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Shakes week 8

by: Alyssa Notetaker

Shakes week 8 Eng 150B

Alyssa Notetaker
GPA 3.8

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Shakespeare: Later Plays
Robert Watson
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alyssa Notetaker on Sunday November 22, 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 19 views. For similar materials see Shakespeare: Later Plays in Foreign Language at University of California - Los Angeles.

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Date Created: 11/22/15
Week  Eight:  Lecture  15   Political  and  social  systems  and  how  they  interact  in  Coriolanus   Prefixes   • com-­‐   • part-­‐   o Community,  participate,  commitatus,  etc.   o Both  part-­‐  and  com-­‐  words  are  more  common  in  Coriolanus  than  any   other  play   Aristotle:  “He  who  cannot  live  at  peace  with  society  is  either  a  beast  or  an  angel”   • Which  is  Coriolanus?   • Too  good  or  too  bad?   o Wants  higher  principles  to  rule  over  his  heart  and  humanity;  wants  to   perfect  himself   § “Against  those  measles  which  we  disdain  should  tetter  us”   • Bodily  stuff  as  holding  one  back   o Brutus  accuses  Coriolanus  of  speaking  to  the  Roman  people  “As  if  you   were  a  god  to  punish,  not  a  man  of  their  infirmity”     § Tribunes=  the  perfect  people  to  point  this  out;  they  are  there  to   check  the  nobles,  also  try  to  check  Coriolanus’  god-­‐like   demeanor  and  point  out  he  is  human,  too   • Voice  of  the  commoners  in  the  Senate,  voice  of  bodily   needs  and  internal  weaknesses  in  Coriolanus   o Nature  has  a  way  of  reminding  people  they’re  just  creatures   § Coriolanus  wants  to  deny  nature,  even  as  nature  creeps  up  on   him  (rejects  showing  wounds,  having  paternal  figures,   disgusted  by  people’s  voices  and  breaths  and  food)   • Wants  to  be  self-­‐made,  autonomous  and  independent,   so  rankles  at  the  need  to  ask  the  commoners  for  their   bodily  and  stinky  voices   • Rejects  Menenius  as  a  father  figure,  rejecting  being   human,  having  parents,  being  made  by  another   § Tries  to  re-­‐parent  himself!   • Shuts  behind  the  gates,  others  think  he’s  dead,  there’s   eulogies   • Then  he  comes  bursting  out  of  the  gates,  covered  in   blood,  and  gets  a  new  name:  Coriolanus   • “O  me  alone!  Make  you  a  sword  of  me?”   o What  he  wants:  to  be  Rome’s  sword,   independently   o Image  of  a  self-­‐inflicted  C-­‐section;  brings  self  into   world   o He’s  re-­‐fathered  himself,  but  it’s  not  clear  if  he’s   re-­‐mothered  himself   § And  that’s  where  the  world  starts  coming   back  to  him,  where  the  systems  of  biology   and  society  come  back  and  he  is  no  loner   autonomous     • After  war  against  Aufidius:     o Mother  pressures  him,  and  his  diction  reverts  to   childlike  voice   § Wants  mother’s  approval,  wants  her  to   stop  chiding   • At  the  end,  he  can  no  longer  deny  his  parenthood,  his   mother   o Stops  denying  his  origins  in  other  people  and  the   functions  of  biology,  though  he  doesn’t  want  to   recognize  limitations  of  his  origins;  recognizes   that  in  seeing  self  as  a  son,  trapped  by  biology   from  being  godlike,  in  front  of  Aufidius’  army   he’s  signed  his  own  death  warrant   o After  war  with  Aufidius:   § During  war,  everyone  unites  against  common  enemy   § After  war,  everyone’s  differences  re-­‐appear   • Coriolanus’  goals,  his  mother’s  goals,  and  Rome’s  goals   were  all  the  same;  After  war,  their  needs  and  goals   change   o Mother  wants  him  to  advance  politically,  Rome   wants  him  as  the  consul,  but  Coriolanus  wants  to   fight  and  stay  uncompromising;  keep  his  ideals   strong   § While  the  people  and  his  mother  want   him  to  bend  and  compromise   • Coriolanus  as  figure  of  treacheries  and  destroying  of   instinctive  grandeur   o Story  of  Eden  being  erased,  historical   inevitability   o Coriolanus  truly  believes  patriotic  stories  of  the   greatness  of  Rome   § Wants  to  live  it  out   § Everyone  else  knows  it’s  just  a  story   • In  peacetime,  what  do  you  do  with  a  guy  who  only   honors  honor  and  violence  and  the  archaic  embodiment   of  Rome?  