Monday, December 12, 2011

a FINAL Reflection

Pause to THINK and reflect
Here it goes again, another time to stop and reflect Shakespeare in my life. Lets start with the awesome event we just had.


Ok, I am incredibly satisfied with how the event Engaging Shakespeare went down. To be honest I was a little skeptical when our class jumped one the, "lets do a huge complicated event where we synthesis all of our ideas and projects" bandwagon. I wondered why we couldn't all just do our own thing. However as  things went along I really became a believer and very excited for the event. Then when it happened I was very impressed with what we were able to pull off.

The play was really good. I wish it was showing for a week because I would go again, I was really impressed. The music video was well done and I'm glad it has been imortalized on the internet because I want to watch it a few more times along with the documentatry, which was very professionaly done. The audio book was cool as well. In my humble opinion the art was fantastic, and then the whole event was well planned and executed.

Since I had more of a part in the art I want to share a little bit about how that happened.

Less Matter More Art

Artwork done by Cassandra
I am really happy with how well the two ideas of creating artworks for Shakespeare and creating an art curriculum for Shakespeare worked. The first few days of the project seemed a little rough as we all tried to get on the same page. It seemed like not very much got done at first, but as soon as we all understood each other we became very productive and were able to all create multiple pieces of art and very well done lesson plans. Everyone in the group was very dedicated to doing a good job and that is just what we did.

I really liked how our group, with not very much artistic experience, were able to make so many great works of art. Angela is a Landscape Design major, Eric is doing Spanish, Cassandra made more sense with Art Education, Melanie is Pre-Photography (and turned out to be a closet artist. It was hard to get to see her art works, but we were able to convince her to actually hang some up for the background of our video so that it would be more visually pleasing than just a blank wall) and don't ask me what my major is. It's really cool how we were able to get together and study Shakespeare, then think about what he wrote and then react creatively.

Personal Part

The main reason I got the idea to do art with Shakespeare was because of my paintings and sketches I was making. I was somewhat bummed when I found out we had to make our final project a group project. Then I got the idea for an art gallery. After some work this was able to mesh with Cassandra's art curriculum idea, and I am very glad it did, because I think it really helped us to meet all of the learning outcomes. Making the art was for sure engaging him creatively, and thinking of what to create was thinking critically (deciding what was really being said, what should be highlighted from a scene or act, how specific lines should be portrayed). The lessons we made were able to make us think more critically and also share better.

I had the opportunity to make two of the six lesson plans. One was the overarching Hamlet research plan. I talked a little bit about introducing Hamlet and how students would make works of art as they read the play. The other lesson I got to make was speaking of a specific theme in Hamlet, death. It was made to help students see the theme of death through the play and also to create works of art that go along with the theme of death.
My response to Melanie

I also got to try out Melanie's lesson plan which was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the thoughts on control and the art works I got to make.

Another fun thing was making the name of our group. J.J. told us we needed a title an so I looked all over Shakespeare for references to painting, art, etc. I found Gertrude says, "More matter, Less art." I disagreed with her and switched it around to "Less Matter, More Art." Our group voted and we loved the name. Yay. 


I really feel that from the mid-term assesment time I really have gained an understanding of the learning outcomes and have done much better at reaching them.

Gain Shakespeare Literacy

I feel that I have become much more Shakespeare literate. This was one thing that I wanted to test with reading King Lear. All of the plays we had read up to that point I had background information at least on. King Lear was brand new to me. I loved it and felt that I really understood it on a level I would not have before this class. My blog posts on King Lear I think show this.

Reading all of the plays that I did also helped me realize a larger breadth of Shakespeares works. I got to read Hamlet, Love's Labours Lost, The Tempest, A Winters Tale, Othello, and King Lear. I also loved being in groups where people read other plays because talking to them taught me more about plays I was not reading myself. Like Gabe with Merchant of Venice, or Justin with Henry IV.

I feel like I got a lot of depth with the play Hamlet especially. We studied him in class and the play was the subject of the lesson plans we made which encouraged us all to study it even more.

Performance I got by the incredible one of Friday as well as watching A Winter's Tale, and The Tempest. Also during this time I went and saw Macbeth done by the Grassroots Shakespeare Company.

