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English 150C Week 1 Notes

by: lledesma

English 150C Week 1 Notes English 150C


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About this Document

Notes and discussion on "The Basics of Shakespeare Comedy," "Weirdness in the Comedy of Errors" and a beginning discussion on "The Comedy of Errors"
Topics in Shakespeare: Shakespearean Tragicomedy
Braunmuller, A.R.
Class Notes
The_Comedy_of_Errors, Skakespeare, tragicomedy, comedy, English_150C
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by lledesma on Sunday October 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to English 150C at University of California - Los Angeles taught by Braunmuller, A.R. in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Topics in Shakespeare: Shakespearean Tragicomedy in English at University of California - Los Angeles.


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Date Created: 10/02/16
English 150C Tuesday, October 4, 2016 Week 1 Coghill, Nevill. "The Basis of Shakespearian Comedy" - Shakespeare did not write in any identifiable form - Ben Jonson vs. Shakespeare (Ben Jonson is harsh/nobility and grace of nature, simpletons punished just for being what they are, but it falls on architecture; it was lousy.) - Shakespeare draws out his form from Evanthius, Diomedes, and Donates. (an Aristotelian form) - Diomedes: What Comedy differs from Tragedy is how nobility is presented humbly and privately. - Donatus: Comedy is about common people and makes known what is useful in life and what is to be avoided. - The Satiric: focuses on the middle way of life and focuses on vices that are to be avoided, and qualities that are useful. Boethian style: the style is not as lofty as tragedy and is laced with dangers that promise an unhappy ending. - The Romantic: Carpe Diem. A catastrophe solves all problems and misunderstanding. Often involves love-making and the abduction of virgins. - Comedy often starts off with a problem that almost seems insolvable, but ends in a happy outcome. - Common to Both: the events are not historical but imaginary. - Dante’s epistle: comedy: comos - village. oda - a song. (rustic song); starts with harshness and ends happily; - comedy: negligent and humble; love is a theme in comedy - tragedy: tragos - a goat. oda - a song. (goatish song); lofty and sublime - The Renaissance interpretation of comedy saw it only as ridicule; laughter and calamity are punitive and deterrent, it’s meant to teach the lesson; primarily focused on the Day of Judgment themes - while in earlier times comedy and tragedy was used as a form of a mature form of stories and focused on Romance, the latter focused on Punishment, a result of Puritanism - Sidney: Comedy is an imitation of the common errors of life, and presented in such a ridiculous fashion that any commoner would be happy to be the same. - Sir John Harrington: comedy offends in such a way to make the vice scorned and not embraced. 1 English 150C Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - The Comedy of Errors: Changes the venue and structure of Comedy; Egeon is at first taken to his execution but is saved by his former wife (sub romantic plot between Antroph S and Luciana) - A human life well lived is a comedy; however great troubles are they are temporary and eventually end in happiness, as in heaven—they are normal, attainable outcomes (this is the medieval form) - Most of Shakespeare's plays are love focused. Lovers are reunited, faults are forgiven; “Comedy of a Golden World,” eg. A Midsummer’s Night Dream: the first expression of this “Golden World” where there is no ill will. Later on he would stretch this view to also contain malice and sorrow in a way that still was as hopeful. It had a Medieval focus on Comedy. - Shakespeare didn’t focus on creating a story, but of reinventing it (like Disney). Round characters. He changed the characters at will to fit the narrative line and therefore created works more dramatic and more interesting than Ben Johnson. Romantic tradition. - Ben Johnson focused more on characters and their lack of development (flat characters); their vices. He created a story by taking characters and funneling them under specific scenes, like formulas, until resulting in an end that was not so nice, to show how bad such qualities are. Satyrical tradition. - Shakespeare worked on allegorical plane; some of his works seem to purposely draw in multiple meanings to be interpreted, as does The Faerie Queene. Yet there are plenty that allude to such meanings but amount to nothing. G. R. Elliott “Weirdness in The Comedy of Errors” - individuality and the fear of it being submerged - comedy in the play is a form of relief from the tension of not knowing who's identity is presented (which twin is it?) - restricts the play to a single day in a single city by having Egon’s history within the beginning of the text as a sort of understanding; a prologue to the proceeding events. - there is a subtle romance within the play; contemporary romance - there’s a level of high comedy involving pathos (a high emphasis is placed on the pathos of romance) 2 English 