize with them in a more direct way then a traditional hero. Broader issues of state and humanity are often felt to be outside of their control. Motivation such as sacrifice for a greater good, which leads a traditional epic hero to action, would be unthinkable to George and Martha. The issue then is how an individual makes it through life. Because George and Martha are no more or less heroic then anyone else their struggles are common to all.

Unlike the sweeping grandeur on the epic, the setting of Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is modest. It is ironic that in a quiet, conservative New England college town the uncontainable and relentless attacks between George and Martha occur. This juxtaposition removes outside influences which might be considered as a reason for their actions. Albee further reduces the scope of the play by creating a very late evening within a single room which progresses in real time. This, again, reinforces the narrow focus of the play and heightens its tension.

By the end of the play the satire has given way to tragedy. While each of the four characters has some despicable characteristic, scorn turns to sympathy as George and Martha realize that all they have in the the world, despite the misgivings, are each other. Morning over the loss of an imaginary child cuts through the ranting and raving to reveal unity and caring between Martha and George. Unlike the traditional epic this interior drama is able to communicate a more contemporary set of feelings which relate to modern life.

Two Gentleman of Verona

Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by Mr. Wolfe, depicted an excellent plot through strong acting and characterization. In addition it possessed humor that perfectly affixed into the era of the sixties. The play was transformed from it’s original time era and placed in the sixties. The main plot outline surrounds two gentleman from Verona who were best friends. These two best friends named Valentine and Proteus were played by Geoffrey Kidwell, and Noah Silverman. The story really begins when Valentine leaves Verona. He is then banished from the next city he enters, Milan.

During his time spent in Milan Valentine falls in love with a young women, Sylvia, played by Katie Moran. However he is torn away from her when he is banished. Then Proteus, his best friend, betrays him. Proteus persues Sylvia, although he already has a fiance, Julia, played by Stephanie Nealy. Proteus experiences true loneliness when he is rejected by Sylvia and dumped by fiance. Julia rides off with Speed, a servant/messenger of Valentine, played by Ronald Del Castillo. Thus the moral and theme of the story surrounds the idea of friendship and betrayal.

Ronald Del Castillo, Speed, had very good vocal choices. He played a messenger/servant who was always on the run. Speed used a bicycle or rolerblades, to give the effect of constant movement. Thus, he rapidly talked like he acted, to demonstrate his sense of chaos and lack of control. His physical and vocal choices showed he was a messenger or servant and was always on the move needing to be somewhere. His choices definitely were very effective. The next character had some opposite and alike characteristics but also effectively fulfilled his character.

Thomas Odell, who played Launce, was Proteus’s servant. His character was somewhat quaint, but was very funny. He had a lot of curved physical choices, like his walk. He always had a sense of bewilderment on his face. He was always walking around, almost as if he was lost, and tangled up with his leash from his dog. His vocal and physical choices completely fulfilled his character in showing he was a bewildered and chaotic servant. The first costume that was very effective was worn by Katie Moran, Sylvia. It was almost as though she was a Marilyn Monroe look a like.

Her costume consisted of a blonde wig on and a brightly colored dress. The dress she wore was a red shiny dress. This dress make her look sexy in order to draw attention to her. When she came on stage she caught your eye. Her dress didn’t really have a time and setting effect but, it was very important. It made her a very important character and a wanted character by everyone in the play. This, is the reason that Valentine and Proteus fell in love with her. The Director’s concept of this costume was to make this character very significant and it was efficiently achieved by giving her a bright costume.

The next costume was that of Thomas Odell, ho played Launce, a servant of Proteus. His costume was like Sylvia’s. It had bright colors but they were peculiar. His costume consisted of purple, orange and yellow colors. He wore unique shirts and a Hawaiian looking shirt. He also wore a straw hat and his nose was covered with zinc. This costume was almost portraying him as a tourist. I don’t know if that was the Mr. Wolfe was trying to get across or if he was showing us that this character was a uncanny and unusual character that didn’t really know were he was going. In addition to his costume he had a dog.

The dog symbolized confusion and chaos by creating more cluster because he kept on getting tangled in the leash while trying to carry the briefcases. His costume made it seem like it was always daytime. Mr. Wolfe’s concept definitely was qualified for the character and gave it a funny twist. The first setting begins at the beach. That is where the play starts showing with many people on the beach having a good time. the scene props consisted of towels, beach chairs and a life guard station. The towels were green, yellow and purple along with matching bathing suits.

Everything was awkward, similar to the sixties. This setting took up the whole stage. The beach was mostly used during the daytime and you could tell by the sun would be up and everything would be bright. When the beach was used there were many funny parts. Although, there were some serious talks on the beach and you could tell because the lights would dim and it would seem as though it was night time. The next setting is at the Palace Studios in Milan. The studio’s busy clustering took up the whole stage. There were many colors along with actions occurring at all times.

Although there ere no real backdrop you could tell the setting was a studio by the people and their actions. In addition there was a producer looking off stage directing a play. Everything was extremely busy and you could tell it was the happening place to be. This setting was definitely used during the day but then again it was inside so you could not exactly tell what time of day it was. Mr. Wolfe’s concept of the studio was very life-like and you could certainly tell it was a studio. It was exceptionally well planned out. At two particular points in the play one being where the outlaws, played by John

Dzunda, Nick Fahey, and Jeremy Abbott and the other part in the play with Lorelei Larson, Antoinette, and Justin Vasquez her chauffeur and lover. The first scene is very colorful. There is a colorful background where the three outlaws pop out from the top of the background setting and then later come to the ground to capture Valentine. The background was very colorful and the three made a surprising entrance in the up right of the stage. Thus, signifying there was going to be a conflict. Which there was. The scene is very intense but then changes to laughter.

The three outlaws weakly try to capture Valentine with a gun but then ask him to be their leader. This scene was in the forest in the middle of the day. Mr. Wolfe was showing us through this scene that these three guys were a bunch of “jerks” and didn’t now what they were doing. They were poor robbers and now that this smart man who was better than them came along, they wanted him for their leader. The next scene is in Antoinette’s house. The house is very colorful. The room has a lot of yellow in it and “blow up” furniture. This scene is played in down left and is very intense.

It is a hidden love scene. The two characters are off and on kissing while people keep interrupting them during the mid day or early night scene. The first important stage picture from the play was near the end when Valentine and Sylvia are in the center of the stage, signifying complete control or calmness, where they both confess thy love for each other. Valentine is standing 1/4 right and Sylvia is facing 1/4 left, they both are looking at each other but at the audience too. The next stage picture is when Julia is talking to Lucetta, her best friend, on the beach at night.

Everybody has left the beach and their the only ones left. They are discussing the matter of whether or not Julia should love Proteus. By the end, she chooses to love him. In this scene they are down right, which signifies happy, intimate and romantic.. Which in essence is what they are talking about: love and romance. The two are sitting full front. In these scenes the actors positioning is very important, just like it is in every scene. The positioning tells more about the actor’s character by it tells us what mood and situation he’s in. The actor’s stage composition equals the audience picturization.

For instance, usually, down right is romantic positioning, down center is confrontational, down left is argumentative, up right is heavenly figure’s or angels, up center is royalty and up left is where surprise entries occur. If the characters move: diagonal it’s usually action oriented, straight it’s forceful or curved it’s relaxed. When you combine these and everything is perfect you can usually get a stage picture. Then the stage picture should evoke a lot of feeling and bring forth the theme of the play. It brings the theme up by the characters and their positioning are signifying an underling reason.

Not just the obvious but an actual theme. The picture should make you think and want to learn more. Although by the positioning you should be able to tell what is happening in that scene. When combined, the director creates a totally different world on stage. The audience is watching and they are not concerned with anything else. Everything in the play should be flowing perfectly and the audience should be taken captive by the actors/actresses. That is when you know you have a good play. In conclusion, Mr. Wolfe’s production of The Two Gentleman of Verona, was extremely well don.

Not only did the costumes, setting, characters, acting, lighting and direction, actively portray the play but they contributed into making it more lively and interesting. The choices of these facts had a positive impact on the production. The show possessed humor, direction, and creativity, three factors essential in putting on a great performance. I personally enjoyed the modern rewrite of the play and favored the bright colors of the costume, settings and character development. Overall I feel that this play had an excellent performance and demonstrated an important moral in life!

Light and Darkness Found in Antigone and the Gospel of John

As a child, my world was enraptured by the wonderful Fisher-Price toy known as the Lite-Brite. By inserting multicolored little pegs into their corresponding slots on a detailed guide, I could transform drab, dull, and dark pieces of paper into wondrous works of brilliant art. The light that filled and transformed the plastic pegs closely parallel concepts of light and darkness found within the Gospel of John and in Sophocles’ drama Antigone. The Gospel of John focuses on the profound meaning of the life of Jesus, whom he saw as the manifestation of God’s Word (logos).

Teiresias, of Sophocles’ play Antigone, is blind prophet whose lack of vision does not prevent him from recognizing the truth. The words of John and the characterization of Sophocles, although similar in many aspects, differ in the extent to which their concepts of light and darkness affect humanity. Sophocles’ light, in the form of Teiresias, allows truth to permeate throughout one’s lifetime. John’s light, as the manifesta tion ofthe logos, presents truth and enlightenment to humanity, but also ensures a glorified and joyous afterlife through Christ’s salvation.

Teiresias, the voice of fate and harbinger of truth in Sophocles’ play Antigone, humbly enters the drama by addressing the malevolent Creon and stating that he “must walk by another’s steps and see with another’s eyes” (Antigone, 102). The wise prophet was metaphorically declaring that he delivered the message of a higher truth. This truth existed as Natural Law. Teiresias advised his monarch to choose a different course in life. His divine vision more than compensated for his lack of physical sight, for it allowed him to walk on a wise and virtuous path.

The sage shared the knowledge and truth that he perceived with others who were too caught up in conventional matters to realize the xistence of a higher purpose. Teiresias allowed those who stood “on fate’s thin edge” (Antigone, 102) to walk safely to a plateau of illumination. The blind prophet combated pride, arrogance, and ignorance to deliver his message of enlightenment. John’s message of the illumination and enlightenment provided by Christ is very similar to Sophocles’ Teiresias. John explained that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

The Word or Logos that John is referring to manifested itself on earth in the form of Jesus Christ. The prophet states that Jesus is “the light [that] shines in he darkness, and the darkness has not overcome [him]” (John 1:5). According to John, Jesus had redefined the Jewish covenant with God and allowed all people realize the truth. By following the examples of Christ, one can see actions and faith define a virtuous life, not actions-in-themselves. Jesus carried with him the divine message of God and shared his words with everyone.

All people, from the despised prostitute to the aged blind man experienced a fraction of God’s glory through interaction with Christ. Like Teiresias, Jesus allows people to depart from the sinful path of worldly consumption to tread upon a ore virtuous path. Jesus allowed people to walk within the footsteps of the Lord. Light and darkness both play integral parts in the Gospel of John and in Sophocles’ play Antigone. In both literary works, a person serves as a divine tool who delivers the message of a higher purpose to the ignorant masses engulfed by darkness.

Although the purposes of these messengers are similar, a vast difference exists between them. Teiresias offered and gave advice to individuals to allow them to live a virtuous life while on earth. The Gospel of John illustrates that Jesus came to earth to bring more than enlightenment. Jesus came to bring salvation to the masses. In Sophocles’ Antigone, Teiresias states that “honest counsel is the most priceless gift” (Antigone, 103). John disagrees with the words of the worldly sage, for with Jesus it is shown that human actions pale in comparison to the acts of God.

Jesus condemns the judgements of men in saying “You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me” (John 8:15-16). Although the judgments of Teiresias may appear to be wise and virtuous, they seem dull and corrupt when compared ith the holy radiance of God. To John, the most priceless present is that which God lovingly gave. To John, the greatest gift to humanity was Jesus Christ who shared his holy message to not only individuals but to the entire world.

Jesus proclaimed that “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The Gospel of John and Sophocles’ Teiresias in his drama Antigone shared many common concepts regarding light and darkness. Both emphasized that the truth and enlightenment could not be found with worldly means. Teiresias, the lind prophet, and Jesus Christ, the humble Messiah, shared the message of a higher existence with people who had not yet experienced the light.

A difference exists in the fact that while Teiresias attempted to follow the path of virtuosity, the limits of his human mind and actions could not provide salvation for the ignorant masses. Jesus carried with him a divine purpose that not only enlightened but saved. Christ did not solely emphasize on the physical existence, but also explained matters belonging to the realm of the divine. Teiresias’s message made profound changes in the lives of individuals. Jesus’s message broke through the barriers of ethnocentricity and engulfed the entire world in its light.

In the ways that the Gospel of John and Sophocles’ play Antigone are similar, they are also different. The very path to righteousness that makes the two literary works comparable makes them different. While both allow people to embark on the path of light, only the Gospel of John carries the secret to eternal salvation. In a way similar to a child playing with a Lite- Brite, the Gospel of John and Sophocles’ character Teiresias allow rainbows of light to exist in a world devoid of color.

While both allow the existence of a form of the truth, it is only the Gospel of John that provides a detailed guide that will allow a person to find order in their truth. Through such truth and enlightenment, an abstract world of chaos and ignorance can be engulfed by a world full of order and wisdom. Realms of beauty and glory can manifest themselves to individuals who accept the truth and the essence of light as a message from a higher existence. Great joy and pleasure shall come to the child who can find beauty and order in a bleak world full of ignorance and emptiness.

The Iceman Cometh

Denial is the refusal to admit the truth. It is the refusal to accept or acknowledge the reality or validity of a thing or idea. Many characters in The Iceman Cometh suffer from denial and false hope. O’Neill places these characters in the appropriate setting in which they are able to fantasize about their dreams. Amidst the drunken and misguided characters, O’Neill presents a few that the reader builds hope and sympathy for. Each character uses a pipe dream in order to be able to become blind to their downfalls and to reality.

In the bar setting, characters in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh portray the theme of denial by embracing pipe dreams. Harry Hope is the elderly owner of a saloon and rooming house. The narrow five-story structure presents the ideal setting for self-destruction. The characters come here in order to “drink away their problems” (O’Neill 597). All of the characters in the novel come to Harry Hope’s bar as an escape. They manage somehow to “remain drunk and delude themselves”(Gagey 332), “with a few harmless pipe dreams about their yesterdays and tomorrows” (O’Neill 620).

They feel sheltered and protected from the real world while in the bar. They do not have to face reality here. “The dreamers have come to Hope’s because, ostensibly, they are failures in the outside world. What lies outside is a world without value, a hostile society to which no man can possibly belong, and from which they must take refuge” (Bogard 54). The characters deny the fact that there is a real world out there, in where they may succeed. They are much more content taking refuge in the bar, where they do not have to strive for or work at anything.

They can just wallow in their sorrows and drink them all away. Each character has a separate pipe dream to face. The pipe dream allows the character to live in a state of denial. It is a false belief or a false hope that the character holds on to. This is in order to blind them of reality. By embracing a pipe dream, the characters feel they do not have to face the bitter reality that confronts them. The pipe dreams make life tolerable for the time being (55). Rocky, the bartender at Hope’s bar, denies the fact that he is a pimp. Because he is a bartender, he believes he cannot be a pimp.

He blatantly disregards the fact that he takes money from two prostitutes and protects them as well. He says to one of the prostitutes, “‘What would you do if I wasn’t around? Give it all to some pimp'” (O’Neill 603). The sad fact that O’Neill presents is that Rocky truly believes that he is not a pimp. He has fooled nobody but himself, and doesn’t even realize it. He also holds a pipe dream of being able to open a bar of his own someday. Margie and Pearl, the two prostitutes, have pipe dreams of one day getting married. They are also living in a state of denial.

Margie says, “‘Anyway, we wouldn’t keep no pimp, like we was reg’lar old whores. We ain’t dat bad'” (603). “These characters live their life through blind eyes” (Orr 90). They refuse to see who and what they really are (91). These three characters deny who they are and refuse to accept it. Although they all have good qualities, they do not acknowledge their imperfections and overlook their unhealthy lifestyles. Ed Mosher, Harry Hope’s brother-in-law, was once a circus man. Pat McGloin was once a police officer. Piet Wetjoen was once the leader of a Boer commando.

Cecil Lewis was once the Captain of the British infantry. James Cameron was a Boer War correspondent. Willie Oban is a Harvard Law School alumnus. Joe Mott was once the proprietor for a Negro gambling house. Although these characters seem to be permanent fixations at Harry Hope’s bar, they refuse to acknowledge that fact. They all retain the pipe dream of shortly returning to their previous jobs. Joe Mott says, “‘I’ll make my stake and get a new gamblin’ house open before you boys leave'” (O’Neill 600). All of these characters see a very bright future up ahead for them.

They are all fooling themselves because their pipe dreams will never be realized. Their pipe dreams are just those, pipe dreams. “The key word is ‘pipe dream. ‘ It occurs a myriad of times during the course of the play from the mouth of almost every figure even when, as is usually the case, its existence is being vehemently denied” (Orr 89). Larry Slade is just waiting to die. This is his pipe dream, although he may not realize it. He thinks he has everything figured out.

He knows he will never amount to anything, and does not want to try. Rocky says, “‘S’pose you don’t fall for no pipe dream? Larry replies, “‘I don’t, no. Mine are all dead and buried behind me. What’s before me is the comforting fact that death is a fine long sleep, and I’m damned tired, and it can’t come too soon for me'” (O’Neill 591). Larry has nothing to look forward to. Death is Larry Slade’s pipe dream. “The alternative to the alcoholic pipe dream, the residue of the ideal as O’Neill conceives it, is death” (Orr 91). Larry, along with all the other drunkards, is waiting for Hickey to show up. Hickey rolls around about twice a year and indulges the drunkards by buying them free drinks.

The arrival of Hickey is awaited with great eagerness, not only because he has the money to buy round after round of drinks, but because he has the knack of encouraging a drunken camaraderie that the inmates of the saloon are too demoralised to generate of their own accord” (89). His arrival is highly anticipated by all of the characters, as it brings joy, spontaneity, and free alcohol. When Hickey finally arrives, he brings with him an unexpected attitude. All of the roomers are expecting free drinks upon Hickey’s arrival, but are disappointed. They are surprised to see that Hickey is a changed man. He has given up alcohol.

The reform of his character, announced soon after his arrival, comes as a complete shock to them and suggests an imminent confrontation. The hard-drinking narrator of dirty jokes appears to have turned into a moral crusader exhorting them to give up their alcoholic ways and make the effort to return to their former more productive lives” (89). When offered a shot of whiskey, he only drinks the chaser. He also discourages the others to drink. This new attitude stuns the roomers. Hickey walks into the saloon with a mission to challenge every single one of the roomers to face and crush their pipe dreams.