Legacy I got by going to class and learning of the history behind the plays and reading blogs of my peers to see Shakespeare in a lot of pop culture.

Analyze Shakespeare Critically

This was one I was struggling with at the midterm. I was doing plenty of creative things with Shakespeare but not as much research. I really tried to get deeper into what the play was saying or background. I think my post on King Lear really demonstrates this. As well as my lesson plan on death and the lesson plan on Hamlet overall. I feel like I got a lot of historical analysis done in class, talking with my group, or listening to the lectures. That was one of my favorite parts of class was  learning background and the renaissance context from Dr. Burton. Analysis of digital mediations happened with my works of art, others works of art,  seeing the Othello movie, and reading blogs outside of my classmates.

Engaging Shakespeare Creatively

Flag of Navarre
This is the one I feel I did best at. Whether I was writing poems about Hamlet, writing poems defending Hamlet, adapting popular music to Winters Tale, painting, drawing, sketching, more drawing, more sketching, creating lesson plans, analyzing art. This learning outcome I enjoyed and excelled at. I really believe that in all of this creativity I really had to analyze Shakespeare creatively as well. In order to make something that connects well with Shakespeare I had to really process and analyze what was being said or how to depict those things. A minor example. In creating drawings for Love's Labour's Lost I wanted to depict the nations of France and Navarre in a simple symbolic way. I thought of flags and so looked up flags for Navarre, I never would have done this or learned anything of this place had I not wanted to do something creative with it,  again, a minor example.

Share Shakespeare Meaningfully

Once again I am glad that the final project was as a group because it really helped us all do this. Earlier in the semester I had share by posting on blogs of classmates, and blogs of other people outside of our class. I talked to my room mate, took people to productions of Shakespeare. I would share with informal blog posts as well as more formal researched blog posts.

Since that time however, I have been able to find more meaningful ways to share Shakespeare. The Engaging Shakespeare Event was very important. I honestly invited tons of people. Unfortunately all my room mates, my ward, and most of my friends were either at temple square, had a date, or were sick. However when I would invite people it gave me a great opportunity to share what I have been learning. The event was great to share with other people who came too, and I did see a few friends in the audience who still came.

Art work by Melanie
Along with this my group was able to share our curriculum by posting it to a website for teachers, connections or We also made a video explaining our project which we posted to youtube. Then with all of this we posted our artworks to our blog, but we also shared them on an online art website, This was actually really cool because our art had not been up for more than five minutes before we received messages that our works were being posted to other "deviants" favorite pages.

Sharing globally and locally was very meaningful and satisfying to me.

In Conclusion

This class was great and the blogs we get to make were awesome. I plan to continue mine with a Shakespeare thought or drawing every now and again. I really feel like I have met all of the learning outcomes, like I make a better connection to Shakespeare, and like I am competent in the digital world we now live. I am very happy I took this class and I have referred it to many people. Who would have know that what my earlier experience with Shakespeare which began as a closet love, and came out due to a crush, would blossom into the experience that it has today.

Thanks Will.

Shakespeare and I

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blue Ribbon Blog Posts

So we are to put one of our favorite blog posts and another from someone in our group that we like.

It really helped to have my blog show me which posts were most popular according to everyone else, because then I could choose a post from one of those.

For my post I'm going to say that it is the Fallacy Inspired Soapbox Rant about Shakespeare, Hamlet, and Emo people. I think it feels the learning outcome of engaging Shakespeare creatively as well as analyzing critically what he wrote and what he meant by it.

As for a blog post from another person in my group, this was harder because they all have done such awesome jobs with their blogs. I think it would be Angela's posts where she takes quotes from the play and looks into the imagery and scenery. My favorite was the first one of these she did, talking about the flowers Ophelia uses in Hamlet. I think it really exemplifies analyzing critically  and also a synthesis of Shakespeare with another subject that interests her.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nature Danger

Thinking about King Lear which we recently read in class, I had an experience much like his. King Lear gets kicked outside for a night and a huge storm comes up. He almost defies nature and goes kinda crazy.

You really don't know how bad nature can get until you are stuck in it. We spend lots of time in our safe homes with heating, walls, and windows. No big deal right, man is strong enough to build those walls and keep nature out.

