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

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Character Analysis of Jack Worthing

Character Analysis of Jack Worthing

The play The Importance Of being Earnest is a bout two guys that get wrapped up in a web of lies due to bunburying. Bunburying is a term used throughout the play to describe lying about where you will be and what you will be doing there. Jack Worthing is a pretty important character in the play, and he bunburies under the name "Well, my name is Ernest in town and Jack in the country, and the cigarette case was given to me in the country," says Jack as he tries to get Algernon, the other main character who termed the word bunburying, to return his cigarette case to him (Wilde). By bunburying has his made up little brother Ernest, Jack can do whatever he wants in the town without destroying his reputation. Each of the men fall in love while pretending to be Ernest. Algernon falls in love with Cecily Cardew, Jack's ward. Jack falls in love with Gwendolen. Unfortunately for the guys, both girls have fallen in love with the name Ernest. "Jack?... No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed. It does not thrill. It produces absolutely no vibrations... I have known several Jacks, and they all, without exception, were more than usually plain. Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John! And I pity any woman who is married to a man called John. She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment's solitude. The only really safe name is Ernest," Gwendolen tells Jack after he asked if the name Ernest was the only name she could love him by (Wilde). There is a big scene where all the lies being told, by both men, are made open, and then some surprising truths are found out. It turns out Jack's real Christian name is indeed Ernest. Throughout the story Jack is very deceitful with his actions.
Jack pretends to be Ernest. He tells people in the country, where he is Jack, that Ernest is his very troublesome little brother. He must pretend to be someone else so he will not be looked down on acting indecently. Mr. Worthing is very much respected in the country. "Your guardian enjoys the best of health, and his gravity of demeanor is especially to be commended in one so comparatively young as he is. I know no one who has a higher sense of duty and responsibility," states Mrs. Prism, Cecily's helper, about Jack (Wilde). People also think Jack is too serious. Cecily says this about Jack, "Dear Uncle Jack is so very serious! Sometimes he is so serious that I think he cannot be quite well." (Wilde). While being Ernest, Jack can do whatever he wants with no consequence. Throughout the story Jack is very deceitful with what he does.
Jack Worthing is looked down on because of where he comes from. Jack was found in a handbag a train station by Thomas Cardew. "The late Mr. Thomas Cardew, an old gentleman of a very charitable and kindly disposition, found me, and gave me the name of Worthing, because he happened to have a first-class ticket for Worthing in his pocket at the time. Worthing is a place in Sussex. It is a seaside resort," Jack explains to Lady Bracknell, trying to satisfy her so he can have permission to marry Gwendolen (Wilde). Then he tells Lady Bracknell that Thomas Cardew actually found him in a hand bag. She had some words to say about his origins and how he was found, "The line is immaterial. Mr. Worthing, I confess I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred, in a hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution. And I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to? As for the particular locality in which the hand-bag was found, a cloak-room at a railway station might serve to conceal a social indiscretion - has probably, indeed, been used for that purpose before now-but it could hardly be regarded as an assured basis for a recognized position in good society." (Wilde). Towards the end of the play Lady Bracknell reveals that Algernon and Jack are brothers. This makes Jack very happy because he had always told people he had had a brother, and after looking through the army listings, Jack finds out that his real name is Ernest. Mr. Worthing is a little flustered at first, with realizing he had been telling the truth his whole life. "Gwendolen, it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth," Jack said after finding out (Wilde). Being found in a handbag at a train station still didn't stop Jack from being very well liked and respected in the story, but still Jack was very deceitful throughout the whole story.
Throughout the story Jack is deceitful by pretending to be Ernest and lying about his origins. Bunburying all the time lets Jack have fun while he is doing it, but he almost lost the love of his life by to trying to be Ernest. He wasn't the only one bunburying though, he learned the term from Algernon, who also eventually bunburies as Ernest, and this almost cost him his love too. Jack is somewhat embarrassed about where he comes from. He was found in a train station inside a ordinary handbag. He was raised by Thomas Cardew, but his actual Dad's name was Ernest. Even though Jack was being deceitful throughout the story, he was actual telling nothing but the truth.

