It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.



It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.

Never stop learning because life never stop Teaching

Never stop learning because life never stop Teaching

Monday, 29 April 2013

perfect time

perfect time 

The future belongs to those ......

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams 

Always bear in mind that....

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other
"Abraham Lincoln"

Aristotle's Plot

Aristotle's Plot

Aristotle devotes great attention to the nature, structure and basic elements of the ideal tragic plot. Tragedy is the depiction of action consisting of incidents and events. Plot is the arrangement of these incident and events. It contains the kernel of the action. Aristotle says that plot is the first principle, the soul of tragedy. He lists six formative elements of a tragedy – Plot, character, thought, melody, diction, spectacle and gives the first place to plot.

 The Greek word for 'poet' means a 'maker', and the poet is a 'maker', not because he makes verses but he makes plots. Aristotle differentiates between 'story' and 'plot'. The poet need not make his story. Stories from history, mythology, or legend are to be preferred, for they are familiar and understandable. Having chosen or invented the story, it must be put to artistic selection and order. The incidents chosen must be 'serious', and not 'trivial', as tragedy is an imitation of a serious action that arouse pity and fear.
Aristotle says that the tragic plot must be a complete whole. It must have a beginning, a middle and an end. It must have a beginning, i.e. it must not flow out of some prior situation. The beginning must be clear and intelligible. It must not provoke to ask 'why' and 'how'. A middle is consequent upon a situation gone before. The middle is followed logically by the end. And end is consequent upon a given situation, but is not followed by any further incident. Thus artistic wholeness implies logical link-up of the various incidents, events and situations that form the plot.
The plot must have a certain magnitude or 'length'. 'Magnitude' here means 'size'. It should be neither too small nor too large. It should be long enough to allow the process of change from happiness to misery but not too long to be forgotten before the end. If it is too small, its different parts will not be clearly distinguishable from each other. Magnitude also implies order and proportion and they depend upon the magnitude. The different parts must be properly related to each other and to the whole. Thus magnitude implies that the plot must have order, logic symmetry and perspicuity.

 Aristotle considers the tragic plot to be an organic whole, and also having organic unity in its action. An action is a change from happiness to misery or vice versa and tragedy must depict one such action. The incidents impart variety and unity results by arranging the incidents so that they all tend to the same catastrophe. There might be episodes for they impart variety and lengthen the plot but they must be properly combined with the main action following each other inevitably. It must not be possible to remove or to invert them without injuring the plot. Otherwise, episodic plots are the worst of all.
'Organic unity' cannot be provided only by the presence of the tragic hero, for many incidents in hero's life cannot be brought into relation with the rest. So there should be proper shifting and ordering of material.

Aristotle joins organic unity of plot with probability and necessity. The plot is not tied to what has actually happened but it deals with what may probably or necessarily happen. Probability and necessity imply that there should be no unrelated events and incidents. Words and actions must be in character. Thus probability and necessity imply unity and order and are vital for artistic unity and wholeness.
'Probability' implies that the tragic action must be convincing. If the poet deals with something improbable, he must make it convincing and credible. He dramatist must procure, "willing suspension of disbelief". Thus a convincing impossibility is to be preferred to an unconvincing possibility. 

Aristotle rules out plurality of action. He emphasizes the Unity of Action but has little to say about the Unity of Time and the Unity of Place. About the Unity of Time he merely says that tragedy should confine itself to a single revolution of the sun. As regards the Unity of Place, Aristotle said that epic can narrate a number of actions going on all together in different parts, while in a drama simultaneous actions cannot be represented, for the stage is one part and not several parts or places.
Tragedy is an imitation of a 'serious action' which arouses pity and fear. 'Serious' means important, weighty. The plot of a tragedy essentially deals with great moral issues. Tragedy is a tale of suffering with an unhappy ending. This means that the plot of a tragedy must be a fatal one. Aristotle rules out fortunate plots for tragedy, for such plot does not arouse tragic emotions. A tragic plot must show the hero passing from happiness to misery and not from misery to happiness. The suffering of the hero may be caused by an enemy or a stranger but it would be most piteous when it is by chance caused by friends and relatives who are his well-wishers.

According to Aristotle, Tragic plots may be of three kinds, (a) Simple, (b) Complex and (c) Plots based on or depicting incidents of suffering. A Simple plot is without any Peripety and Anagnorisis but the action moves forward uniformly without any violent or sudden change. Aristotle prefers Complex plots. It must have Peripeteia, i.e. "reversal of intention" and Anagnorisis, i.e. "recognition of truth". While Peripeteia is ignorance of truth, Anagnorisis is the insight of truth forced upon the hero by some signs or chance or by the logic events. In ideal plot Anagnorisis follows or coincides with Peripeteia.
'Recognition' in the sense is closely akin to reversal. Recognition and reversal can be caused by separate incidents. Often it is difficult to separate the two. Complex plots are the best, for recognition and reversal add the element of surprise and "the pitiable and fearful incidents are made more so by the shock of surprise".

 As regards the third kind of plot, Aristotle rates it very low. It derives its effect from the depiction of torture, murder, maiming, death etc. and tragic effect must be created naturally and not with artificial and theatrical aids. Such plots indicate a deficiency in the art of the poet.
In making plots, the poets should make their denouements, effective and successful. Unraveling of the plot should be done naturally and logically, and not by arbitrary devices, like chance or supernatural devices. Aristotle does not consider Poetic Justice necessary for Tragedy. He rules out plots with a double end i.e. plots in which there is happiness for one, and misery for others. Such plots weaken the tragic effect. It is more proper to Comedy. Thus Aristotle is against Tragi-comedy.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

S. T Coleridge As a Critic

S. T. Coleridge As a Critic

Coleridge is one of the greatest of literary critics, and his greatness has been almost universally recognized. He occupies, without doubt, the fist place among English literary critics. After eliminating one after another the possible contenders for the title of the greatest critic, Saintsbury concludes:
"So, then there abide these three – Aristotle, Longinus and Coleridge."
According to Arthur Symons, Coleridge's Biographia Literaria is,
"… the greatest book of criticism in English."
Herbert Read concludes Coleridge as:
" … head and shoulders above every other English critic."
I. A. Richards considers him as the fore-runner "of the modern science of semantics", and Rene Wellek is of the view that he is a link, "between German Transcendentalism and English Romanticism."

A man of stupendous learning, both in philosophy and literature, ancient as well as modern, and refined sensibility and penetration intellect, Coleridge was eminently fitted to the task of a critic. His practical criticism consists of his evaluations of Shakespeare and other English dramatists, and of Milton and Wordsworth. Despite the fact there are so many digressions and repetitions, his practical criticism is always illuminating and highly original. It is rich in suggestions of far reaching value and significance, and flashes of insight rarely to be met with in any other critic. His greatness is well brought out, if we keep in mind the state of practical criticism in England before him. The Neo-classic critics judged on the basis of fixed rules. They were neither legislative nor judicial, nor were carried away by their prejudices. Coleridge does not judge on the basis of any rules. He does not pass any judgment, but gives his responses and reactions to a work of art. His criticism is impressionistic-romantic, a new kind of criticism, a criticism which dealt a knock out blow to neo-classic criticism, and has been in vague, more or less, ever since. He could discover new beauties in Shakespeare and could bring about fresh re-valuations of a number of old English masters. Similarly, his criticism of Wordsworth and his theories enable us to judge him and his views in the correct perspective.

In the field of theoretical inquiry, Coleridge was the first to introduce psychology and philosophy into literary criticism. He was interested in the study of the process of poetic creation, the very principles of creative activity, and for this purposes freely drew upon philosophy and psychology. He thus made philosophy the basis of literary inquiry, and thus brought about a union of philosophy, psychology and literary criticism. His literary theories have their bases in philosophy; he imparted to criticism the dignity which belongs to philosophy. He philosophized literary criticism and thus brought about a better and truer understanding of the process of creation and the nature and function of poetry.