This brings about many arguments and fights. This is something the roomers do not expect to have to deal with and do not want to deal with. Hickey begins with Harry Hope. Since the death of his wife, Harry Hope has taken refuge in his bar. He has never left in twenty years. Hope constantly talks about his pipe dream of taking a walk and being able to leave his bar. He believes that if he would walk in public, people everywhere would recognize him because of his previous popularity in the community. The truth, though, is that Hope is terribly frightened about taking a walk and about having to go outside.

When trying to offer others an explanation to why he has been unable to succeed, Hope would provide an exaggerated story of almost being run over. Hope’s problem with denial lies in the fact that he believes he is somewhat famous. Hope says, “When I’d wave my hand, people everywhere would run to say hello to me” (O’Neill 614). He does not acknowledge the fact that he has rarely left the bar in twenty years. He still expects to be highly recognized by all of the townspeople. Hope’s true fear is not of passing cars, it is of having to face the reality that he is not as popular as he thinks, because of the alcoholic he has turned into.

Hope blinds himself from the truth” (Orr 88). The reader is delighted when informed of Hickey’s new attitude. He seems to have everyone’s best interests in mind. He is presented as the hero of the story who will “make everything better. ” Then, the reader comes to the realization that Hickey does not truly have everyone’s best intentions in mind. “Beneath Hickey’s evangelism is a hidden dimension which makes it apparent that the crusade is part of a strategy, at best a ruse to help reveal to the inmates a more fundamental aspect of their existence.

For Hickey expects each of them in turn to fail to come to terms with the outside world, and to return one by one to the backroom bar, dejected and defeated. It then becomes clear that Hickey is not the reformed salesman of the American Dream but something more sinister. The prophet of the ideology of individual self-help and success emerges as the very opposite, a harbinger of destruction who by his action unmasks the very ideology to which he appears to bear allegiance” (89). Hickey wants to crush their pipe dreams of a better tomorrow because he himself has already been forced to do so.

Hickey wants the roomers to make an effort to get over their pipe dreams only to allow them to see how difficult it really is. Hickey says to the roomers, “‘I know you’ll become such a coward you’ll grab at any excuse to get out of killing your pipe dreams. And yet, as I’ve told you over and over, it’s exactly those same damned tomorrow dreams which keep you from making peace with yourself. So you’ve got to kill them like I did mine'” (O’Neill 635). Hickey wants to rip off their masks and free them of the torture of hope (Bogard 57).

At the climax of the play, the reader is startled to find that Hickey’s new attitude has been brought about because of a death. Hickey killed his wife, Evelyn. He reveals the story of their marriage. Evelyn always forgave Hickey in spite of his frequent moral lapses. She deluded herself into thinking that every lapse was the last and Hickey would reform. This was her pipe dream. She chose to deny the fact that Hickey would never change. According to Hickey, the only way he could give Evelyn the peace she always wanted and to free her from her pipe dream of reformation was to kill her (Gagey 332).

He insists he committed the murder with love, not hate, in his heart. But suddenly, in the course of his recital, Hickey comes to the unexpected realization that he too has been deluding himself, that he really killed Evelyn because he hated her” (332). When Hickey realizes this, it becomes too much for him. Instead of facing the issue, Hickey denies he would have really killed his wife out of hate. He therefore excuses himself as being insane. Hickey says, “‘I was out of my mind. Evelyn was the only thing on God’s Earth I ever loved! I’d have killed myself before I’d ever have hurt her'” (O’Neill 640).

Hickey denies he killed his wife out of hate. In conclusion, in the bar setting, characters in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh portray the theme of denial by embracing pipe dreams. Each of the characters in the play had a pipe dream to face. “The pipe dreams of O’Neill’s characters have the same function: they make life tolerable while the dreamers wait for Hickey or Death” (Bogard 55). The characters use pipe dreams in order to be able to become blind to their weaknesses and downfalls. They deny and refuse to acknowledge the grim reality that surrounds them. They are more content by drinking their sorrows away in Harry Hope’s bar.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile – Dramatic Criticism

From the time you enter the Falk Theatre, until the curtain rises and falls on the Stageworks productions of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, you are in for a treat. The play is an original work by Steve Martin with a running time of 90minutes, which feels more like 30minutes. Aside from the uncomfortable seating, this production is nothing short of wonderful. The Theatre has been transformed from a long movie Theater atmosphere to a quaint surrounding by means of risers that are placed directly on the stage.

The new seating divides the old Theater in half and allows for the actors and the audience to share the same space. Not only this atmosphere that makes it wonderful but also the performances, the direction, the design and the script. Set in France in 1904, the stage is a French bar called the Lapin Agile, with the action of the plot involving the characters who come into the bar and their relationship to time as well as each other. The script is an abstract look at the chance meeting of historical figures and the role these meetings will have on the future.

Perhaps one of the most attractive aspects of the script is its ability to ask the same questions of the audience that it does from one character to another. For example, the owner of the Lapin Agile, Freddy attempts to stump Albert Einstein with a mathematical problem that the audience couldnt have enough time to equate. This style of fast paced dialogue and action fills the entire script from the opening line, adding humor and wit which is only emphasized by the close attention to details.

In the set design, we first see the use of layering, with a large cyclorama that has been painted onto a piece of scrim to allow for a visual effect at the end of the play. The painting depicts a beautiful scene of sheep in a meadow in the fog, with a wall to epresent the interior of the Lapin Agile containing a painting of sheep in a meadow in the fog. On each side of this backdrop are doors: the entrance to the bar and the other the to the bathroom.

The emphasis on details can be noticed in the set with the signs that are posted on either side of the bathroom door, which swings freely when pushed. The door has a board on it the says OUI and when it is flung in the opposite direction it too says OUI a creative and pun intended wee wee. This is a subtlety in the stage design that brings the humor away from the actual text and into an unusual place, the set. Little things like these accentuate my appreciation of the production as a whole.

The lighting is also something that was exceptionally well done. The designers used a large amount of light with soft yellow and orange tones to give an overall feeling of warmth to the setting. The day moves from morning to night with the most drastic change at nightfall where the tones switch to blues and the star light shine across the cyclorama. It is perhaps the blocking from the director and the skills of the actors though that makes this performance so wonderful.

The technique of layering was used by both in how the actors are spaced throughout to allow for the focus to transfer effortlessly while maintaining a certain depth on stage. While some characters tend to dominate different sections of the script, it was the layering of the overall ensemble that gave strength to this performance. Another strength was the actors ability to relate to the current audience and find humor based on that. Each actor entered with enormous amounts of energy, making me feel as though this was opening night as opposed to closing night.

Every aspect of this production, from the blocking and the talent of the actors to the set design and the lightning, made it evident how much hard work and dedication went into this performance. Aside from the biographies in the program it was hard to differentiate between those actors who had previous stage experience and those who did not. No actor seemed to demand any extra attention while on stage and each worked effortlessly to portray a powerful stage presence. This production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile was very well done and all of those who were involved should be congratulated for making the show a success.

Apparent Feminisms in the Play Trifles

Male domination in 1916, when Susan Glaspells play Trifles was written, was the way of life. Men controlled most women and women were not very outspoken during that time period. Mr. Wright in her play was no different from the rest, but she made him a symbol of all the men in the community. The play opens at the scene of the crime. The first three characters who enter the room are the three men involved in the investigation of the murder at hand. The purpose of their visit is to find evidence of motivation of murder, but the women who they leave downstairs find the very evidence that they are looking for.

The men presume the women to be harmless for a couple of reasons one being: the women are left in the kitchen where, according to the Sheriff, there are nothing but kitchen things(1174). His comment was in response to the County Attorneys question about the Sheriff being convinced that there was nothing important in the kitchen nothing that would point to any motive (1174). The concerns of the women are considered little or silly and insignificant and this is the most important reason for the mens comments about them.

The Sheriff laughs when the women express that maybe the frozen preserves have some meaning (1174). Mr. Hale, who is the husband of one of the women, comments women are used to worrying over trifles (1174). They figure the women are not dangerous because they are in a room where there could not possibly be any evidence, but also because they believe that the womens minds are so limited to trifles that they are not a threat to the investigation. The men feel that the women cannot think, cannot act, and cannot do any harm to their investigative work.

However, the women find lots of evidence in that room. They do think, act, and sabotage the investigation. They find the very evidence that the men are looking for. In most stories of this nature the men are the center of attention, but Glaspell opens our eyes to something new. Not only do the men not solve the case, but they also arent the center of attention. Even though the men were not using lots of demeaning dialogue and they are not patronizing the women, it is clear that they are using the traditional manly ways to put the women down.

Men say that they are superior to women and that they can do everything by themselves, but why is it that the County Attorneys biggest dilemma is that he cannot figure this case out by himself yet the women can? The mens lack of knowledge, the failure to solve the case, and the mens insignificance in the play speak for themselves. This is a reversal of the characterizations of the women of that time period. Glaspell was successful in showing us this by letting the audience see everything from a womans point of view. Not only were the men superficial feminists, they were simply trifles.

“Medea” by Euripides: Jason and Medea

In Medea, by Euripides, the two main characters Jason and Medea are forced to leave Lolkos and have taken refuge in Corinth. Jason has the possibility of establishing a position of standing in the community by marrying King Creons daughter. Medea is enraged by Jasons betrayal of her and their two children and she vows to stop the marriage and exact revenge. In the play, Medea and Jason are set up as foils. Medea is completely dependent on the dominance of passion over reason. She is depicted as conniving, brilliant and powerful. In contrast, Jason is portrayed as a a character of little feeling; he is passionless, obtuse, witless, and weak.

Medea first enters the play and greets the women of the chorus. The chorus has just witnessed her wild lamentations, where she prayed for death and threatened to avenge herself on Jason and his new wife. Medea proceeds to tell the chorus about Jasons betrayal and her own humiliation. She explains how heartbroken she is and the difficulties of being exiled in a city were she knows no one. She has no family or friends in Corinth and has been completely dependent on Jason. She laments the gloomy despair into which she has fallen.

During this exchange she reveals to the chorus that she intends to devise a plan to break up the marriage and seek revenge against Jason. She explains that while most women would not stand up to for themselves, she will not remain defenseless: but, when once she is wronged in the matter of love, No other soul can hold so many thoughts of blood. In this scene Medea is not speaking calmly or reasonably. She is undoubtable distraught, and her thoughts and actions are being controlled by her hatred. The emotionally irrational elements of Medeas character are exhibited through her inability to control her passion , consequently leading her to vengeance.

Later in the play Jason does the reasonable thing and tries to reconcile the problems with Medea. He is obviously not aware that he has done anything wrong. He feels he has merely done what any man in his place would do. Through his marriage to the princess he is now the the heir to the throne of Corinth, which is ultimately something that will benefit Medea and her children. He wants to regain status for his family and give his children to opportunity to have royal lineage. Jasons plan is to achieve a better life for himself and bring his children out of poverty. All of this would eventually benefit Medea, and he does not understand why Medea can not see things his way.

His contention is that his plan would have worked out perfectly if Medea had only acted sensibly. He blames her for crying out for justice and for making threats against the royal family. If she had not threatened Creon and his daughter, Medea would not be facing exile. Because of Medeas threats, Creons animosity spreads to the children and he insists that they all be sent away. Through their entire conversation Jason does not permit himself to be controlled by passion.

He keeps his head clear and simply lays down the facts. It is not like him to let his feeling free play like Medea does. He is there to offer her money and a tell her about her place of exile. He explains that it will be painful to see his children go, but Medea alone is to blame for that. When she refuses his offer of money, Jason calls to the gods to to witness that he has tried to help and absolves himself of any responsibility he may have had for Medea and the boys.

Medea loses her temper completely in response to Jasons smug summary of the events: Oh coward in every way that is what I call you, with bitterness reproach for your lack of manliness….it is worst of all human disease, shamelessness. Medea reminds Jason of everything she has done for him, how she betrayed her own father and family and and followed him to Corinth. Now he has taken on a new wife and deserted their two children. She is enraged that she has given up everything for him and still it does not bother him that they have been exiled and basically condemned to a life of begging and poverty. Medea refuses to accept Jasons money saying that there is no benefit in the gifts of a bad man. Jason leaves and Medea calls after him to go to his wench.

This scene shows the absolute opposing personalities of these two characters. Throughout the entire scene Jason shows no passion, he is not there because he is big hearted.

Instead, he is there because Creon has granted her one more day in Corinth and offering her money for her exile is the appropriate thing to do. However, Medea on the other hand is consumed with rage, she is obsessed by vengeance and refuses to look at things rationally. At this point her and her children’s future is uncertain and if she is to be exiled she will need money. But Medea cannot see things this way, she is aroused into a frenzy of hatred and passion, a combination which makes her incapable of being sensible.

As the play continues on, Medea moves forward with her scheme against Jason. She talks to Aegeus and works out a plan where she is guaranteed asylum in Athens after she kills Jason and the Princess. With her future secure Medea discloses the steps of her plan. She will ask Jason to convince the princess to let the children remain in Corinth. With that, Medea will send the children to the palace with gifts. One gift a beautiful frock, embedded with poison. When the princess puts it on, the poison will eat her alive. Whoever attempts to take off the gown will themselves be killed by the acid. This will destroy the princess father as well.

Next comes the most savage part of Medeas plan. After killing the king and princess she will perpetrate the most heinous crime of all, she intended to kill her children. She admits that it will be difficult because she loves them, but it is more important to see Jason suffer. Medea will stop at nothing to ensure that Jason remains miserable until his dying day.
The chorus tries to persuade her to reconsider her plan, but Medeas responds with: So it must be. No compromise is possible.

In the scene where Medea is asking Jason to get the children pardoned we see another perfect example of the two characters opposing personalities. Medea pretends to be submissive and she begs for Jasons forgiveness. She is using her intelligence as a weapon against him. She humbles herself to him and tricks him into believing she is sincere. She plays upon his trust and feeble mindedness and use flattery to convinces him to obtain permission for the children to live in the palace at Corinth. Jason is too oblivious to even be suspicious of Medea. Medea is calculated and powerful, while Jason appears clue less and weak.

Medeas plan also reveals her passionate intensity to exact revenge. It is not enough that Jason have to deal with the death of his new wife and father, she insists that he incur the deaths of his children as well. Her passion drives her to the point of savagery, her obsession overcomes any love that she holds for her children.

The death of her children was part of her plan of vengeance that was meant to pierce Jason in the heart. But towards the end of the play Medea becomes torn between her love for her children and her hatred of Jason. She sends her children away because she cant not look at them anymore is she plans to maintain her vengeful anger. At first Medea feels she can not do this foul deed and she plans to take her children with her to Athens: Ah, what is wrong with me? Do I want to let go my enemies unhurt and be laughed at for it? I must face this thing. Oh, but what a weak women even to admit to my mind these soft arrangement. For a brief moment she cannot decide what she should do. In the end she will suppress any maternal love she has for her children and kill the two boys: I know indeed what evils I intend to do, But stronger then all my after thoughts is my fury, fury that brings upon mortals the greatest evil.

At the conclusion of the play Medeas plan finally comes to fruition. Both the princess and the king die from the poisonous garments. Jason rushes to Medea in attempt to save the children from royal vengeance, but he is too late. When he arrives at the house the chorus informs him of what has happened and that his children are dead at the hands of their mother. Above the roof of the house a flying chariot appears with Medea and the bodies of the two children. Jason begs Medea to let him have the bodies so he can bury and mourn to them, but she refuses. He begs her to let him kiss them one last time, but of course she will not. Jason is left weeping and groaning, while Medea rides off triumphant. She will bury her children at Heras temple on the prometory and then fly to her sanctuary in Athens.

In the final scene of the play Jason is once again cast as Medeas foil. Throughout the entire play he has been clue less as to what she is capable of. At the end Medea is portrayed in a almost mystical aura, she is victorious and powerful. She is in control of everything and she has successfully accomplished what she set out to do. The king and princess are both dead, and Jason will live out his dying days in misery. Jason remains completely powerless at the hands of Medea, all he can to is beg for his children and plead with the Gods to punish Medea: Oh God do you hear it, this persecution, these my suffering from a hateful women, this monster, murderess of children? Still what I can do that I will do: I will lament and cry upon heaven, calling the gods to bear my witness how you have killed my boys and prevent me from touching their bodies of giving them burial. Jason is portrayed as helpless against Medea.

Medea is a strong proud women, she is dominated by her passion and her refusal to submit to injustice. Despite her unrestrained emotions she remains calculated and controlling. Medea is lead by her heart and by her passion. Her husband Jason is the complete antithesis of Medea, he is her opposite and foil. Throughout the play he is depicted as passionless and weak. He uses pure logic to guide his every decision. He is void of most worthy qualities. Medea embodies strength, intelligence and passion, while Jason represents weakness and feeble mindedness.

Measure for Measure Notes

Act II, Scene 1

To no avail, Escalus pleads with an adamant Angelo to have pity on the life of Claudio. Angelo does not really consider Claudio’s crime to be something major, but he is intent on carrying out the “measure of the law” and to be strict with all offenders who break the law. As a result, he orders Claudio to be executed the next morning. Escalus is grieved over Claudio’s fate, but is helpless to stop the execution.

Elbow, a constable, enters with Froth and Pompey in custody, both guilty of immoral acts. When Escalus questions them about their crimes, they give long and ridiculous answers. Angelo, disgusted with their chatter, asks Escalus to settle the case and leaves the place. Although Escalus is dismayed by the steady decay of established social standard, he dismisses Froth and Pompey with a warning; he tells them that if they are again arrested for immoral activities, their punishment will be severe.

Notes

Angelo is adamant in enforcing the law to the letter, and, therefore, plans the execution of Claudio. When Escalus pleads for mercy for Claudio and tries to reason with him, saying that anyone, even Angelo himself could have committed the crime, Angelo argues and says, “It is one thing to be tempted, Escalus, another thing to fall.” It is ironic that later in the play Angelo is tempted and commits the same crime, proving his total hypocrisy.

Escalus serves as a foil to Angelo. Escalus is older, wiser, and merciful. On the other hand, Angelo is young and relentless. He wants to follow his orders to restore dignity to the City, and he is determined to carry out the law with great strictness, assigning punishment equally no matter the circumstances. It is obvious that he is using Claudio to set an example for all others involved in immoral activities. He plans to execute Claudio for having fathered an illegitimate child. Ironically, in the same scene, Escalus dismisses the charges against Froth and Pompey with only a warning, yet both of them are truly guilty of immoral behavior.