Monday 28 January 2013



The play opens in Algernon Moncrieff’s home in London. Algernon and his manservant are discussing marriage. After Lane exits, Algernon remarks that it is the job of the lower classes to set an example.
Algernon’s friend, Ernest Worthing, whose real name is Jack, stops in for a visit. It becomes apparent that Jack wants to marry Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen. Algernon refuses to give consent because he has found a cigarette case that Jack previously left behind. The inscription reveals it is from a lady named Cecily to her Uncle Jack. Jack admits that he goes by the name Ernest in the city and Jack in the country. Cecily is his ward. To escape country life, he pretends that he has a brother, named Ernest, whom gets into trouble and needs his assistance. Algernon admits that he has the same habit, and he refers to it as Bunburying. He pretends to have an ill friend named Bunbury, whom he must visit, when he wishes to escape the country.
Lady Bracknell and her daughter Gwendolen arrive. Jack proposes to Gwendolen and she accepts, claiming also that she could not love him if his name were not Ernest, which she still believes it to be. However, upon questioning Jack, Lady Bracknell learns that he was found as an infant, abandoned at Victoria Station. She does not approve of this and will not consent to the marriage.
The remainder of the play takes place at Jack’s house in the country. Act II commences with Miss Prism and Cecily doing lessons in the garden. They discuss John’s poor, miserable, younger brother Ernest and wonder if he will visit. The lessons are interrupted when Dr. Chasuble, the reverend, takes Miss Prism for a walk-it becomes apparent that they admire one another. In the meantime, Algernon, claiming to be Jack’s younger brother, arrives and meets Cecily. They banter back and forth and become fond of one another. They enter the house in search of something for Algernon to eat. Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble enter the garden. Jack unexpectedly appears (he was supposed to be out of town until Monday) and claims that his brother Ernest has died. He then asks if Dr, Chasuble will baptize him that afternoon and he agrees.
Cecily enters the garden and tells Jack that his brother has arrived for an unexpected visit. Jack claims not to have a brother, which Cecily mistakes as his anger at “Ernest’s” troublesome ways and defends him by saying that he has promised to change, which he has promised her earlier. Algernon enters; Cecily, Miss Prism, and Dr. Chasuble exit. Algernon and Jack argue; Jack tells the butler, Merriman, to order Algernon a dog-cart so that he can leave immediately.
Later, while alone, Algernon and Cecily profess their love for one another, and Algernon asks her to marry him. She agrees, and tells him that she has been writing about their engagement for three months in her diary. She tells him that she could not love him if his name were not Ernest. He leaves to make plans to be baptized.
Gwendolen appears, and Cecily sits with her for tea. After talking for a bit they realize that they are both engaged to Ernest Worthing and become hostile. The men return and clear up the matter. However, they must reveal their identities. The women reconcile and exit the garden, angry.
Jack and Algernon finally go after Gwendolen and Cecily. They tell their loves that they only faked their identities so that they would be able to see them more. The women love this idea, but are still upset about the men’s names. The men tell them that they have arranged to both be baptized as Ernest that very afternoon. Everyone reconciles.
All is well until Lady Bracknell arrives; she has gotten the address from Gwendolen’s maid. She asks Algernon if this is the residence of Bunbury. He tells her that Bunbury has died. Lady Gwendolen still will not allow the marriage of Gwendolen to Jack. Jack says that if she will not allow their marriage then he, as Cecily’s guardian, will not allow the marriage of Cecily to Algernon.
Dr. Chasuble arrives for the christenings. Jack tells Chasuble that his services are no longer necessary. Dr. Chasuble mentions that he is returning to Miss Prism, and Lady Bracknell, recognizing her name and subsequent description, demands to see her. Miss Prism arrives and it is revealed that twenty-eight years ago she was in charge of the son of Lady Bracknell’s sister-Mrs. Moncrieff, Algernon’s mother. Miss Prism accidentally placed the baby in her hand-bag and a novel she had written in the carriage. She lost the baby in Victoria Station. Jack is delighted to hear this and retrieves the bag that he was left in twenty eight years ago in Victoria Station-it is the same one. He is Algernon’s older brother. After reviewing army records they discover that his father’s name, therefore as oldest son, his name, was Ernest John Worthing. He has been, the whole time, inadvertently, living the truth. He is now able to marry Gwendolen and gives consent for Algernon to marry Cecily. All ends well.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Return of the Native Plot Summary

