Thursday, October 31, 2013

King Lear Act IV. Who is the most villainous character and why?

King Lear is an extremely bleak play that seems to show no hope for the future. Picking the most villainous character is an extremely difficult task because there are different kinds of evils in this play, and some villainous characters have excuses for their treachery.
In my opinion, Goneril and Regan are the most villainous characters because they are so malicious without a reputable cause. They trick their father, who raised them graciously, into giving them reign over England. Then, even though Lear is weak, they seek his death because they believe him to be an annoyance in their lives. Lear asked for absolutely nothing from them except to travel and stay with his knights. He may have caused a ruckus when they would not allow him that, but that is his only offense, and it is completely justifiable. They force him out into a storm and then order his death. Lear may be growing old and losing his wits, but he was never malicious to his daughters. They have no legitimate reason to kill him. Also, what will they receive once the deed is done? Absolutely nothing because he has no power anymore. These sisters are so evil that they will set out to kill their own blood for the fact that he proves to be a small annoyance in their rise to complete power.
Also, Goneril may prove to be more villainous than Regan because she seeks her husband’s life. She wants to kill him to be with another man, Edmund. Albany, her husband, proves to me no aid towards her hunt for power because he condemns her for her actions against Lear. This is reason enough for Goneril to seek his life.
Edmund is high up on the list of villainous characters, but I am able to sympathize with him more than Goneril and Regan. Edmund deceives his brother, his father and basically everyone he comes in contact with. Yet, he has a reason to be bitter towards the society he lives him because he is excluded from it for being an illegitimate child. Also, Edmund deceives others to rise in power. This is extremely villainous, but it is a motive. I think Goneril and Regan to be more villainous than Edmund because at least there is a reason for his evil. What is Goneril and Regan’s reason?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Explication of "Gathering Leaves" by Robert Frost

Gathering Leaves
Spades take up leaves 1
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise 5
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace, 10
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed, 15
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color. 20

Next to nothing for use.
But crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?

Robert Frost describes the process of gathering leaves as a part of the harvest which gives him no gratification. The poem takes us through the time consuming process of gathering leaves. At the end of the poem, the speaker is left with nothing but a shed full of dull, weightless leaves. Yet, the speaker knows that gathering leaves is essential for the harvest.

The speaker starts off the poem by saying that it is a difficult process to gather leaves: Spades take up leaves no better than spoons, And the bags full of leaves Are light as balloons” (1-4). The spades used for gathering leaves are inefficient if they take up leaves as well as spoons. Also, the bags full of leaves weight nothing, yet it took a long process of using inefficient tools to get the leaves in the bags. Thus, even though the speaker spent precious time gathering leaves, he only has a weightless bag to show for it.

In addition to having no product to show the work done, the leaves are extremely uncooperative. The speaker says, “But the mountains I raise Elude my embrace, Flowing over my arms And into my face” (8-12). Frost personifies the leaves here. He says they avoid his embrace and care and instead they fight back, making the job of gathering leaves even harder. Frost uses interesting diction here when he refers to the leaves as “mountains” when he previously described the leaves as weightless. Although the leaves are weightless in measured weight, they feel heavy when they are gathered because they do not stay in the bag.

The stanza relates to the emotion that King Lear shares with his daughters Goneril and Regan. Lear raises his daughters with care and gives them everything they ask for, yet they show absolutely no gratitude. Instead, they intend to take away the little power he has left. This relates to the leave because the speaker does so much work harvesting the leaves, but they fight back and are unyielding.

Furthermore to the leaves being uncooperative, the end of this process does not leave the speaker with some sense of accomplishment or happiness. He is left with “nothing for weight” and “nothing for color”. Gathering the leaves gives him nothing. This related to the emotion in King Lear. Lear gives his heart and soul to his daughters and they return this kindness to him with greed. Lear gets no gratification or help.