Last night I got to go to the Christmas Devotional of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was so cool. I love the choir, I loved the message so much. I got to go with a good friend I haven't seen much. I even got to see my mission president, mission mom, and their son. That was cool. But this isn't the story.

Driving home on I-15 there was a lot of wind and a small bit of snow, not really that bad, but to be safe we reduced our speed to about 40 miles per hour. Somewhere near Thanksgiving Point the car started swerving a little. "Mason, we're swerving!", yelled my friend. At first I thought she was playing a joke, and making the car go back and forth...until the car went sideways, and I thought, "Oh. we are swerving." It was surprising how calm we both were as the car went sideways on the freeway and headed towards the concrete median. Next thing we know we're parallel to the median, in the emergency lane, backwards. Miraculously we had not hit anything. Pretty sure angels helped us, because we were perfectly parked on the side of the road, just backwards. We almost died, but we didn't, thank goodness.

Wondering what to do we called a few people, got out and checked the car which was perfectly fine, and an off duty police officer pulled over. He made sure we were okay and then he walked into the road and stopped FREEWAY TRAFFIC (yeah, cars on the freeway!!!) so we could turn around and keep going. I was driving now, a car that wasn't mine, and the road was still very slick, very scary.

For some reason, in all of this crazy situation, all I could think of was King Lear, shouting at nature.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Suddenly I see

I just want to talk about something real fast. Now I know symbolism is really cool in plays or stories and sometimes it may go right over the head of those who are watching the play, so in order to have the symbol or clever twist noted sometimes it needs to be pointed out.

I just want to tel Oedipus and Gloucester that they don't have to let us all know that they suddenly see the light of the situation by bringing attention to sight when their eyes are stabbed out. Stabbing out your eyes with a brooch or having them plucked out by a very angry man is gross. Instead can't you just do what Rapunzel does and sing a wonderful song in a boat about how "At last I see the light." That goes over so much better.

Well, I was shocked by the eye plucking out thing. It's clever I suppose, but disturbing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nothing comes from nothing

Reading the play King Lear I found a line that seemed interesting. It is the title of this post. I kept reading and was surprised to see it again. I decided to write a post about it but wanted to see if it appears anywhere else in the play and so I held off as I kept reading. Becoming impatient, I looked it up, and it appears only the two times I found it.

"KING LEAR: ..what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.
CORDELIA: Nothing, my lord.
KING LEAR: Nothing?!
CORDELIA: Nothing.
KING LEAR: Nothing will come of nothing, speak again.

I was curious if this was a common idea in Shakespeare's time and I looked it up. Turns out the phrase, nothing comes of nothing (in latin "ex nihilo nihil fit"), was first talked about by the Greek philosopher Parmenides. It is an idea that continues today and is called the law of conservation of mass. That energy cannot be created or destroyed. It merely changes form. If you burn a piece of wood, the wood is not destroyed but is changed into heat, smoke, and ash. There were cool articles that were interesting, but a little beyond me about zero-energy universes and so on.

This quote of Lear's goes to the Bible. Where the more common translation of Genesis says "God created the earth". Other sources, like the Joseph Smith Translation, show that the Hebrew word which is commonly translated as "created" would be better translated as "organized", implying that the world and it's parts was organized from already existing matter.


Another line King Lear says that makes him seem more a philosopher than the senile grumpy old man he comes across as, comes as he is suffering in the storm. He looks at poor naked Edgar and says:

"Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer
with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies.
Is man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou
owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep
no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three on
's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself:
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare,
forked animal as thou art.
Off, off, you lendings!
come unbutton here."

Is man no more than this? It is a line that reminds me of Psalm 8:4, "What is man that thou art mindful of him." It is a humbling moment for Lear and he realizes, now outside of the comfort of his palace, how frail and sad man really is. Its a Siddhartha Gautama moment here! In reading about Lear's line I found this interesting quote from a well written article:

"When Lear sees Edgar’s cold, shivering, and “uncovered body,” he asks the eternal question “Is man no more than this?” (3.4.105). When Lear says that “The unaccomodated man is no more / but such a poor, bare, forked animal,” he is essentially saying that human beings, like their naked bodies, are pitiable creatures (3.4.109-110). Likewise, when he proceeds to strip of his garments, he is making the symbolic gesture that he is no better than Poor Tom; that is, he realizes that he, too, is pitiable. Lear’s recognition that his own body is pathetic, the literary critic Paul Jorgensen argues in his book Lear’s Self-Discovery, is Lear’s first insight."