Return of the Native Plot Summary

Eustacia Vye, a beautiful, sensual nineteen-year-old "Queen of the Night," has one desire: to be loved to madness by a man who is worthy of her and who will take her to exotic places. Living in desolate, barren Egdon Heath, Eustacia considers only one man worthy enough to love--Damon Wildeve, a former civil engineer turned owner of an inn. She and Wildeve share a passionate, wild nature and enjoy toying with each other's affections. However, the sweet, simple Thomasin Yeobright has also caught Wildeve's attentions and is engaged to him. On their wedding day, the marriage license is discovered to be invalid, either by Wildeve's intent or mistake, leaving Thomasin utterly humiliated and Eustacia, who believes that Wildeve loves her more than he loves Thomasin--utterly joyous.

Thomasin's aunt, Mrs. Yeobright, tries to get Wildeve to marry Thomasin to save her niece from public disgrace, even though she has made it clear to her niece that Wildeve is not worthy enough. Diggory Venn, the heath reddleman, also vows to get Thomasin and Wildeve together, but secretly tells Mrs. Yeobright that he would like to marry her niece. Venn is in love with Thomasin, even though she had refused his marriage proposal two years ago. He is determined that Thomasin will marry the man she loves, Wildeve.

Meanwhile, Wildeve has proposed to Eustacia, but Eustacia believes that Wildeve is not good enough for her and rejects him. She is too proud to accept the marriage proposal of a man whom Thomasin, a rival she considers inferior, has rejected and who asked Thomasin to marry before he asked her. Eustacia then sets her sights on Clym Yeobright, Mrs. Yeobright's son and Thomasin's cousin and former sweetheart. Clym has returned to Egdon from Paris, where he's been making a living in the diamond trade. Eustacia believes that educated, genteel, handsome Clym is her match--and her ticket out of the heath.

However, Eustacia has to ensure that Clym does not fall for Thomasin again, so she joins Mrs. Yeobright and Venn in bringing about the wedding of Thomasin and Wildeve. She tells Venn that she does not want Wildeve, so Thomasin can marry him. Mrs. Yeobright turns to Wildeve and informs him that another suitor would like to marry her niece. Wildeve, faced with a romantic rival for Thomasin and rejected by Eustacia, proposes to Thomasin.

Thomasin and Wildeve marry. Wildeve believes that he is getting revenge on both Eustacia and Mrs. Yeobright--Eustacia for rejecting him and Mrs. Yeobright for believing him not worthy of Thomasin. Eustacia is satisfied that Thomasin and Wildeve are married, for Thomasin is now free from Clym's affections. She and Clym each scheme to meet each other; after a period of courtship, they marry despite Mrs. Yeobright's deep objections to their marriage. Mrs. Yeobright is opposed to Clym and Eustacia's marriage, for she thinks that Eustacia is not good enough for her son and that the villagers tend to think ill of her.

Although Clym makes it known that he plans to stay on the heath and become a schoolteacher, Eustacia does not believe that Clym's plan will go through. Despite his mother's and wife's wishes, Clym prepares for teaching by staying up late to study. When Clym's eyesight deteriorates, he takes on a furze-cutting job to keep him busy. His new job humiliates and shames Eustacia and shocks his mother. Both Mrs. Yeobright and Eustacia are horrified that Clym would degrade himself so as to be a furze-cutter, but he finds the job to be useful and comforting.

Venn manages to thwart Wildeve in his attempts to avenge Eustacia and cause ill for Thomasin. He wins back the money Mrs. Yeobright had sent over to Thomasin and Clym by a heath-boy, money that's been gambled from the heath-boy to Wildeve to Venn, and gives the money to Thomasin, not knowing that half the money belongs to Clym. Mrs. Yeobright mistakenly believes that Wildeve has given Eustacia half the money as a gift and demands to know why Eustacia never told Clym about the money. An enraged Eustacia declares that she does not have any money belonging to her husband and certainly not any money Wildeve has given her. Although the subject of the money is later cleared up, their argument is the climax of Eustacia's volatile, estranged relationship with her mother-in-law and leads to Eustacia and Clym's separation.

