Shakes: Week 7 notes
Shakes: Week 7 notes Eng 150B
Popular in Shakespeare: Later Plays
Popular in Foreign Language
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!”