ENG220Y (Shakespeare): test key

Part A

Most of you did question 2: hereís an outline of some good points that were made.

As in part B, make sure that you link general conclusions to your interpretation of specific details in the passages.

2.

-potions used by figures who are more likely to have control: males w/ supernatural connections

-though theyíre applied by figures who are the "tricky servants" of their plots: Puck and Friar Laurence

-Friarís failure reflects his humanity & its limits

-what are potions used to control?

-life/death (tampering with time, the tragic pastimeÖ);

-the antitheses in passages 5&6 underline the instability of life/death
-even less controllable love (more mysterious/irrational)

-passage 7 underlines dangerousness/mutability of love: flower colour changes from innocent white to bruised, wounded purple

-the reasons for using potions underlines

-social opposition to human desire -innate uncontrollability of human desire

-irrationality of human desire

-in MND, shows fickleness of (male!) desire

-potions associated with sleep (applied during sleep, induce a state like sleep)

-in both cases, underlines lack of awareness, control of the humans theyíre applied to

-imagery of darkness underlines mysteriousness, irrationality

-things going wrong also underlines

-even Cupid misses: underlines lack of understanding and awareness (the potions always do what theyíre intended to do, but there are things that the Friar and even Oberon donít know)

-Oberonís power to amend: underlines lack of human control even more

-the danger/pointlessness of interfering with higher processes

-ultimate success in MND

-result of fairy influence: itís a comedy, itís a fantasy

-mirrored in the nature of the potion?

-phallic, fertile "loveshaft" (of youthful, eternal Cupid) stressed in description of its creation

-doesnít mimic death like the R&J potion

-character

-shows resolve of R&J

-emphasizes loversí fickleness in MND

-emphasizes Oberonís desire for/ability to control

-demonstrate limitations/aspirations of Friar, of human beings

Part B

If youíre asked to comment on a passage, make sure that you

-describe patterns in the (literal or figurative) language of the passage

-interpret those patterns

before linking your interpretation of particular patterns to more general issues.

Here are some samples from comments about #3 and #10:

3.

-"once again Ö raises the issue of the ideal king": Warwick is "defending a good leader to a(nother) flawed leader"

-Halís behaviour explained as (a leaderís self-) education: "studies", "learnt"

-"Halís strategy further reinforces the theme that rules are actors, consciously constructing their personae"

-"in the perfectness of time" emphasizes the importance of good timing

-a few words with connotations of money or measurement suggest Halís calculation/control: "gain the language", "attained", "use", "measure", "mete"

-"it also raises the question, how emotionally detached must a monarch be"

-Halís association with the people will be useful both for his reputation and for motivating them in battle

-describing his association with the people as like learning a language emphasizes Halís connection with the peopleóvs. a usurperís alienation

-the fact that Warwick has to defend Henryís son to him emphasizes Henryís detachment from his son (and from his people): heís a usurper, and (as a usurper) lacks trust in others, even in his son

-Halís already made promises to his father about his behaviour: weíre as aware of Halís ability to keep promises as we are of his fatherís lack of trust in Hal

-the fact that Warwick, an obviously influential counsellor, seems to understand Hal creates a sense of optimism about his succession

 

10.

-issues of security of kingship (does one inherit or merit rights?): Henry took the crown from an unfit king, worrying about similar disloyalty to an unfit prince now that succession isnít necessarily from father to son

-immediate context: civil war, though at this point Hotspur is fighting on Henryís side (unlike Hal!)

-the usurperís preoccupation with succession raised by his unfavourable contrast of Hal and Hotspur

-his feelings of guilt evinced by the odd word "sin"

-issues of legitimacy subtly raised by fantasy about child-exchanging

-his discomfort by his switching away from the topic back to war ("But let him from my thoughts")

-"good fatherhood" raised by the identification of Northumberland as "father to so blest a son"

-act 1 presents Falstaff and Henry IV as flawed fathers for Hal

-Henryís use of words like "dis/honour" make us think about what makes a king fit

-that itís the usurper Henry talking about "honour" makes us skeptical about it

-context: Halís "riot and dishonour" revealed to be false by the very next scene, 1.2: sets up good kingship as being able to craft an image, keep promises, strive for balance

-the fact that Henryís wrong about Hal foregrounds the distance between them, distance thatís useful for Hal if heís trying to craft a reputation

-this passage also demonstrates his fatherís preoccupation with reputation ("the theme of honourís tongue")

 

Part C

  1. Fluellen in Henry V
  2. Falstaff in 2 Henry IV
  3. Warwick in 2 Henry IV
  4. Canterbury in Henry V
  5. Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet
  6. Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet
  7. Oberon in A Midsummer Nightís Dream
  8. Henry IV in 2 Henry IV
  9. John of Gaunt in Richard II
  10. Henry IV in 1 Henry IV
  11. Henry V in Henry V