His greatest and most original contribution to literary criticism is his theory of imagination. Addison had examined the nature and function of imagination, and Wordsworth, too, had developed his own theory on the subject. But all previous discussions of imagination look superficial and childish when compared with Coleridge's treatment of the subject. He is the first critic to differentiate between Imagination and Fancy, and to differentiate between primary and secondary Imagination. Through his theory of imagination he revolutionized the concept of artistic imitation. Poetic imitation is neither a servile copy of nature, not is it the creation of something entirely new and different from Nature. Poetry is not imitation, but creation, but it is creation based on the sensations and impressions received from the external world. Such impressions are shaped, ordered, modified and opposites are reconciled and harmonized, by the imagination of the poet, and in this way poetic creation takes place.

Further, as David Daiches points out:
"It was Coleridge who finally, for the first time, resolved the age old problem of the relation between the form and content of poetry."
Through his philosophical inquiry into the nature and value of poetry, he established that a poem is an organic whole, and that its form is determined by its content, and is essential to that content. Thus metre and rhyme, he showed, are not merely, "pleasure super-added", not merely something superfluous which can be dispensed with, not mere decoration, but essential to that pleasure which is the true poetic pleasure. This demonstration of the organic wholeness of a poem is one of his major contributions to literary theory.

Similarly, his theory of "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" marks a significant advance over earlier theories on the subject. His view that during the perusal of a poem or the witnessing of a play, there is neither belief nor disbelief, but a mere suspension of disbelief, is not universally accepted as correct, and the controversy on the subject has been finally set at rest.

However, it may be mentioned in the end that as Coleridge's views are too philosophical, he is a critic no easy to understand. Often it is fragmentary and unsystematic. Victorians, in general, could not appreciate him and his appeal was confined to the few.

It is only in the 20th century that his literary criticism has been truly understood and recognition and appreciation have followed. Today his reputation stands very high, and many go to him for inspiration and illumination. Despite the fragmentary nature of his work, he is now regarded as the most original critic of England.

Explanation Of Poem =='The Arrival Of The Bee Box

Explanation Of Poem 'The Arrival Of The Bee Box

The first stanza of "The Arrival of the Bee Box" provides, in some measure, a corrective to the excesses and exaggerations of "The Bee Meeting." The speaker is now able to answer her own earlier question about the box; in fact, overcoming her former passivity, she even takes responsibility for it, "I ordered this, this clean wood box." Seeing it more clearly in her present state of mind, it is no longer the long, white virgin’s coffin feared to be for her but a prosaic "clean wood box" that she herself owns. As if to demonstrate the unequivocal reality of the box, she says it is "Square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift." The choice of "chair," the classroom philosopher’s favorite object for exhibiting the "real," is good humored and appropriate. Further, the rhyming phrase, "square as a chair," gives aural substance to the box, and the word "square" suggests honesty, directness, and exactitude. In three words, then, she has overturned the hallucinatory tone of the first poem.

Yet her fine control over words diminishes rapidly, and she concocts a quick succession of odd metaphors for the box--"I would say it was the coffin of a midget / Or a square baby." The subjunctive "I would" testifies that she is aware even before she generates them that her metaphors are contrived. These self-conscious tropes preview the numerous metaphors and similes that this poem will hazard. Even when she claims to leave off making metaphors, she slips immediately into another sort of verbal play, "I would . . . were there not such a din in it." The humming sound created by the three short i’s of "din in it" attests to irrepressible linguistic production. But the difference between "The Arrival of the Bee Box" and "The Bee Meeting" is that here the speaker remains fully aware that she is using poetic language to shape her experience.

In fact, one could read this as a poem about poetic language. If the box represents form and the clamor inside of it represents content, then "The Arrival of the Bee Box" may best be read as a poem in which the speaker explores the relationship between her "asbestos gloves" and her incendiary subject matter. In this view, the two aborted metaphors, the coffin of the midget and the square baby, can be understood as descriptions of poetic content that becomes malformed or remains undeveloped when cramped into conventional structures. In this sense, her first attempts to describe the box were accurate. "The box is locked" because its contents are "dangerous," yet the speaker "can’t keep away from it." As she examines the box and considers opening it, she is faced with the threat that what is inside may destroy her.

This is a box she has approached elsewhere in her poetry. In each case it seems to represent the conflict between rigid outer forms and a suppressed inner life. It is, of course, the long, white box she fears in "The Bee Meeting" that will trap her in a premature grave; but it is also the hive box in an earlier poem, "The Beekeeper’s Daughter" (118). There, in a line she will recycle for "The Arrival," the daughter of the beekeeper, like the present speaker, tries to look into the box: "Kneeling down / I set my eye to a hole-mouth and meet an eye / Round, green, disconsolate as a tear." The eye of the daughter recognizes in the eye of the queen bee a reflection of her own dejection. Both are isolated by their special bond to the father/beekeeper and trapped by structures of power in which they are defined completely by their relation to him. Here, however, the bees are "furious" rather than disconsolate, and she can see nothing of them. When the effort to see fails, "I put my eye to the grid. / It is dark, dark," she must take recourse in listening, "I lay my ear to furious Latin." Here again, as in "Words heard," the persona finds her own voice by hearing the voices of others.

Naturally, then, she begins to create metaphors for the sound in an attempt to understand it. Over the course of the next three stanzas she proposes three analogies for the contents of the bee box, each one an image of power and oppression. First it reminds her of "the swarmy feeling of African hands / Minute and shrunk for export, / Black on black, angrily clambering." Here her role in relation to the box is that of slave trader or colonizing exporter. The power of the colonizer (exporter/poet) over the colonized (African hands/poems) results in the diminution of the latter, which are "Minute and shrunk for export"; the contents of the box are once again imagined as dwarfed and deformed as the whole notion of containment through forms is repeatedly called into question. The bees (and, we can infer, the poems) resent their captivity and agitate to escape. In this analogy, she is right to feel that the bees are dangerous. Next "It is like a Roman mob, / Small, taken one by one, but my god, together!" Echoing again that line from "The Beekeeper’s Daughter," she says, "I lay my ear to furious Latin." Relinquishing power over this mob because she cannot understand them, she admits, "I am not Caesar." Almost inadvertently, these first two metaphors for the din in the box employ exemplary instances from history of domination: the slave trade, white colonization of non-white countries, and autocracy. These political structures, then, are related to the formal structure that controls and contains content. This is the role she rejects in claiming not to be Caesar. Finally, she tries to speak more directly, but even this effort produces a metaphor: "I have simply ordered a box of maniacs." This line is a continuation of her preceding disclaimer: I am not a tyrant who wants to dominate the bees; I simply ordered a bee hive, but it has turned out to be more than I bargained for. Further, however, it too offers a metaphor of power relations--the mental asylum--this time one that the speaker can perhaps identify with more easily since, in "The Bee Meeting," she felt herself becoming the maniac in the box.

Realizing now that she is obliged to the box at least for the night, she senses the danger she is in and toys first with the idea of abdicating her power, "They can be sent back" (the passive voice construction is not accidental), then immediately with the idea of exerting it, "They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner." Clearly, the poem views such power as corrupting, for as soon as she assumes the position of authority ("I am the owner"), she becomes aware of her total control ("They can die").