Elbow, Froth, and Pompey are representatives of the lower class of society in contrast to Escalus and Angelo. The entry of the three men provides comic relief to the scene. Elbow, in his mission as a serious constable, uses highbrow language, which is filled with malapropisms. Instead of saying ‘malefactors,’ he says ‘benefactors,’ and he says ‘respected’ for ‘suspected’. The scene, thus, becomes a humorous interlude, filled with bawdy comment and vulgarisms. The prisoners come across as normal human beings, with human foibles. Their language, though crude, provides entertainment and need not be taken seriously. This comic relief has been injected at the opportune moment, between Claudio’s arrest and his scheduled execution.

Act II, Scene 2

The scene opens with the Provost questioning Angelo about his decision to execute Claudio. Angelo has not wavered in his decision. The execution is still to take place the next day.
Lucio brings Isabella to Angelo’s house to beg him to spare the life of Claudio. Before he departs, the Provost, realizing why she is present, wishes Isabella good luck with Angelo.

Isabella is dramatic in her pleas before Angelo, making reference to Christian forgiveness. (Remember she is about to become a nun.). In spite of her noble efforts and lofty language-, she is not successful. Angelo professes to be a stickler for rules and refuses to oblige her requests. Angelo, however, deceitfully states that there is some sense in her arguments and asks her to visit him the next day. After Isabella and Lucio leave, Angelo indulges in a soliloquy. He reveals that he is tempted by Isabella’s beauty and feels ill at ease to have a desire that he considers a sin in others.

Notes

Isabella, the pious sister of Claudio, has been persuaded by Lucio to plead for her brother’s life. She is brought to Angelo by Lucio, but the Deputy refuses to free or forgive the prisoner. She accuses Angelo of being a tyrant and asks Angelo if he has ever been guilty of actions similar to Claudio. Angelo is unmoved by her pleas, but is tempted by her beauty. In his soliloquy at the end of the scene, he confesses his own lust, saying, “With saints does bait thy hook!” Isabella’s purity makes her even more tempting.

The scene has three important purposes. It reinforces the theme of mercy introduced in the last scene. It also brings together Isabella and Angelo for the first time. Both will play an important part in the play as the drama unfolds. Finally, it foreshadows Angelo’s later guilt in committing a crime of passion. He, however, will be treated mercifully

Act II, Scene 3

The Duke, disguised as a friar, visits the prison. He tells the provost that he has come to help the prisoner Claudio. From the provost, the “friar gathers information about Claudio’s guilt; he also learns of the planned execution. Juliet comes into the scene and tells the “friar” that Claudio and she mutually committed the crime; she also adds that she repents for it.

Notes

In this brief scene, the Duke, in disguise, faces the accused for the first time; he willingly listens to Claudio’s side of the story, which reveals that the Duke tries to deal in fairness. By revealing more of the Duke’s just nature, Shakespeare makes his later intervention in the affair more believable. The Duke’s disguise serves him well, for it easily gains him entrance to see Claudio.

Characters

Duke Vincentio

Duke Vincentio has his own ulterior motives for leaving Vienna in Angelo’s care. Aware of the decay and debauchery, which has seeped into his people, he wishes to change the system by introducing stricter laws and regulations. One wonders, however, why he didn’t do it himself, instead of giving Angelo the charges and going through so many devious means to achieve his end. The Duke himself hints that he does not want to be a tyrant; more likely, he knows he cannot, by his very nature, be one, and thus entrusts Angelo to enforce the strict interpretation of the law.

The Duke is truly a mysterious stage character who seems more absorbed in his own plots than in the welfare of his state. His disguise causes part of the mystery. During the play, he shows that he has leadership potential. He controls the thoughts and actions of Mariana, convincing her that there is no sin in her sleeping with Angelo. He also influences Isabella. By the end of the play, the Duke comes across as a resolute character who has become attentive to the feelings of others and capable of action, as demonstrate in the punishments that he mercifully dispenses.

The ultimate objective of the Duke is to test and to humanize both Angelo and Isabella. By the end of the play, he is successful on both accounts. Angelo admits his foolish misdeeds and repents. Isabella applies her Christianity to a real-life situation, forgiving Angelo, the man responsible for her brother’s death. And the Duke himself has certainly proven his own humanity.

Isabella

At the beginning of the play, Isabella, Claudio’s sister, is at a convent, training to become a nun. She is depicted as pious and pure, filled with grace and Christian virtue. She is also a beautiful woman. As a character, she inspires both criticism and praise from the literary critics. Some see her as one of Shakespeare’s most interesting and strongest female characters. In the midst of the moral decay around her, she holds firmly to her beliefs and principles, to the point of sacrificing her brother’s life to save her soul for eternity. In the end, she is seen as the symbol of mercy when she forgives Angelo, even though she believes he has put her brother to death and has propositioned her. It is no small wonder that the Duke recognizes her goodness and chooses her for his wife.

Other critics judge her as a hypocrite. She is all for saving her own soul, yet when it comes to the Duke’s proposal for Mariana, she, without any qualms, agrees to put Mariana in Angelo’s bed in her place. At the end of the play, these critics assume she will marry the Duke, quickly relinquishing her religious training and the piety that she valued so highly during most of the play. These critics also see her as non-emotional, almost icy, in her relationships to other people. They cannot believe she can so easily commit her brother to death.

In truth, upon close inspection of the play, one must judge Isabella as an emotional, almost fiery character. In Act I, Scene 4, Isabella is introduced as a novice, entering the sisterhood of St. Clare. She is obviously a very devout female. As a bright and beautiful woman from the upper classes of society, she would have much to look forward to in life. Because of her strong Christian beliefs, she is preparing to give up her potential earthly pleasures and live as a nun. During the play, she clearly defends her Christian beliefs with deep emotion. With such lofty ideals, it is not surprising that Isabella would recoil from the idea of giving her pure body in exchange for the life of a man, even if it is her brother.

As the play proceeds and as the Duke goes about weaving his plots, Isabella begins to undergo gradual changes. Although she still exemplifies purity and piety, she is beginning to interact with life and sees how she can serve her fellow man outside of the convent. At the final scene, in a picture of pure mercy, she joins Mariana in pleading for Angelo’s life, the man who has tried to seduce her. She is truly an example of Christian forgiveness.

Themes

Major Theme

The main theme of Measure for Measure is that rational rules and regulations are necessary to maintain law and order. In Angelo’s eagerness for reform, he demands “measure for measure,” which means pure justice, without mercy. His belief is in ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’ no matter the circumstances. Measure for Measure speaks about man’s action, its results, and the need for mercy, even if there is a strict legal system. Justice has to be tempered with mercy; only then can a government conduct its affairs smoothly.

Minor Theme

Hypocrites bring their own destruction. Angelo is the personification of the hypocrite in the play. He condemns Claudio to death for his immoral actions and then proceeds to try and seduce Isabella himself. In the end, he is unmasked for his hypocrisy and begs for forgiveness for his misdeeds. Because of the Duke’s mercy, Angelo is spared from the total condemnation he deserves.

Critical Appreciation of Measure for Measure

Critics have diverse views regarding the value of the play. Some consider it very good, filled with wisdom; others consider it one of Shakespeare’s weakest plays, filled with unexciting characters. It is important to remember that Measure for Measure is an old story told over again. Shakespeare refashions the original tale, largely known by Elizabethan audiences, with a higher motive. The moral theme, which has traces of the old Morality plays, gives it a peculiar ethical interest.

It carefully develops the theme of the need to temper justice with mercy. The entire play is meticulously constructed, and most characters illustrate certain human qualities, which have been chosen with careful references to the main theme. Thus, Isabella stands for saintly purity; Angelo stands for self- righteousness; the Duke represents a psychologically sound and enlightened ethic; Lucio represents indecent wit; and Pompey and Mistress Overdone symbolize professional immorality. Each character, therefore, illumines some facet of man’s morality or immorality; and the play strives to define what is moral and just.

The entire atmosphere of the play is one of religious and critical morality. In the beginning of the play, Isabella is a novice at St. Clare. The Duke disguises himself as a Friar, exercising the divine privileges of this office towards Juliet, Barnardine, Claudio, and Pompey. In fact, the Central idea of Measure for Measure can easily be stated in Christian terms: “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Since Angelo is not a conscious hypocrite, it is easier to forgive even him. Self-deception and pride drive him. When desire for Isabella overcomes him, Angelo even struggles against it and prays to heaven. Since he is weak, the struggle is short-lived; Angelo soon gives in to his desires and becomes an utter scoundrel.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night: Play by Eugene ONeill

In the play Long Days Journey Into Night by Eugene ONeill, the Tyrone family is haunted not by what is present in flesh facing them, but by memories and constant reminders of what has been the downfall of the family for years. ” No it can never be now. But it was once, before you-” (72) [James Tyrone referring to the Morphine addiction of his wife, Mary, which attributed to the undoing of the family]. Their trials and tribulations are well documented by ONeill through the proficient utilization of theme, characterization, plot, setting, and style.

Throughout the play, ONeills theme is one of a disclosure into the life of a seemingly normal family on the outside yet convoluted with bitterness on the inside. It portrays the actions of a dysfunctional family and brings us on a reflective journey from when the fledgling family had started, devoted to one another with high hopes for the future, to what it is today, a family engulfed in turmoil. “Who would have thought Jamie would grow up to disgrace usIts such a pityYou brought him up to be a boozer.” (110) In this excerpt from Marys conversation with James regarding their son, it is obvious that their life had taken a 180-degree turn from when their offspring were mere children with promise.

Characterization throughout the play helps us not only to understand the characters actions but also to see into the soul of each and to comprehend their thoughts and emotions, essentially assessing the motives for their actions. Early in the play, Mary is perceived to be a common, traditional housewife “She is dressed simplyshe has the simple, unaffected charm of a shy covenant-girl youthfulness she has never lost-an innate worldly innocence.” (13) Yet as the play progresses, she is portrayed in a different light. “I hope, sometime, without meaning it, I will take an overdose. I never could do it deliberately. The Blessed Virgin could never forgive me, then.” (121) It is apparent in this muttering by Mary to herself that her addiction has seized control over her and that she no longer can bear the pain.

James Tyrone is faced with many a problem. Through this tough time he is faced with personal, family, and financial conflicts, thus attributing to the plot. Besides having to deal with his wifes addiction, his sons ill health and drinking problems, and his financial decisions, (which have proven to be for the worse), James struggles with a personal conflict throughout the play. He believes that he may be the cause of some of the family problems and that he has dealt with them in an improper manner. “So Im to blame!” (39)

The setting of the play is the Tyrones Puritan New England home, which provides for many of the arguments that take place in the novel. These arguments often arise due to the fact that their house never really felt like a true home to them. “I never felt it was my home. It was wrong from the start” (44) The town in which the Tyrones made their residence also made for arguments and acrimony. Primarily “WASPs” dominated the area and the Tyrone family had always felt out of place, being that they were Irish Catholic. “Ive always hated this town and everyone in it.” (44)

The Style that ONeill uses is one of reflection, as the play is set on one day but goes in-depth about many past issues and events. The use of vivid descriptive phrases by all of the characters creates the feeling of their true unease and disappointment. “we sit pretending to forget, but straining our ears listening for the slightest sound, hearing the fog drip the eaves like the uneven tick of a rundown crazy clock”(152) Symbolism is also utilized by ONeill as he uses the fog that surrounds the Tyrone house to symbolize the “fog” that Mary is in as she is high on her morphine. “Its such a dismal, foggy evening.” (108)

Throughout the play, in his reflective style of writing, ONeill demonstrates how, in the past, all that has been said and done has had a significant influence on all that occurs in the present. The actions and statements which had been done have forever affected the Tyrone family, albeit adversely. Throughout it all, however, Mary always tries to keep a positive view and disposition. The final verse of the play is Mary reflecting on the good in her life, which ultimately manifested into bad: “Then in the spring something happened to me. Yes, I remember. I fell in love with James Tyrone and I was so happy for a time.” (176)

Long Day’s Journey Into Night: Play Review

It is understandable that so many people in our class did not find the last act of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night a satisfying one; there is no tidy ending, no goodbye kisses or murder confessions; none of the charaters leave the stage with flowers in their hands or with smiles on their faces and none of the characters give explanatory monologues after the curtain falls, as we’ve become accustomed to by reading so much Shakespeare. O’Neill, though, isn’t Shakespeare and Long Days Journey Into Night is as different from, say, A Midsummer’s Night Dream or Twelfth Night than a pint of stout ale is from a glass of light chardonney.

It is because of the uniqueness of the play that the final act is so fitting a conclusion, and it is because of the essence of the play that there is closure in the final scene and it is because of hte nature of hte play that the final act carries upon its shoulders as powerful an impact as any other ending put upon an American stage.

The reason that many people did not find the end of hte play a real conclusion is because of the fact that Long Day’s Jounrey Into Night is not a play of action, like almost all other plays are. It is set within a single room during the course of a single day, and it consists mainly of long monologue and bitter banter rather than movement or plot development, but there is a reason that O’Neill does this; his play is not one where characters move from place to place and experience various dilemnas and need to work their way out through the course of a beginning, middle and end. LDJIN is a play of introspection, a play of confession, understanding and ultimately, a play of understanding, and it is in the final act of the play that all of these elements are worked out.

The Tyrone family is, as Edmund describes them, a family of fog people; through the first three acts of hte play we see them hiding their true feelings and emotions from each other from not each other but from themselves through a stammering which has developed from many years of holding things back. Even Jamie, who is berated time and time again for his loose tongue, stammers, as he has things that he has left unsaid and that no one is really aware. In many ways, the first three acts of the play are little more than just this – four characters stammering, letting emotions build themselves up inside of them; the first three acts are a prelude to the drama that unfolds in the final act of the play.

In the beginnings of the play we are given the extreme circumstances surrounding the family that day: Edmund is to be diagnosed with consumption, Mary is to fall deeper and deeper into an addiction from which she supposedly recovered, and each of the characters is to unravel under the strain that all the stammering has placed upon them. We are given the impression that the events of the fourth act has never happened before; for example, even though he has lived with his father for more than twenty years, Edmund has never heard him speak the way he speaks to him in his final act, when his father tells him of how miserable he is now and how he was so muh happier as a struggling, young actor than as a commerial success.

Up until the final act, Edmund has gone with Jamie and fancied Tyrone as little more than a crabby old miser. It is in his saying, I’m glad you told me that papa. I understand you much better now. that the essence of the final act, and of the play, is best illustrated. This is a family of people once filled with promise, ambition and hope but who now move along the stage like the emaciated phantoms of hteir former selves. And none of them really understands why.

Part of the reason that Edmund has never heard his father speak of this is because his father himelf never really realized the truth about what he’s become and about what choices he has made; he has known simply that he was miserable, but not why. It is not under the final hours of perhaps the worst day of the family’s history that the setting is set so that, with truly nothing left to lose, truths can come out, and this, again, is what the play is about – understanding, and the circumstances surrounding it.

The play is a play about forgiveness, too, and in that since it is not entirely depressing. (Using the previous example again) Tyrone is more or less vilified through the first three acts of the play, and it is true that he is in some respects to blame for many of the misfortunes that have befallen the family and his wife in particular. In his last long monologue though, as he’s speaking to Edmund, the audience comes to realize the circumstances that have made him the way he is, and to begin to forgive the faults that before seemed inexcusable and monstruous. He becomes human, as do all the characters.

Jamie, too, comes to really understand himself – through the play he wittily plays himself up as something more than the loafer that he is. In the final act, though, he finally realizes what it is that he has become – he has become little more than the lover of the fat women in the hick-town hooker shop, as he says, and it is because of this that we can begin to understand and forgive what he himself has just begun to understand; that he is not the ol’ pal to his brother that he says he is, but that he in fact has been trying to destroy the promise that his brother has and that he, too, once possessed.

It was the common opinion of many of the people in the class that in the final act the characters are pathetic. In many ways, however, it is not until the final act that the characters become in some ways, as Jamie puts it, absolved of their sins. For the first three acts they do little more than bicker, trading insult at every opportunity that arises. In the final act, as the characters stop their stammering and speak, for the first time, from their hearts, we come to understand what it is that has made them so bitter and resentful towards one another, and it is here and through this understanding that we can forgive each of them for what they’ve miserable, suffering people that they’ve become.

Eugene O’Neill wrote the play in the later part of his life in many ways for this reason: to forgive his family and absolve them from the harsh opinions which permeate his earlier works. Forgiving is not an easy thing to do, though (O’Neill eludes to the pain it caused to write LDJIN in his dedication), and, as a result, LDJIN is not an easy play to understand or to sit through.

Ibsen’s “Ghosts”

At the time when Ghosts first appeared, it was considered extremely dangerous and indecent. The themes it contains of inherited illness (siphylis, though this is never directly stated) and hypocrisy were unacceptable to the later nineteenth century audience, even to those who considered themselves liberals and had championed Ibsen’s earlier plays.

The story of the play is that of a young man, who returns home from the bohemian life of an artist because he is suffering from a mysterious illness. He has been brought up abroad, and has always believed, as the world in general has believed, that his father was a pillar of the community. He begins to fall in love with his mother’s maid.

His mother is extremely alarmed when she realises what is happening. She is the only one who really knows what her dead husband was like, and she knows that he was in fact the father of the serving girl. There are parallels between her past history and the story of Nora in The Dollshouse; she too tried to leave her husband, though he was far more unpleasant than Nora’s. She, however, was persuaded to return by the local church minister, with whom she had sought refuge. For the sake of her son, she spent the rest of her life covering up the truth about her husband.

The story very powerfully brings out its themes, but is very much less shocking than it seemed over a hundred years ago. It is still a play which makes one think about what you really inherit from your parents, anticipating Philip Larkin’s famous poem by many years.

Ibsen’s Ghosts has been subjected to a succession of interpretations and re-interpretations. Like any great work of art, it has meant widely different things for different generations. It has been seen variously as a social drama of revolt, offering an outspoken challenge to the hypocrisy of late nineteenth-century European society, as a melodramatic pice thse focusing attention on 0svald Alving’s inherited disease and his final lapse into dementia, and, in complete contrast, as a moving tragedy showing the suffering of a mother who finds that the past cannot simply be exorcised.

Over the years critics have differed widely in their estimation of the play’s merit and in their views as to what precisely the play is about. So far, however, there has been a fairly widespread degree of unanimity in critical views as to what the play is not about. Most critics have agreed that Ghosts is not primarily, if at all, a play about interaction.

There is general acceptance of the view that Ghosts, as the title would seem to indicate, is a play about action in the past. The various characters in the play, it is argued, merely react during the course of the play to a series of events and occurrences that are rooted in the past; they do not interact significantly with each other in the present.

Ghosts can also be seen as a play about one single mind defining itself against its surroundings, its own past, concentrating on the quest of a single individual

Theme – the gradual process by which a noble woman, who imagines herself to be enlightened enough to exorcise the ghosts of past actions, comes at length to know the complete irrevocability of deeds done long ago.