The last stanza exemplifies the overall theme well. The speaker describes the leaves as “Next to nothing for use. But a crop is a crop, And who’s to say where The harvest shall stop?” (21-24). The leaves are useless once they are brought into the shed. Yet, the speaker must continue this necessary process. He says a “crop is a crop” so it must be gathered. There is no escaping the process of gathering leaves. The speaker wishes the harvest and task of gathering leaves would stop, but he knows that is a mere dream. This relates to the emotion in King Lear of growing older. Lear wishes his aging would stop, but it is inevitable and part of the circle of life. Gathering leaves is an inevitable and ungratifying , but there is no escaping it. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

King Lear's and My Relationship with Nature

                King Lear’s life is falling apart. Once he gives away his powers to his two daughter, Regan and Goneril, they strip the king of everything he has including his knights. Lear believes that having his knights helps separate himself with the animals in nature: “Allow not nature more than nature needs,/ Man’s life is cheap as beast’s” (2.4.307-308). Lear understands that a man without anything superfluous is no different than a beast. He wants to be more than just an animal in nature.
                After Goneril and Regan continue to refuse King Lear a place to stay with his nights, he gets trapped in a dreadful storm. Lear believes that this storm is caused by his daughter’s ungratefulness. He thinks that nature will punish those who sinned. He says that nature should “Find out their enemies now” (3.2.54). He wants Goneril and Regan to be punished by nature. Lear knows he has been sinned against more than he has sinned so he is confused as the why nature is taking its wrath out on him. He also believes that nature makes man fearful: “”The wrathful skies/ Gallow the very wanderers of the dark/ And make them keep their caves” (3.2.45-47). He believes that nature not only terrifies man, but it also punishes sinners.

                I personally have an ambiguous relationship with nature. I love taking walks outside and hiking, but I am fearful of some parts of nature including bugs, animals and other elements. I love the beauty in nature but I do not embrace all parts of nature. Since I do believe in the idea of karma, I can relate to Lear’s theory that nature punishes those who have sinned. Yet, I do not agree because this idea does not hold true in reality. Sinners are not punished by nature. Also, I definitely agree that nature scares man forcing him into shelter. The elements such as rain, lightning and animals are not friends for humans. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

King Lear Blog about Edmund's deceptions

What do Edmund’s deceptions reveal about him and those he deceives?

                Edmund’s deceptions reveal that he is malicious, but believes he is worthy. He believes it is acceptable that he deceives others because he deserves more in life even though he is a bastard: “Edmund the base/ Shall [top] th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper./ Now, gods, stand up for bastards!” (1.2.21-23). Edmund does not understand why his brother Edgar, the legitimate son, should get his father’s estate. He justifies his deception by the idea that he deserves the land as much as Edgar does.
                Edmund deceives his father, Gloucester. He fakes a letter from Edgar which implies that Edgar will kill Gloucester to have the estate sooner. Gloucester immediately believes Edmund and shuns Edgar. Gloucester ends up condemning Edgar to death and taking Edmund as his heir. This shows that Gloucester is extremely paranoid of anything happening to him and that he does not value his son. He does not address his son personally about this situation before condemning him to death. Gloucester says, “That the which finds him shall deserve our thanks,/ Bringing the murderous coward to the stake” (2.1.71-72). Gloucester does not value his son. He immediately believes Edmund’s lie and is out to get Edgar.
               Edmund also deceives his brother Edgar and tell him to flee from Gloucester. Edgar takes Edmund’s advice immediately. In addition, Edgar thanks Edmund for his advice. Edgar does not say much of anything when Edmund tells him this. Yet, Edgar listens. He values Edmunds advice and does not suspect Edmund set him up. Edgar believes that “Some villain hath done me wrong” (1.2.172). Yet, Edgar does not believe that villain is Edmund otherwise he would not have taken Edmund’s advice. This shows that Edgar and Edmund have a good brotherly relationship. Edgar does not suspect Edmund to be the villain, and he immediately takes his word as truth. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Explication of "The Widow's Lament in Springtime" by William Carlos Williams