Fortunately for the bees, the role of autocrat is not one she relishes; thus, instead of executing her control over them, she wonders "how hungry they are"--a line that reveals she is probably not capable of withholding food from them. (Even the syntax of the line that proposes not to feed them is contorted to throw emphasis on the likelihood that she will care for them: the affirmative phrase "I need feed them" comes first and then, as an unconvincing afterthought, the negative word "nothing.") Indeed, she would like to feed them, or better, to set them free, but she cannot tell how they will treat her if they are liberated. Turning again to the protective myth of Daphne, she tries to imagine freeing them without harm to herself: "I wonder if they would forget me / If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree. . . . / They might ignore me immediately." These lines are actually quite strange. She does not wonder if the bees will attack her but if they will "forget" her, as though her connection to them is more profound and binding than that of a customer who has just purchased a hive. Likewise, the choice of the word "immediately" suggests a concern with duration rather than with the imminent event of their assault. This language also indicates that she has some prior connection to the bees. In the reading I am pursuing, this connection parallels a career of writing that shuts up her imaginative vitality in rigid forms. The bees, then, represent her own repressed feelings, and she dreads the possibility of being overcome by her own memories and outrages. Would she ever be able to forget the slights and injustices? Would the feelings immediately consume her? The "unintelligible syllables" causing the commotion in the box are the sounds of her own anger and fury, and it is her inability to articulate an outrage that she can nevertheless hear that "appalls [her] most of all."

The allusion to Daphne in this poem is not merely an image for the speaker’s isolated problem; rather it represents other women as well. She recognizes precedents for the metamorphosis: "There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades, / And the petticoats of the cherry." Here for the first time she detects the traces of other women in these trees, their blondness and their petticoats. To refuse the metamorphosis is to attempt to remain in the world as she is, an extremely vulnerable position for a woman (even more so for a woman writer). It necessitates protective gear that is hardly less alienating than bark and leaves, a "moon suit and funeral veil." Moreover, the gear that is meant to protect her human vulnerability seems instead to dehumanize her (the moon suit suggests her strangeness).

In a last effort to find a way to release the bees without risking injury, she reasons that since she is "no source of honey," they have no cause to attack her. Yet she overlooks the irony that whoever liberates the bees must inevitably be exposed to danger. This point is conveyed through the verbal play on "honey" and "sweet": "I am no source of honey / So why should they turn on me? Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free." Ironically, by being sweet she will be like the honey that the bees are after; in fact, it is her sweetness--her desire to help and her willingness to release the bees--that makes her so vulnerable. On all levels of the poem, the beekeeper opening the box, the woman giving vent to repressed emotions, or the poet uncovering her real subjects, the liberator will likely get hurt.

"The Arrival of the Bee Box" is the only poem in the sequence that exceeds the five-line stanza pattern. It closes with an extra line--significantly, a line about form that the form of the poem is not able to contain--that asserts "The box is only temporary." This final utterance not only announces the inevitable displacement of the box but also outstrips the formal boundaries set by the poem (and the sequence). The speaker will release the bees. The content will exceed the form. More important, of course, the hand that penned the apocalyptic last line will remove its asbestos glove.


Be kind to 'YOURSELF'.

Be kind to 'YOURSELF'.

You are your own strength!

You are your own strength!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Poetry Analysis of "London" a Poem by William Blake (1757 - 1827)

Poetry Analysis of "London" a Poem by William Blake (1757 - 1827)

William Blake (1757-1827)was born in Westminster and by the age of 14 he worked as an apprentice to an engraver called James Basire.

The poem "London" was written during the times of the French Revolution and showed his views of 18th century London, a place where he lived nearly all his life. Blake was considered an eccentric and a madman in his lifetime and it was only after his death that his works gained recognition. He had lived most of life in poverty and was buried in an unmarked grave in Bunhill Fields in London.

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

The poem has a total of sixteen lines which are split into 4 paragraphs with a rhyming AbAb pattern throughout the poem. In the first paragraph it is with sarcasm that Blake describes the sights he sees as he walks through the streets of London. The repetitive use of the word "charter'd" stresses Blake's anger at the political times and his feeling towards the ruling classes with their controlling laws and oppressive ways. He taunts in the poem to say that it is not only every street they want to control but even the River Thames which should normally be free for all but in this case it too is "charter'd".

The poem focuses on the social and political background of London and highlights differences in the wealth of the ruling classes and the poverty facing the common man. Free speech is curtailed to avoid Londoners following the example of their French counterparts. The people of London are described as being weak and full of woe as the marks on their faces reveal. There is a repetition on the word "marks" which again stresses the despair and tiredness that they seem to be going through because of their oppressed way of life.

Being a mystical person himself, Blake uses the expression "marks of woe" in an almost religious sense. He is being the onlooker in this poem and as he walks past he can see the weakness and misery marked on the faces of the passers due to their helplessness at not being able to bring about any changes in their destiny.

In every cry of every man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.

Though the feelings of every man and child are suppressed, it is as if the fear and their cries are audible to him as he walks by. Again his mystical side can be seen because throughout his lifetime he was said to have spiritual visions. Through their silence, he can still hear all that they want to say but cannot, because of fear of authority.

There is lack of free expression and he uses the word "ban" which is quite clear in its meaning and reveals how people were unable to voice their criticisms on how the country was being ruled. No one dared to speak out for fear of being imprisoned. The words "fear", "cry", "ban", and "mind-forg'd manacles" describe a people who are suffering and frightened and their feelings are imprisoned in their own minds. There is repetition of words like "every" on the first three verses to stress these feelings of being imprisoned and trapped.

How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every black'ning Church appals;
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

In the third paragraph he talks about the chimney sweeper's and the hapless soldier and his finger of blame points to places of authority like the Church and the Palace. The word "appals", "sigh" and "runs in blood" show authority being immune to its common people who are in distress but there seems to be no comfort coming their way. The chimney sweep represents the destitute children while the soldier represents the anguish of those who had to serve in the army under difficult conditions. Their blood is being spilt down the palace walls while the cries of the suffering children are blacking the Church which should bring light to its people. The combination of the helpless on one side and the unhearing authority on the other is both stark and accusatory in its tone.

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot's curse
Blasts the new-born infant's tear,
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse

In the final verse Blake's takes on an even more foreboding tone as he talks about the young girl who is out in the darkness of the night walking the streets. Young women had to resort to prostitution because of poverty and he can hear her curses for what she has to be put through. Her grief affects the new born child and he uses powerful words like "blasts" which is a contrast to the gentleness one would use for a new born child.

It is as if he can foresee the difficulties the child will have to suffer just like his mother is doing. In contrast a rich woman getting married in a carriage will be blighted by this curse and her carriage might turn out to be a hearse. Blake is pointing a finger at the rich men who might use the services of a prostitute and then get married and pass on disease to their wives. He uses the word "plagues" to signify the goings on of the rich and how their actions affect the lives of all the innocent people involved.

This poem, no matter how brutal and harsh in its message, has relevance even in modern times in societies where there is poverty due to large discrepancies in incomes between the rich and poor.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Its Very Nice To Discuss Problems

Its Very Nice To Discuss Problems
With Friends . . .
Not Because They Will Solve It
Will Give Such Stupid Suggestions
That You Will Laugh&Forget The

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

William Blake’s “A Poison Tree”

William Blake’s “A Poison Tree” 

    William Blake’s “A Poison Tree” makes a powerful statement about how the poet felt conflict should be handled. In his poem, Blake warns about the ill effects of holding malice inside oneself. The poem is a metaphor for what happens when one allows anger to grow within, instead of using the power of communication to resolve conflicts.

“A Poison Tree” is organized into four quatrains. The rhyme scheme is AABB; meaning that the first two lines of each quatrain rhyme as do the second two lines. This rhyme scheme creates a very simple and easy to follow flow for the poem.

The poem is told from the point of view of an ambiguous narrator. Withholding the identity and all personal details of the speaker, makes readers able to place themselves into the poem.

The first quatrain explains that the narrator at one time became angry with a friend. However, this conflict was resolved because the narrator told the friend and the “wrath did end.” The second half of the quatrain brings up another conflict, but this anger is with a foe. This time the narrator “told it not” and the “wrath did grow.”