Who  won’t  bend?     o And  he  doesn’t  even  realize  he’s  not  what  Rome   needs;  when  he’s  banished  he  says  “I  banish   YOU!”  to  the  citizens;  believes  Rome  is  behind   him   o In  end,  joins  with  other  great  warrior  to  revenge  against  the   compromising  Romans  who  don’t  see  how  great  he  is   § Not  aware  of  just  what  an  epidemic  there  is  of  compromising   people;  he  goes  to  find  Aufidius  and  finds  him  eating  with   others,  being  part  of  a  community   Aufidius  and  Corilanus  meeting   • Mirroring   o “Beard  to  beard,”  “sword  to  sword,”  “He  is  a  lion  I  am  proud  to  hunt,”   “were  I  anything  but  what  I  am,  I  would  wish  me  only  he”   • Aufidius’  response  to  Coriolanus:   o Erotic  diction   o So  invested  in  ideal  of  himself,  he  can’t  see  any  connection  between   his  relationship  with  his  wife  and  with  Aufidius     § Sees  women  as  chaste  and  having  nothing  to  do  with  the  world   of  war  and  battle,  the  world  of  men   o Adolescent  desire  to  be  part  of  the  beloved  object   § Aufidius  wants  to  be  Coriolanus,  or  at  least  in  his  place   § Coriolanus  wants  to  be  in  Aufidius’  place  (never  having  been  a   child  of  Rome,  only  existing  in  battle  (as  that’s  the  only  time   when  Coriolanus  has  seen  Aufidius  up  till  now))   o Love  of  men  for  other  men   § Seen  as  more  noble,  reaffirmation  of  manliness   § But,  as  it  goes  on,  possible  competition  for  who’s  the  man  and   who’s  the  boy,  who’s  the  one  in  the  active  sexual  role  and  who   takes  the  passive  role   • Diction  of  failed  penetration  (Aufidius  fails  in  war  with   Coriolanus)     •  Homosexual  fantasy   o In  the  time:  sodomy  as  an  act  existed,  but  an  idea   of  a  person  being  homosexual  wasn’t  a  thing   • Sexual  imagery  at  fighting  at  Corioles:   o Symbolic  of  Coriolanus’  efforts  to  abolish  biological  systems,  and   instead  to  create  a  system  of  creating  perfect  autonomous  soldiers  in   his  image   § Leave  behind  mortal  identity   • Succeeds  for  a  time;  Cominius  about  Coriolanus:  “He  is   their  god.  He  leads  them  like  a  thing  made  by  some   other  deity  than  nature”   • Coriolanus  as  coming  against  the  butterfly  that  is  Rome   o Coriolanus’  son:  chases,  plays  with,  and  tears   apart  a  butterfly  just  like  dad   o Another  reference:  Menenius  states  “there  is  a   differency  between  a  grub  and  a  butterfly”  and   says  Coriolanus  has  transformed  into  a  butterfly   (and  a  dragon)   § And  in  all  the  references  are  of  people  and   armies  destroying  butterflies   § à  Foreshadowing  Coriolanus’  “boys”   tearing  him  apart   • Vulnerable  in  his  greater   transformation!   • Emerges  from  his  chrysalis  state,   but  it’s  all  wrong  and  disastrous   o He  emerges  as  great,  not   common;  a  god   o Leaves  the  mortal,  natural   self  behind   § This=  disastrous   • Can’t  leave  behind  mortality  forever   o Unsustainable   o Mother,  wife,  and  son  come  to  him,  reclaim  him   for  nature   § Mother  refers  to  her  womb  bringing  him   into  the  world;  if  he  wants  to  sack  Rome,   he’ll  have  to  tread  on  his  mother  (rape   her)   § Show  the  generations,  biology   • The  generations  and  symbolic   emphasis  of  dependence  haunt   him   • Seems  to  say  “join  us”   § Bond  of  mother’s  milk   § Nature  closing  in  on  him   • Can’t  transcend  nature  for  long   o He’s  being  made  to  realize  his  independence  and   transcendence  was  just  a  role  he  was  playing,   and  his  real  self  is  dependent  on  his  mother  and   family   § Opposite  of  his  previous  claim  that  he  has   no  connection  to  wife,  mother,  nor  child   § Opposite  of  earlier  claim  that  his  fierce   warrior  personhood  is  who  he  truly  is,   not  a  role;  “I  play  the  man  I  am”   • Saying  he  is  fierce,  and  in  the   marketplace  will  play  a  role  of   being  softer   § Used  to  think  of  self  as  metal   • Menenius:  “Till  he  had  forg’d   himself  a  name  o’  th’  fire  of   burning  Rome”   • Suggests  Coriolanus  is  going  to   continue  forging  himself,  making   himself   • Possibly  reference  to  getting   another  name;  possibly  “Romulus”     § Now:  “I  melt  and  am  not  of  stronger  earth   than  others”   • Still  wants  to  be  special,  but  in   kneeling  to  his  mother   o Knees  deeper  in  dirt  than  a   common  son   • “I  have  forgot  my  part”  (part  of  the   soldier)   o He  gives  in  not  with  words,  but  with  silence   § Holds  mother  by  the  hand,  retakes  his   place  in  the  generational  chain  of  his   mother,  child,  and  wife  onstage   § Chain  of  flesh  draws  him  back  in   o Belief  of  transcendence  dies,  à  image  of  gods   laughing  at  him   • Human  quest  for  glory  was  caught  in  a  paradox  the   whole  time   o Impossibility  of  him  transcending   o High  desires  cause  downfall,  and  gods’  laughs  at   the  attempt  to  be  as  a  god   § Elusive  meaning:  are  the  gods  mocking   Coriolanus  or  just  retaining  the  natural   order  of  things?   § Is  Coriolanus  bloodthirsty  and  evil  or   wronged  or  trying  his  best?   o End:  no  satisfaction   § Mugging  scene  more  than  a  grand  warrior  scene   § But  has  a  chance  before  death  to  remind  them  of  his  past   victory  at  Corioles,  alone   • Asserts  one  last  time  his  defiant,  solitary  self   § Mob  that  kills  him  does  so  to  avenge  kinship   • Avenge  the  deaths  of  their  family  members   • Kill  the  one  against  ideas  of  family  and  interdependence   on  them     • Seems  like  it  could  easily  be  a  comedy   o Someone  trying  to  be  greater  than  he  is,  but  it   goes  wrong  for  him  and  it  embarrassingly  turns   out  for  him  he’s  really  nothing  more  than  what   he  is   o BUT:  Coriolanus’  problem  is  that  he’s  two  people   § This=  key  trait  of  a  tragedy   § Being  caught  between  two  opposing   ideals     • Godly  ideal  v.  humanity     • Classical  ideal  of  Mars  and   Hercules  and  greatness  v.  now   ideal  of  Christianity  and   community  and  humility   • Is  it  heroic  or  satanic  to  be  proud?   o In  Roman  world:  probably   heroic   o Christian  world:  it’s  a  sin   o Allows  us  to  see  how  values   change  and  transform  over   time   • Politics  v.  patriotic  values   o Lack  of  belief  in   transcendent  values  in  the   play;  tragic  in  that  it’s  no   longer  possible  to   transcend   o The  world  is  now  a  lesser   place;  the  whole  system   that  allowed  for  grandeur  is   either  wrecked  or  revealed   to  have  been  an  illusion  all   along   • Determinationà  forgiveness     Lecture  16:  Winter’s  Tale   Context   • 1608   • Shakespeare  is  45  or  46   • Change  in  kinds  of  plays  he’s  writing:   o From  intense  tragedies  of  the  last  few  years  à  plays  with  a  whole   different  feel  to  them,  miraculous   § They  were  called  comedies,  then  they  were  called  romances,   now  it’s  debated  what  to  call  them   • Romances  