150C Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - the play starts off with a rather sad air but is lightened a bit by Dromio’s jokes - there is a weirdness within the play (something you’re uncomfortable with, edgy, a trick, disorienting) that is not underlined until much later, rather the focus is much more on the subtle romance than on the grotesqueness of the events that play on (the fact that people are being mistaken and events, in which a certain person was not part of, are being reclaimed) - after trying to woo Luciana, he, Antipholus S., says that he would do away with his identity if only he could be accepted by her. When rejected he leaves into the city, where he is given gifts. While Antipholus S. is being given gifts and kindness it is Antipholus E. that is being charged such merits. Finally the two brothers are on the same page when one seeks revenge, E., and the other seeks to escape the “witches,” S. Discussion on The Comedy of Errors - Time: The danger not the death; brings a character close to death without the execution; 3:10 to Yuma; as the play proceeds tension arises because death is becoming inevitable; there’s a force of time that is running contrary to people’s desires; Syracuse and Ephesus are at war and on those terms Egeon of Syracuse must die; the show is infinitely expanding if not stopping it within one day - The whole play is framed within one day; Egeon’s life is extended by only one day and cannot be prolonged even by the Duke’s orders and starts off with Egeon’s history - What problem is he solving by starting off with the Duke and Egeon’s exchange? Egeon is looking for his family, his prologue shows why he is where he is, how he got there; - You do not begin from the egg, you begin from the middle; - Why is the Duke there? he emphasizes looming death; the Duke is the reinforcer; the Duke cannot not carry out the execution because his role is to enforce the law no matter how he sympathizes with a person because to not do so is to lose his title as Duke, it’s the same as losing his identity - Ephesus; the play is set in a non-original setting, the story was originally set in another sea port - Letters from St. Paul to various christian communities in the mediterranean; Ephasus is described within one of these letters. Why did Shakespeare change the setting to this city? - the audience threw it’s religious education knows there was once a city called Ephasus, which was notorious as a place for magic and tricks, magicians, a place void of christianity 3 English 150C Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - human identity; even names to distinguish the twins have become unstable; the play about the confusion of identity starts off with someone being condemned because of someone because of their identity; how is identity established in social structure? through names? psychological and social identity: acceptance and reinforcement of identity through names - identity of birth; if I am an ass then I should kick when kicked, beware of the ass; even an animal has even more of a right to fight back than Dromio who is slave to Antiphons and therefore cannot fight back (27) - Because it is a comedy, the play should concentrate on the nature of commoners; slavery; theme of ownership; exchanges extend from simple matters to the extreme (slavery) which also involves one’s identity and birth; contracts are reinforced through identity; - Again, because it is a comedy a family divided in the beginning of the play must come to a reunion. - relationships; between masters, wives and friends; we ourselves have the power to name and un-name; the dangerousness of the play is taking a misunderstanding, a casual mistake and contemplating it’s reality (what if it were true) - the audience goes back and forth between laughing about it and being horrified by the mistakes and misunderstandings - each confusion has associated with it some object (gold chain, with links that hold together the greater idea; the rope, for beating a slave; the slaves themselves are seen as objects possessed) • deus ex machina: (god delivered by a machine) an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel (in this case deia ex machina) - Ben Jonson once thought to make a play about a set of twins but did not because he couldn’t find a set of twins that looked enough alike; shakespeare simply cast it by having one guy play two roles by costume, voice, accent, ect.; also brings up the concept of submitting our identity to the group; casting; submit your own identity to the play in order to complete it - 1594 Feast of Innocence Dec. 25 law students perform The Error of Commons shatsburg; two universities Oxford and Cambridge; for law go to London to the Inns of Chancery 4 English 150C Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - classical drama covers a period of 24 hours (Aristotelian) fictionally covers from sun up to sunset; Egeon is a classical play (his life is prolonged by a day) - discusses human identity in an imaginary place that seems magical; a place that tries to establish identity through commerce; explores a theatricalize existence 5


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