The second quatrain is very powerful and starts with the line, “and I watered it in fear.” Blake is telling the reader that fear and anger go together. One can assume that the fear of the speaker is unfounded as there has been no mention of threat from the foe. Fear can force people to think and do things that are highly out of character. This emotion can take one to a dark place, as it does with the speaker. Next in the quatrain, the narrator mentions that the wrath is feed with tears. The mention of tears associated with the speaker’s fears leads one to believe that this emotion is unwanted. But then the next line, “And I sunned it with smiles,” leads ones to think that the speaker may be enjoying watching the wrath grow. The longer the speaker is allowed to contain the anger, the more of a emotion poison it becomes.

The third quatrain tells how the wrath grows into the poison tree. Blake chose this metaphor because wrath is a poison that tants a person’s emotions and powers to reason. The poison tree produces “an apple bright.” The foe sees the fruit of the poison tree and knows the apple belongs to the speaker. For this reason, the foe covets the apple.

The fourth and final quatrain reveals the end result of the foe sneaking into the speaker’s “garden” to take the apple from the poison tree. In the end, the apple, the fruit of speaker’s wrath, takes the life of the foe. The speaker is victorious over the foe but at a high cost. Blake says that the speaker is “glad” to see the foe “outstretched beneath the tree.” These last lines have a sense of unease. No matter what the anger-poisoned speaker may believe, this is not a victory.

“A Poison Tree” is Blake’s warning to the reader about what unchecked anger can do. Such an emotion can become poison to people's minds if allowed to grow. Communication and releasing such emotions before they fester is the safest path to resolve conflict.

William Blake --- A Poison Tree

William Blake "A Poison Tree"

In “A Poison Tree,” by William Blake is a central metaphor explains a truth of human nature. This poem teaches how anger can be dispelled by goodwill or nurtured to become a deadly poison. It is appropriate that poems touching on Biblical themes should be expressed like this in which a spiritual meaning is expressed in a vivid story. The opening stanza sets up everything for the entire poem, from the ending of anger with the “friend,” to the continuing anger with the “foe.” Blake startles the reader with the clarity of the poem, and with metaphors that can apply to many instances of life.

Blake also uses several forms of figurative language. He works with a simple AABB rhyme scheme to keep his poem flowing. These ideals allow him to better express himself in terms that a reader can truly understand. These forms of language better help authors to express their feelings and thoughts that would not normally be able to be expressed by words.

The personification in “A Poison Tree” exists both as a means by which the poem's metaphors are revealed, supported, and as a way for Blake to forecast the greater illustration of the wrath. The wrath the speaker feels is not directly personified as a tree, but as something that grows slowly and bears fruit. In the opening stanza the speaker states, “My wrath did grow.” The speaker later describes the living nature of the wrath as one which, “grew both day and night,” and, “bore an apple bright.” This comparison by personification of wrath to a tree illustrates the speaker's idea that, like the slow and steady growth of a tree, anger and wrath gradually accumulate and form just as mighty and deadly as a poisoned tree.

To understand the metaphorical sense of the poem, one must first examine the title, “A Poison Tree,” which alerts the reader that some type of metaphor will stand to dominate the poem. In the second stanza, Blake employs several metaphors that reflect the growing and nurturing of a tree which compare to the feeding of hate and vanity explored by the speaker. The verses, “And I watered it …with my tears” show how the tears life lead an object of destruction. The speaker goes further to say, “And I sunned it with smiles” describing not only false intentions, but the processing of “sunning”, giving nutrients to a plant so that it may not only grow and live, but flourish. In both of these metaphors, the basic elements for a tree to survive, water and sunlight are shown in human despair and sadness.

The religious context of the poem is also evident in two metaphorical allusions made by the speaker towards the end of the poem. The deadly fruit borne of the tree is an apple, while the scene of death and treachery occurs in the speaker's garden. The apple is a product of hate, the ironic “fruits of one's labor,” and a biblical metaphor for sin. This co notates that destruction will occur if the tree is showered with sour emotions. The garden, which could be viewed as a place of life and prosperity, is simply the stage for the sinful act, as it was in the Bible. Like the events of the biblical story of Adam and Eve, man gives in to the weakness of sin and falls.

Blake's poetry, while easy to understand and simplistic, usually implies a moral motif on an almost basic level. The powerful figurative language in “A Poison Tree” is so apparent that it brings forth an apparent message as well. The poem is not a celebration of wrath; rather it is Blake's cry against it. Through this, Blake warns the reader of the dangers of repression and of rejoicing in the sorrow of our foes.

William Blake wrote this poem to convey a simple message. “A Poison Tree” may be one of Blake’s simpler poems, but is just as effective of getting its message across. He used figurative language as a way to express his point that anything beautiful in life can be contorted to something disgusting if shown ugly emotions.

In today's world, Good is now evil and Evil is now good.

A Poison Tree

A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree. 

      William Blake

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Othello - Analysis of Iago

Othello - Analysis of Iago

Shakespeare's Iago is one of Shakespeare's most complex 
villains. At first glance Iago's character seems to be pure evil.
However, such a villain would distract from the impact of the play and 
would be trite. Shakespeare to add depth to his villain makes him 

amoral, as opposed to the typical immoral villain. Iago's entire 
scheme begins when the "ignorant, ill-suited" Cassio is given the 
position he desired. Iago is consumed with envy and plots to steal the 
position he feels he most justly deserves. Iago deceives, steals, and 
kills to gain that position. However, it is not that Iago pushes aside 
his conscience to commit these acts, but that he lacks a conscience to 
begin with. Iago's amorality can be seen throughout the play and is 
demonstrated by his actions. 

      For someone to constantly lie and deceive one's wife and 
friends, one must be extremely evil or, in the case of Iago, amoral. 
In every scene in which Iago speaks one can point out his deceptive 
manner. Iago tricks Othello into beleiving that his own wife is
having an affair, without any concrete proof. Othello is so caught up 
in Iago's lies that he refuses to believe Desdemona when she denies 
the whole thing. Much credit must be given to Iago's diabolical 
prowess which enables him to bend and twist the supple minds of his 
friends and spouse. In today's society Iago would be called a 
psychopath without a conscience not the devil incarnate. 

      Iago also manages to steal from his own friend without the 
slightest feeling of guilt. He embezzles the money that Roderigo gives
him to win over Desdemona. When Roderigo discovers that Iago has been 
hoarding his money he screams at Iago and threatens him. However, when 
Iago tells him some fanciful plot in order to capture Desdemona's 
heart Roderigo forgets Iago's theft and agrees to kill Cassio. Iago's 
keen intellect is what intrigues the reader most. His ability to say 
the right things at the right time is what makes him such a successful 
villain. However, someone with a conscience would never be able to 
keep up such a ploy and deceive everyone around him. This is why it is 
necessary to say that Iago is amoral, because if you don't his
character becomes fictional and hard to believe. 

      At the climactic ending of the play, Iago's plot is given away 
to Othello by his own wife, Emilia. Iago sees his wife as an obstacle 
and a nuisance so he kills her. He kills her not as much out of anger 
but for pragmatic reasons. Emilia is a stumbling block in front of his 
path. She serves no purpose to him anymore and she can now only hurt 
his chances of keeping the position he has been given by Othello. 
Iago's merciless taking of Emilia's and Roderigo's lives is another 
proof of his amorality. 

      If one looks in modern day cinema, one will see the trite 
villain, evil to the core. Shakespeare took his villains to a higher 
level. He did not make them transparent like the villains of modern 
cinema. He gave his villains depth and spirit. Iago is a perfect
example of "Shakespeare's villain." His amorality and cynicism give, 
what would be a very dull character, life. 


The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice...

The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice...