Mrs. Yeobright, determined to make up with her son, goes to call on Clym and Eustacia. Through a misunderstanding, no one answers the door when she knocks, even though she knows that Clym, Eustacia, and another man are inside. Feeling cast off by her son, Mrs. Yeobright heads back home in the sweltering heat, growing extremely exhausted and weary from the length of the walk and heat. When Clym finds his mother, she is exhausted and her weak heart is suffering, and she dies with Clym present. Her last words are that she is a, "broken-hearted woman cast-off by her son."

Ill and grief-stricken for weeks, Clym struggles to come to grips with his mother's death. He does not understand why his mother believed he would cast her off, until he learns from a neighbor that it was Eustacia who shut his mother out because she had another visitor. Outraged, Clym demands to know who the other visitor was, but Eustacia does not give in to his inquiries. Eustacia then accuses Clym of deceiving her, and Clym suddenly realizes that Eustacia wants to leave the heath. Eustacia then leaves Clym, returning to her grandfather's.

Eustacia meets with Wildeve, who agrees to help her escape the heath. He agrees to drive her to Budmouth, where she can find her way to Paris, but he really plans to flee with her. Having inherited a large amount of money, he plans to elope with her.

Thomasin suspects that Wildeve is eloping with Eustacia and tells Clym, so that he might stop them. Clym still cherishes a hope that Eustacia will return to him. He hurries to catch up with Wildeve, while Thomasin seeks the help of Diggory Venn to take her to Clym and Wildeve. When Thomasin and Venn arrive, they discover that Eustacia has fallen into the weir and Clym and Wildeve are trying to save her. Venn jumps in to help and drags in Clym's, Wildeve's, and Eustacia's bodies. Only Clym is revived; Eustacia and Wildeve are dead.

A year after the deaths of Eustacia and Wildeve, Diggory Venn comes to call on Thomasin and Clym, who live together at Blooms-End. Venn is no longer a reddleman, but a dairy farmer. He proves his love for Thomasin, who finally recognizes Venn as a worthy romantic suitor. Venn proposes to Thomasin, and she accepts. At first, Clym is against the idea of Thomasin and Venn marrying because he has contemplated marrying Thomasin himself, but he decides that Thomasin should marry who she loves.

Thomasin and Venn marry. Clym ends up alone, but he is content with his life: he finds his vocation as an wandering preacher.

Monday 14 January 2013



‘Paradise Lost’ was for Milton the fulfillment of a long cherished ambition. He had resolved that his ‘adventurous song’ intended to ‘soar with no middle flight’. Accordingly, after much deliberations he chose the epic form and a theme equally sublime. Milton himself tells us in Book IX that he could rise to the demands of his ‘sad task’ only.
‘If answerable style I can obtain
Of my careful celestial patroness.’
This ‘answerable style’ demanded a verse which admitted of dignity and flexibility and an ability to rise to the sublime heights. And no responsive readers of ‘Paradise Lost’ can fail to notice that Milton indeed did obtain such a style.

According to Hamford, “Milton of all English writers is the greatest innovator in the matter of expression. It is not merely that forged out of various materials. It is marked by bold departures from English literary usage of his own or of any time. And yet it is this uniqueness of Milton’s style, its remoteness from ordinary English that has aroused a fierce controversy. If it is has found its admirers like M.Patilson, Bagehot, Saintsbury, Raleigh and in our own time C.S. Lewis, B.Rajan, Frank Kermod and L.Smith; the anti-Miltonians too are a formidable array – Ezra Pound, Middleton Murry, Herbert Reid, B. Debree and T.S. Eliot. Obviously, the best course would be to depend upon one’s own response.

