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Shakes: Week 7 notes

by: Alyssa Notetaker

Shakes: Week 7 notes Eng 150B

Alyssa Notetaker
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Shakespeare: Later Plays
Robert Watson
Class Notes
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alyssa Notetaker on Sunday November 15, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Eng 150B at University of California - Los Angeles taught by Robert Watson in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see Shakespeare: Later Plays in Foreign Language at University of California - Los Angeles.

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Date Created: 11/15/15
Week  Seven,  Lecture  13   Throne  of  Blood,  cont’d   • Change  in  the  movie  from  the  text:  Lady  M  says  she’s  pregnant   o Pretty  convenient,  since  he  was  planning  to  name  Miki’s  son  his  heir   that  night   o Struggle:  she  is  determined  to  change  the  future,  says  she  will  change   it,  make  it  so  it’s  not  Miki’s  sons  who  rule   o à  Says  she’s  pregnant;  screech  sound  effect  and  Macbeth  figure   (Washizu)  crouching  down  again     § Indicating  lack  of  resolve  now,  where  before  he  was  being   more  “manly,”  making  a  decision  and  standing  behind  it   o Immediately  after:  Miki’s  horse  is  running  in  circles,  out  of  control   § Where  earlier,  a  horse  was  being  led  in  circles  neatly   • Miki  (Banquo)  seems  smug,  feels  secure  that  Macbeth  (Washizu)  will  declare   Fleance  his  heir   o Unwilling  to  heed  the  omen  of  the  horse,  which  will  lead  him  to   Macbeth’s  ambush   o Fleance  is  less  sure   o Banquo’s  murder:  only  takes  like  20  seconds;  you  see  the  horse  going   crazy,  Banquo  reassuring  Fleance,  and  then  Banquo’s  horse  coming   back  riderless   • In  movie:  the  banquet  scene   o At  start,  has  a  Hamlet-­‐esque  element:  the  king  watching  a   performance  disturbingly  similar  to  how  he  usurped  Duncan   § May  disturb  him  as  well  as  reminding  Macbeth  that  he  is  just   acting  out  a  script  that  has  been  done  many  times  before   o Now,  Lady  M  and  M  have  separate  beds   § Also:  framing,  on  opposite  sides  of  a  sword   § Also:  standing  back  to  back,  looking  away  from  each  other  in   the  frame   • Long  time  until  they  face  each  other   • Indicates  their  growing  separation   o Macbeth:  goes  through  motions  of  bringing  plate  to  mouth,  looks  like   he’s  eating  or  drinking,  but  it’s  the  same  plate  that  hasn’t  been  refilled   § Going  through  the  motions   o Banquo  (Miki)  ghost  arrives  very  solidly,  but  very  well  lighted,  white   § Lady  M  downplays  his  outburst   § Staggers  along  the  walls  and  pulls  out  his  sword   o Macbeth  kills  the  murderer  he  hired  for  not  killing  Fleance   § After  Lady  M  just  gives  him  a  look  and  leaves  the  room;  she’s  in   charge   § Drawn-­‐out  death,  pain,  gurgling,  suffering,  hissing   • Suffering  as  animals  as  harder  to  see  than  suffering  of   people?   • His  death  echoed  in  the  serving  woman’s  revelation  of  a   miscarriage:   o Same  designs  on  her  kimono   o Makes  blubbering  sounds  while  kneeling  in  front   of  him  (blocking  him  from  seeing  his  wife  after  a   supposed  stillbirth)     • Wind  kicking  up  dust,  very  strong   o Conversation  between  low-­‐born  people:   § “The  whole  castle  is  shaking”   § “The  foundations  have  long  been  rotting”   § The  rats  are  rumored  to  be  leaving  the  castle   • Framing  of  Macbeth  (Washizu):  sword  on  one  side,  helmet  of  the  king  on  the   other,  as  he  waits   o Camera  zooms  out,  making  him  look  smaller,  squeezed  between  the   sides  of  the  doorway   § He  has  a  choice,  the  sword  as  the  might  of  his  rule,  and  the   helmet  as  his  legitimacy  to  rule  (but  we  never  see  the  crescent   helmet  on  Washizu’s  head,  it  just  follows  him—can  never  get   properly  into  the  clothes  of  the  ruling  authority  in  the  play)   § Desperation,  everything  is  closing  in,  how  can  he  get  out   o Lady  M  has  a  stillborn  child,  is  near  to  death   § He  goes  to  the  helmet,  and  cries,  screams  at  it   • Then  screams  at  the  sword:  “Fool!”   • Takes  the  gist  of  the  speech  (“Tomorrow,  and   tomorrow,  and  tomorrow,  …  all  our  yesterdays  have   lighted  fools  the  way  to  dusty  death.  Out,  out,  brief   candle!”)  that’s  usually  after  Lady  M’s  death  and  brings   it  to  one  syllable:  Fool   o Calling  self  a  fool,  everything  he’s  done  leading  to   this,  leading  to  death   • He  doesn’t  know  what  to  do,  then  hears  thunder   o Stormà  he  has  a  plan   o Goes  to  talk  to  the  weird  sisters  (“evil  spirit”)     § Shots  of  him  riding  through  tree  branches   • Wild,     § Can  you  predict  my  future?   • She  just  laughs,  surrounded  by  skulls  (from  which   flowers  are  growing)   § More  scary  this  time   § Macbeth  looks  crazy,  horse  is  turning  in  circles,  going   backward   • The  battle:  he  has  an  evil  laugh  that  becomes  more  and  more  forced   o He’s  shown  above  his  army,  laughing,  no  need  for  alarm  he  says   o Shot  from  below  him,  making  him  seem  big   • More  disordered  dinner  with  advisors,  skewed  camera  angle,  no  straight   lines  anymore   o Crows  fly  in,  fly  around  crazily  inside,  trapped   o Still,  Macbeth  laughs,  confident  in  own  infallibility   o Ill  omen,  as  well  as  natural:  birds  fly  away  from  woods  because  the   army  is  cutting  down  their  homes,  the  branches  of  Birnam  wood   • Sleeping  Asaji  crazily  washing  her  hands,  trying  to  get  them  clean   o Brief  candles  almost  flickering  out  beside  her  (though  we  don’t   actually  see  or  even  hear  of  her  death  in  the  movie)     o Lots  of  dust  and  confusion  as  people  run  from  the  forest  that  is   moving  closer   § Now  Washizu  has  to  actually  command  his  army   § But  they  shoot  at  him,  as  he  staggers  against  the  walls  of  the   battlements   § Arrows  stick  in  wall,  we  see  him  through  the  arrow  shafts,  like   we  saw  him  cornered  when  he  saw  Banquo’s  ghost   • Wood  and  feathers  coming  back  to  kill  him,  nature   reclaiming  its  land   • His  face:  kind  of  like,  “How  did  I  get  here?”   • He  falls,  the  fog  overtakes  him  (so,  Macduff  doesn’t  kill   Macbeth  in  the  movie,  as  opposed  to  the  play)     o He  looks  like  a  dead  porcupine  with  all  the   arrows  in  him,  no  humanity   o Looks  like  the  piles  of  bones  in  the  twigs,  from   the  scenes  with  the  witch   • Image  of  the  pole  from  the  beginning;  cyclical  nature  of  the  play   The  portents  in  Macbeth   • The  visions  when  he  goes  to  them  the  second  time  in  the  play:   o Macbeth  and  many  people  read  it  as  very  figurative,  at  least  in  the   visions  of  who  gives  each  warning,  but…   o 1)  An  armed  head  says  to  Beware  when  Birnam  wood  comes  to   Dunsinane   § Literally:  when  that  happens,  his  head  will  be  cut  off  (he’ll  be   just  a  head  in  a  helmet)   o 2)  A  bloody  child  says  to  Beware  of  man  not  of  woman  born  (Macduff)   § Literally:  Child  born  by  brutal  C-­‐section  would  be  super  bloody   § Figuratively:  Macbeth  killing  future  generations,  disrupting  the   natural  succession,  killing  future  children     o 3)  Armed  child  with  tree  in  its  hand,  warns  of  next  generation  rising   up   § Literally:  next  generation’s  prince  carrying  trees  to  the  fight   § Figuratively:  tree  as  scepter,  nature  approving  of  the  new   generation  more     Lecture  14:  Coriolanus   Heroes,  Unsympathetic  protagonist,  and  body  politic   What  constitutes  a  heroic  story?   • Coriolanus  is  not  very  redeemable   Setting  and  Unsympathetic  Coriolanus   • Systems  (class  system,  especially)  trying  to  change   o Emperorsà  popular  rule   § Caius  Marcius  Coriolanus  as  a  boy:  battled  Tarquin   § At  first  rallies  against  the  emperorship,  supports  Republic   • But  still  doesn’t  want  an  open  democracy,  pro-­‐patrician   (be  high-­‐ranking  land  owner  to  vote)   o At  start:  threat  of  government  overthrow  because  of  a  lack  of  FOOD,   corn   § à  Senate  compromises,  allows  common  people  to  have  2   representatives  to  participate  in  the  debates   • =The  tribunes  (Brutus  and  Sicinius)     § Moving  toward  direct  democracy   § à  Problem  for  Caius  Marcius  Coriolanus:  he  wants  to  maintain   his  views  of  what  Rome,  and  himself,  should  be   • Embodiment  of  the  pure,  aristocratic  ideal  of  Rome   • Wants  to  suppress  everything  else,  everything   animalistic  or  plebian  (food,  smell  of  people,  desires,   etc.)   o Even  in  others,  wants  to  maintain  Rome  as  the   ideal  aristocratic  system   o Maintain  the  governmental  system   • Tries  to  be  loyal,  noble,  respectable,  great  in  battle,   honorable  soldier,  uncomplaining     o Ideal  Roman  (for  the  aristocrats,  the  patricians)   o Great  physical  prowess   • But  he’s  unsympathetic,  impossible  for  viewers  to   admire  him   o Ex  of  trying  to  be  noble  but  failing  miserably:     § After  the  battle,  he  justly  asks  for  the   release  of  a  prisoner  of  war  who’s   innocent  and  an  acquaintance,  but  when   asked  for  the  prisoner’s  name,  he  says  “By   Jupiter!  I  forgot.  I  am  weary;  yea,  my   memory  is  tired.  Have  we  no  wine  here?”   And  that’s  the  last  mentioned  of  it   • We  don’t  enter  inside  him  in  the  way  we  do  with  Hamlet   or  Macbeth   o He  believes  in  a  self-­‐enclosed,  automatic  human   o He  is  self-­‐enclosed;  self-­‐created,  self-­‐creating,   self-­‐made,  self-­‐sustaining   • We  are  his  enemy,  the  people  he  disapproves  of   o Some  productions:  audience  on  the  stage,  part  of   the  mob  scenes;  Coriolanus  looks  down  on  us   • He  also  feels  no  pain  or  uncertainty   o Unsympathetic     o He’s  a  brat,  pretty  much   § Created  by  his  mother   • Keeps  seeming  to  tell  the  audience  he’s  a  hero   o It  spoils  our  ability  to  take  the  story  as   Coriolanus  would  prefer  we  do   o Made  how  he  is  by  what  the  people  and  his   mother  tell  him  the  “ideal”  is   § Not  much  left  to  be  attributed  to  self-­‐ generated  greatness  (which  is  what   audiences  like  and  identify  with)   • Rants  about  how  he  doesn’t  like  to  talk—ironic     o Tragic  heroes  don’t  have  to  be  perfect,  but  we  care  about  their  virtues   § We  care  about  their  virtues  and  how  long  those  virtues  hold   out  before  leading  them  to  their  corruption  and  downfall,   tragically   § But  what  we  see  turned  against  Coriolanus  instead  is  his  LACK   of  virtues   • Lack  of  eloquence,  ambiguity,  complexity  of  real  human   life,  internal  conflict/pain,  ability  to  show  mercy   o His  presence  is  the  opposite  of  Othello;  not  calm,   but  instead  messy  and  ugly  and  crude   o Calls  everyone  around  him  scabs  and  dissentious   and  other  crude  bodily  functions   • Valuing  of  physical  prowess  to  the  point  of  brutality   • Devotion  to  his  own  cause  that  can  be  turned  into   brutality  against  his  own  nation  or  tears  by  his  mother   o Protagonist  isn’t  a  good  guy   § So  whom  do  you  root  for  against  Coriolanus,  as  the  hero?   • They’re  all  compromised,  slightly  corrupt  or  too   devoted  to  one  problematic  cause   • The  possible  heroes  are  not  just  blandly  virtuous;   they’re  set  to  go  down  a  path  of  petty  evil   o Brutus,  Sicinius   § Looking  for  power  for  selves   § They  get  riots  started,  then  slip  away  to   safety   § Brutus  and  Sicinius  after  Coriolanus   leaves:  strutting  around,  taunting,  don’t   have  a  good  solution  when  get  news   Coriolanus  and  Aufidious  are  attacking   o Aufidious:  potentially  more  admirable   § Even  Coriolanus  thinks  he’s  the  2   greatest  person  in  the  world   § Pure,  honorable  combatant   § BUT,  he’s  tired  of  finishing  second;  à  he   cheats!  Not  so  honorable  after  all   • Starts  a  riot,  like  Brutus  and   Sicinius  did,  but  to  kill  Coriolanus   • “Traitor,”  “boy”     o Threatening  Coriolanus’   manhood  and  status  as  a   hero   o If  you  want  to  have  heroism,  it’s  either  in  a  bad  form  or  you  have  to   give  up  on  it  entirely   § Noble  ideals  aren’t  great  to  actually  embody  in  this  world   • Doesn’t  turn  out  well  in  actuality   § Which  authority  to  obey?     § In  the  end,  have  to  make  an  impossible  choice  to  be  a  hero   • Coriolanus  pushes  that  choice  onto  the  audience:   o Fascist  bullying  v.  selfish,  mindless  mob   cowardice   o Great  human  ambitions  v.  basic  human  needs   § Makes  us  try  to  choose  a  side,  then  shows  the  downfalls  of  each   • Shows  multiple  perspectives   First  scene:   • Commoners  accuse  patricians  of  hoarding  grain   o Aristocrats  deny  it,  say  they’re  controlling  it  and  rationing  to  avoid   starvation  in  the  future   o Which  is  true?   § We  don’t  know   § Exploitation  of  the  fact  we  don’t  know:  makes  it  impossible  to   choose  a  side   § Explains  the  mistrust  between  the  groups  without  dictating   which  side  you  should  be  on   o Negative  depictions  of  soldiers  as  bullying,  ugly,  reflexive  v.  negative   depictions  of  populist,  leftist  politics  as  uneducated  and  just  trying  to   increase  own  power   § Neither  side  is  flattering   Stagings  of  this  play:   • A  lot  of  the  time  sparks  debates  with  each  side  complaining  about  how  the   play  depicts  their  side   • Nazi  Germany:  change  it  to  make  Coriolanus  the  true  hero  and  “fuher”   leading  the  misguided  commoners     • Relevant  with  many  political  situations   Context  in  the  time  it  was  written:   • Shortage  of  grain   • Enclosure:  shared  land  becoming  privatized  by  aristocrats,  building  walls   and  fences  to  have  sole  use  of  land  to  graze  sheep,  mostly   o Aristocrats  wanted  to  make  money   o à  Uprisings,  tearing  down  aristocrats’  fences     § Friend  of  Shakespeare’s,  Quinine,  went  to  court  about  it  and   went  to  tear  down  fences;  Quinine  soon  died   § Government:  start  making  laws  against  enclosures,  allow  some   but  not  too  much  to  avoid  explosion  of  uprisings  by  either  class   • Enclosures  for  sheepà  shortage  of  food  being  grown   • Also,  from  feudalà  start  of  capitalism     o Economics:   § Government:  needs  more  money,  don’t  want  to  raise  taxes     • à  Creation  of  more  money   • System  of  coinageà  arbitrary  relation  of  coins  and  their   value   • à  Aristocrats  rack  the  rents  (multiply  what  the   peasants  on  their  land  pay)   o In  short:   § Economic  system  is  being  disrupted,  lower  classes  have  to  pay   more,  aristocrats  enclosing  and  claiming  land  that  used  to  be   shared,  less  food  is  being  grown  (=shortage  of  food)   • Coriolanus  as  representative  of  enclosure:   o Not  wanting  to  show  connections  to  others   o Being  sustained  within  himself,  denying  any  holes  in  himself  or  the   “fence”  around  him   o Wants  to  be  a  self-­‐contained,  pure  hero   • Shakespeare’s  plays:  context  of  the  classics  to  get  the  play  past  the   gatekeepers   o Deniability  about  actually  addressing  the  conflicts  in  own  culture   o Contentions=  metaphor  for  what’s  going  on  currently,  what  we   actually  care  about     § Need  to  make  politics  personal  to  get  empathy;  Shakespeare   depicts  characters  in  relevant  contexts  to  make  the  people   truly  understand  what’s  happening   • Show  characters  caught  in  the  ambiguity  of  the  system/   conflict  (Lear,  Macbeth,  Hamlet,  etc.)   o Puts  us  in  the  psyche  of  characters  on  a  level  so   we  care  about  them   o Battle  within  self     • Coriolanus  would  like  us  to  see  it  like  that,  as  someone   who  is  struggling  with  himself   o But  he’s  always  externalizing  the  struggle   o Everything  about  him=  projected  out  onto  the   people   § So  he  can  fight  it,  but  this  denies  him   seeming  like  a  true  hero,  denies  the   audience  seeing  his  internal  conflict  (if  it   exists)   First  scene  cont’d  and  food/body  politic:   • Aristocrats’  argument  (Menenius):   o Aristocrats  as  the  stomach,  distributing  energy  to  everyone  else  until   all  that’s  left  for  them  is  refuse   • Coriolanus:  chooses  not  to  be  the  stomach   o Sees  entire  state  as  his  body,  wants  to  eliminate  refuse   o Body  politic:  state  as  a  macrocosm  of  the  individual   o Writes  himself  as  hard   § Lots  of  metaphors  of  metal   § Unmovable   § Wants  to  remove  his  own  mortality  and  humanity   • Disturbed  by  moments  when  body  intercedes:  have  to   eat,  or  go  to  the  bathroom,  or  shower,  etc.   o We  are  disturbed  by  it  even  now:  euphemisms   for  going  to  the  bathroom,  rituals  surrounding   eating,  fasting  on  religious  days   § Asserting  transcendent  values  and  ability   to  rise  above  the  body   • Can  you  exempt  yourself  from  the  body  on  the  behalf  of   some  ideal?   • Torn  between  ideals  and  needs:   o Embodiment  of  being  the  best  v.  practical  human   needs   § Coriolanus  tries  to  remove  self  from  body   • Is  so  unwilling  to  cede  to  the  plebes  he  would  subsist  on   one  grain  a  day   • Refuses  to  be  part  of  the  food  riot,  the  body  metaphor   Menenius  makes,  or  any  part  of  the  organic  cycle   • Brutus:  “ You speak o' the people, As if you were a god to punish, not A man of their infirmity.”   o Describes  desires  for  power  with  revulsion  from  eating   § Got  it  from  his  mother;  mother  says  anger  is  her  meat,  I  sup   upon  myself  and  so  will  starve  with  feeding   • How  she  feeds  son:  breast  gives  forth  blood   • Nourishes  him  with  blood,  and  desire  to  draw  blood   from  the  enemy   o Brutality  and  blood  >  food  and  human  needs   o Fighting=  eating  for  him,  normal  food=  poison   • With  Aufidious  after  banishment:  they  eat  and  invite  him  to  join   o Coriolanus  doesn’t  realize  that  he  couldn’t  escape  human  needs  by   leaving  Rome;  can’t  reach  his  ideal   § Tries  to,  and  is  drawn  back  into  this  act  of  human  community   (eating  together)   • “com”=  with,  commoners,  companions,  communions,   comedy,  consul   • Aufidious  walking  among  the  people,  part  of  community   in  movie   o Coriolanus:  doesn’t  realize  he  is  not  just  a  good   fighter,  he’s  also  part  of  a  community  and  human   • Basically:   o For  Coriolanus,  everything  bad=bodily  and  base  human  needs   o Everything  good=  externalizing  the  problem  and  physically  fighting  it   o BUT  what  audiences  want  in  a  hero  is  internal  conflict   Friend  or  enemy?   • How  to  tell  who  is  which?   o Especially  with  Coriolanus,  to  whom  his  enemies  could  be  counted   friends,  as  they  give  him  what  he  wants:  opposition  to  defeat   o Happy  that  war  is  coming  to  get  anger  and  excess  fat  out  of  his  system   § Get  out  the  fat:  2  meanings   • Going  to  get  rid  of  the  fat  on  body  through  active   fighting   • Going  to  get  rid  of  the  mobs  and  excess  people  in  the   state   § Associates  commoners  with  human  waste   § How  to  deal  with  Rome:  burn  it  down  to  get  rid  of  the  stink,   purify,  get  rid  of  commoners   • Fed  up  with  the  inefficiency  of  the  existence  of  human   beings   • “Venting  musty  superfluity”     o Doesn’t  have  time  to  pick  out  the  senate  who   were  for  him   o Metaphor  about  not  picking  through  poop  to  find   a  few  good  grains  left   § Shows  Coriolanus’  true  mission  to  burn   the  chaff,  and  doesn’t  care  if  the  grain  gets   in  it  too   § Menenius:  commoners  as  the  “musty   chaff”   § He’s  out  to  save  the  human  race  from   interdependencies,  messy  interactions   with  the  world,  humanity,  base  needs   • Tries  to  isolate  his  fleshy  aspects   in  the  citizenry,  trying  to  establish   them  as  subhuman,  to  try  to   compensate  and  rise  up  in   counterpoint   • Avoids  surrendering  to  mortal   demands  of  the  body,  that  stands   between  self  and  perfection   o Act  5:  “ out, affection! All bond and privilege of nature, break! Let it be virtuous to be obstinate.”   o Everything  sexual  he  says  is   to  a  guy  in  battle,  praising   for  good  fighting   o To  Cominius  in  Act  I:   o “O,  let  me  clip  ye   heart  s  as  sound  as  when  I  woo'd,  in   As  merry  as  when  our  nuptial  day  was   done,   And  tapers  burn'd  to  b  rd!”  


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