Ghosts can also be seen as a play about family conflict, tracing out the interaction of parent and child, rather than a play concerned with physical inheritance: Much that Ibsen wrote about Oswald’s illness reflected the attitudes of physicians of his day. Thus he suggested that its cause lay in the degeneration – or softening – of the brain as a result of the inheritance of disease from a profligate parent, and that its course would inevitably be a progressive decline to idiocy. Yet the essence of the play lies in the dramatic representation of the conflicts in the family triangle formed by Oswald and his mother and father.

During the action of Ghosts a number of decisive events occur, engendering a crisis with a catastrophic issue. Important things are said and done which have far-reaching consequences, but the characters involved are not necessarily aware of what it is they are doing and saying. The play presents a complex tissue of on-going process in which it is difficult and, at times, almost impossible to ascertain who is doing what to whom.

If we look, for instance, at the opening scene in the play between Regine and Engstrand, we find that ostensibly it records Engstrand’s attempt to persuade his daughter Regine to return home with him and leave Mrs. Alving’s service. Engstrand has plans for opening a seamens’ hostel-cum-brothel in town and has calculated that Regine would constitute something of a star attraction in such an establishment. The scene also ostensibly records Regine’s flat refusal even to consider such a project. What is actually going on, however, as these two characters interact is something rather different and rather more complex. In terms of the actual words used, and even more in terms of intonation and gesture, both characters act out a pattern of response derived quite specifically from the family nexus in which they once lived. The scene is shaped in such a way that it revolves around a number of unresolved conflicts from this family nexus, and, as they interact, both characters activate old wounds that have never properly healed.

Decisive experiences such as these defy easy resolution in later life; in Regine’s case, the mere thought of returning home with her father is enough to make her relive, in the most terrifying fashion, some of the more degrading and humiliating scenes she endured as a child. Unable to forget what she once experienced, she can now certainly never forgive Engstrand. All she feels is the desire to wound, for it is only at this level that she can communicate with her father.

Summoning up all her resentment, she insults him under her breath so that he shall not even properly hear what she says; significantly she picks on his club foot, his noisy, grotesque, clumping foot that her mother had so disliked. (In the next act Engstrand himself points to his gammy leg as one of the factors which made Johanne originally turn down his early proposals of marriage.) Even now Regine’s rejection of her father, intended to be doubly insulting through being expressed in French, which Engstrand, as she well knows, is too vulgar and uneducated to understand, is conditioned, not so much by what is said and done in the present, but rather by the memory of what was said and done in Engstrand’s household. Regine is still her mother’s child and responds to Engstrand quite instinctively in the way she learnt at home. Here, as elsewhere in the play, praxis and process are inextricably linked.

Engstrand, for his part, is not unmoved by all this. He too still suffers from the spiritual scars left by his marriage, though he is rather better at coping with such misfortunes than his daughter. He had once been in love with Johanne and had proposed to her even before she went to Rosenvold to work for Captain Alving; but she only had ‘eyes for the good-looking ones’, and she turned him down.

When Johanne returned from Rosenvold, pregnant and in disgrace, Engstrand seized his opportunity, obtaining both her person in marriage and the money she had been given by the Alvings to remain silent. He clearly thought this was a golden opportunity for making the best of a bad situation. However, his marriage proved to be a catastrophe. Johanne was a frigid, nagging wife who was intent on making him feel socially and sexually inferior. In one of his replies to Regine, Engstrand offers a brief glimpse into the kind of humiliation to which he was subjected during his marriage, the kind of humiliation that either breaks a man’s spirit or drives him to drink – in Engstrand’s case perhaps one should say, back to drink. Fortunately Engstrand possessed both a stout liver and considerable resilience. He survived his various drinking bouts and never once cracked during all the years he lived with Johanne. Even now, when Regine imitates the way his wife used to insult him, he still preserves his cool. Engstrand knows how to survive. He is also a man of considerable stubbornness, which in turn provokes and feeds Regine’s resentment. Both of them are locked in a closed circle of misunderstanding.

In more ways than one, Regine is like her mother, and as Engstrand begins to spell out the real nature of the deal he is proposing, his thoughts automatically return to Johanne. This in turn leads him into making what is meant to be a flattering comparison between Regine and her mother, who managed to do quite well for herself, according to the tale she told him, with some rich foreigner or other before Engstrand married her. Now this is a subject that presumably has only been mentioned before during Engstrand’s drunken brawls with his wife and Regine has been taught, because of her partisan alignment with her mother, not to believe a word of it. In Regine’s eyes, therefore, what Engstrand says is an unforgivable insult.

Shocked or at least thrown by Engstrand’s sexual flattery, she tries coping with him by adopting an air of nonchalant superiority – ‘Sailors have no savoir vivre’ – but when he uses her mother as an example to suggest that she become a whore, a common doss-house tart, she is outraged to the depths of her being. As she sees it, Engstrand, in the most grotesque form imaginable, is insulting both her mother’s memory and herself at one and the same time. Any further communication between them is unthinkable, except at the level of physical violence. And it is precisely this that Regine now threatens.

Completely unaware of how the other person thinks and responds, both characters act out a pattern of destructive responses in this scene. Regine, subjected in the past to a process of deliberate mystification by her mother, judges and condemns her father from a position of childhood fantasy. Engstrand, embittered and cynically hard-headed after his long years of suffering with Johanne, is totally incapable of understanding Regine’s emotional sensitivity.

Cyrano De Bergerac: Can’t Blow Any Louder

Cyrano tries to be more than he is. From Cyranos first scene to his last the reader gets an impression that Cyrano is trying to be more than he is, and trying to do more than he can. Even though, in the long run he ends up doing these things well, the reader still gets an impression that hes trying to boast about his abilities and, blow his own trumpet. Although many times the reader gets an impression that he isnt doing it on purpose and thats just his character, many of his other actions are quite blatantly boastful.

In his very first scene, in the Theatre house, Cyrano barges in on the play and insults immediately uses his ready wit to insult Montfluery and close the play. He then unafraid unlike another person challenges the crowd! Whatever it was a sign of it showed that he was brave and Proud of his abilities as a swordsman. Obviously he is brave, but an angry French crowd can be a large thing to handle, but in not showing fear himself he instilled fear in the heart of the crowd. Although this was an action of courage it was really unnecessary. It may have made him admirable in the eyes of some people, but it also made him look haughty in the eyes of other people. This is how he makes so many enemies, and makes so many people jealous of him. Later on in the scene, insulting an important and powerful man like Valvert was another thing that looked haughty, and moreover although it takes a lot of skill to fight and make up a ballade at the same time it may be classified as an act of over-pride.

Who hates to have enemies? Not Cyrano!! Cyrano in his first duet, talking to Le Bret, they discuss the events that just happened when Le Bret comments on how many enemies he must have made, when Cyrano replies, Enough. You make me happy. Very few people like to have enemies and Cyrano is one of them. Cyrano likes to fight. He has a very bellicose personality. Also when hes about to leave to fight the hundred men ready to kill Lignere he says I feel too strong to war with mortals…BRING ME GIANTS. What this shows is, he thinks hes too good a swordsman, which is another act of pure pride. Another scene where his love for enemies is shown is when once again he is talking with Le Bret and he says,

It is my pleasure to displease.
I love Hatred. Imagine how it feels to face
The volley of a thousand angry eyes–

From these statements Cyranos bellicose self really shows and this constant enemy making of his eventually leads to his death.

De Guiche is in a higher position of power than Cyrano. And that is a big thing and demands a lot of respect. Cyrano is a knowledgeable man and despite knowing this speaks to De Guiche like he would to anybody else- disrespectfully. This can characterize Cyrano as insolent because he knowingly disrespects De Guiche, once again probably because he likes to fight, or he thinks it makes him look good in the eyes of the watching people. Thus he makes himself a very powerful enemy.

Another thing he has pride in, is his poetry. When De Guiche suggests to Cyrano that he should show his poetry to the Cardinal, which may increase its popularity, Cyrano says that his blood curdles at the thought of him changing a single comma. Now Cyrano is a man in desperate need of money. Doing such a thing would improve his financial position. And Cyrano does realize this too. But his pride has gone too far to turn back and he doesnt like the thought of someone else changing his own poetry, or having to live off the patronage of someone else.

Cyrano also seems to think that the way he does things is right. It isnt wrong to think so, but others need not be wrong either. When De Guiche tells the Cadets the little story about his white scarf, Cyrano deprecates his tactic saying that it was a cowardly tactic. As the ages went on bravery became less important in battle. It changed from survival of the fittest to survival of the smartest. And De Guiches move indeed portrayed presence of mind. But Cyrano, who is still stuck with the days of old when sneakiness played no part in battle, finds De Guiches move cowardly and says that he wouldnt have done what De Guiche had done. When De Guiche correctly accuses him of boasting Cyrano also shows off the scarf, which he had by the way found. Again and Again Cyrano stuns his superiors and this time he does what De Guiche thought was impossible. And once again his actions make him more admirable in some eyes, but boastfully insolent in others.

Another example of Cyrano thinking that his way is the right way is early in the play. The very first major thing that Cyrano does in the play is close the play in the first seen, just because of a personal grudge against an actor. He closes the play by insulting and threatening Montfluery and sending him off-stage and then paying the owners for the loss. Cyrano thinks that closing the play in which he had done, was very exquisite. Its one thing to ruin peoples holidays and a whole another thing to be proud of it!

Lastly something else that clues us in on Cyranos pride is when Le Bret asks him if he weeps when Cyrano replies quickly that tears are too grotesque for him and also says, Never any tears for me. Even though Cyrano does weep, he says this to keep himself looking tall in the eyes of his friend. He doesnt want him to look at him as a weak hearted man. Therefore in order to make himself look more admirable, he says that he just isnt the type that cries.

Finally, Cyranos most obvious physical flaw is his abnormally large nose. Any body would have been ashamed of such a thing, but Cyrano isnt. In his duet with the meddler he talks great things about his nose, and also says, A great nose indicates a great man. Cyrano is proud of his nose, but his pride in this matter goes all the way downhill when it comes to Roxanne, because hes very afraid that she may laugh at it.

Cyrano likes to make himself look admirable and he says so to Le Bret. Everyone likes to, and would love to be admired. But different people have different approaches to getting there. In Cyranos case he likes to do it in the blowing my trumpet way. And this also leads to him having many enemies, and eventually his downfall. It is possible that Roxanne didnt love him in the first place because she thought him too proud. So overall this haughty, proud, and Im right, you are wrong attitude of Cyrano has caused him a lot of bad, and being different may have made his life probably a lot different than it turned out.

Comedy of Errors: Shakespeare Play Research Paper

Biography of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare, English playwright and poet recognized in much of the world as the greatest of all dramatists. Shakespeares plays communicate a profound knowledge of human behavior, revealed through portrayals of a wide variety of characters. His use of poetic and dramatic means to create a unified artistic effect out of several vocal expressions and actions is recognized as a singular achievement, and his use of poetry within his plays to express the deepest levels of human motivation in individual, social, and universal situations is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in literary history.
William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon. No knows the exact date of Williams birth, although we do know that he was baptized on Wednesday, April 26, 1564. His father was John Shakespeare, tanner, glover, dealer in grain, and town official of Stratford. Williams mother, Mary, was the daughter of Robert Arden, a prosperous gentleman.

On November 28, 1582, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway entered into a marriage contract. The baptism of their eldest child, Susanna, took place in Stratford in May 1583. One year and nine months later their twins, Hamnet and Judith, were christened in the same church.

In 1593, William found a patron, Henry Wriothgley, to sponsor him. During this time, he wrote two long poems. His first long poem, Venus and Adonius, was written in 1593. In 1594 he wrote his second long poem, Rape of Lucrece. In London, Shakespeare established himself as an actor who began to write many plays.

Shakespeare worked Lords Chamberlains Men company which later became The Kings Men in 1603 after King James I took over. This company became the largest and most famous acting company, only because Shakespeare worked for them, writing all the plays they performed. They performed these plays by Shakespeare in a well known theater which was called The Globe because of it s circular shape.

Shakespeare left London in 1611 and retired. On March 25, 1616, Shakespeare made a will and, shortly after he died on April 23, 1616 at the age of 52. Many people believed that Shakespeare knew he was dying; however he didnt want anyone to know that he was.
Certainly there are many things about Shakespeares genius and career which the most diligent scholars do not know and can not explain, but the facts which do exist are sufficient to establish Shakespeares identity as a man and his authorship of the thirty-seven plays which reputable critics acknowledge to be his. Since the 19th century, Shakespeares achievements have been more consistently recognized, and throughout the Western world he has come to be regarded as the greatest dramatist ever.

ACT I

The plays opening lines signal a mood of tension, and they portend disaster for Egeon, a middle-aged merchant from the ancient city of Syracuse on the island of Sicily. The cities of Syracuse and Ephesus are openly hostile toward one another. Captured in Ephesus, Egeon has been condemned to death by the Duke, who urges him to tell the sad story of how he has come to this state.

Along with his wife Emilia, identical twin sons both named Antipholus, and identical twin slaves both named Dromio, Egeon some years ago suffered a shipwreck. One son and slave survived with the father; the others, he hoped, survived with the mother. Neither group knew of the others survival, however, nor of each others whereabouts, but when Antipholus of Syracuse turned eighteen, his father gave him permission to search for his brother. The worried Egeon then set out after his second son, and after five years of fruitless wandering, he came to Ephesus. Moved by this tale of sadness, the Duke of Ephesus gave Egeon a day, within which time Egeon must raise a thousand marks ransom money.

Antipholus of Syracuse takes his leave of a friendly merchant and tells his servant Dromio of Syracuse to take the 1,000 marks he has with him to their lodging for safekeeping.

Meanwhile, he tells Dromio hes going to look around the town. Soon Dromio of Ephesus, an exact look-alike of the other Dromio, enters and tells Antipholus of Syracuse, thinking he is Antipholus of Ephesus, to come home for dinner that his wife has been waiting. In no mood for joking around with the servant, Antipholus hits the uncomprehending Dromio on the head, as he walks off. Antipholus then groans with the thought that a bondsman has just cheated him out of 1,000 marks.

ACT II

Antipholus of Ephesus wife, Adriana, debates with her sister Luciana on the proper conduct of authority in marriage. Lucianas conventional wisdom that men are masters to their females and their lords. Dromio breaks up the conversation with the complaint that his master has just hit him and demanded the return of a nonexistent thousand marks. The servants report of his masters words I know no house, no wife, no mistress, send Adriana into a fit of anger.

Antipholus of Syracuse beats Dromio of Syracuse, this time, for his former ignorance, and warning him in the future to be sure precisely when the time is right for joking around. Dromio takes the beating completely dumbfounded about the reason for it. Then shortly after Adriana and Luciana see Antipholus of Syracuse and take him for Antipholus of Ephesus. The Syracusian Antipholus and Syracusian Dromio begin to doubt their senses. Their bewilderment follows quickly upon Adrianas long forgiving speech to her husband.

Antipholus of Syracuse correctly explains that he has only been in Ephesus for two hours, and therefore he does not know who Adriana is. When Luciana recounts having sent Dromio to fetch him to dinner. Antipholus of Syracuse becomes further confused, suspecting that his servant is in on a practical joke. By the end of the scene, however, both master and servant simply agree to play along with the rather pleasant madness of going to dinner with a beautiful women who thinks she is wife and mistress to them.

ACT III

Antipholus of Ephesus, together with his servant, a goldsmith, and the merchant Balthazar, try to gain entrance to his home but refused entry by Dromio of Syracuse. At balthazars warning that too much yelling outside his home may endanger his wifes honor into question. Antipholus is determined to get even with his wife so he walks over to the Inn where he knows of a lady of excellent discourse.

Later in the house, Luciana entreats Antipholus of Syracuse to be kind to his wife even if he must be a hypocrite in the process. He shocks Luciana by his response, that he likes Adriana but, is deeply in love with her. When Luciana runs off, Dromio of Syracuse enters to explain that he too is having problems with a member of the opposite sex. Master and servant, truly worried that witchcraft is involved, determine to set forth on the first available ship.

Compounding matters at the end of the scene is Angelo the goldsmith, who delivers a gold chain to Antipholus of Syracuse, which he ordered for his wife. Antipholus of Syracuse refuses payment saying that he could settle it later.

Act IV

A merchant anxious to go on a business voyage entreats Angelo to pay a debt he owes, but Agelo cannot pay until five Oclock when Antipholus is to give him the money for his gold chain. At that moment Antipholus of Ephesus enters with his servant, Dromio, whom he discharges to go buy a whip with which he plans to beat his wife with. Antipholus of Ephesus had ordered the gold chain, but as we saw in the previous scene it was Antipholus of Syracuse who received it.

With the merchant anxious to depart tempers rise at the confusion. The upshot is two arrests: Angelo for non-payment of debt, and Antipholus for refusal to pay for his gold chain. Adding further to the lunacy is Dromio of Syracuse, who arrives to tell Antipholus of Ephesus that he has booked passage for himself and his master on a ship scheduled to leave shortly. This naturally costs further suspicion onto Antipholus of Ephesus. Dromio of Syracuse then thinks his master is mad at him when he is told to retutrn home and fetch bail money.

Luciana tells Adriana of Antipholuss strange behavior toward her; which set off another jealous tirade. Her attitude soon changes though, revealing her true feelings. When Dromio of Syracuse arrives to beg bail money for his master, Adriana complies.

Antipholus of Syracuse alone, recounts each strange occurrence of the day, concluding that a Lapland sorcerer must inhabit the place. Just as he lists the last bit madness, in comes Dromio of Syracuse with the gold for bail money, which his master had demanded that he fetch. Antiphoulus of Syracuse, knowing nothing of his own arrest grows acutely bewildered, when a courtesan arrives requesting a gold chain for a ring which she claims to have given Antipholus, he takes her to be the devil incarnate, and he exists post-haste. The courtesan concludes that he must be mad and decides to tell his wife that he had stolen her ring by force.

Antipholus of Ephesus is at the center of this scene. First he is told by Dromio of Ephesus that he has fetched flagging rope, but has no memory of being asked to collect five hundred ducats bail money. Antipholus uses the whip on Dromio who groans in response. Adriana enters with schoolmaster, Dr. Pinch, who is to treat her husband for demonic possession. When Dromio of Ephesus corroborates Antipholus of Ephesus story that Adriana had locked them out earlier. Dromio of Ephesus probably thinks she is crazy because she doesnt have a clue to what they are talking about.

Meanwhile the doctor orders the two of them to be treated in the accepted Elizabethan manner for dealing with the insane. That they must be tied together and put in a dark room. Finally Adriana promises to make good for the outstanding debt, and Antipholus of Ephesus, together with his Dromio are led off by the doctors and others. Before Adriana has had time to catch her breath her husband and servant return. It is Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse. Adrian goes crazy again and says that they have to be bound together again. Though Dromio of Syracuse feels that nothing will happen Antipholus is determined to leave the city at once.