Lear, the old senile downfallen king, and budding philosopher.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Combined Blog of Power

Hey everyone. I have two blogs. This new blog that I have is geared more towards collaboration with my Shakespeare group with our final project. Recording our process and posting results. I think it's going to be cool and worth taking a look at even if you're not in the group.

For the new members of my group, I made the new blog that we all can write on. The only thing that I am missing is all of your email addresses. Once I have those I can add you as administrators so you can post on it too.

I really didn't know what to do for the title, so ideas are welcome.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Art Gallery

Hey everyone, so with this idea of an art gallery of Shakespeare art I have had a lot of ideas ruminating in my mind. I'm looking forward to the feedback and communication to refine this undertaking.

Basically the idea that I was thinking is that we have enough people in the class who are interested in art, that we could get together and come up with enough works to display it in a gallery. Even if you don't feel like you are a good artist in any way I'm sure you can come with something, especially with the groups powers combined!  This could be a good moment for all of us to learn how to make art together all in the context of thinking critically about Shakespeare and how to analyze his works and do enough justice to them.

One thing we might want to do is get a theme put together or ideas of how we will organize this. That way we can go to a gallery with a solid proposal and a strong portfolio of work rather than a maybe theory hopefully thing.

There are art galleries everywhere, I just checked out the one in the Provo Library and that may be a place to look at. If we really look for a place I'm confident we will be accepted somewhere, the biggest thing against us will be preference. Most schools or galleries give preference to art students or professionals more than a Shakespeare class.

HOWEVER, this might be a great connector piece to Cassandra's wonderful education idea. Schools. What local public school would not be overjoyed to have an exhibit like this. English teachers would love it.

Anyway, lots of ideas. Needs refining, lets get collaborating!

Sketching Shakespeare: The Tempest Act One Scene 2 - End of the Play

Well, here you go, the rest of the Tempest. I like it. The only explanation I feel I need to make is the final painting. I started the Tempest with a painting and felt like I should end it that way. It's meant to convey the sense of completion and calm that comes at the end of the play as opposed to the raging storm of the beginning.

For The Tempest Act One Scene One click here.

Act 1 Scene 2
Why speaks my father so ungently? This
Is the third man that e'er I saw, the first
That e'er I sigh'd for: pity move my father
To be inclined my way!

Act 2 Scene 1
You cram these words into mine ears against
The stomach of my sense.

Act 2 Scene 3
Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows

Act 3 Scene 1
O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this sound
And crown what I profess with kind event
If I speak true! if hollowly, invert
What best is boded me to mischief! I
Beyond all limit of what else i' the world
Do love, prize, honour you.

Act 3 Scene 2
Monster, I will kill this man.

Act 3 Scene 3
You are three men of sin...
Being unfit to live I have made you mad

Act 4 Scene 1
Let me live here ever;
So rare a wonder'd father and a wife
Makes this place Paradise.

Act 5 Scene 1
I'll deliver all;
And promise you calm seas, auspicious gales
And sail so expeditious that shall catch
Your royal fleet far off.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Midterm Assesment

Attention all faithful few readers, this blog is mostly an assignment for my Shakespeare class. Written as an assessment of myself to see my Shakespeare progress, a little self-reflection, and also for my Professor.

Learning Outcomes:

Gaining of Shakespeare Literacy:
I feel that through this course I have increased in my Shakespeare literacy. One thing I have enjoyed about the lectures is the history of Renaissance writing and society which really helps explain why the plays are written like they are. Things like literary tools commonly used then but unknown to most now have helped me understand the text and canon better. Something else that has helped is just reading Shakespeare a lot, practice makes perfect and we have gotten plenty of practice with the text.

This increase literacy has made Shakespeare even more interesting for me. Which has made me read it with increased attention, making the stories come alive even more. Also this closer reading teaches me a lot. I wonder if Shakespeare meant to tell us all of the things he does.

