ENG220Y (Shakespeare): test key
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.
-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
-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
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 patternsbefore linking your interpretation of particular patterns to more general issues.
Here are some samples from comments about #3 and #10:
-"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
-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
-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")