ACT V

While Angelo the goldsmith explains his predicament to another merchant and explains that Antipholus has the gold chain. At that moment Antipholus of Syracuse and his Dromio enter. Antipholus wears the chain, feels that he has been named a villain by the merchant and Angelo, who accuses him of non-payment, and prepares to have a sword fight with Angelo. Adriana then enters and stops the fight letting Anttipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse to hide in a priory.

The abbess of the priory claims Adriana, who wants to recapture her insane husband and blind him for his own good. In contrast to Dr. Pinch in the previous scene, the Abbess is a sensitive person with the interest of the man seeking sanctuary at heart. The Abbess takes it as a charitable duty of her order to try to heal Antipholus. Just then the Duke enters on his way with Egeon to the place of death and sorry execution where he is to be beheaded publicly. Adriana goes to the Duke and pleads with him to force the Abbess to heal her mad husband.

Then a messenger arrives to announce Antipholus has escaped in another part of town where they beat all the maids and tied up the doctor and burned him to death. Adriana is near hysteria as she hears her husbands cry at this very moment within the Abbey. She thinks she might be possessed as Antipholus of Ephesus and his Dromio go to the Duke in front of her. When she has just left her husband in the Abbey with the Abbess. Antipholus of Ephesus begs for help from the Duke. He then explains what has happened and has not, happened; though others think it has, to him this day. Then the Duke is starting to understand whats going on and call for the Abbess.

Egeon then believes that his son is standing right front of him, who really is, but Antipholus of Ephesus denies ever seeing the man. The Duke takes Egeon as a senile and crazed old man, so he calls for the Abbess. Then the Lady Abbess and Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse come in front of the Duke. When the duke saw the two Antipholuses and the two Dromios, both so exactly alike, he at once remembered the story Egeon had told him in the morning. Then the Lady Abbess made herself known to be the fond mother of the two Antipholus. When the fisherman took the eldest Antipholus and Dromio away from her, she entered a nunnery and soon became the Lady Abbess.

Then Antipholus of Ephesus offered the Duke the ransom money for his fathers life; but the Duke freely pardoned Egeon, and would not take the money. After a while Antioholus of Syracuse married the fair Luciana, the sister of his brothers wife; and Egeon with his wife and sons, lived at Ephesus for many years.

Critical Commentary

The plot for the Comedy of Errors was not original. Shakespeare, like most other playwrights and authors of that time, based his work on another, earlier work. In Shakespeares case he chose one of Plautuss most highly respected comedies, the Menaechmi. Significantly, he did not rely exclusively on rhymed couplets for his comedy. In fact half the play is in black verse, and exceptional accomplishment for a beginning playwright. (Kemp,3)

The plot was well known to the public of the time. The use of mistaken identities, as well as the confusion of twins, had long been popular in the Western Theater tradition. While Plautus had only one set of twins, Shakespeare has two, which makes this comedy increased to a great extent the possibility of confusion. He combines adventure, the comedy of human folly, romance, and suspense in a play that while not one of his masterpieces can be said to be both clever and original and still popular today. (OBrian, 3)
As the plot gets underway even the secondary characters are unhappy.

A constant theme in his first play. The idea of mastery and liberty in the Comedy of Errors, whether it be husband and wife or master and servant is not so important in itself as it is as part of a general context of mans mastery over his or her own fate. Beginning with natures surrealist joke, Comedy of Errors for the most part light heatedly explores ways in which people are caught upon webs spun according to the laws of chance. This, of course, is one primal appeal of farce: natural repetition and duplication- when compounded to include individual themselves- threatening even their senses of identity can be frightening. (Gibbons, 7)

In the Comedy of Errors, the changes Shakespeare makes to his main source* Plautus, emphasizes the pathos of human capacity for error and mans subjection to the power of fortune. The doubling the masters and servants results in situation identical twins puts in question the very idea of nature, as well as the human quest for self-knowledge.

Shakespeare ensures that the audience knows more of the situation that the characters do, which increases the impression that the characters are victims, causing effects both ridiculous and pathetic. The wife Adriana declares her belief in the sanctity of marriage as a spiritual union, she and her husband has an identical twin, and that it is to this man a complete stranger, that she is declaring herself in dissoluble knit. The Meta physical paradox that man and wife are not one flesh is confronted by the physical paradox that man and brother are identically the same. The longing for the reunion that one twin feels for the other is contested with the frustration both husband and wife feel within the bonds of marriage. (Gibbons, 2)

Works Cited

Kemp, Darnell. William Shakespeare. Internet,
http://www.angelfire.com/mn/Bimmassaari/shakebio.html, 2 Feb. 1999.

Gibbons, Brian. Doubles and Likenesses-with-difference. Internet,http://anglisti.uni-muenster.de/conn/gibbon61.htm, 2 Feb. 1999.

OBrian, John. The Madness of Syracusan Antipholus. Internet, http://unixg.uba.ca:7001/0/e-sources/emls/02-1/obrishak.html, 2 Feb. 1999.

Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid

Moliere’s “The Imaginary Invalid” is a farcical play about a hypochondriac who is so obsessed with his health and money that he ends up neglecting his family. The story involves several different themes and plots within one family. A new interpretation of this 17th century play is now being performed at the Arts Club Theater; it incorporates some new changes and modernizations in addition to the traditional improvisation. Morris Panych has definitely succeeded in delivering a new, more comical version of Moliere’s final play. Moreover, the dominant theme of this play is body versus mind.

The play is about a wealthy, but stingy man who believes that he is constantly sick (Argan). However, there is an obvious doubt to whether he is really sick or if he is just imagining his illness. Therefore, the primary theme is Argan’s internal struggle of body vs. mind. This theme is developed throughout the play into smaller themes such as masculinity versus femininity, greed versus love, and death versus life. Two of the major changes from the text to the play are Argan’s degree of illness and his death. In the text, there are very few elaborate descriptions of Dr. Purgon’s treatment.

However in the play by Panych, there is no shortage of enemas and other “bathroom” related scenes. I originally thought this change was for comical purposes, but after some additional thought I questioned whether Argan was imagining his illness or if he really was ill. In the text, by not having too many bathroom scenes, Argan seems to be imagining his illness (thus, he is the imaginary invalid). In Panych’s stage version, Argan shows several symptoms of being ill; this definitely confuses the original play by Moliere. One of the original purposes of the play was to criticize, among other things, he medical profession in Moliere’s time.

Now, if Argan really was sick, does that mean that the doctors were correct in their analysis? No, it doesn’t. I believe that Panych intended to show that it was the doctors’ treatments that made Argan ill and eventually killed him. Another major change from Moliere’s version is Beralde’s gender and role in the play and in the family. Beralde is transformed into Argan’s sister, instead of his brother. Panych saw male versus female as a major theme. If you look at the structure of the original play, all the people who truly love Argan nd mean him well are female, except for Beralde.

In fact out of all the different characters who take advantage of Argan, only one of them is female- Beline (yet, even she has more traditional male characteristics than some of the male characters in the play). Therefore it makes more sense for Beralde to be a female in the play. Panych also changed Beralde’s role in the play. In the original version Beralde is the “man of passionate eloquence, resourceful valet, good father, master of revels, he is a foil for all the evils [in the play]: delusion, credulity, tyranny, and fear”(p110).

However, in Panych’s version, Toinette is the character who is responsible for putting an end to all the evils. She is the one who is responsible for exposing Beline as evil and she is the one who helps convince Argan that not all doctors are trustworthy by disguising herself as one of them. Therefore, Beralde’s role in the play is almost strictly comedic- she acts as a narrator. She is the first character the audience sees and hears; and, instead of being the stable brother, she comes out claiming that she is the crazy sister. Finally, the last major change is the exclusion of Punchinello Toinette’s Lover) from the stage version.

One of the major themes in this play is love. Everyone in the play, has someone to love; however, in Panych’s production the Toinette’s lover is excluded. There are two possible reasons for this. First, Panych might have decided that there were already too many plots and not enough time. Second, the maid is the heroine in the play- in the end she cures Argan of his selfishness, exposes Beline’s greed, and makes it possible for Angelique to marry the man she loves- and therefore instead of having a love, her purpose in life is to maintain order in Argan’s life. I believe that the second reason is the more probable one, out of the two.

Also, from seeing the stage version, it could be quite possible that Panych wanted Toinette to be in love with Argan. This theory may be justified by just looking at the scenes involving Toinette and Argan. In every scene in which they are together, they quarrel as if they are husband and wife or brother and sister. There are endless interpretations of what Panych really wanted to portray; was it about a man who imagined his illness in his mind and then used it to get attention from those around him, or was it about a man who was really ll and needed people to care for him?

Panych doesn’t make this clear in his version; therefore I walked out of the play feeling dumbfounded. This feeling did not overcome me after I finished the text version. It was obvious to me that in the text, Argan was only imagining his illness and that he was in dire need of attention. Argan has two groups of people surrounding him; one group (the doctors, Beline, the Notary) wanted his money and the other group (Angelique, Toinette, Beralde, Luisson) only wanted his love. The stage was quite magnificent at first and it definitely contributed o the mood of the play.

It had six doors on the right side and four doors on the left side; also, the right side was pink, while the left side was light blue. In addition to the many doors and different colours of the set, there were several different angles contributing to what was basically an optical illusion. The angle of the floor and walls made everything which was downstage appear as though it was bigger than the objects upstage. Argan and his “throne” (which was actually a big toilet) were placed in the middle of the stage; therefore allowing all the action to revolve around him.

The set was meant to symbolize the themes of the play. Pink is a colour usually associated with life, love, health, and femininity. Blue is associated with sickness, death, unhappiness, and (oddly enough) masculinity. I believe that this was a good idea in theory. The acting was superb, creative, and hilarious. I found that Panych selected a cast of actors who all work very well together and who are all very talented improvisers and comedians. I remember being very impressed by Ellie Harvie’s (Angelique) improvisation skills when she went out to speak to her “imaginary friends” (the audience).

She required some responses from a couple of audience members, who weren’t being too helpful, to explain how and where she met Cleante. The responses put her in Stanley Park, where she saw Cleante and immediately being attracted to Cleante’s fleshy left ear. This was probably one of the most successful scenes in the play as judged by audience response. As the play progressed some of the other actors, such as Ted Cole (Cleante), incorporated the audience members’ responses into his dialogue. He referred to his meeting with Angelique at Stanley Park in the scene where he and Angelique re improvising an opera in the second act.

All the actors worked very well with each other and produced many comical moments with the use of pure body language, facial expressions, and their gorgeous costumes. Toinette’s mustache that kept falling off her face when she was dressed up as a doctor is a good example of a comedic improvisation, especially when she stepped on it and yelled, “Cockroach! “. Another instance of good interaction between the actors came between Toinette and Angelique; when Angelique is describing her love for Cleante in the early part of the first act to Toinette.

Instead of letting her tone of voice be the only indicator of that she is tired of listening to Angelique’s rambling, Leslie Jones (Toinette) walks around the stage looking for any chore to keep her occupied while having to listen to Angelique. This provides the audience with several laughs and a better understanding of both of the characters on stage. The actors’ voices and actions were always clear; this was one of the factors that kept the audience involved and attentive at all times- not even once, did I not comprehend a word or action.

The acting was efinitely the most valuable asset of this play because of the interaction that occurred between the actors on stage. In addition to the brilliant stage and acting, the costumes and lighting further complimented this play. The costumes definitely had a 17th century look, but with a 20th century twist. Toinette’s dress was probably the best used throughout the play. At one point in the play, she hides several bags by standing over them and covering them with her dress. Beline’s costume was also quite amusing and it definitely also added to her evil character.

Her dress was ery different from the other actresses, which reinforced the fact that she was the only evil female character in the play. The lighting was also another contributor to the successful production. The lights didn’t change very often. When they did change it was for a purpose related to the play- whenever there was a soliloquy, all the other characters would freeze, and a spotlight would focus in on the character who was speaking. Also, in the beginning of the play there was a “shadow” act played out from behind the curtain.

For it to work, there was a light behind the actors (who ere behind the curtain) and their actions were reflected onto the curtain by the light. Besides the scenes involving fake turds and the scene where Argan shows us his buttocks, I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience in the theater. At times it appeared to be a stand-up comedy act, as late-comers were ridiculed by the actors and interaction with the audience occurred throughout the play. The play was well directed, acted, and produced and the audience response was tremendous- I was quite surprised that there wasn’t a standing ovation.

The Cherry Orchard: The Misunderstood Comedy

When the first production of The Cherry Orchard was performed on stage in Moscow, there was a significant difference of opinion between the author and directors. Chekhov strongly faulted the directors interpretation that the play should be preformed as a tragedy and insisted that what he had written was a comedy. The famous philosopher Aristotle defined a comedy as “an imitation of characters of a lower type who are not bad in themselves but whose faults possess something ludicrous in them. The misinterpretation of The Cherry Orchard could be mainly due to misunderstanding of the comic character. A “comic” character is generally supposed to keep an audience in fits of laughter, but this does not always have to be so. The sympathy and compassion the main character’s in The Cherry Orchard bring out in the reader should not blind them to the fact that they are virtually comic characters.

For example what character could be more ludicrous then a “typical” patrician like Gayev ,whose main characteristics according to Chekhov were “suavity and elegance,” turning to his sister and demanding that she should choose between him and a footman like Yasha? And is not the fact that Gayev became a “bank official” ludicrous, particularly since it is made quite clear to the reader that he would not be able to hold a job for even a month? Not to mention the love affair of Lyubov, ludicrous from it’s beginning to it’s tragic end?

In a letter to his wife Chekhov wrote that “nothing but death could subdue a woman like that. ” He also wrote that he saw Lyubov as “tastefully, but not gorgeously dressed; intelligent, very good natured, absent minded; friendly and gracious to everyone, always a smile on her face. Bloom 1999)” Is this the outward appearance of a women who by the end of Act II has “lost her life,” or in other words thrown it away on trifles? It is this that forms the ludicrous or comic essence of Lyubov’s character. True, Lyubovs character does have her tragic moments.

At the end of act four, Ania refers to her mother as to having been crying all morning. Lyubov also expresses a lot of stress from not having money, even though her actions do not show it. The main theme of the play can be generally taken to be the passing of the old order of Russian society, symbolized by the sale of the cherry rchard. Since Chekhov did not belong to the ranks of the Ranevsky family, unlike other authors who had written plays on the same theme, Chekhov wrote The Cherry Orchard without becoming personally involved.

He was able to see the the comedy of the whole situation and give it an artistic form of a play full of comic characters. Nothing was further form Chekhov’s thoughts then that his characters should spread a feeling of gloom or depression on his audience. Therefore the symbolism of the cherry orchard had nothing to do with it’s sale. All it expresses is one of the common reoccurring themes in Chekhov’s plays( Dimmond 1962) : the destruction of beauty by those who are utterly blind to it. ” All Russia is our Garden,” Trofimov says to Anya at the end of Act II.

Then he adds: ” The earth is great and beautiful and there are many wonderful places in it. ” Trofimov’s words are meant as a warning for all the Ranevsky’s in the world, a warning that can be understood everywhere. The Cherry Orchard is only a material object meant to symbolize many things; to Lopakhin is is only an excellent site for development, to Firs t means the cart loads of dried cherries sent off to town in “the good old days” and to Lyubov, it means a family history, which she herself never quite understands.

Every one of the many characters was carefully planned out to show some purpose in the message conveyed in The Cherry Orchard. Chekhov is able to show “the very core of humanity in even the most ridiculous of clowns in the play(Dimmond 1962). ” The importance of the use of comedy in the play conveys the importance of comedy in our lives. It shows the reader how the most ridiculous moments and decisions are probably the most important ones.

Titus Andronicus

I loved this play! I never knew Shakespeare could have been this dark and deep. Every act was twisted with plots of deviance. Titus intrigued my reading, I loved his ability to stay true to what he truly honored and believed. This play was a true masterpiece between Good and Evil. Throughout reading this play I realized that in some deep way it was God verses Satan. In that the little boy whom I believe is to be God or Jesus verses Aaron, the Moor, who is Satan. Aaron is crafty and wicked to the core. His corrupt ways bringing down everyone he comes into contact with making him happier with every life he ruins.

The little boy is truly innocence and goodwill making no mistakes I see throughout the play or movie. He can be protrayed as God or Christ in that he never has a sinful act or thought in the play or movie. The boy also is like Christ or God in that in the movie he walks away with Aaron’s son and that is a sign of God saving His lost children from darkness and sin of this world. I know this a long shot but I really felt this in reading the play. I know Shakespeare did have some Christianity in his background; maybe this could be what he was conveying in a sense.

My favorite part of the play was the way that Lavinia stood up to the evil Goth Queen, Tamora in the woods in(Act 2, Scene 2, lines 60-163). An amazing display of courage from a little, frail young woman defending herself from a devil of a woman in Tamora. The words exchanged between the two are deep, piercing two-edged swords slashing through the hearts of each woman. I built a hatred for Tamora she like Aaron is the root of all evil. I know it would have been unlady like for Lavinia to physically attack Tamora; but I would have loved to see her try. The best chracter in the play would have to be Titus amazing wit and strength.

This man was truly unpredictable kept me on my toes throughout the whole play. Even though the ending of the play was the most digusting display of violence I have ever seen, but sheer brilliance. Never will I ever see revenge taken by cooking a human-pie and as a result shattering a whole family. The weakest character in the play in my opinion was Saturninus unable to make up his own mind and rule Rome. He looked to Tamora to plan act out the evil desires of his heart because he was not man enough to follow his evil intentions. Instead he enjoyed watching Tamora do the dirty work.

The only time during the play in which Saturninus shows any courage or sense of being a man is when he kills Titus;for killing his wife, Tamora. Question :What would have happened if Aaron’s son was killed? I feel if they would have killed Aaron’s son that they would have been haunted with Aaron’s spirit forever and all hell would have broke loose. Aaron had the kind of evil ability to destroy anything and everything. Keeping Aaron’s son alive also could play a part in that evil lives forever, but I like to think that his son would be the exact opposite of evil; maybe a black Jesus!

The Tempest: Raging Waters

The magic in The Tempest was able to create many abnormal happenings as well as different feelings that are shown through the characters of Milan. There were two different types of magic that were shown one was represented by witches and wizards, this type of magic was not the beneficial type of magic. The beneficial type of magic was created by studies that were done in secret and used to discover new forces, and to study the greater effects of physics. All this magic that took place results in many of the illusions that were created on the island.

There are many illusions that seem to happen quite frequently, while the hipwrecked persons of Milan were on the island that was created by Prospero’s powers. Many of these encounters may not even be illusions but figments of their imagination as well as hallucinations. While others tend to happen because of the magic that Prospero creates with his mind. The spirits of the air are the highest type these include Ariel, Ceres, Iris, Juno, as well as the nymphs. Each part of the magic symbolizes a certain part of the island.