In a street in Venice, the villain Iago complains to Roderigo that Othello the Moor chose Cassio to be his lieutenant, rather than Iago. Iago vows to stay loyal to Othello only as long as it works to his advantage. They then inform Barbantio that his daughter Desdemona is sleeping with Othello. Barbantio hesitates to believe them, since Roderigo has been an unwelcome suitor to his daughter, but he soon finds she is missing. At Othello's house, Cassio and other officers arrive summoning Othello to the Duke of Venice on urgent matters. Barbantio then arrives and orders Othello arrested, until he learns of the Dukes summons. At the Duke's chambers, Barbantio accuses Othello of using spells and potions to win Desdemona. He, however, proves this is not so, and Barbantio reluctantly blesses their marriage. We then learn that the Turkish fleet (the Ottomites) is sailing toward Cypress. The Duke asks Othello to go defend it, and Desdemona asks to come with. Othello asks Iago to take care of Desdemona and follow him to Cyprus. Roderigo laments to Iago that he has lost Desdemona since Othello has married her. Iago convinces Roderigo to make money by selling his lands and fighting in wars. Over time, Iago feels Othello will tire of Desdemona and she will again become available. Iago, for his own part, reveals to the audience that he is only using Roderigo for his money. He also begins to plot his revenge against Othello for choosing Cassio.

At Cyprus, the governor Montano reports that a tempest has droned the Turkish fleet, effectively eliminating their threat. Next, Cassio arrives, then Iago, his wife Emilia, and Desdemona, and lastly, Othello. In private, Iago tells Roderigo he believes Desdemona is in love with Cassio, based on their flirting before Othello arrived. He convinces Roderigo to pick a fight with Cassio to get Cassio in trouble with the local authorities. Alone, Iago reveals his plans to make Othello jealous of Cassio and/or Roderigo for courting Desdemona. That evening, after supper, Othello and Desdemona head to bed, while Iago arrives with wine, hoping to get Cassio drunk. He does, then Roderigo eggs him on, and a fight ensues, pulling Montano into the melee. Othello breaks it up, and after Iago explains (pretending not to know Roderigo), Othello tells Cassio he is no longer his lieutenant. Privately, Iago convinces Cassio to entreat Desdemona to ask Othello to reinstate him. Alone, Iago reveals that he'll use their private meetings to convince Othello that Desdemona is disloyal.

At the Citadel (Othello's lodging), Cassio entreats Desdemona to help him. When Iago and Othello appear in the distance, Cassio leaves. Desdemona relays Cassio's penance, then leaves herself. Iago begins dropping hints of his "suspicions" about Cassio and Desdemona to Othello, to which Othello probes Iago for his thoughts, and Iago pretends to reluctantly reveal them. Thus, Iago plants the seed that Desdemona is being disloyal to Othello. All throughout, Othello keeps stating how he genuinely believes Iago is of "exceeding honesty". Iago leaves and Desdemona appears calling Othello to dinner. He, already becoming (wrongly) suspicious, is rude to her when she tries to cure his "headache" with her handkerchief, given to her by Othello as his first gift to her. They leave, and Emilia appears and picks up the handkerchief, remembering that her husband Iago has asked her to steal it repeatedly before. Iago appears and takes it from her; then privately states that he'll plant it at Cassio's room to fuel Othello's suspicions. Othello reappears, and reveals to Iago how greatly depressed he has become. Othello yells at Iago and demands proof of the suspicions which Iago has planted in his head. Iago then claims he has heard Cassio talk of his love for Desdemona in his sleep. Iago also claims he's seen Cassio wipe his beard with Desdemona's handkerchief. This being the final straw, Othello names Iago his lieutenant and orders Iago to kill Cassio within the next three days. As for Desdemona, Othello wishes her dead too. In her room, Desdemona and Emilia look for the lost handkerchief. Othello appears and claims to have a cold and asks to see it. Desdemona says she doesn't have it, but promises it is not lost. Othello, enraged, leaves. Cassio again appears and entreats Desdemona to talk to Othello. She tells him she has tried, but Othello has become irritable. Cassio's mistress Bianca appears and he asks her to copy the handkerchief he found in his room (Desdemona's), since he likes it, but fears someone will ask for it soon.

At his chamber, Iago eggs Othello on more as Othello slowly goes crazy, since Iago tells him Cassio admitted sleeping with Desdemona. Iago rejoices as Othello goes into a seizure/trance. Iago convinces Othello to hide while he questions Cassio about Desdemona. In reality, Iago plans to speak to Cassio about Bianca, eliciting laughter and smiles. Othello sees this and thinks they are talking about escapes with Desdemona. Bianca then appears, enraged, and throws the handkerchief at Cassio, accusing him of getting it from another lady. This, too, Othello sees. After Cassio and Bianca leave, Iago comes to Othello and convinces him to strangle Desdemona in bed that night, while Iago promises to take care of Cassio. The noble Lodovico from Venice arrives at Cyprus and gives Othello a letter. Already angered, the letter enrages Othello as it orders him home to Venice and Cassio to remain in Cyprus, taking over Othello's command. Desdemona tries to calm him and he strikes her, shocking Lodovico. Iago tells him Othello has changed, but will not reveal more. At the citadel, Othello questions Emilia about Desdemona's honesty; she swears Desdemona is honest, though Othello summons Desdemona and accuses her of being disloyal and a shore, all while himself weeping. When Othello leaves, Desdemona summons Iago and Emilia to comfort her. Emilia tells Iago she belies an evil villain hath put the thoughts into Othello's head. Ironically, Iago replies "it is impossible". Separately, Roderigo comes to Iago complaining that he has given Iago all his jewels to give to Desdemona, and has seen no positive results from her. Iago calms him down and explains that Othello and Desdemona are leaving, by order of Venice, and Cassio will take over in Cyprus. However, Iago says, if Cassio were to die, Othello would have to stay in Venice, and Roderigo would be able to have Desdemona. Iago tells Roderigo to wait outside Bianca's house after midnight, then kill Cassio when he leaves. Iago promises to help, if necessary. At supper, Lodovico and Othello go on a walk, and Othello orders Desdemona to wait, alone, in her bedroom for him.

At night, in a street, Iago sets Roderigo up to kill Cassio. Iago thinks to himself that both must die, or his plotting will be revealed. Cassio appears and Roderigo attacks him, cutting off one of Cassio's legs, during which Cassio wounds Roderigo. Othello overhears Roderigo's cries for help and thinks Cassio is dead; he thus returns to Desdemona. Meanwhile, Iago, who had left, reappears to "investigate" the noise. Lodovico and Gratiano also come. Iago finds Cassio, who's still alive. Alone, he finds Roderigo and stabs him, assuring his death. Iago then "discovers" Roderigo and calls the others. Bianca appears and Iago accuses her of being in cohorts with Roderigo. He calls her a strumpet and takes her into custody. Othello then arrives back at Desdemona's chamber, ready to kill her, even though he still finds her beautiful. Despite her pleadings, he smothers her with a pillow, though she doesn't completely die. Emilia appears and tells Othello that Roderigo is dead, but Cassio is alive. She then hears Desdemona cry for help and tries to help her, but she dies. Emilia asks Othello why he killed her and he says Iago told him she had slept with Cassio. Montano, Gratiano, and Iago appear and Emilia accuses Iago of being a liar. He admits he told Othello Desdemona was sleeping with Cassio. Gratiano tells us Desdemona's father has died over the grief of losing her. Othello explains that Cassio had Desdemona's handkerchief, given to him by her, but Emilia laments that she found it and gave it to Iago. At this, Iago tries to kill Emilia, but Gratiano and Montano hold him back. Othello, in a rage, comes at Iago, but he escapes and kills his wife (Emilia), then flees. Montano and Gratiano take Othello's sword, then chase Iago. Othello finds another weapon, then Lodovico, Cassio, Montano, and Iago (captured) reappear. This time Othello wounds Iago, but is disarmed. All is revealed as letters explaining Iago's deeds were found on Roderigo, and he, when near death, professed that Iago had put him up to attacking Cassio. In a closing speech, Othello pulls a hidden dagger and kills himself. Fittingly, Lodovico leaves Iago for Cassio to sentence and torture.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Othello - ---A Racist Play?