How have I analyzed Shakespeare critically:
One thing that I have been able to do is put Shakespeare in different settings and seeing how his works apply in those contexts. Religious settings, modern popular culture, the art world. Seeing Shakespeare in all of these lights has really made me understand the works better and how great they can be. Some things don't hold up in certain lights, Shakespeare only gets better.

Another thing I feel I've done to analyze critically is not just by consuming the plays but letting them inspire me to create as well. Poems, paintings, sketches, etc. This process of creation helps me to analyze and process Shakespeare in unique ways, teaching me differently than if I was just consuming the works.

How have I engaged Shakespeare creatively:
I talked about this in the above section. How I've processed and analyzed Shakespeare by making my own things. Writing poetry about characters, sketching scenes, or painting pictures. This blog is also something creative that I have used to engage Shakespeare. A mixture of text, and picture media put together to explain what is Will Shakespeare to me.

Sharing Meaningfully:
In my most recent post I explain how I shared with my room mate Jeff (who tonight, organized a group to see Macbeth again while I sit at home doing homework). I also mentioned how I posted about Othello and also on other blogs about what I think of Shakespeare. Again this blog is another example of sharing. I've tried to tell my family and friends to look at my blog and see what I've been learning and from this have been able to have some good conversations with them.

Self Directed Learning

Things I have done to take control of my learning are again, this blog. Posting at least twice a week, usually on anything I have been learning or thinking. I have tried to make myself see things or come up  with things that others would find engaging to read about. Another thing I think I have done to direct my learning is the drawing of Shakespeare which helps me think more in depth towards what is going on.  I have to think of what symbolized the scene best, in one image. I have really enjoyed blogging about these things and sharing it with people. I thought blogging was silly before but I have found myself excited about what I'm learning and I have found that blogging is a great place to share those things and insights I would normally keep to myself.

Collaborative and Social Learning

The group learning idea is an interesting one. I usually like to do things on my own but have learned a lot by getting other peoples opinions and insights. At first our group seemed pretty withdrawn towards one another. Gabe was really good at getting us going on our conversations and collaborative learning. Angela has great insights on her blog and I learn a lot of cool thing I would not have thought of. Then Austin always seems to come to class with a great insight to the reading we've been doing that really progresses our group conversations. Justin helps a lot in his ability to process everything we've been saying and bringing it together in a really good application. The only thing that could be improved with this group learning is that it makes it difficult to connect to the whole class. We are in these little cliques of group learning.

Milton's Paradise Lost, cool, but not
quite up to par with Will
Something I've been doing to involve others outside my class is talking to my room mate, or getting groups together to go see plays. I have a cousin and we playfully bicker about who is better, Shakespeare or Milton (I'm right, it's Shakespeare). It is just fun to talk to others about what I learn and also talking to other people via the Internet. This is a practice I'm going to use more now.

Looking Ahead

Things that I intend to continue doing are blogging. After the course the posts will probably slow down. Also I want to keep up the sketches of Shakespeare. I am excited to read King Lear, a play I have no backround in and I want to see how my reading comprehension has improved as with William. Another thing to look forward to is the final project. I was planning on just doing the drawings but was surprised to hear that the project is a group thing. I was wondering what to do and thought maybe an exhibit of Shakespeare art in a local library or something like that. I have drawings, Angela has landscape sketches, I'm sure other people would like to do something like this. I'll let you all know how this idea progresses.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sharing and Contributing Locally and Globally

In my Shakespeare class we were given the assignment to share what we are learning both locally and globally. Meaning we are to reach out to those near us and also to the world, perhaps on the internet. Here is my experience with both.

Sharing Locally: Jeff

Well, I thought a lot about who I could share with. Hoping not to be the guy who just talked to his room mate. I tried to think of ways to bring Othello into my home teaching, or maybe the Sunday School class I get to teach. With my job I also have the opportunity to have groups of people listen to me talk and teach all day and I tried really hard to think of relevant ways to bring in Shakespeare. In the end I, without meaning to, ended up being the guy who talked to his room mate.
Jeff and I on the Mission

I have a room mate, Jeff, that I have known for years. We met on the mission and are really good friends. We have a kind of teasing relationship, always playfully arguing with each other. He doesn't understand why I love art, I don't understand why he is being so narrow minded, that kind of thing. With the confession of my love for Shakespeare he found something else to tease me about. Why, Mason, do you draw emo pictures of Shakespeare? Why do you love stories where everyone dies? Why do you care what a long dead man wrote? etc. etc.