The spirits of the air I have already mentioned another type would be the spirits of the earth. These would include the goblins, the dogs and hounds that were used o disease Caliban and his associates. (: “Our natures do pursue, Like rats that ravin down their proper bane, A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die. [Act 1, sc. 2]) Another form of the earth spirits would be the nymphs (Prospero: “Go make yourself like a nymph o’ th’ sea. Be subject To no sight but thine and mine, invisible to every eyeball else.

Go take this shape and hither come in’t. Go! Hence with diligence! Exit[Ariel] . Awake, dear heart, awake! Thou hast slept well. Awake! act 1, sc. 2} Out if Prosperos’ anger he creates a vicious storm at sea causing the hip to become shipwrecked on his very own island. He uses this as an advantage to make the island as a task for all the Millan characters to find themselves. This would be their task as they are on the island. Prospero uses some of his most intriguing magic spells to manipulate his guests that will be staying on the island.

The people are aware of the power that the island holds but they are unaware that Prospero is in existence at this point. Part of the manipulation process that Prospero creates is gaining the trust amongst the many people that have become ship wrecked. Prospero: “Tis time I should inform thee farther. Lend thy hand. . . For thou must know farther. “(act 1, sc. 2) After this they are like prisoners on his island and do anything for him. The island itself is illusory. It is Prospero’s and its warm tropical climate alone would make someone think they were dreaming.

Another main part of the illusions would be Ariel and its fairy friends. Ariel was shown throughout the play. It created music, and could fly freely about the island. Ariel could form all aspects of fire, air, earth, and water. Fire was shown through lightning and in forms of flames. Water spirits appear in the Naiads and also the elves of the brooks and streams. Its spirit in air would be shown by how Ariel can glide through the air freely. The characters could not always see Ariel but most definitively heard it.

Ariel and the other spirits were also able to transform themselves into different paraphernalia. In doing this they were able to watch the people and guide them in order to find their inner spirits. As the spirits flew about they were able to control the fate on the island. The humans in this play had no authority as to the fate that occurred n the island, and had to rely on the spirits. As for Caliban, he had a different form, but he still was the mercy of the spirits. Caliban’s destination was directed by the nymphs and other creatures.

Prospero: “For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps, side- stiches that shall pen thy breath up. Urchins shall, for that vast night that they may work, all exercise on thee; thou shalt be pinched as thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging than bees that made’ em. ” (act 1, sc. 2)[Prospero talking to Caliban] Caliban was also related to the many illusions that were created on the island. Many of the people that were in the shipwreck had never seen a creature that was quite as ugly as Caliban.

Many of them thought that there could be no such thing as a beast as ugly as Caliban. In fact Caliban was a gentle creature with human feelings. Shakespeare greatly emphasized on how freely the spirits could fly through and about the island, making it haunted. The spirits symbolized our fate in life and how we have no idea were the path is going to take us, and what road we will travel down. You can’t fight reality or fate away, just like the characters in The Tempest couldn’t fight away the spirits.

In some cases the spirits and illusions helped the people but in other situations the matters at hand became worse. You have to believe in fate and freedom for any of it to come true, you must believe in the spirits in order for them to do anything for you. It may not even be a force of nature that creates these illusions it is in fact you yourself that has to make them come alive, you must believe in them. It is important for people to believe in some thing’s that are unbelievable to others, and vice versa. They must do this because it in turn helps them to believe in themselves.

John Proctor: Tragic, or Pathetic?

“I have given you my soul; leave me my name! ” (138). This is the disturbing vision we are left with at the end of Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible. This scream is let out by the main character John Proctor; who has been accused of witchcraft, and is to be hung on that merit unless he confesses. John Proctor is innocent of such deeds, yet he will lose his life if he does not admit he committed such a dastardly crime.

But if he does admit to it he will be considered an outcast in his town and he fears that he will never be able to raise his children properly and be able to teach them to “walk like men in the world” (137). But in the same spirit, how will he be able to teach his children at all if he is hung. This is the Trap that has been set for John Proctor. His choice though is the one of a coward; for if he had instead of being hung chose to live the rest of his life as an outcast he would at least still be able to teach his children the error of his ways.

Thus because John Proctor had a way out of his trap and opted not to take it because of selfish pride he is not tragic. Tragedy has been said to be the “progress from ignorance, through a cycle of suffering, to enlightenment” (Merle 4). But what exactly does that mean and who would fit this bill of tragedy? Arthur Miller was quoted by the essayist Koon as saying “The common man is apt a subject for tragedy as kings” (Koon 5) And the same idea was reaffirmed by George Lillo who said “that tragedy need not concern itself soley with kings” (as quoted by Siegel 92).

These statements seem to hold true to the measure, no one is more common then Willy Lowman and he obviously starts out ignorant about how he is viewed by others and through a path of rejection and other such suffering does find enlightenment, yet his response to such enlightenment may not have been the same as one would expect the path of an enlightened one to take, still it does hold true. To contradict this though if you look at another example of a classic American tragic figure like Blanche Dubois, you see that enlightenment is not achieved.

Though she does go through terrible suffering it seems all for naught as she is taken away at the end of the play, But it cannot be said that she is not tragic. Therefore a better measure is needed. Clinton Trowbridge wrote that “tragedy must create an impending, ever-growing sense that the character will be destroyed yet we must never for a moment regard the tragic hero’s struggle against his fate as absurd” (42).

This measure seems to work, but much like how the part of enlightenment seems to be the flaw in Merle’s definition, so is the latter part of Trowbridge’s where he states that we cannot feel that the “hero’s struggle” is “absurd” for if we look at that part in isolation one example immediately jumps out that disproves it. Luke in the movie Cool Hand Luke often conjures up absurd images whether it be eating 50 eggs raw or telling of how he got arrested for chopping the heads off of parking meters, or even his many repeated attempts at escape just to be brought back in a mangled heap time and time again.

It almost seems as though it is a comedy and yet at the end of the film when he is shot we feel that his struggle against society is one that is tragic because no matter how far he ran trying to escape he still was brought back to the one place he didn’t want to be, no matter how absurd this notion seems to us, it is still tragic when placed in the context of Cool Hand Luke. So Then what can be said to be tragic? Aarnes writes that “tragedy is an imitation, not of men but of action and life, of happiness and misfortune” (99).

The answer probably lies in a combination of all possible definitions, somewhere in the middle between absurdity and enlightenment and pain and misfortune we find tragedy. Tragedy in essence is a trap and once one steps inside there is no possible way of getting out alive. John Proctor is not a tragic figure, though he definitely is confined in a trap; he has a way out, he just chooses not to exercise that out and ends up dead. Can a trap in which one can escape truly be considered a trap at all? the answer is no; much less a trap of tragic proportions.

He fears he would be looked on as being a coward if he confesses to being in alliance with the devil, and since “god damns all liars” (112) it would be in conflict with his communities religion to confess, but he truly is a coward for fearing what others will think of him if he does come clean and “give(s) them such a lie” (132). Therefore it can be said that John Proctor is just a pathetic man who needs to be part of a society so much that he is willing to give up his life rather then live out the rest of his days being looked on as one who couldn’t stay within the rules of his society.

This play brings about the same basic idea as that entailed within the story The Lottery. But Whereas in the Lottery where everyone goes along with the society’s ideals John Proctor for a brief moment goes against them when he declares “I want my life…. I will have my life” (132). Unfortunately though he then seeps back into his cowardliness and allows himself to be taken off to the gallows because of his inability to go against the gauntlet which has been thrown before him. He even admits at one point that his “wife will never die for [him]” (77).

Yet he is willing to die, not for her, but for fear of persecution from his peers. John Proctor choose to not be tragic, he chose to be like Rebecca Nurse and all the others and just let the people in authority do what they will because there will is the will of god’s and to go against that would be considered wrong. Even though he tells Rebecca that he “like not the smell of this authority” (28) he still goes along with them because no matter how much he despises them he still couldn’t bare to live in a society where he is not well respected.

Thus John Proctor is by no means tragic, he is in all actuality just a sheep who goes along with the shepherd of fate which was thrust in front of him. In conclusion it is obvious that John Proctor is not tragic. Unlike other tragic figures he was not trapped, he had a clear out of the doomed path he was on. All he had to do was tell a lie, and since we already learn earlier that he had committed a far greater sin with Abigail Williams it seems like a small price to pay to commit another just to save his life.

Willy Lowman, Luke, Blanche Dubois, Even Lennie from Of Mice and Men all are tragic because their fate is unavoidable, some character trait, or in some case flaw refuses them to see what is going to happen to them and therefore they all end up destroyed. Proctor on the other hand is given a chance, to save himself from being killed, but he chooses not to, because of this choice he is given he is not tragic, just pathetic for his inability to save himself.

The Merchant of Venice

Act 1
In the fist act, Antonio is introduced as the Merchant of Venice.  A friend of him, Bassanio, desperately needs money because all of his money is on his ships and he wants to go to Belmont to visit the woman of his dreams, Portia.  Therefore he goes to Antonio to ask if he is willing to go to Shylock and ask him if he can have 3000 ducats.  Antonio agrees and goes to Shylock and explains that he has to pay it back within 3 months.  If he doesnt do this, he may cut one pound of his fair flesh…

Act 2
In Belmont, the casket bond proceeds: with two already rejected, news comes that Bassanio is at Portias gate.  Meanwhile, Shylock is left bewailing the loss of his ducats and his daughter that has run away with Lorenzo and the treasure.  Shylock doesnt like this at all because he really doenst like the Christians and Lorenzo is a Christian

Act 3
Jessica is now together with Lorenzo.  She is a Jew and hes a Christian.  Jessica is embarrassed to be a Jew is planning to change religion for Lorenzo.  Shylock is still looking for them and is very mad when he finds out that she has sold a ring, that was given to Shylock by his wife, for a monkey.  Meanwhile Bassanio is picking one of the caskets and takes the correct one; the leaden casket.  He may now marry Portia.   Because Antonio hasnt paid back the 3000 ducats he had lend from Shylock, Shylock may have one pound of his fair flesh.  Shylock takes it to court…

Act 4
Still in the court of law, Portia and Nerissa have disguised themselves as doctor and clerk.  Shylock wants his revenge on the Christians because they treat him like a dog and spit on him.  He wants his bond and the one pound of the flesh of Antonio.  Portia very smartly knows how to trick him by saying that it doesnt say in the bond that any blood can be spilt and that he has to take exactly one pound of the flesh.  No more and no less.  Shylock has to give up because he cant deny this.  Antonio is safe!  Bassanio has given the ring that he had got from Portia to the doctor and Gratiano has given the ring that he had got from Nerissa to the clerk…  They had said to their women that they would never give the rings away.

Act 5
Jessica and Lorenzo are romantically together and they are telling each other all these romantic things how much they love each other accompanied by music.  Then Portia, Nerissa, Bassanio, Antonio and Gratiano come by.  Nerissa and Gratiano start having a fight about the ring that he had given to the clerk (Nerissa was the clerk).  The same is for Portia and Bassanio who says he had lost the ring but later says he had given it to the doctor (who was Portia).  Then the two women explain that they were the doctor and the clerk and so everything had a happy ending…

The play “Oedipus Rex”

The play “Oedipus Rex” is a very full and lively one to say the least. Everything a reader could ask for is included in this play. There is excitement, suspense, happiness, sorrow, and much more. Truth is the main theme of the play. Oedipus cannot accept the truth as it comes to him or even where it comes from. He is blinded in his own life, trying to ignore the truth of his life. Oedipus will find out that truth is truth, it is rock solid. The story is mainly about a young man named Oedipus who is trying to find out more knowledge than he can handle.

The story starts off by telling us that Oedipus has seen his moira, his fate, and finds out that in the future he will end up killing his father and marrying his mother. Thinking that his mother and father were Polybos and Merope, the only parents he knew, he ran away from home and went far away so he could change his fate and not end up harming his family. Oedipus will later find out that he cannot change fate because he has no control over it, only the God’s can control what happens.

Oedipus is a very healthy person with a strong willed mind ho will never give up until he gets what he wants. Unfortunately, in this story these will not be good trait to have. Oedipus goes on with his journey not knowing about what he is going to do next. Oedipus runs into some people at a crossing on this journey and quarrels with them to there death. After this, he goes along to a city named Thebes where he outsmarted a beast that was cursing the city. He received praise and joy. While gaining the trust of all that lived there he quickly became King of Thebes. The people loved him because he was such a great leader.

He was such a great king because he had a lot of love for his people and would do anything in his power to make them happy. As a result of this, Oedipus finds out that the city is in trouble unless the killer of their late king is found and punished. Little does Oedipus know that he is the killer of their late King or that the King was actually his father. Oedipus will strive for awnsers even though he has been warned not to dig to deep, for he will regret it. Being the stubborn person that he was, he forced everyone to tell what they knew about the Kings eath.

Forcing and forcing more, the King found out all about his childhood. He ended up with different parents after his mother abandoned him at birth because of the Oracle that they received telling them that there son would end up killing his father, which he did anyway. Oedipus’s mother has the same blindness that he has, she thinks that she can change fate. Oedipus was found to be guilty of killing the late King, also his father. His mother, now his wife, was proof that you cannot change fate no matter what you do. In disgust,

Oedipus physically blinded himself so he can never see what he has done again and banishes himself from civilization forever. Sophocles uses the word blindness in many different ways. He makes it a big part of the play. It is ironic that a blind person can see the future and the real meaning of life while Oedipus only sees what he wants to see and blinds himself mentally of what he does not want to see. Oedipus is a man ignorant to the true appearance of things. Towards the end of the play things change for him. Everything is too clear of what the truth is and he shows that e is a coward by trying to avoid his fate once more by blinding himself physically. “Oedipus Rex” was one of the greatest plays ever written.

The major themes in the play were outstanding and it makes you think about truth and how important and strong it really is. The way Sophocles uses the word blind in the story made it worth while. Piecing it all together made the play a lot more interesting than most other plays. “The truth will set you free” is a famous saying that Oedipus should have not listened to and should have not looked for.

Lord Hastings: A Justification to Omit Regret

Ironically, we do not assent to his words because they are exactly in the right, but because they are exactly in the wrong. By Act III, Richard III exhibits a pallet of personalities including the devoted brother, the witty wooer, and the loyal subject. We see that these almost Platonic ideals are tarnished black under the rule of Richard’s perfectly evil intent to manipulate. Lord Hastings, however, could not see until it was too late. The time to weigh the validity of the supernatural signs and omens in Stanleys dream had past.

Before his death, Lord Hastings misperceives the \”subtle, false, and treacherous\” Richard, and only saw the face (i. e. the theatrical abilities of Richard), not the heart (1. 1. 37). Why, then, do we nod at wrongness? The answer lies in the fact that we are plummeted into absolute awe. We have reached a catharsis of our emotions in response to the summit of Richards manipulative character, where Lord Hastings had actually believed that Richard was a man incapable of manipulating. Our response is a sign of assent because Lord Hastings is completely justified for trusting Richard and ignoring Stanleys forebodings entirely.

If Lord Hastings had the chance to relive his death scene, he would have two choices: to reiterate his regret for not listening to Stanley, or take a different course, and omit his regret. The study of this paper involves what types of justification Lord Hastings could offer if he had the opportunity to omit regret. His justification would necessarily contain an assessment of Richards compelling theatrical abilities. In other words, Lord Hastings would have to prove that Richard was too good of an actor for anyone to realize his acting.

Lord Hastings now carries the burden of proof on his shoulders. Lord Hastings would probably refer to the ideal representation of brotherly love Richard shows to Clarence. We are not safe Clarence, we are not safe, Richard says, probably placing his hand on his brothers shoulder while stressing we(1. 1. 70). In those words, Clarence felt warmth, despite the cold chains draping from his wrists; felt security, despite his insecurities about the reason as to why he was placed under arrest. The consolation apparently worked.

While one of the hired murderers tries to persuade Clarence into believing that Richard authorized his execution, Clarence simply brushes the idea from his shoulders, and retorts O no; he loves me and he holds me dear (1. 4. 234). Here, the leap from love to death, two seemingly opposite concepts, is too dramatic for us not to find some connection. The connection is the brilliance of Richards manipulation. Richard drove Clarence to believe that trust exists even after King Edward, his other brother, caused the imprisonment.

From that belief emerges the thought that he and Richard stood side by side against the deceit and immorality of the rest of humanity. In short, Richard psychologically presses Clarence into brotherly love, using deceit as his tool. Then death came. We were able to make Clarences death an accurate forecast (even without the support of Richards soliloquy), on grounds that death, or some other serious harm, inevitably follows from a love etched by manipulation. If one objected to this claim, then one must answer the question: why else would a person manipulate another person into love if the former does not look to cause some harmful result?

However, Clarence could not substantiate that claim, since he never even suspected the manipulative Richard in the first place. Hastings would identify with Clarence’s position, because both men were disadvantaged by the same darkness of not knowing. Thus, Lord Hastings, at the moment of his death, could justifiably refrain from feeling regret. He was not the only one to fall prey to Richard’s clever-tongued word play. Hastings’s quest for justification does not end at Clarence, however. Act I, Scene ii presents the dramatic change of Anne’s heart, going from the grieving and bitter widow to the confused and wooed prey.

Initially, the circumstances are against Richard’s goal to woo Ann and to ultimately slip the ring on her finger. He murdered King Henry and Prince Edward, whose death caused Lady Anne’s widowhood. Richard had his work cut out for him. However, Richard, self-absorbed in his ambition to ascend the throne shows indifference to the corpse of the dead king and begins courting Lady Anne romantically. Your beauty was the cause of that effect— Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleep To undertake the death of all the world, So I might live one hour in your sweet bosom (I. 2. 21-124). The technique that Richard uses on Anne involves his feigned gentleness and persistence in praising her beauty. Richard implies that her beauty caused him to kill the prince. In other words, Edward’s death is Anne’s fault.

This tactic culminates in the highly manipulative gesture of Richard’s offering her his sword and presenting his throat to her. Now handed the opportunity to avenge her husband’s and father-in-law’s death, Anne responds \”[A]lthough I wish thy death,/I will not be thy executioner,\” probably feeling confused as well as wooed at this point (1. 2. 88-189). Thus, in light of the leap from Anne’s rancorous attitude to a mixed feeling of confusion and acceptance emerges another fragment of Hastings’s justification to refrain from regret. Yet, the sting of Richard’s manipulative character is not limited to Clarence and Lady Anne. It is a disease Richard intends to leak into the masses. After murdering Lord Hastings, Richard gains control over the court. His next political move is to manipulate the common people of England in order to pave the way to the throne. Accordingly, Lord Mayor of London becomes Richard’s next target.

