Session One


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Session One

  1. 1. William Shakespeare and The Merchant of Venice
  2. 2. Why Shakespeare? <ul><li>Literary history
  3. 3. The emergence of the modern period </li></ul>
  4. 7. Two Gentlemen of Lebowski <ul><li>THE KNAVE
  5. 8. Thou know’st. The Knave abideth. </li></ul>
  6. 9. The Problem of Shakespeare I dreamt last night that Shakespeare’s Ghost Sat for a civil service post. The English paper for that year Had several questions on King Lear Which Shakespeare answered very badly Because he hadn’t read his Bradley.
  7. 10. The Problem of Shakespeare <ul><li>His canonical position
  8. 11. Our current perception of him
  9. 12. His contemporary position
  10. 13. His identity </li></ul>
  11. 15. The Problem of Shakespeare’s Works
  12. 19. 28 octobr 1600 Tho. haies. Entred for his copie vnder the handes of the Wardens & by Consent of m r Robertes. A booke called the booke of the merchant of Venyce
  13. 20. The historical views of Shakespeare
  14. 21. “ an Upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers […] supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you” (Greene)
  15. 22. “ having small Latin and less Greek” (Ben Jonson)
  16. 23. “ As Plautus and Seneca are accounted the best for Comedy and Tragedy among the Latines: so Shakespeare among ye English is the most excellent in both kinds for the stage” (Francis Meres)
  17. 24. John Heminges and Henry Condell assembled all the dramatic works of Shakespeare in 1623 in what is today known as the First Folio. This proves a high degree of interest in Shakespeare.
  18. 25. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is “the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life” Samuel Pepys
  19. 26. In 1741, a monument was erected to Shakespeare in Westminster Abbey.
  20. 27. “After an hundred and thirty years’nap, Enter Shakespear, with a loud clap” Alexander Pope
  21. 28. “ Shakespeare has suffered the virtue of Cordelia to perish in a just cause, contrary to the natural ideas of justice […] but since all reasonable beings naturally love justice, I cannot easily be persuaded that the observation of justice makes a play worse. Dr Samuel Johnson about King Lear
  22. 29. “Make out your amplest catalogue of all the human facultites […] and then compare with Shakespeare under each of these heads all or any of the writers in prose or verse that have ever lived! Who, that is competent to judge, doubts the results?” Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1836
  23. 30. A.C. Bradley, the first academic critic to heavily impact Shakespeare studies, argued that Shakespeare could serve as proof of a stable and unchanging human nature. (Published in 1904 but written earlier)
  24. 31. By presenting Shakespeare’s characters as representative of unchanging types, people believed they had an argument against Darwin and evolution. Thus, Shakespeare was used as a cultural weapon.
  25. 32. Is Shakespeare a product of his time? <ul><li>Is he for all times?
  26. 33. Are his texts privileged and if so, why? </li></ul>
  27. 34. The Problem of Drama <ul><li>Where is the text?
  28. 35. What about the stage directions?
  29. 36. Who is the creator of the text? </li><ul><li>Writer, director, actor, all of them?
  30. 37. What about the audience? </li></ul></ul>
  31. 38. The Problem of History <ul><li>How much do we need to know of a play’s contemporary culture?
  32. 39. How can we understand texts that are so far removed from us? </li></ul>
  33. 40. The Problem of the Elizabethan World Picture <ul><li>A very different world
  34. 41. Very different conventions
  35. 42. Very different notions of the human </li></ul>
  36. 43. The Problem of The Merchant of Venice <ul><li>What is its genre?
  37. 44. Comedy, History, Tragedy? </li><ul><li>Laughter, catharsis, ‘realism’ </li></ul></ul>
  38. 45. Comedy in Elizabethan times <ul><li>“ the moving of laughter is a fault of comedy, a kind of turpitude, that depraves some part of a man’s nature” (Ben Jonson) </li></ul>
  39. 46. The unities of time, plot and action <ul><li>A play should have:
  40. 47. Only one setting
  41. 48. One plot
  42. 49. All events should take place within 24 hours
  43. 50. (Aristotle, Poetics ) </li></ul>
  44. 51. Analyzing Shakespeare <ul><li>Notations follow internal references rather than page numbers
  45. 52. 4.1.16-34 = Act Four, Scene One, Lines 16 to 34 </li></ul>
  46. 53. The Merchant of Venice Act One
  47. 54. How is the basic plot established?
  48. 55. How are the characters introduced, especially Antonio, Bassanio and Shylock?
  49. 56. How should we understand the characters of the play; as real people or as literary constructions used to further a specific narrative?
  50. 57. Why is Antonio sad?
  51. 58. Why does Antonio agree to lend money to Bassanio?
  52. 59. What is the impression that we get of Portia?
  53. 60. What is the relevance of the English/Scots/French quarrel and their exchange of blows (1.2.64-67)?
  54. 61. What do you think of Shylock's reaction to Antonio (1.3.33-43)?
  55. 62. What does Antonio mean when he says &quot;Hi thee, gentle Jew. | The Hebrew will turn Christian, he grows kind.&quot; (1.3.170-171)?
  56. 63. Considering Act One, how would you classify The Merchant of Venice ?