The very opening of the poem, the invocation reveals the grandeur of Milton’s style. It begins with a ‘syntactical leap’ by which we are kept suspended for thirty-six words without a verb. And even when we arrive at the word ‘sing’, we are once more deflected into a maze of subordinate clauses and phrases. Even at the full stop after ‘rhyme’ (line sixteenth) there is hardly any respite and the whole invocation really forms a single continuous statement. In fact, it can be looked upon as a ‘capsule summary’ not only of the theme and action of the whole poem but also of the most salient features of Milton’s grand style. This style is human for its unusual syntax, its exalted language and diction, rich allusions, remarkable epic-similes, formidable erudition and skilful handling of blank-verse.

Milton’s style has been called ‘grand style’ because it has always an unmistakable stamp of majesty in it. Milton’s language is not the language of ordinary life. His diction is grand and majestic and his language has a force and spontaneity of its own. He uses a lot of Latin words. He borrows words from Latin and employs them in his language in a befitting manner. He creates a language and diction which quite appropriate to his theme. The Miltonic diction follows the ancient models. Similes and metaphors abound; with the result that the impression that is left on our minds after reading his poetry is that of grandeur, majesty and dignity.
We can describe Milton’s grand style in the words of Matthew Arnold, who says, “In the sure and flawless perfection of his rhythm and diction, he is as admirable as Virgil or Dante, and in this respect he is unique amongst us. None else in English literature possesses the like distinction.” It is sometimes said that the language of ‘Paradise Lost’ is ‘no language’. But in the art of literature one often comes across several instances where the literary language is no spoken language. The Euphism of Lyly is one of the best examples. So is the prose of Milton. So too is the poetical vehicle of Milton. It is an artificial language but it is not the artifice of bombast.

The diction of Milton’s epic is a thing composed of many elements – all tending to result in a rich and varied medium. Milton’s vocabulary contains a large proportion of Latinized words such as ‘untamed reluctance’, ‘horrid here’, ‘prodigious’, ‘officious’ etc. Often Milton uses words in their Latin sense or sometimes in senses which have become obsolete. The best example is ‘influence’, which Milton uses in its old astrological sense of suitable fluid from the stars and planets, which was supposed to exorcise plants. Instances of this use are innumerable.

Milton prefers the Italian forms of words to forms of a French character such as ‘sovereignty’. Among other qualities of Milton’s style are his peculiar use of the Latin idiomatic participle construction (for example, the loss thus far recovered), the use of Nominative Absolute (for example, ‘I extinct’ meaning ‘I being extinct’); the use of past participle, the use of transitive verbs intransitively and vice-versa. Among other peculiarities of Milton’s diction is the use of adjectives as nouns, as ‘our stronger’ in the sense of ‘he who is stronger than us; a love for conciseness that compels Milton to compress the maximum meaning into few words in a characteristic passion with Milton. Milton is also famous for ‘Inversions’. For instance, take the sentence: “Where to with speedy words the archfiend replied”. Without inversion this sentence would read as: “The archfiend replied to this with speedy words”.

Among figures of similitude, of course, the simile and the metaphor abound, example of which stare up from every page.
In search of really remarkable comparisons he borrows from myth, legend, History, Science and travel and of course from contemporary events. And though sometimes, his similes seem to be carried away by prolific imagination, they have a definite purpose. In most cases they offer a changed perspective and are suggestive of Milton’s own attitude. For instance, Satan is at first depicted as of gigantic proportions. He is likened to the huge sea-beast Leviathan who may be mistaken for an island by the Pilot of “some small night-founded skiff”. But while this suggests Satan’s unusual dimensions Milton also implies the danger of taking shelter in Satan’s treacherous protection. Similarly Satan’s ‘ponderous’ shield is like the moon that Galileo scans through his ‘Optic glass’, his spear is like the mast of the ship, ‘shaped out of tallest pine’ growing on Norwegian heights’ what we are made to feel is Satan’s eye view. Yet a little later Satan and his crew are compared to ‘at Pygmian Race’ and to ‘autumnal leaves that strew the books in Vallambrose’.
Like dead leaves; these fallen angels are forever cut off from their source of life.

