ENGL 100 Study Guide - Tape (Play), Tragic Hero, Samuel Beckett

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Published on 13 Apr 2013
School
Queen's University
Department
English
Course
ENGL 100
Professor
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
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-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 18th 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
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-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
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Document Summary

Movies have the tools for better special effects. The author uses very beautiful language despite the sad play. Krapp is on the end of his tether. 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. Memory has become compulsive repetition, and a ritual. Past events too present and too long lost. He connects to the dog when his mother is dying. Experiences it in a very abstract way ex. 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.

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