are  like  comedies  in  that  everything’s  good,   then  bad  stuff  happens,  then  everything  naturally   springs  back  into  good  shape   • But  focus  more  on  miraculous  rebirth,  not  fully  natural   o Journeys  are  not  just  wandering  into  the  woods,   but  part  of  a  long  pattern,  complicated  penitence   the  world  has  to  go  through  in  the  presence  of   guilt   o Different  kind  of  epic   § Not  so  playful,  not  so  realistic  as  his  past   comedies   § Drawing  back  purpose  to  life,  accepting   death  rather  than  despairing  it   • Also,  working  commercially  in  start-­‐up  market:   o Sees  people  paying  to  go  see  Beaumont  and   Fletcher  plays     o Royal  children  being  lost,  raised  among   commoners,  then  found  and  everything  is  better   § Problems  are  solved,  they  can  marry   whom  they  want  to  marry,  etc.   § Re-­‐assertion  of  the  naturalized  hierarchy   • Can  just  naturally  tell  that  royal   children  are  better,  have  better   status,  no  matter  what   • And  it  comes  out  of  their  natural   virtues   o Nature  >  nurture   o But  complicates  this:  even   royalty  is  subject  to  human   frailties  like  jealousy,   foolishness,  mistakes   o Shakespeare  uses  this  as  an  opportunity  to  make   the  stories  meaningful  to  audiences,  “cure”  the   issues  of  the  tragedies   § Love,  distrust,  jealousy,  betrayal   • Re-­‐examining  them  to  figure  out  a   path  out  of  the  tragedy  in  life   § Some  of  same  patterns  as  in  tragedies:   • Jealousy  of  man  over  innocent  wife   • Nature  re-­‐claiming  that  which  is   human   • Man  trying  to  live  in  an  ideal  that   normal  human  emotions  can’t   sustain  (Leontes,  tries  to  make  it  a   court  of  impeccable  manners)   o (i.e.  Coriolanus)     o Wants  to  create  a  new   Garden  of  Eden   o Inevitability  of   embarrassing  or  awkward   moments,  imperfect   moments,  insecurities   arising   § Trying  to  be  perfect,   à  sexuality  starts   becoming  a  problem   § (i.e.  Othello,  Measure   for  Measure)   o Where  Bohemia  is  more   grounded,  sexual  (like   Cyprus  in  Othello?)  Two   cultures  not  quite  lining  up   o From  perfection  à  beastly,   jealous,  bad  host   § What  makes  it  different:   • In  the  end,  nature  comes  back   from  Bohemia  to  happily  help   Leontes  rejoin  nature  (not  to  drag   him  back  into  his  own  mortality)   o Becomes  figure  of   repentance,  shows  that   creating  a  new  Garden  of   Eden  isn’t  within  his  power   to  make,  but  is  just  his   pride  straining  too  far)   reveals  hope     • In  the  end,  there  is  hope!     First  few  scenes,  suggests  desired  Garden  of  Eden  at  court   • How  can  we  be  sure  Hermione  really  is  innocent?     o Even  says  Polixenes  has  been  there  9  months,  and  she’s  about  to  give   birth   o Is  the  oracle  truthful?   o Court  culture:  affectionate  and  polite,  over-­‐complimenting,  possibly   § Leontes  becomes  split  person:   • Wants  to  see  world  in  exalted  way   • BUT,  he  can’t  leave  behind  the  other  side,  the  creature   that  sees  the  politeness  in  a  deviant  way   § In  a  way,  lost  to  himself  due  to  the  way  he’s  tried  to  build   himself   o Language  of  birth,  breeding;  procreative  language  in  Polixenes’  words   • When  Leontes  dismisses  them,  Hermione  and  Polixenes  say  they’ll  be  able  to   be  found  in  the  garden   • Polixenes  about  his  youth  with  Leontes   o Time  is  very  central  in  the  play   § But  here,  denial  of  time,  denial  of  change  of  the  self  over  the   years   § =Denial  of  reality,  being  mortal   o Describes  them  as  lambs   § “We  changed  innocence  for  innocence”   • In  their  youth,  didn’t  know  it  was  sinful  to  have  sex/   play  the  field   o