Explication of “The Widow’s Lament in Springtime”
The speaker of the poem describes the harsh changes of spring in opposition with her feelings of grief. She wants to join her husband in death. The speaker, a widow, describes her yard where “new grass flames as it has flamed often before but not with the cold fire that closes round me this year” (2-5). The grass always comes in at springtime. It is different this year though because he husband is not with her. The brightness and beginning of spring is in contrast with the widow’s grief. She feels the “cold fire that closes round [her] this year (4-5). This fire consumes her this time of year because spring describes a happy time, but the widow is not happy. The coming of spring just reminds her of the happiness she once had.
The speaker then goes on to describe the colors of the flower on the “cherry branches” (11). Some of the bushes are yellow and red “but the grief in [her] heart is stronger than they” (14-15). Although the speaker used to enjoy the blooming of spring and these bushes used to be her joy, grief now consumes her. Her grief is stronger than the blooming of the trees. Nothing can make her happy anymore.
The speaker son tells her “that in the meadows, at the edge of the heavy woods in the distance, he saw trees of white flowers” (20-24). The son describes this tree with white flowers as in the meadow, in the distance, in the heavy woods. This tree is far away from the speaker whereas the trees with yellow and red bushes are right in the speaker’s yard. The white tree that is far away represents death. The speaker is close to life with the red and yellow bushes, but she wants to go the white tee. She wants to “fall into those flowers and sink into the marsh near them” (27-28). The speaker wants to join her husband in death.
Spring has a positive connotation and is a beautiful time, but the speakers emotions are in contrast with the season. She wants to go to leave the color in her yard for the white tree. She does not fit it with the color and happiness of spring. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rank of Hamlet Characters based on Performance

Rank of Hamlet Characters based on Performance:

Gertrude: She has stayed true to her role the whole play. She is Hamlet's mother and Claudius's wife. Yet she becomes very interesting at the end of the play. Did she want to kill herself with the wine or not? If she did she put on a great performance because none of the characters believe she deliberately killed herself.

Ophelia: I do not believe Ophelia goes mad after she discovers the death of her father. She instead has a wondrous method to her insanity. She gives out flowers to some of the characters for their traits. This is extremely introspective and reveals that she understands what is going on more than most of the other characters. Yet, again most of the characters believe she is mad even though it is an act. This makes her successful.

Hamlet: Is Hamlet really mad or not? I do not believe Hamlet is mad. I believe that Hamlet has too much emotion and rage bottled up inside himself which he does not know how to place. His motive for acting insane is unclear throughout the whole play. Most characters believe he is insane which makes his successful in his performance. Yet, since his motive is unclear, what is the point of his performance?

Claudius: Claudius does a lousy job at performance throughout the whole play. First off, he cannot keep his face from going white after watching Mousetrap. Secondly, Hamlet sees right through his plan to have the English king slay Hamlet. He is successful is pretending he is praying during 3.3, but he was not acting then. He was simply being himself and thought he was alone.

Rosencrantz/ Guildenstren: Hamlet sees right through their perfromance. They attempt at being Hamlet's friend but fail miserably. I will give them the benefit of the doubt that Hamlet is suspicious of most and sees right through many lies though. They do not succeed one bit in convincing the Hamlet they are not working with the King.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Explication of 35/10 by Sharon Olds

The speaker is a mother of a child. The speaker laments about her aging and acts jealous towards her daughter’s aging. While the mother develops a “fold in [her] neck” the daughter’s “fine bones of her hips sharpen” (6-8). The mother seems jealous of her daughter’s aging. Her daughter is growing into her prime stages, while the mother is leaving that stage.
The mother describes her skin as “dry pitting” (9). Pitting has a negative connotation. She describes her daughter’s skin “like a moist precise flower” (9-10). The mother describes her predicament as an end while the daughter is opening like the petals of a flower. This comparison between the mother and daughter’s skin has emotional weight. It tells the story of the circle of life; as the mother grows older so does the daughter, but the daughter is growing into her glory days while her mother is moving away from those days.
The speaker than compares the eggs of the mother and child. The speaker goes so far as saying her eyes are “duds”. Duds has an extremely negative connotation. This expresses a blue feeling because the mother describes her aging as wilting away. She will soon no longer be able to bear children. In contrast the daughter’s eggs are so young they are about “to snap its clasp” (15). In addition she describes the eggs as “firm as hard- boiled yolks” (14). Hard boiled is an interesting choice of words. Hard- boiled describes an egg that is firm from being cooked for a period of time. Hard boiled eggs are firm but cooked as well. Hard- boiled may also describe the mother’s eggs because they have been cooked, if you will, for a longer period of time.

In the last stanza, the speaker describes this juxtaposition of her and her daughter as replacement. She calls it an “old story” because it has happened many times before. Yet, even though it is an old story, it still elicits emotion. Replacement is an old story in a world sense, but it is not an old story to the mother. It is still devastating for the mother even though it has happened to other mothers before.