As we discuss this I have seen a change in Jeff that I don't see often, due to our constant teasing. He has started to agree with me. It all started with Grassroots Shakespeare Macbeth, a fantastic production. I convinced him to come and he loved it. He told me he has never thought Shakespeare could be so much fun. We had a lengthy discussion about it afterwards. He told me he that before thought Shakespeare was stuffy and boring.

Through our talks about what I'm learning I was able to convince Jeff to even come on a quest with me to locate the DVD for the 2010 production of The Tempest. We failed, it took an hour and a half and we had no   success. Yesterday I came home and Jeff informed me that all of his own he had tried to sign up next semester for a Shakespeare class. That was cool, to see how he is starting to love this thing that I love too.

I didn't want to be the guy who talked to his room mate, but I am just really happy to see how my unintentional sharing of what I'm learning has changed my room mates view. Way to go Jeff.

Sharing Globally: Blogs 

A few posts ago I mentioned how I posted on someones blog about Othello and the Bible. I think my post was relevant but it seems like it didn't make it past the review stage and was not officially put on the blog. I'm a little hurt about this but I have learned and since moved on.

I looked for other things people had to say about the world of Othello and found two very interesting blogs. One talks about a production of the play in Washington D.C. and it mentioned some things that I thought were interesting, like the use of the handkerchief in their production which was something I had not thought much about. I posted a comment to them about that, I'm still waiting to hear back, hopefully they won't delete it.

Another blog I found had a post from today even, and explained differences between publications of the play and how this might influence the depiction of the characters. I thought this was very interesting as well because I love the way Othello is shown and his transformation through the play. I commented on this as well and still, have yet to hear back.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sketching Shakespeare: The Tempest Act One Scene One

"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here" 
Act 1 Scene 2

Continuing my quest to make a sketch for every scene of Shakespeare I turn to The Tempest. Inspired by Jackson Pollock and his painting I mentioned before, I decided to get my "Pollock" on and try out a painting like his. It isn't about the drowning after the tempest, but of the storm itself. I tried to portray the feeling of a heavy storm full of pouring rain, wind, crashing bright lightning bolts and the danger or death. Here is the first image of sketching the Tempest, the rest are all still in the very preliminary sketch stage.

Act 1 Scene 1
Now would I give a thousand furlongs of a sea for an
acre of barren ground, long heath, brown furze, any
thing. The will above be done! I would fain
die a dry death.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Othello's Regression

I was wondering what to write about, this week I have the assignment of applying the play Othello to something important to me and also to connect this to a social discovery I was to make. As I was searching for what others have to say about Othello I found something perfect.

To me, the greatest miracle, the happiest thing, that which moves me most, is the miracle of a change of heart. The miracle of seeing a person change their life completely and become new, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Therefore, one of the saddest things is to see someone throw away all that is beautiful in life and turn to base things and become despairing. This is exactly what happens to Othello.

At the start of the play Othello is a man who everyone admires and looks up to. He is calm, well-judging, full of intergrity, and good to the core. When he is accused of stealing away Desdemona he doesn't run from his accusators, but has full confidence to answer for himself saying:

Not I, I must be found:
My parts, my title and my perfect soul
Shall manifest me rightly. 

Through the play I was surprised to read as his words became harsh and hurting. He goes from loving his wife completely to physical abuse within days. In the BBC production of the play I watched as he went from being calm and collected at all times to working himself into a raging fit of epilepsy, it was somewhat disturbing.

Nothing is more beautiful than a man changing for the better, and nothing is more tragic than sin and regression to the natural man. by joshcorris
Searching for what other people have to say about this I found a website about the King James Bible. There was a post about the Bible and Othello which gave some very interesting insights. I left a comment on the post and this is what I said. 