Could  not  conceive  of  evil  in  selves  or  others   o And,  had  they  been  able  to  stay  that  way,  they   would’ve  been  able  to  “answer  heaven  boldly,   ‘Not  Guilty’”   § Had  idea  that  in  innocence  together,  they   could  live  forever  in  perfection   § Polixenes  knows  this  can’t  really  happen   • Leontes  hasn’t  given  up  on  the   dream  yet   o Determination  to  deny  time   and  change  and  try  to   remain  perfect   o Hermione’s  response:  don’t  continue  on  that  line,   for  then  you’d  call  me  and  your  wife  devils   § (For  tempting  them,  revealing  sin  to   them)   • Many  references  in  the  play  similar  to  that   o Leontes  wants  a  perfect  world,  and  anyone  who  messes  that  up  has  to   go   § Like  Coriolanus  in  that   • Also  like  Coriolanus  in  lots  of  co-­‐  and  com-­‐  words;  also   uses  those  words  disdaining  ways   § Like  Othello  in  wanting  perfection  in  wife,  which  does  not   include  a  sexual  appetite   • In  the  language:   o Leontes:  Othello  with  his  own  built-­‐in  Iago   § Leads  self  to  jealousy     § He  sets  up  his  own  scene,  sets  up  his  downfall  into  jealousy  in   how  he  frames  everything  that  Hermione  and  Polixenes  do  and   say   • Comillus’  role   o Middle  road,  shows  the  sane  opinion   o Put  in  an  impossible  situation   § Can’t  deny  his  king,  or  Leontes  will  think  he’s  in  on  it   • Psychology:  conflicting  points  of  viewà  denying  them   or  tying  them  in  to  somehow  prove  your  point   § But  also  can’t  compromise  his  own  scruples   • “For  some  while,  a  friend”   o Misinterpretation  available:   § Bad  interpretation:  in  the  time,  “friend”  could  be  used  to   intimate  “friends  with  benefits”     • “For  some  while”=  for  the  last  9  months?   § Innocent  one:     • A  friend  who’s  here  for  a  bit  whereas  we’re  forever   • Seeing  others  as  rutting  animals   o Suggests  he  feels  like  he  can  transcend  this  animal-­‐hood   § =Fundamental  mistake   § Mistake=  idea  he  can  claim  perfect  innocence  and  purity,  and   turn  world  back  into  Garden  of  Eden   o “Bawcock”  (=rooster)=  his  son   § Tries  to  get  son  to  be  “neat,  not  neat  but  cleanly”   • Because  “neat”=  word  for  horned  cow  or  bull   § Sees  himself  in  his  son   • Scary;  are  his  son’s  faults  also  his?   • Also,  another  instance  of  him  denying  time   o Keeps  being  open  to  believing  no  time  has   passed   § Ex:  sees  daughter  and  believes  it’s  his   wife,  briefly     o “Steer,  the  heifer,  and  the  calf”   o “Deer,”  “eggs,”  “I’m  angling  now,”  “give  line,”  “cuckolds,”  “fish,”  “hiss,”   etc.   § Calls  Earth  “a  bawdy  planet”     o Idealizes  social  behavior,  while  denying  that  he  is  mortal,  too   • Opening  conversation   o Trying  to  be  elaborately  polite   § And  in  doing  so,  start  saying  stuff  that  sounds  ominous   • “Great  difference  betwixt  our  Bohemia  and  your  Sicilia”   o Inviting  friend  to  visit,  differences  in  the  places   o BUT  ALSO:  conflict  between  the  kings  (who  are   also  named  by  their  countries)   • “Pay  Bohemia  the  visitation  which  he  justly  owes  him”   o Which  Leontes  thinks  is  a  dose  of  poison   • Doesn’t  know  what  to  say  to  keep  praising  Sicilia,  so   Archidamus  (of  Bohemia)  depreciates  self,  stating  he’ll   serve  “sleepy  drinks”   o Ominous—like  poison…     • “Rooted”  together,  but  “cannot  choose  but  branch  now”   o “The  heavens  continue  their  loves!”   o Thinks  he’s  describing  a  good  friendship,  but  is   really  describing  ritual  used  to  look  good  and   friendly;  descriptions  are  about  actions,  not   communication  (shaking  hands,  embracing,   giving  gifts,  etc.)    


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