The Lord Mayor portrays a citizen who believes everything a politician says, and is too optimistic to ascertain the holes in a story. Richard’s manipulative tactics have fully matured at this point, but he only needs to use little of its power to steer the Lord Mayor in his favor. Richard must manipulate the Mayor into believing that the death of Lord Hastings was deserved. What? Think you we are Turks or infidels? Or that we would, against the form of law, Proceed thus rashly in the villain’s death, But that the extreme peril of the case, The peace of England, and our persons’ safety, Enforc’d us to this execution? 3. 4. 41-46).

The Lord Mayor, like Clarence and Lady Anne, falls prey to Richard as he says \”[Lord Hastings] deserv’d his death,/ And your good Graces both have well proceeded,/To war false traitors from the like attempts\” (3. 4. 47-49). Anticipating potential opposition from the common people, Buckingham, the extension of Richard, expresses concern that the citizens \”haply may,/Misconstrue us in him [Hastings] and wail his death. The Lord Mayor assures him that \”[M]y good lord, your Graces’ words shall serve/As well as I had seen and heard him speak,\” and that he will tell all the citizens so (3. 4. 59-65).

The Lord Mayor’s gullibility contributed to the achievement of Richard’s political end more than Richard and Buckingham’s manipulation. However, Richard and Buckingham knew of the Lord Mayor’s innocence. Thus, Richard and Buckingham’s flagrant and suspicious lie, which a reasonable person would probably investigate, was not a slip on their part—it was merely a play on Lord Mayor’s innocence. Hence, Richard’s manipulation was still tactically crafted, in that he knew he did not have to use it in excess. Richard’s control over his manipulation strengthens Lord Hastings’s justification even more than the examples of Clarence and Lady Anne.

The control over manipulation implies that Richard would never let it become a self-destructive force. This study offered three ways in which Hastings could justifiably omit regret at his death scene. During his last breaths, Hastings says: For I, too fond, might have prevented this. Stanley did dream the boar and [rase] our helms, And I did scorn it and disdain to fly (3. 4. 81-83). However, a reliving of his death scene would give him the option to concede something along the lines of (minus the Shakespearean eloquence) \”I trusted Richard, and I am justified. ” From there forward, Lord Hastings would probably cite the above instances in which Richard thieved other characters of the \”subtle, false, and treacherous\” Richard (1. 1. 37). Those instances mark a submission to Richard’s manipulation, without the characters having any knowledge of such. Clarence, Lady Anne and Lord Mayor had justifiably trusted Richard, because of his theatrical ability to put on a straight face and veil his true heart. Lord Hastings could add himself to that list, instead of shaming his inability to realize Richard’s acting.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown

Nathaniel Hawthornes Young Goodman Brown” is a moral story which is told through the perversion of a religious leader. It is thick with allegory. In “Young Goodman Brown”, Goodman Brown is a Puritan minister who lets his excessive pride in himself interfere with his relations with the community after he meets with the devil, and causes him to live the life of an exile in his own community. “Young Goodman Brown” begins when Faith, Brown’s wife, asks him not to go on an “errand”. Goodman Brown says to his “love and (my) Faith” that “this one night I must tarry away from thee.

When he says his “love” and his “Faith”, he is talking to his wife, but he is also talking to his “faith” to God. He is venturing into the woods to meet with the Devil, and by doing so, he leaves his unquestionable faith in God with his wife. He resolves that he will “cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven. ” This is an example of the excessive pride because he feels that he can sin and meet with the Devil because of this promise that he made to himself. There is a tremendous irony to this promise because when Goodman Brown comes back at dawn; he can no longer look at his wife with the same faith he had before.

When Goodman Brown finally meets with the Devil, he declares that the reason he was late was because “Faith kept me back awhile. ” This statement has a double meaning because his wife physically prevented him from being on time for his meeting with the devil, but his faith to God psychologically delayed his meeting with the devil. The Devil had with him a staff that “bore the likeness of a great black snake”. The staff which looked like a snake is a reference to the snake in the story of Adam and Eve. The snake led Adam and Eve to their destruction by leading them to the Tree of Knowledge.

The Adam and Eve story is similar to Goodman Brown in that they are both seeking unfathomable amounts of knowledge. Once Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge they were expelled from their paradise. The Devil’s staff eventually leads Goodman Brown to the Devil’s ceremony which destroys Goodman Brown’s faith in his fellow man, therefore expelling him from his utopia. Goodman Brown almost immediately declares that he kept his meeting with the Devil and no longer wishes to continue on his errand with the Devil.

He says that he comes from a “race of honest men and good Christians” and that his father had never gone on this errand and nor will he. The Devil is quick to point out however that he was with his father and grandfather when they were flogging a woman or burning an Indian village, respectively. These acts are ironic in that they were bad deeds done in the name of good, and it shows that he does not come from “good Christians. ” When Goodman Brown’s first excuse not to carry on with the errand proves to be unconvincing, he says he can’t go because of his wife, “Faith”.

And because of her, he can not carry out the errand any further. At this point the Devil agrees with him and tells him to turn back to prevent that “Faith should come to any harm” like the old woman in front of them on the path. Ironically, Goodman Brown’s faith is harmed because the woman on the path is the woman who “taught him his catechism in youth, and was still his moral and spiritual adviser. ” The Devil and the woman talk and afterward, Brown continues to walk on with the Devil in the disbelief of what he had just witnessed.

Ironically, he blames the woman for consorting with the Devil but his own pride stops him from realizing that his faults are the same as the woman’s. Brown again decides that he will no longer to continue on his errand and rationalizes that just because his teacher was not going to heaven, why should he “quit my dear Faith, and go after her”. At this, the Devil tosses Goodman Brown his staff (which will lead him out of his Eden) and leaves him. Goodman Brown begins to think to himself about his situation and his pride in himself begins to build.

He “applauds himself greatly, and thinking with how clear a conscience he should meet his minister… And what calm sleep would be his… in the arms of Faith! ” This is ironic because at the end of the story, he can not even look Faith in the eye, let alone sleep in her arms. As Goodman Brown is feeling good about his strength in resisting the Devil, he hears the voices of the minister and Deacon Gookin. He overhears their conversation and hears them discuss a “goodly young woman to be taken in to communion” that evening at that night’s meeting and fears that it may be his Faith.

When Goodman Brown hears this he becomes weak and falls to the ground. He “begins to doubt whether there really was a Heaven above him” and this is a key point when Goodman Brown’s faith begins to wain. Goodman Brown in panic declares that “With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil! ” Again, Brown makes a promise to keep his faith unto God. Then “a black mass of cloud” goes in between Brown and the sky as if to block his prayer from heaven. Brown then hears what he believed to be voices that he has before in the community.

Once Goodman Brown begins to doubt whether this is really what he had heard or not, the sound comes to him again and this time it is followed by “one voice, of a young woman”. Goodman believes this is Faith and he yells out her name only to be mimicked by the echoes of the forest, as if his calls to Faith were falling on deaf ears. A pink ribbon flies through the air and Goodman grabs it. At this moment, he has lost all faith in the world and declares that there is “no good on earth. ” Young Goodman Brown in this scene is easily manipulated simply by the power of suggestion.

The suggestion that the woman in question is his Faith, and because of this, he easily loses his faith. Goodman Brown then loses all of his inhibitions and begins to laugh insanely. He takes hold of the staff which causes him to seem to “fly along the forest-path”. This image alludes to that of Adam and Eve being led out of the Garden of Eden as is Goodman Brown being led out of his utopia by the Devil’s snakelike staff. Hawthorne at this point remarks about “the instinct that guides mortal man to evil”. This is a direct statement from the author that he believes that man’s natural inclination is to lean to evil than good.

Goodman Brown had at this point lost his faith in God, therefore there was nothing restraining his instincts from moving towards evil because he had been lead out from his utopian image of society. At this point, Goodman Brown goes mad and challenges evil. He feels that he will be the downfall of evil and that he is strong enough to overcome it all. This is another demonstration of Brown’s excessive pride and arrogance. He believes that he is better than everyone else in that he alone can destroy evil. Brown then comes upon the ceremony which is setup like a perverted Puritan temple.

The altar was a rock in the middle of the congregation and there were four trees surrounding the congregation with their tops ablaze, like candles. A red light rose and fell over the congregation which cast a veil of evil over the congregation over the devil worshippers. Brown starts to take notice of the faces that he sees in the service and he recognizes them all, but he then realizes that he does not see Faith and “hope came into his heart”. This is the first time that the word “hope” ever comes into the story and it is because this is the true turning point for Goodman Brown.

If Faith was not there, as he had hoped, he would not have to live alone in his community of heathens, which he does not realize that he is already apart of. Another way that the hope could be looked at is that it is all one of “the Christian triptych”. (Capps 25) The third part of the triptych which is never mentioned throughout the story is charity. If Brown had had “charity” it would have been the “antidote that would have allowed him to survive without despair the informed state in which he returned to Salem. ” (Camps 25) The ceremony then begins with a a cry to “Bring forth the converts!

Surprisingly Goodman Brown steps forward. “He had no power to retreat one step, nor to resist, even in thought… “. Goodman Brown at this point seems to be in a trance and he loses control of his body as he is unconsciously entering this service of converts to the devil. The leader of the service than addresses the crowd of converts in a disturbing manner. He informs them that all the members of the congregation are the righteous, honest, and incorruptible of the community. The sermon leader then informs the crowd of their leader’s evil deeds such as attempted murder of the spouse and wife, adultery, and obvious blasphemy.

After his sermon, the leader informs them to look upon each other and Goodman Brown finds himself face to face with Faith. The leader begins up again declaring that “Evil is the nature of mankind” and he welcomes the converts to “communion of your race”. (The “communion of your race” statement reflects to the irony of Brown’s earlier statement that he comes from “a race of honest men and good Christians. “) The leader than dips his hand in the rock to draw a liquid from it and “to lay the mark of baptism upon their foreheads”.

Brown than snaps out from his trance and yells “Faith! Faith! Look up to Heaven and resist the wicked one! ” At this, the ceremony ends and Brown finds himself alone. He does not know whether Faith, his wife, had kept her faith, but he finds himself alone which leads him to believe that he is also alone in his faith. Throughout the story, Brown lacks emotion as a normal person would have had. The closest Brown comes to showing an emotion is when “a hanging twig, that had been all on fire, besprinkled his cheek with the coldest dew.

The dew on his cheek represents a tear that Brown is unable to produce because of his lack of emotion. Hawthorne shows that Brown has “no compassion for the weaknesses he sees in others, no remorse for his own sin, and no sorrow for his loss of faith. ” (Easterly 339) His lack of remorse and compassion “condemns him to an anguished life that is spiritually and emotionally dissociated. ” (Easterly 341) This scene is an example of how Goodman Brown chose to follow his head rather than his heart. Had Brown followed his heart, he may have still lived a good life.

If he followed with his heart, he would have been able to sympathize with the community’s weaknesses, but instead, he listened to his head and excommunicated himself from the community because he only thought of them as heathens. “Young Goodman Brown” ends with Brown returning to Salem at early dawn and looking around like a “bewildered man. ” He cannot believe that he is in the same place that he just the night before; because to him, Salem was no longer home. He felt like an outsider in a world of Devil worshippers and because his “basic means of order, his religious system, is absent, the society he was familiar with becomes nightmarish. Shear 545)

He comes back to the town “projecting his guilt onto those around him. ” (Tritt 114) Brown expresses his discomfort with his new surroundings and his excessive pride when he takes a child away from a blessing given by Goody Cloyse, his former Catechism teacher, as if he were taking the child “from the grasp of the fiend himself. ” His anger towards the community is exemplified when he sees Faith who is overwhelmed with excitement to see him and he looks “sternly and sadly into her face, and passed on without a greeting.

Brown cannot even stand to look at his wife with whom he was at the convert service with. He feels that even though he was at the Devil’s service, he is still better than everyone else because of his excessive pride. Brown feels he can push his own faults on to others and look down at them rather than look at himself and resolve his own faults with himself. Goodman Brown was devastated by the discovery that the potential for evil resides in everybody. The rest of his life is destroyed because of his inability to face this truth and live with it.

The story, which may have been a dream, and not a real life event, planted the seed of doubt in Brown’s mind which consequently cut him off from his fellow man and leaves him alone and depressed. His life ends alone and miserable because he was never able to look at himself and realize that what he believed were everyone else’s faults were his as well. His excessive pride in himself led to his isolation from the community. Brown was buried with “no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom. “

The Crucible: The witch trials in Salem

The witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts in the early sixteen hundreds was a time of uneasiness and suspicion. Anyone could easily turn in his or her neighbor on the ground of witchcraft. Someone could merely say their neighbor’s spirit had attacked them during the night, which no man can prove. Nevertheless, as a God-fearing community, they could not think of denying the evidence, because to deny the existence of Evil is to deny the existence of Goodness, which is God.

The most important scene in the play was act two, scene three, here John Proctor is able to talk with his wife, Elizabeth, one last time. He decides that he will “confess” to the crime of witchcraft, thereby avoiding being hung. However, to accept what he said, the judge also requires him to sign a written confession which states that he confessed to the crime of witchcraft. Judge Danforth would post it on the church door, to use Proctor as an example to get other people to confess.

That upset Proctor greatly, because people would look down on him with disdain, and it would blacken forever his name. What was most important to him was to make a stand against the insanity of the town, for himself and for God, and using that as a last resort to make people aware of what was happening. This last stand for righteousness is an example of proctor’s great character and rationale. Arthur Miller wrote his play, The Crucible, a story about the Salem witch trials, and the panic resulting from it, as an allegory to show people the insanity of the McCarthy hearings.

He wrote it as an allegory so that, if tried by McCarthy, he ould say, “it’s just a play about the witch trials in Salem. How do you get this communist idea from it? ” The story illustrates how people react to mass hysteria, created by a person or group of people desiring fame, as people did during the McCarthy hearings. Arthur Miller, acting as a great visionary, warned us that if we did not become aware of history repeating itself, our society would be in danger. At the same time, he had to do this in a matter that would not get him arrested, hence the witch-trial mechanization.

Twelfth Night And Crossdressing: An Imitation of Ignorance

The play Twelfth Night encapsulates what it meant to be a man and women throughout the 16th century. The roles of each gender were set in stone, and one could not publicly cross over under any circumstances. During Shakespearean times women were not even allowed to portray themselves on stage, men played their roles instead. In my opinion Shakespeare uses the play to show the hypocrisy of the status quo that held people from expressing their true identity. Twelfth Night demonstrates that professions should not be given on a gender basis, skill should be the only consideration.

During the play one sees that only through imitation of another gender can a person reverse the roles, which they are bonded to. In Twelfth Night imitation of another gender is done both out of necessity, and for revenge. In Twelfth Night ones sexual preference was not a reason for gender reversal. Viola/Cesario who has just lost her brother in a shipwreck feels that she needs to dress as a man to survive on the island of Illyria. And what should I do in Illyria? My brother he is in Elysium. Perchance his not drownd what you think. Viola changes her name to Cesario and begins her new life as a man.

Viola/Cesario rosses the boundaries and becomes Orsinos best servant. This portrayal of a woman successfully imitating a man is an obvious denouncement of the so-called gender roles of the Elizabethan era. Throughout the play imitation is used for revenge and plays an integral role in the lives of a few supporting characters. In this scenario it is used to deceive Malvolio, a pompous servant, to teach him a lesson in his relations with other people. Shakespeare makes it clear that deception, when used for entertainment, can be very destructive.

Twelfth Night deals with problems that occur when somebody is forced to imitate nother sex, or another person. Pray God defend me! A little thing would make me tell them how much I lack of a man. These problems are demonstrated through sexual tension between almost all of the characters. The characters seem to accomplish most of their set goals, but somehow something impedes them from flawless imitation. Viola/Cesario is distressed and has no idea how to live without a proper income. She lives in a society that only allows men to work certain types of jobs.

These professions are the ones that bring in most of the money. For this reason she begins to imitate a man, and goes by the name Cesario. Her profession was to be a servant to the Duke Orsino. Ill serve this Duke; Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him, it may be worth thy pains; for I can sing and speak to him in many sorts of music that will allow me very worth his service. The captain that saved her agreed to tutor her in manhood, and she fully comprehended what it is to be a man during these times. She picked up her profession extremely quickly. Her imitation did have limitations however.

She ran into problems due to sexual urges and these proved to be insurmountable. Viola/Cesario fell in love with her master, and could not find a ay to properly inform him of her true identity. The second problem she encountered was Olivia, a rich countess, ends up falling in love with her. Viola/Cesario did not know how to handle these certain situations as a man so she dealt with them as a woman. This becomes evident due to an incident were she almost kisses Orsino; and she does not make it clear to Olivia why somebody would not want to kiss her, a beautiful woman.

Throughout the play Shakespeare enlightens his audience by showing alienation, which occurs when somebody is forced to imitate a person who they are not. Viola/Cesario ot only alienates Olivia and Orsino, but she also isolates herself from feelings that are undefeatable. This causes the characters to be in a confused state and each begins to question their sexuality. Olivia considers herself an attractive woman, and many men have always pursued her. Olivia, however, has never felt the same passionate attraction towards another man. She finally meets a man, or so she thinks, and he is not drawn to her.

This leaves her to question if she will ever find true love. Yet come again; for thou perhaps mayst move that heart which now abhors, to like his love. Through this ordeal Orsino also becomes confused by his sexuality. He sees past Viola/Cesario clothing and falls in love with her. After a few moments were Viola/Cesario and Orsino are very close he comes to realize that it would not be morally right to have sexual passion for another man. He slowly moves away and begins to question his feelings. When all is resolved true feelings are finally brought to light, and the characters see both their fates had true love in the future.

It is unfortunate though that heartache was due to a simple societal structure that holds no basis in the world. Malvolio, a servant of Olivia, is also hurt by an imitation. Contrary to Viola/Cesarios imitation this one was not done out of necessity. The imitation is executed by acquaintances of Malvolio that seek revenge at the way he had been treating them. Feste the jester, Maria, Olivia’s uncle Sir Toby Belch, and Sir Toby’s friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek–who scheme to undermine the high-minded, pompous Malvolio.

Malvolio is tricked into believing Olivia is in love with him because of a letter that said just that. Malvolio believes the imitation letter, and his character suddenly changes from arrogant to joyful. Sad lady? I could be sad. This does make some obstruction in the blood, this cross-gartering, but as the true sonnet is Please one, and please all. Shakespeare placed this sub-plot to show the audience how detrimental trickery can be when it is used with love. When Malvolio discovers the evil trick he is distraught, and heartbroken. Madam, you have done me wrong, notorious wrong.