"I really enjoy your post here. In my college course on Shakespeare I am doing a study of the play Othello right now and I am assigned to apply it to something important to me in life. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the King James Bible is very important to us. I really like the connections between Othello and the gospel.

In my blog about Shakespeare I posted about how he uses his plays as a way of teaching the masses about morality, it seems so evident because so many of his plays have such strong religious undercurrents. The ones that you found in Othello were especially intriguing. Especially the one about Iago’s play on words “I am not what I am” being a connection to God. Iago seems to think himself God in the play, judging who should be punished, what lives should be taken, and he has great power over the world of the play Othello. It shows how twisted Iago is to make that allusion. Unfortunately he is all of these without the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father.

Othello as Judas, then that would make Iago Satan who “entered into Judas surnamed Iscariot” (Luke 22:3). This is one of the greatest tragedies Shakespeare wrote about, how a pure honest love could be so tainted and then destroyed as soon as one allows Satan and his lies into their mind. Judas allowing Satan in allowed his love for The Perfect Individual, Jesus Christ, to become tainted until it led to dead, and his subsequent suicide parallels well with Othello’s. This was a very interesting connection you made as well."

Shakespeare was teaching the masses again about how we should be, and letting them learn vicariously the tragedy of sin and jealousy, letting both consume you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sketching Shakespeare: Love's Labour's Lost

In order to help us better understand Shakespeare my teacher, Dr. Burton, made the suggestion of writing a one sentence summary of each scene as we read them. In another conversation with my professor he told me of a man who made a picture for every page of the book Moby Dick. I thought that this sounded really cool and so decided to combine both of these ideas together.

To draw a sketch for every scene of Shakespeare!

I went home and counted up how many scenes Will wrote and the grand total is...732 scenes and 2 epilouges. To be perfectly honest I don't know if I will complete the whole works of Shakespeare in sketch form but I'm going to do my best.

May I present to you, a play recently finished.
  Love's Labour's Lost

Act 1 Scene 1
So study evermore is overshot
While it doth study to have what it would
It doth forget to do the thing it should
And when it hath the thing it hunteth most
'Tis won as towns with fire, so won, so lost.

Act 1 Scene 2
I will herein confess I am in love; and as it is
base for a soldier to love, so am I in love  with a
base wench. If dreaming my sword against the humor
of affection would deliver me from the reprobate
thought of it, I would take Desire prisoner, and
ransom him to any French courtier for a new-devised
courtesy. I think scorn to sigh: methinks i should
outswear Cupid. Comfort me, boy: What great men
have been in love?

Act 2 Scene 1
'Fair' I give you back again; and 'welcome' I have
not yet. The roof of this court is too high to be
yours: and welcome to the wide fields too
base to be mine.

Act 3 Scene 1
A message well sympathized: a horse to be
ambassador for an ass.

Act 4 Scene 1
A mark marvelous well shot, for they both
did hit it.

Act 4 Scene 2
...As it were...

Act 4 Scene 3
In that each of you have forsworn his book,
Can you still dream and pore and thereon look?
For when would you, my lord, or you, or you,
Have found the ground of study's excellence
Without the beauty of a woman's face?

Act 5 Scene 1
Satis quod Sufficit

Act 5 Scene 2
We are wise girls to mock our
lovers so.

Friday, October 14, 2011

May his pernicious soul rot half a grain a day...

I have never hated anyone more.

This week I got to read the play Othello as well as view a film production on it. I thought about how to approach this and decided to first view the play and then to read it. After all, in Shakespeare's day everyone had to watch the play only, I doubt many people were able to obtain copies of the script to peruse at their own leisure.

I watched the film and LOVED IT!!! Fantastic! I was a little skeptical about a low budget BBC film but the talent of the actors, namely Anthony Hopkins, made it magnificent. I found myself sincerely moved and invested in the play. Totally being pulled into the part I was set to play as the viewer. I didn't know how much I would like the play, but this viewing experience has made it one of my favorites. While it is not my favorite tragedy of Will's, it is the most tragic tragedy.

I then read the script and found that this was a lot of fun after viewing the film. I find when I read before I see a production that I don't really grasp the emphasis in sentences or words. Everyone speaks very calmly and fluidly in my head. I didn't get as lost in the language now that I had seen how these lines were handled. Two lines stuck out to me.