Othello - A Racist Play?

There are lots of things to suggest this is a racist Play. Racism don't actually dominates the play, even though it has a racist theme. There is a romantic union between black and white which gets destroyed because most people think the relationship is wrong. At the time the play was written, 1604, even the Queen of England was racist so there must have been a strong hatred of blacks around that time.

Most racist comments in the play are said by people that are angry or upset. For example, when Emilia found out that Othellohad killed Desdemona she was extremely mad and she called Othello a “Blacker devil”, this was the only time in the play that she had said anything racist about Othello. The main characters that have racist attitudes are Iago, Brabantio, Roderigo and Emilia, with the hatred of Othello as the basis for their racist actions and comments towards him. Iago is the most racist character in the book as he has it in for Othello right from the start. What sparks off Iago's hate towards him is the fact that when Othello chose his lieutenant , it was Cassio who was chosen instead of Iago. What made Iago angry was the fact thatCassio had no experience in war when he did and Cassio was chosen instead of him. Iago does not say anything racist to Othello's face but he has a lot to say against him behind his back. He schemes to destroy Othello and anything in his way including Cassio and Desdemona. The first time we hear one of his racist comments is when he's talking to Brabantio about Othello and Desdemona,

“Even now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe”.

Iago says this to try and turn Brabantio against Othello. Iago uses racist comments all the way through the play, as he tries to turn people against Othello, for example calling him a “Barbary Horse”. He never says anything racist to Othello's face because in his plot he had to be his best friend, so as not to make him suspicious that Iago was causing all the trouble for him. Iago is jealous of Othello for many reasons, one being that Othello has higher ranking in the army than him, and also he has a good marriage with Desdemona which Iago does not have himself with Emilia. These are the main causes of his hatred for Othello and the reason he adopts such a racist attitude.

Roderigo is another one of the racist characters in the play, being so right from the start. He is Iago's accomplice and will doanything that Iago wants him to. I think he does this because of the way Iago can twist a situation to make it sound as if Roderigo would get something good from it but in the end he doesn't.

One of the racist names he calls Othello behind his back is “Thick-lips”. He hates Othello because he's jealous of him as healso loves Desdemona but cannot have her. I don't think he views Othello in a very bad, racist way but uses the racism against Othello because he's jealous of him. Neither Roderigo or Iago would say anything racist to Othello's face as he is the general of the army.

Brabantio is also a racist character, and is enraged when he finds out that his daughter, Desdemona, has been seeing “the moor”behind his back. Brabantio is so mad he sends out his guards to catch Othello and put him in prison. Brabantio views Othello as a foul and dirty no good black, I think this racist view of his is because he's angry when he finds out that his daughter has been seeing this “moor”. Unlike Iago and Roderigo, Brabantio will openly make racist comments about Othello to his face such as,

“lascivious moor”,

“Wheeling stranger”.

Brabantio can do this because he is the Senator of Venice and is higher in rank than Othello.

The other character who is racist towards Othello is Emilia, the lady in waiting to Desdemona. Emilia is disgusted with Othello when she finds out that Othello had killed Desdemona this is the time she gets a chance to express her feelings about Othello,

“O, the more angel she, and you the blacker devil!”

Although this is the only time she says what she thinks of him, I think that she was racist towards Othello all through the play and did not approve of his relationship with Desdemona but just could not show it because she would get in trouble with her “lord”.

Because Shakespeare wrote a play about a black and white union, which was later destroyed, I think it shows that he's not racist. I think he feels that the union between the two is right, but the relationship would never survive in a racist community at that time. He portrayed the union between Othello and Desdemona as a good thing, and the people who destroyed it, mainly Iago and Roderigo as evil. This shows once again that he approves of a black and white relationship and therefore was not racist himself.

Once before Shakespeare wrote a sonnet about his mistress which says, for example,

“If snow be white, why then her breast be dun”

He writes about his mistress being black when other poets of that time wrote about how their mistresses were white. The other poets were the racist ones, they girlfriends were always white and perfect, Shakespeare wrote about how his mistresses is black and not very beautiful. Although the play has a strong racist theme against blacks but on the whole the play is not racist.

Milton: Character of ==="Satan"

Milton: Character of "Satan" 

Satan occupies the most prominent position in the action of Paradise Lost. Though the main theme of the poem is the “Man’s first disobedience” yet it is the character of Satan which gives a touch of greatness to this epic. Al the poetic powers of Milton are shown on the delineation of the majestic personality of the enemy of God and Man, i.e. Satan.

As it is shown in Paradise Lost Book-I that the character of Satan is a blend of the noble and the ignoble, the exalted and the mean, the great and the low, therefore, it becomes difficult to declare him either a hero or a wholly villain.

In Paradise Lost Book-I we can hardly doubt his heroic qualities because this book fully exhibits his exemplary will-power, unsurpassable determination, unshakable confidence and unbelievable courage. However, the encyclopedia of religion removes some of the confusion from our minds regarding Satan’s character in the following words:

“Satan means the arch-enemy of men, the adversary of God and of Christianity, a rebel against God, a lost arch-angle.”

Milton also confirms the remarks and tells us that Satan is an archangel. When God declares the Holy Christ his viceroy, Satan refuses to accept God’s order because he himself is a confident for it, his false strength and pride leads him to revolt against God for the fulfillment of his lust for power but he and his army suffers a heavy defeat and throw headlong into the pit of hell.

Milton’s description of Satan’s huge physical dimension, the heavy arms he carries, his tower like personality and his gesture make him every inch a hero. In his first speech, Satan tells Beelzebub that he does not repent of what he did and that defeat has brought no change in him at all. He utters memorable lines:

“What though the field be lost?
All is not lost – the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield.”

Actually he is not ready to bow before the will of God and is determined to wade and eternal war by force and will never compromise. He proudly calls himself the new possessor of the profoundest hell and foolishly claims to have a mind never to be changed by force or time. As he says:

“The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

Although Satan undergoes perpetual mental and physical torture in hell yet he is fully satisfied because he is at liberty to do whatever he likes, without any restriction. The following line clearly indicates his concept of freedom.

“Better to reign in Hell, the Serve in Heaven.”

It can be said without any doubt that Satan gives an evidence of great leadership qualities which are certainly worthy of an epic hero and Beelzebub appreciates him for his undaunted virtues as the commander of undaunted virtue as the commander of fallen angels. His speech to the fallen angels is a sole roof of his great leadership because it infuses a new spirit in the defeated angels who come out of the pit of hill with their swords and are ready to face any danger regardless of their crushing and humiliating defeat at the hands of God. We fully laud Satan’s views on the themes of honour, revenge and freedom, but we cannot help sympathizing him because he embodies evil. He is the embodiment of disobedience to God.

As the poem proceeds, the character of Satan degenerates and he fails to produce any impression to true heroism because he is morally a degraded figure. When we closely examine his addressed to his followers, we find that it is full of contradictions and absurdities, because he tries to throw dust into the eyes of his comrades. In fact, on the one hand, he says that they will provoke war against God and on the other hand, he wants peace which is only possible through submission. Then, on reaching the earth, he enters into a serpent and is completely degrades. Pride is the cause of his fall from Heaven – Pride that has ‘raised’ him to contend with the mightiest. But where is that pride when the Archangel enters into the mouth of a sleeping serpent and hides himself in its “Mazy folds”. Here from the grand figure that he is in the beginning, he degenerates into a man and cunning fellow, and then he tries to tempt Eve by guile. So, Satan degenerates from the role of a brave hero to that of a cunning villain as C. S. Lewis remarks:

“From hero to general, from general to politician, from politician to secret service agent, and thence to a thing that peers in at bed-room or bath-room window and thence toad, and finally to a snake – such is the progress of Satan.”

