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ENGL 100
Laura Murray

English Week One Books versus a Play -Play meant to be performed -Live factor -Books provide more detail and back-story Play versus a Movie -Plays are different each time -Movies have the tools for better special effects -Plays require more imagination Samuel Beckett – Krapp’s Last Tape (play) -The author uses very beautiful language despite the sad play -Krapp is a failed writer -Tape is a sign of success -Krapp is on the end of his tether -Makes a tape on every birthday -Listens to a previous tape before recording a new one -In this play, he is listening to a tape of himself when he’s 30 -He counted the house he spent behind bars -When he records his new tape, he’s saying the same thing about his younger self, which was the same thing he said in his tape about an even younger self -Now sure how conscious he is when recollection ex. Her eyes -Memory has become compulsive repetition, and a ritual -It’s neither real nor imagination -Past events too present and too long lost -Very detailed in stage direction -He connects to the dog when his mother is dying -Experiences it in a very abstract way ex. Blind being drawn -Holds tape recorder affectionately -Scene on the boat is when him and this girl agree to break up -Symbol: can only see him in the shadow, not the light -This was his last moment of almost happiness -Has a very circular habit -Thinks he has it all figured out at 30 but that’s not true -Past self seems like another character -Idea of past self’s being strangers to us -Singing: self expression (something old Krapp does) -Reading the play was more interesting that seeing it -At the end Krapp kind of gives up on the tapes -Play helps you feel more emotions than the written text -Points of humor: bananas; looking up a word -Character is in an endless loop -Tragedy found in the repetition -Tried to get out of the loop by he failed -He doesn’t form strong relationships with women -Symbol for human life (cycle, bored, frustrated) and the human condition Week Two Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Earnest (play) -Play is very obviously funny -Critics face challenges on what to say in reviews -Lowenstein: criticism “deepen the mystery” -Irish author -Known for his wit; one of the first modern celebrities -Wrote phrases for the Youthfully Young ex. “The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible. What the second duty is no one has yet discovered” and “if one tells the truth, one is sure to find out” -All characters are in a sense Wilde himself; they speak in euphuisms and delight in the paradox and contradictions -Play with the meaning of “serious” and “earnest” -Lady Bracknell has opposite values: like that he smokes, and knows nothing, claims daughter is unspoiled and can’t live in the country -Envision of Victorian or virtuous values -Question of family: is family the thing or wealth or appearance? -Power of home: not oppressed as in contemporizes by Shaw or Ibsen -Inversion of Values: smoking is the opposite of idleness -Bottom line: family is all or at least wealth is, and marriage is the goal of life -Want to get people married, and we also hear stuff saying its not a classic romance as we would think ex. Proposing is business, romances all about uncertainty, 3 is company and 2 is none -Lying and Art (subtopic of inversions) ex. Wilde: The Decay of Lying; claims that who we represent in public is in fact who we are -For Wilde, the job of critic is not to delve beneath the surface of art, but to study that surface, and study the representations and misrepresentations -Thinks that’s who we are, and that is where the meaning is -Wilde is not depressed by this but delighted; it’s a game of social life Dandyism: -Utilitarianism popular in the 18 century -Proper coarse of action was the path bringing the most amount of happiness for the most amount of people -Dandyism -> individualism; idealism; superiority, self-centered; wants beauty for self, dies and reputation remains -See’s himself above society due to taste, wants to make himself better through dress and wit -Jack/Earnest is an interesting character -In the country, he seems like a proper young gentleman -In the city, he cuts loose, and becomes more dandy -Algie appears to have no commitments; he is the dandiest Satire: -Comedic and corrective; expose absurdity in stuff -Allows author to make fun of stuff -Ex. A modest proposal -Lady Bracknell -> funny lines ex. Smoking is good -Shows how upper-class people shouldn’t work -Losing both parents is foolish; hypocritical -Things work out for John/Earnest is when he stops fighting the dandyism and accept it in the end -Wilde is advocating dandyism Week Four Oedipus the King (play) -Forget Freud -“Oedipus Complex” = desire to sleep with mother and kill father -Theme of how we don’t know who we are -Oedipus doesn’t know who he is -Oedipus does not want to do either