He that is robbed, not wanting what is stolen,
Let him not know 't, and he's not robbed at all.
Othello, 3. 3

Someone who has something taken, if he doesn't know it's missing, he might as well not be robbed at all, he doens't know so it doesn't hurt him. When it is pointed out that something is taken then he falls into sadness and want, for he has "drunk and seen the spider" you might say.

This makes me so sad with Othello because nothing has really been stolen, but he thinks it has and that is enough to make him fly into a destructive rage. This tragedy is worse to me that Romeo and Juliet for example, because the cause of the two hormonal teenage tragedy is their own stupidity. Othello had a wonderful, almost enviable realationship with his wife. It was just as it should be, but due to the evil of a calculating devil, Othello lost it all. That is so tragic.

This brings me to my second line I like. The title of my post today, it is a punishment described for evil Iago. It sounds terrible, but it's still not enough in my opinion. I really detest this man who is nothing but pure evil inside, who can laugh when he sees other human beings tormented.

Elder Holland, says it best for me, "In the tale of Othello and Desdemona the sorrow and destruction is calculated--it is maliciously driven from the beginning. Of all the villains in Shakespeare's writing, and perhaps in all of literature, there is no one I loathe so much as I loathe Iago. Even his name sounds evil to me, or at least it has become so. And what is his evil...Sowing doubt and devilish innuendo, playing on jealousy and deceit and finally murderous rage, Iago provokes Othello into taking Desdemona's life--virtue turned into pitch, goodness twisted into a fatal net."

So, may his pernicious soul rot half a grain a day!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Bloody Beheading?

Shakespeare and the visual arts connect again! 

Judith and Holofernes
I was reading Angela's post about names the other day and it reminded me about a character in Love's Labour's Lost who has an odd name. Holofernes, the school teacher. The name Holofernes is from a character in the Apocrypha. He is a leader of a large army who lays siege to Jerusalem. A ruthless evil man.

The city begins to starve and is about to give in or forsake their God. A young widow named Judith decides to take matters into her own hands. She moves to Holofernes' camp, convinces him she is deserting the city. Holofernes finds himself warm for her form and invites her to dine with him. He gets raging drunk, Judith takes the moment and chops off his head and runs to the city, where she gets the army of Jerusalem and they storm the camp and kill everyone!
This one is my favorite. Painted by Carravagio
(that is his self-portrait as the face of  Holofernes.)

In the art world, there seems to be a period of time to be obsessed with a story and everyone paints it. This same thing happened to the story of Judith and Holofernes.

Now, why did Shakespeare choose this namesake for a schoolteacher in his very light hearted play?

What is going to happen to Holofernes? I'm excited to see this play out.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


In my Shakespeare class I have the assignment of reading Othello. When I saw this I was pretty excited about. A few years ago I was talking to one of my really good friends about Shakespeare and she told me that Othello is her favorite play. I...thought that was weird (everyone loves Hamlet or something else. Nobody says Othello) and so I read a synopsis and planned on reading the play....I never did.

I searched for a synopsis again and some information and found out that Othello is, yet again, a story Shakespeare took from someone else. The original story is "Un Capitano Moro" ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio. The play seems pretty complicated and dramatic from the short synopsis I read. Again it is full of deceit and trickery, secrets, and round about ways of discovering them.

I am really interested to read about Iago. First off, his name was used   for a parrot in Disney movie, Aladin, where he also plays a bad guy who has bad advice. Another reason is for what Elder Holland said about him in a talk "How do I love thee", he said, "Of all the villains in Shakespeare's writing, and perhaps in all of literature, there is no one I loathe so much as I loathe Iago. Even his name sounds evil to me, or at least it has become so." I'm really intersted to get into this characters head and figure out why he hates Othello to the point of destroying everything. That's intense.

There are a few film productions I am excited to see. I'm sad to say I don't think I will be viewing Kenneth Branaghs version(in which he plays Iago), but I am excited to view the version with Ian McKellen (who also plays Iago. Why is it that the big name actors play him? Is he going to be more important than the plays namesake?). Gandalf meets Shakespeare.

Also, there is a board game called Othello. I wonder why.