So, it can easily be said in the light of above mentioned facts that Satan is out and pouter hero in Book-I of Paradise Lost, but in Book-IX he appears before us every inch a villain because of his evil design and he himself says that his chief pleasure lies in the destruction of mankind which lowers him in our estimation as a hero. 


Saturday, 6 April 2013

Oedipus Rex: Role of Chorus

Oedipus Rex: Role of Chorus

Greek tragedy is said to develop itself from the group of dancers and singers who used to partake in the worship of various gods. According to Aristotle the Chorus should be like one of the characters. Gradually the role of the Chorus became less and less important in classical tragedy, until in Roman tragedy the speeches of the Chorus were supposed to be made in between the acts.

Chorus discharges some broad functions in all classical tragedies. The structure of a Greek tragedy is determined by the Chorus. After the prologue, it is with the entry of the Chorus that a Greek tragedy begins. Various episodes are also marked off by choric odes. The conclusion of a Greek tragedy occurs with the exode or the exit song of the Chorus. It is the function of the Chorus to comment on actions and events. It also sometimes questions the characters. Its standard role is that of the moderator. At times it represents the view-point of the common spectator and in some cases it represents the view-point of the dramatist himself.

The functions of the Chorus are very well performed in Oedipus Rex. In the very first ode the Chorus depicts the horror of the plague and expresses an apprehension about the message from the oracle of Delphi. Other odes comment on the action that has taken place after the last ode and build an atmosphere appropriate to that stage of the play. It plays the role of a peace-maker between the king and Creon and succeeds in getting the king’s pardon for the latter. After the exit of Teiresias it comments on the terrible predictions which Teiresias has made but shows determination to support the king. Its most significant response is when Oedipus and Jocasta have expressed irreverent thoughts against the oracles. At many other times also they reflect the dominant mood and help to deepen it. When Oedipus imagines that he is the son of the goodness of luck, the Chorus, immediately sing that their master, Oedipus, might be the son of Apollo.

In the fifth or last choric ode in Oedipus Rex, the Chorus reflects the dejection of Oedipus and says that all the generations of moral man add up to nothing. This ode must not be regarded as reflecting the final mood and impression of the play, for the impression is as much of the greatness of the human spirit as of the insignificance of man and the transitoriness of his happiness. This ode must, therefore, be looked upon only as reflecting a final judgment of it. Oedipus remains forceful even in his downfall; in a sense he is still heroic.

The Chorus takes part in the dialogues also. When Oedipus consults them about ending the plague in the city, they express disappointment that the oracle had not guided them about the identity of Laius’ murderer. They also tell him what they know about the murder of their previous king and its circumstances. When Creon, learning that the king has accused him of treason, comes on the stage he talks to the Chorus, who tell him that the king’s accusation was probably made in the heat of anger. Creon asked if the king looked absolutely serious while making the charge and they rightly say that it is not for them to look into the eyes of his master when he speaks. When Oedipus has almost passed a sentence upon Creon, Jocasta arrives on the scene and first talks to the Chorus. They request her to settle the difference between the two men. They are worried when they see Jocasta going into the palace in a very dejected mood, and they give expression to their apprehension. Oedipus asks them about the shepherd who gave the infant to the Corinthian, they answer that his queen would be able to answer the question better. They sympathize with Oedipus when they see him after he has blinded himself. It is clear, thus, that the Chorus never takes a direct hand in the action. It does not consist only of spectators but influences the action in various subtle ways.

The contribution of the Chorus in Oedipus Rex is considerable. They link the play with common humanity. In some sense they are often in the position of the ideal spectator. They fill in the gaps in the action when no other character is there on the stage. They add to it the element of melody which must have been one of the attractions of Greek tragedy. They provide an appropriate shift between the titanic, heroic figure of Oedipus and the mass of common humanity represented by the two shepherds in Oedipus Res. The tragedy of Oedipus and its relevance to common life is very well stressed by the Chorus in its exit ode or exode.


Chaucer: Art of Characterization

Chaucer: Art of Characterization 

On the aisle of English poetry, Chaucer flourishes the fantastic colours of his words and paints different characters of his age with minute observation. Indeed, he is a great painter who paints not with colours but with words. Undoubtedly, he has:

“The Seeing Eye, the retentive memory, the judgment to select and the ability to expound.”

His keen analysis of the minutest detail of his characters, their dresses, looks and manners enable him to present his characters lifelike and not mere bloodless abstractions.

His poetical piece, “The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales” is a real picture gallery in which thirty portraits are hanging on the wall with all of their details and peculiarities. Rather it is a grand procession with all the life and movement, the colour and sound. Indeed,

“His characters represent English society, morally and socially, in the real and recognizable types”.

And still more representative of humanity in general. So, the characters in Chaucer's “The Prologue” are for all ages and for all lands.

Chaucer is the first great painter of character in English literature. Infact, next to Shakespeare he is the greatest in this field. In “The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales” the thirty portraits traced by Chaucer give us an excellent idea of the society at that time. Except for royalty and aristocracy, on one hand and the robbers or out casts on the other, he has painted in brief practically the whole English nation.

The thirty pilgrims, including the host, belong to the most varied professions. The Knight and the Squire presents the warlike element of the society. The learned and liberal vocations are signified by the Man of Law, the Doctor, the Oxford Clerk and the Poet himself. The Merchant and the Shipman stand for the higher commercial community while the Wife of Bath, an expert Cloth maker represents the traders and manufacturers. Agriculture is represented by the Ploughman, the Miller and the Franklin. The upper servants like Manciple and the Reeve and the lower servant like Yeoman and the Cook represent the town and Country between them. The Monk from his monastery, the Prioress from her convent, her attendant priests, the village Parson, the roaming Friar, the Pardoner and the Summoner sufficiently cover the casual categories of the religious order in those days.

To preserve the distinctions among these typical characters, Chaucer has indicated the differences in their clothes, manner of speech, habits and tendencies representing the common traits and the average characteristics of each profession. These personages, therefore, are not mere phantasms of the brain but real human begins.

These characters represent various types of contemporary society. They are no longer mere dummies or types but owing to their various peculiarities, their arguments and agreement and their likes and dislikes we recognize them as real living beings, true to the mould in which all human nature is cast.

His world is almost freak-free and his characters are perfectly lifelike. Some of them are so modern that they seem to be living today. The old Knight is an example of the chivalrous character which is found in every generation. The Squire is just the typical man of any day.

“He was as fresshe as is the monthe of May”

The Merchant has all the vanity which comes from the growing of wealth, while the Man of Law like lawyers of all times, is pilling up fees and buying land. We recognize in him the typical lawyer of our own day:

“Nowhere so bisy a man as he ther was”
And yet he seemed bisier than he was.

There are characters like the Prioress, the Monk, the Franklin, the Reeve, the Summoner, the Pardoner, and the Wife of Bath whom we do not identify at first. But none of them is really extinct. They have changed their name and profession but their chief part is an element of humanity. That is why when we accompany the Pilgrims on their way we feel quite at home and have no feeling of being among aliens.

Chaucer’s art of characterization is superb. He looks at his characters objectively and delineates each of the men and women sharply and caressingly. His impression of casualness, economy, significance and variety of every detail are examples of that supreme art which conceals art.

Infact, there is a different method of almost every pilgrim. He varies his presentation from the full length portrait to the thumb-nail sketch, but even in the brief sketches, Chaucer conveys a strong sense of individuality and depth of portraiture.