of those things -Forget that Fate Rules All -Forget Tragic Flaw -Remember other play’s you’ve read: -Connection to the crackwalker (Alan and if he’s responsible to the baby versus setting; idea of how much power do our parents have over us -Also sense of theatre ritual; know things but can’t act -Forces audience into feeling discomfort -Connecting it with Importance of Being Earnest (both have problem of not knowing family) -Connection to Krapp (question of how one can see and not see, blindness versus self knowledge, darkness and light) -Connection to all plays (organization, start and end, offstage and onstage) Story of Social Crisis -People are praying and coming to Oedipus -Blue between Oedipus and the gods -Question: getting power from God or own ability -Invites Oedipus to think in self-interest -Oedipus is kind of a politician, acting in a very open way Detective Story -Oedipus is both a detective and a criminal -As Oedipus goes on about finding the truth, Teresea challenges him about knowing the truth -P. 1301: His arrogance does not have a direct consequence -P. 1302: Tiresias refuses to speak; great leaders with wisdom often don’t speak -Oedipus says lines that should be Tiresias (irony) ex. P. 1303 “you are the child of endless night” -Oedipus slanders Tiresias; talks about how he is a self-made man -> Tiresias depends on birds -Emphasis his rationality while Tiresias connection with the gods may be flawed -Play is filled in irony because we know more than characters Chorus of the play: -Comments on what’s going on -Don’t appear to be sympathetic to Tiresias (P.1306) -Also slows audience down: people are confused; reflections of a public mood -Also shows people care about this because of Apollo; more concerned about that over Oedipus fate -Jocasta acts like a mother -> P.1310 -Jocasta starts to wonder if prophecies are true; gives the example of how she had a child who was supposed to kill its father -Oedipus first realizes he may have killed Laius, and then puts together he is Jocasta’s son -Humans always have the responsibility to find out as much info and do something about it -P. 1314 -> realizes he killed Laius -P. 1319 -> if oracles are wrong, what are people going to do -Jocasta advocates that life is all chance -P.1321: “She is my mother” – referring to chance but there is a double meaning -Why does the murder and blinding occur offstage? -Oedipus is innocent but still feel responsible -All live in a kind of blindness -Oedipus was free to search: both could find out or not -Heroic example of the search for the truth; only human freedom -Play includes dramatic irony -Audience and Oedipus both get truth at same time -P.1305: truth is revealed -Oedipus is supposed to be the “smartest man in town” yet can’t seem to figure this out -Can’t seem to accept it because he wants to not know; doesn’t want to face the consequences -Kind of like the jerry springer show -Still seems to repress the truth -Is his knowledge his tragic flaw? -He is like the standard tragic hero -Possible for story to be avoided had he not known -Never has a “Hamlet” moment to sort out his thoughts -Also a connection a shutter island? -Oedipus creating a new persona to make up for the terrible act he did beforehand -Having an offstage death almost allows the audience to participation since they can picture it -Lets you focus on why he kills himself instead of how -Also looked at as a social tragedy; king and queen are harmed -The emotional reaction will be too much Week Five One Art (Villanelle) -Words to describe poem: witty, resigned, jovial, melancholy, almost like self-help -Goes from “isn’t hard to master” to “isn’t too hard to master” -Idea of acceptance of trivial things ex. Losing door keys -Things she’s losing becomes more extreme ex. City -Last stanza shows how harder it is to give up the person -Her confidence cracks The Rights for Cousin Vit -Speaks fondly of her -Negative things are mentioned later on; tries to paint her in a more positive light -Presented in an almost underworld character Do Not Go Gently into That Good Night -Central metaphor: light -Almost a cliché; night is death -What sets Thomas a part -Includes the mention of different men ex. Wise, wild -Should still fight against “the good night” -The form of the poem adds to the emotion I think I should have loved you presently -Sonnet (14 lines) -Iambic pentameter -poem is about her reflecting on what she should of done; past regrets Week Six The Fish -Think when the speaker describes the fish like a human, and the situations where it resists being humanlike Week Seven -Essay: “try”, explore -Many quotes from ancient philosophers -Montaigne is humble -How does an essay evoke or display doubt? -Doubt works in complicated ways in rhetoric -Characteristics of essays: trial, attempt, and exploration, showing the mind at work, self- exposure, and eclectic curiosit
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