From Malvolios case one begins to remember instances where they have used trickery or imitation for revenge upon another person. Malvolios character shows the damage that can occur to ones psyche. Shakespeare makes it clear hat love is extremely volatile and should not be toiled with. One leaves the theatre remembering previous situations where similar methods were used; hoping that they had not caused damage comparable to that of Malvolios. Shakespeare delves into waters that were untested throughout the Elizabethan era. He asks the audience to see if there is any basis for specific gender roles.

The audience is never surprised throughout the whole play, and the tone of each of the characters does not fluctuate. Even when Orsino finds out his best servant is a man. One must not only look at the tone of the characters, the tone of the audience s important as well. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a presentation of Twelfth Night at the University of Wisconsin this past year. Many of the social issues concerning Twelfth Night (Homophobia, cross-dressing) still remain prevalent in our society today. During scenes involving homosexual contact, the audience did not seem stunned.

The audience appeared to accept that Viola/Cesario was actually a woman, and the love that encapsulated Orsino and Olivia was blind to gender. The audience also completely disregarded gender, and agreed with Shakespeare that true ove draws no boundaries. One also became aware that Viola/Cesario could perform the tasks that were asked of her. She even proved to do her job exceptionally and became Orsinos best servant. The performance attacked those who are ignorant enough to hold opinions that hinder the advancements of both homosexuals and women.

By using subtle examples of political viewpoints, Shakespeare addresses issues that are important to everyday society. He acknowledges the fact Elizabethan society prohibits him from making blatant statements, which go against the moral majority. Shakespeare hows his mastery of the English language by eluding these rules and attacking the subconscious of the audience. One leaves the theatre with a lingering feeling of guilt, which one cannot be understand at the time. The feeling is comprehended at a later time and one begins to question stereotypes, which are dominant in society today.

Twelfth Night And Crossdressing An Imitation of Ignorance The play Twelfth Night encapsulates what it meant to be a man and women throughout the 16th century. The roles of each gender were set in stone, and one could not publicly cross over under any circumstances. During Shakespearean times women were not even allowed to portray themselves on stage, men played their roles instead. In my opinion Shakespeare uses the play to show the hypocrisy of the status quo that held people from expressing their true identity. Twelfth Night demonstrates that professions should not be given on a gender basis, skill should be the only consideration.

During the play one sees that only through imitation of another gender can a person reverse the roles, which they are bonded to. In Twelfth Night imitation of another gender is done both out of necessity, and for revenge. In Twelfth Night ones sexual preference was not a reason for gender reversal. Viola/Cesario who has just lost her brother in a shipwreck feels that she needs to dress as a man to survive on the island of Illyria. And what should I do in Illyria? My brother he is in Elysium. Perchance his not drownd what you think. Viola changes her name to Cesario and begins her new life as a man.

Viola/Cesario crosses the boundaries and becomes Orsinos best servant. This portrayal of a woman successfully imitating a man is an obvious denouncement of the so-called gender roles of the Elizabethan era. Throughout the play imitation is used for revenge and plays n integral role in the lives of a few supporting characters. In this scenario it is used to deceive Malvolio, a pompous servant, to teach him a lesson in his relations with other people. Shakespeare makes it clear that deception, when used for entertainment, can be very destructive.

Twelfth Night deals with problems that occur when somebody is forced to imitate another sex, or another person. Pray God defend me! A little thing would make me tell them how much I lack of a man. These problems are demonstrated through sexual tension between almost all of the characters. The characters seem to accomplish most f their set goals, but somehow something impedes them from flawless imitation. Viola/Cesario is distressed and has no idea how to live without a proper income. She lives in a society that only allows men to work certain types of jobs.

These professions are the ones that bring in most of the money. For this reason she begins to imitate a man, and goes by the name Cesario. Her profession was to be a servant to the Duke Orsino. Ill serve this Duke; Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him, it may be worth thy pains; for I can sing and speak to him in many sorts of music that will allow me very worth his service. The captain that saved her agreed to tutor her in manhood, and she fully comprehended what it is to be a man during these times. She picked up her profession extremely quickly. Her imitation did have limitations however.

She ran into problems due to sexual urges and these proved to be insurmountable. Viola/Cesario fell in love with her master, and could not find a way to properly inform him of her true identity. The second problem she encountered was Olivia, a rich countess, ends up falling in love with her. Viola/Cesario did not know how to handle these certain situations as a man so she dealt with them as a woman. This becomes evident due to an incident were she almost kisses Orsino; and she does not make it clear to Olivia why somebody would not want to kiss her, a beautiful woman.

Throughout the play Shakespeare enlightens his audience by showing alienation, which occurs when somebody is forced to imitate a person who they are not. Viola/Cesario not only alienates Olivia and Orsino, but she also isolates herself from feelings that are undefeatable. This causes the characters to be in a confused state and each begins to question their sexuality. Olivia considers herself an attractive woman, and many men have always pursued her. Olivia, however, has never felt the same passionate attraction towards another man. She finally meets a man, or so she thinks, and he is not drawn to her.

This leaves her to question if she will ever find true love. Yet come again; for thou perhaps mayst move that heart which now abhors, to like his love. Through this ordeal Orsino also becomes confused by his sexuality. He sees past Viola/Cesario clothing and falls in love with her. After a few moments were Viola/Cesario and Orsino are very close he comes to realize that it would not be morally right to have sexual passion for another man. He slowly moves way and begins to question his feelings. When all is resolved true feelings are finally brought to light, and the characters see both their fates had true love in the future.

It is unfortunate though that heartache was due to a simple societal structure that holds no basis in the world. Malvolio, a servant of Olivia, is also hurt by an imitation. Contrary to Viola/Cesarios imitation this one was not done out of necessity. The imitation is executed by acquaintances of Malvolio that seek revenge at the way he had been treating them. Feste the jester, Maria, Olivia’s uncle Sir Toby Belch, and Sir Toby’s riend Sir Andrew Aguecheek–who scheme to undermine the high-minded, pompous Malvolio.

Malvolio is tricked into believing Olivia is in love with him because of a letter that said just that. Malvolio believes the imitation letter, and his character suddenly changes from arrogant to joyful. Sad lady? I could be sad. This does make some obstruction in the blood, this cross-gartering, but as the true sonnet is Please one, and please all. Shakespeare placed this sub-plot to show the audience how detrimental trickery can be when it is used with love. When Malvolio discovers the evil trick he is distraught, and heartbroken. Madam, you have done me wrong, notorious wrong.

From Malvolios case one begins to remember instances where they have used trickery or imitation for revenge upon another person. Malvolios character shows the damage that can occur to ones psyche. Shakespeare makes it clear that love is extremely volatile and should not be toiled with. One leaves the theatre remembering previous situations where similar methods were used; hoping that they had not caused damage comparable to that of Malvolios. Shakespeare delves into waters that were untested throughout the Elizabethan era. He sks the audience to see if there is any basis for specific gender roles.

The audience is never surprised throughout the whole play, and the tone of each of the characters does not fluctuate. Even when Orsino finds out his best servant is a man. One must not only look at the tone of the characters, the tone of the audience is important as well. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a presentation of Twelfth Night at the University of Wisconsin this past year. Many of the social issues concerning Twelfth Night (Homophobia, cross-dressing) still remain prevalent in our society today. During scenes involving homosexual contact, the audience did not seem stunned.

The audience appeared to accept that Viola/Cesario was actually a woman, and the love that encapsulated Orsino and Olivia was blind to gender. The audience also completely disregarded gender, and agreed with Shakespeare that true love draws no boundaries. One also became aware that Viola/Cesario could perform the tasks that were asked of her. She even proved to do her job exceptionally and became Orsinos best servant. The performance attacked those who are ignorant enough to hold opinions that hinder the advancements of both homosexuals and women.

By using subtle examples of political viewpoints, Shakespeare addresses issues that are important to everyday society. He acknowledges the fact Elizabethan society prohibits him from making blatant statements, which go against the moral majority. Shakespeare shows his mastery of the English language by eluding these rules and attacking the subconscious of the audience. One leaves the theatre with a lingering feeling of guilt, which one cannot be understand at the time. The feeling is comprehended at a later time and one begins to question stereotypes, which are dominant in society today.

Antigone a play written by Sophocles

Antigone is a play written by Sophocles that became a classic due to its controversial content. In this play, the Greek dramatist reflected mainly on Civil Disobedience. Antigone believes in the individual rights over the state rights. Creon, however, strongly believes in putting state over religion. The play does not only revolve on the political and religious issue, but also deals with the battle of the sexes. The play is about a strong-willed woman defying the laws of a proud king. Antigone is torn between her devotion to the gods and her loyalty to the king.

Creon, ruler of Thebes, issued the order to leave the traitor Polynices’ body ” to be left unburied, his corpse carrion for the birds and dogs to tear, an obscenity for the citizens to behold! ” Antigone was not about to simply obey this absurd decree. She felt that her personal responsibility lies to the gods and her family rather than the king. She then asked Ismene, her sister, to assist her with the burial, but was denied of any help. She was disappointed at first, but later on decided that she will do this with or without Ismene’s help.

Creon was warned about this and later found the culprit. He issued the death sentence for Antigone’s action. Creon informed his son, Haemon, of his fiancee’s deceit. Haemon, however, defended his beloved. He told his father that the whole city was on her side, but were afraid to say anything. He was instead accused of “being a woman’s accomplice”, “fighting on her side, the woman’s side. ” Creon continued to threaten him with witnessing the execution of Antione. She was to “die, now here, in front of his eyes, beside her groom! Haemon countered him with a threat of his own that he will never set eyes on him again if he continues this violence.

Crion was apalled with his son. For that, Antigone was to die a very agonizing death. she was to be taken “down to some wild desolate path never trod by men, and wall her up alive in a rocky vault, and set out short rations, just the measure piety demands”. The prophet Tiresias warned Crion of the consequences if he does not release Antigone soon. He told him of his dreams that he would lose the people he loves if he continues to be stubborn and stupid.

Creon admitted that the prophesies troubled him greatly. He ordered the release of Antigone, but was too late. He found her “hanged by the neck in a fine noose, strangled in her veils- and the boy, his hands slung around her waist. “. Haemon attacked him, but missed and instead drove his sword to his own heart. Creon witnessed all this an d realized that he brought it on himself. Back at the palace, his wife Eurydice heard the news and ended up killing hersilf. Creon begged to be free of this guilt by demanding his own death. he finally admitted to being a “rash, indiscriminate fool! . Antigone possesses the qualities everyone admires.

She is defiant, strong-willed, rebellious, brave, loyal, and stubborn. Creon matches these strong qualities with cruelty, authoritativeness, one-sidedness and stubbornness. Stubbornness became their downfall. Antigone believed that the laws of the gods were of greater importance than the rules of the state. Creon, however, believed that since he’s the king, his word is the law and no one should dare defy him. Besidesthe political and religious content, Antigone deals with the battle of the sexes as well.

Creon continually brings up that woman are subservient to all men. he advised his son of “never letting some woman triumph over us. Better to fall from power, if fall we must, at the hands of a man- never be rated inferior to a woman, never. ” Both were so proud that it cost their own lives and their loved one’s death. I found this play very interesting. Even though this was produced centuries ago, we could still easily relate with the themes it depicted. It encourages people of the modern world to stand for what they believe in. it teaches us to be more open-minded.

We learn that there are no set rules. We do not always have to do what we are told. We just have to be aware of the consequences of our actions. Antigone also emphasizes on being proud. It is important to have pride for the reason of restoring one’s own self-esteem, however, having too much of it can lead to destruction. Admitting you are wrong is not so bad. Antigone Antigone is a play written by Sophocles that became a classic due to its controversial content. In this play, the Greek dramatist reflected mainly on Civil Disobedience. Antigone believes in the individual rights over the state rights.

Creon, however, strongly believes in putting state over religion. The play does not only revolve on the political and religious issue, but also deals with the battle of the sexes. The play is about a strong-willed woman defying the laws of a proud king. Antigone is torn between her devotion to the gods and her loyalty to the king. Creon, ruler of Thebes, issued the order to leave the traitor Polynices’ body ” to be left unburied, his corpse carrion for the birds and dogs to tear, an obscenity for the citizens to behold! ” Antigone was not about to simply obey this absurd decree.

She felt that her personal responsibility lies to the gods and her family rather than the king. She then asked Ismene, her sister, to assist her with the burial, but was denied of any help. She was disappointed at first, but later on decided that she will do this with or without Ismene’s help. Creon was warned about this and later found the culprit. He issued the death sentence for Antigone’s action. Creon informed his son, Haemon, of his fiancee’s deceit. Haemon, however, defended his beloved. He told his father that the whole city was on her side, but were afraid to say anything.

He was instead accused of “being a woman’s accomplice”, “fighting on her side, the woman’s side. ” Creon continued to threaten him with witnessing the execution of Antione. She was to “die, now here, in front of his eyes, beside her groom! ” Haemon countered him with a threat of his own that he will never set eyes on him again if he continues this violence. Crion was apalled with his son. For that, Antigone was to die a very agonizing death. she was to be taken “down to some wild desolate path never trod by men, and wall her up alive in a rocky vault, and set out short rations, just the measure piety demands”.

The prophet Tiresias warned Crion of the consequences if he does not release Antigone soon. He told him of his dreams that he would lose the people he loves if he continues to be stubborn and stupid. Creon admitted that the prophesies troubled him greatly. He ordered the release of Antigone, but was too late. He found her “hanged by the neck in a fine noose, strangled in her veils- and the boy, his hands slung around her waist. “. Haemon attacked him, but missed and instead drove his sword to his own heart. Creon witnessed all this an d realized that he brought it on himself.

Back at the palace, his wife Eurydice heard the news and ended up killing hersilf. Creon begged to be free of this guilt by demanding his own death. he finally admitted to being a “rash, indiscriminate fool! “. Antigone possesses the qualities everyone admires. She is defiant, strong-willed, rebellious, brave, loyal, and stubborn. Creon matches these strong qualities with cruelty, authoritativeness, one-sidedness and stubbornness. Stubbornness became their downfall. Antigone believed that the laws of the gods were of greater importance than the rules of the state.

Creon, however, believed that since he’s the king, his word is the law and no one should dare defy him. Besidesthe political and religious content, Antigone deals with the battle of the sexes as well. Creon continually brings up that woman are subservient to all men. he advised his son of “never letting some woman triumph over us. Better to fall from power, if fall we must, at the hands of a man- never be rated inferior to a woman, never. ” Both were so proud that it cost their own lives and their loved one’s death. I found this play very interesting.

Even though this was produced centuries ago, we could still easily relate with the themes it depicted. It encourages people of the modern world to stand for what they believe in. it teaches us to be more open-minded. We learn that there are no set rules. We do not always have to do what we are told. We just have to be aware of the consequences of our actions. Antigone also emphasizes on being proud. It is important to have pride for the reason of restoring one’s own self-esteem, however, having too much of it can lead to destruction. Admitting you are wrong is not so bad.

Christopher Marlowe’s play, Doctor Faustus

In Christopher Marlowe’s play, Doctor Faustus, the idea of repentance is a reoccurring theme with the title character. Faustus is often urged by others to repent his decision to sell his soul to the devil, but in the end he suffers eternal damnation. Faustus was resigned to this fate because he lacked the belief in his soul of God. He was once a moral and devout man, but greed led him to sin. Although Faustus has signed a contract with the devil in blood, it is obvious that it is still able to repent. The good angel in the play is trying to make Faustus realize this.

Throughout the play the angel encourages Faustus to stay away from dark magic, “Oh Faustus, lay that damned book aside, and gaze not on it lest it tempt thy soul and heap God’s heavy wrath upon thy head. ”(p. 26, line 69-71) Faustus’ growing interest in necromancy leads him to give the Lucifer his soul in return for twenty four years of luxurious life. The good angel is always accompanied by an evil angel who supports Faustus’ choice. Both spirits try to advise him on a course of action, with the evil one usually being more influential. The evil angel speaks of the power, which Faustus thirsts after.

Faustus does not want to be a servant to God. He was become disillusioned with the idea of heavenly pleasures when he realizes he can profit immediately from service to the devil. In an exchange with the good angel he shows his lack of interest in having to work for rewards: Good Angel: “Sweet Faustus, leave that execrable act! ” Faustus: “Contrition, prayer, repentance, what of these? ” Good Angel: “O, they are means to bring thee unto heaven” (p. 38, line 26-28) With this display of lackadaisical attitude toward God, the likeliness of Faustus repenting begins to fade.

Faustus takes pleasure in torturing innocent men with Mephostophilis. He is delighted to see the seven deadly sins presented to him. Although Faustus may not think it, he guilty of each of those sins, namely jealousy and avarice. This shows an interesting contrast between his self perceptions and reality. He takes full advantage of the power the devil brings him. Faustus has fleeting regrets about his vow to the devil, yet never serious. In his thoughts of repenting, it seems to be only for his own good rather than reaffirming his belief in God.

In the end once Faustus becomes conscious that his life of power will be over and he will remain a servant to the devil for eternity, he realizes his huge mistake. When his death is inevitable he curses his choice: “Accursed Faustus, wretch, what hast thou done? I do repent, and yet I do despair. Hell strives with grace for conquest in my breast. What shall I do to shun the snares of death? ” (Act 5, Scene 1, lines 68-71) Not only is Faustus a greedy man, but also weak. He craves power and knowledge to cover up what he lacks.

Before his interaction with the devil, Faustus dabbles with necromancy in an attempt to bring happiness to his life. He is clearly unable to make himself content and the promise of the devil to do so is enticing. Faustus was not hard to sway from God and devout Christian values. This is what makes it especially hard for Faustus to repent. He is unable to make up his mind when considering the benefits of each. His weakness lies in his search for power, so he chooses whatever seems to offer the knowledge he craves. Once Faustus realizes that God has the ultimate benefit, there is nothing he can do.

He is too weak of a soul to go back to God. He must truly believe in God to do so, and he obviously does not. Faustus’ acquaintances urge him to repent. Scholar 2 says to Faustus, “Yet Faustus, look up to heaven and remember mercy is infinite. ” They make it seem easy, but for Faustus’ weak soul it is impossible. The old man in the play is the opposing character to Faustus. The old man is a devout Christian soul, who in spite of all of the devil’s tortures, begs Faustus to repent. He clings to his faith to the very end and even Mephostophilis is wary of harming him because of his good soul.

Mephostophilis says in response to Faustus request to kill the old man, “His faith is great. I cannot touch his soul. But what I may afflict his body with I will attempt, which is but little worse. ” In comparison, throughout the play Faustus is unable to repent. His weak soul is not true to God. He would have to truly belief in the supreme power of God in order to be saved. He does not repent because his faith has changed, he repents because he fears death. All of Faustus’ decisions are made through a weak, greedy, power hungry mindset.