Chaucer’s method of portraying characters is a scientific manner by differentiating them by means of their obvious distinctions. It was for the first time in European literature that a writer proved himself clearly conscious of the relation between individuals and ideas. Moreover, Chaucer’s characters are consistent and instead of being static, they grow and develop in the course of the tale, like living human beings. They give their opinions on the stories that have been told and these comments reveal their dominant thoughts, their feelings and the objects of their interests.

Thus Chaucer is the master in the art of characterization. 


Chaucer: Realism

Chaucer: Realism 

Literature is the mirror of its age. Supreme literary artist is one who becomes a mouthpiece and provides a real picture of his age with its minute details. Chaucer is a perfect representative of his age. He is in true sense a social chronicler of England. His poetry reflects the 14th century not in fragment but as a complete whole.

Realism of Chaucer in “The Canterbury Tales” not gives us the impression that whatever has been described is real in the ordinary sense of the word. Realism is not reality; it is a collective term for the devices that give the effect of reality.

Chaucer represented life in its nakedness.

“What he has given is a direct transpiration of daily life.”

Chaucer's principle object of writing poetry was to portray men and women truthfully without any exaggeration and to present an exact picture of average humanity. He painted life as he saw it, and he saw it with so observant eye that it seems that he was viewing all the events as well as characters through a kaleidoscope. Because of his this quality his epoch, “The Prologue of the Canterbury Tales” has become one of the vivid epoch of history. Moreover he is a man of the world so he mixes with all types of mankind and he observes the minute peculiarities of human nature. “The Canterbury Tales” is not only a long poetical piece but a social history of England. He exposes almost all the aspects of his age as well as of the people along with the detail of their appearance, sex profession, attire and conduct.

Chaucer shed off the influence of the French and Italian models based on fantasies and dreams, upon which he had worked for so long and entered the abundance of his own real self. He worked like a true interpreter or chronicler, relating in a most realistic manner, the stories he had heard, without change of wording or tone.

The setting of “The Canterbury Tales” is highly realistic. A pilgrimage was one of the most common sights in the fourteenth century England. To relate the stories of these pilgrims, Chaucer gives the illusion, not of an imaginary world, but of real one. The more real the world of his setting is, the more his tales by contrast seems like tales, even though some to them deal with real everyday life. Unlike Boccaccio, who in his tales quickly slips back into frank artificiality, Chaucer held consistently to realism throughout “The Canterbury Tales”.

Gifted with an acute power of observation Chaucer sees things as they are, and he possesses the art of printing them as he sees them. He does not project the tint of his likes and dislikes, views and prejudices on what he paints.

“Chaucer sees what is and paints it as he sees it.”

In the portrayal of characters in “The Prologue” he gives us his minute and delicate records of details in dress, behaviour, which makes it a mime of observation as from the portrait of Prioress:

“She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle,
Ne wette hir fyngres in hir sauce depe,
Wel koude she carie a morsel, and wel kepe
That no drope no fille upon hir brest.”

In “The Canterbury Tales” Chaucer has blended laughter and tears, the comic and tragic as is found in life with such case and grace, that his story-telling seems like a veracious picture of real life. Though his pilgrimage is remote form our experience, yet we feel that this is what we might see if we could turn the clock back few centuries.

Chaucer as a realist presents before us in The Canterbury Tales the pulsating life of the common people. Chaucer’s pilgrims talk of “their purse, their love affairs or their private fends”. Their vision is confirmed to the occurrences within their parish. This is the typical vision of the common people which is realistically presented by Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales.

Chaucer’s depiction of the Shipman represents the salient features of the trade. The Merchant is another important figure who signifies the changed conditions of Chaucerian society.

Chaucer has introduced a number of artificial elements, but he does it so skillfully and artistically that the impression of realism he creates, makes us forget them. He is “devilishly” sly, and deceives us as he should with the most innocent air in the world.

In the words of Hazlitt:

“There is not artificial, pompous display, but a strict parsimony of the poet’s material like the rude simplicity of the age in which he lived.”

It would be quite justifiable to call Chaucer as a realist of high rank because his principle object has been to portray men and women trustfully without an acute power of observation. He sees things as they are and describes them as he really sees them. 


Monday, 1 April 2013

Paradise Lost... Treatment of women


Adam and Eve are the very first human couple and the parents of the whole human race and the masterpiece of God’s art of creation, primarily lived in Edenliberty to enjoy everything available there, with only one restriction that they were not to eat the forbidden fruit there, but they could not act upon this curb, therefore, God punished them for their disobedience and expelled them from Paradise.

When we make a careful and critical analysis of “Paradise Lost” Book IX, we discover that in spite of having many common features of character and personality both Adam and Eve havea world of difference between them as well. Both of them are made of clay which is an indescribable beautiful garden in Heaven. God had given them the , have steadfast faith in God and equally love each other yet at the same time they are divided in opinion about their work, passionfear of an enemy.

As far as Eve is concerned, she possesses female charm and attraction, a suggestive and justifying mind, a rational and convincing manner of conversation, but at the same time she is highly confident, short sighted, jealous and deluded about her powers.

Adam, on the other hand, is an embodimentof sagacity, moderation, contentment, foresightedness, knowledge, mankind, passionatelove and sacrifice.

When Eve rationally suggests that they should work separately because when they are together, they waste most of their time in petty things. Adam foresightedly objects the idea and reminds her of the danger of her being seduced by Satan. At this, she pounces upon him for suspecting her faithfulness. She also under-estimates their enemy. Adam tries his best to convince her that they should not separate from each other but she remains unmoved. At last, he retreats and reluctantly allows her to work after her own heart and, thus, they part from each other for the very first time and this very alienation, in fact, leads to their expulsion from Heaven.

Satan, who possesses a great determination and an unyieldingpower and ever-scheming mind, is, in fact, afraid to face Adam because of his physical strength, intellectualpowers, greatcourage and impressivemanlihood. He, therefore, is always in search of an opportunity to find Eve alone, so that, he may succeed in his evil and revengefuldesigns against God and His master creature. After assuming the shape of a serpent, which is the most cunning of all animals, he managed to enter Eden where he finds his target, that Eve is allalone,busy withher work. He very cleverly starts praising and flattering her that she is “the sole mistress”, “the queen of this universe”, “the empress” and “the humane goddess”. When she, in the state of utter amazement, asks him how he can speak while he is a serpent he relates a fake story of his tasting the forbidden fruit of knowledge

When she tells him about the warning of God that tasting the fruit of knowledge could result in death, he washes her brain by saying that this fruit will raise her to the stature ofGod and that she will not die because he is a living example before her eyes. She is fullyentrapped by the oily tongue of Satan, tastes the forbidden fruit due to short sightedness and over confidence. After eating the fruit she thinks if she dies, God will create another Eve for Adam and he will live a long life of everlasting enjoyment with the new Eve. This very thought arises in her an intense feeling of jealousy for the first time and she mounts to Adam to tell him about her blunder.

On the other side, Adam restlessly waits for her with garland of beautiful and attractive flowers to welcome her back, but she does not reach at the fixed time. He goes out in search of her and finds her on the way with a bough of applestalking-serpent and her act of tasting the forbidden fruit. Adam leaves a deep sigh of grief and scoldsher, but at the same time his passionate love for Eve over powers him and he expresses his uncontrollable sentiments of love in the following famous romantic and emotional words:

The link of nature draw me; flesh of my flash,
Bone of my bone, thou art, and from thy state
Mine never shall be parted; bliss or woe.

Thus Adam also eats the forbidden fruit deliberately just for the sake of his loveprefers a woman to obedience of God.

In the end, we can conclude that both Adam and Eve are responsible for their sin ofdisobedience and their consequent expulsion from Heaven. It is, however, clear that Eveis entrapped bythe glib-tongue and the praising words of Satan while Adam falls a preyto his passionate love for Eve. and the and its miraculous effects. in her hand. She tells him all about the for Eve for Adam feels himself incomplete without Eve. Thus he


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