We must also refer to Milton’s use of the Pathetic Fallacy. It is an old device in poetry by which a poet attributes the feelings of living beings to inanimate things. In Paradise Lost, Book IX (782-784), for example, universal nature is represented as feeling a death-wound in the impending fall of Man at the moment when Eve eats the forbidden fruit:
“Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe.
That all was lost.”
These are the various ways in which Milton uses the English language in poetry. He works magic with the language, distorts it in the way he likes, uses foreign idiom in an excellent manner and handles the language like a linguistic wizard.

There is an important characteristic yet to be mentioned – the solemn grandeur of his verbal melody. This melody is in consonance with general atmosphere of the poem – a mood of awe and majesty and sublimity. Milton’s style has been called the grand style as there is grandeur in his music and in his description. Milton chooses his words for the sake of their sound effect.
“farewell happy fields,
Where Joy forever dwells. Hail Horrors hail,
Infernal world and thou profoundest hell,
Receive thy new possessor, one who brings,
A mind not to be changed by place or time,
The mind is its place and itself,
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

Infact, most of the critics who decry Milton’s style seem to suppose that Milton wrote a uniform style throughout. But as Pope has pointed out ‘Paradise Lost’ has not one but various styles, an ‘Infernal style’, a ‘celestial style’ and ‘style of Paradise’ before and after the fall. In any case the more acceptable view is that of C.S. Lewis, B. Rajan, Douglas Bush and E.M.W. Tillyard – that the sublimity of Milton’s style was necessitated by genre – that is by the epic form in which the style had to be dignified, ritualistic and formal. It was Milton’s great achievement that he attained this sublimity without sacrificing the intensity of an impassioned personal commitment.

In reading ‘Paradise Lost’ one has a feeling of vastness. One floats under illimitable sky brimmed with sunshine or hung with constellation. The abyss of space appears to be somewhere about as one hears the cadenced surge of an unseen ocean. In loftiness of thought, splendid dignity of expression and rhythmic felicities, Milton has few peers, no superior. In ‘Paradise Lost’ Milton has invented a type of poem, the divine epic superior to anything in antiquity. 

Sunday 13 January 2013



Madam, withouten many words
Once I am sure ye will or no ...
And if ye will, then leave your bourds
And use your wit and show it so,
And with a beck ye shall me call;
And if of one that burneth alway
Ye have any pity at all,
Answer him fair with & {.} or nay.
If it be &, {.} I shall be fain;
If it be nay, friends as before;
Ye shall another man obtain,
And I mine own and yours no more.


Saturday 12 January 2013

The Role of Women in Othello

The Role of Women in Othello

In Othello by William Shakespeare, the role of Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca portray how women were during the 15th century. Women were portrayed as being loyal to their husbands; doing what they are told, and not going against their husband’s judgment or actions. These women represent three different characteristics in which women are being recognized in Othello. The women in Othello represent various levels of class, virtue, and intelligence. Desdemona is aristocratic, virtuous, and makes her own decisions; Emilia is the middle class, a maid, manipulated by Iago and loyal to Desdemona; and Bianca is the bottom of the line, being represented as a strumpet. Iago states how women are weak, lazy, and inane and only desire physical pleasure.
Throughout the play Desdemona symbolizes innocence and helplessness. The first encounter with Desdemona, Shakespeare describes her as being mature and quite perceptive of events around her, especially when we meet Desdemona and how mature she is when she defends her love for Othello to her father Brabantio. Iago often tells Othello that she is unfaithful because Iago is implementing into Othello’s head that Desdemona is committing adultery with Cassio. She has a tendency to be sympathetic towards other people's situations, like Cassio. This also further inspired Othello's jealousy when Iago pointed out they were speaking in privacy. She often pays attention to other people’s thoughts yet remains cynical if they differ to her own. She’s loyal to her husband in all aspects of life, whether it is mental or physical.
Desdemona is like a peacemaker because when Othello wanted to “fire” Cassio, she wanted peace between them. Therefore she talks to Cassio in private, which this leads to her husband accusing her of cheating. After the fight between Othello and Cassio, Desdemona wants to make peace between them. In today’s society, Desdemona is known as a housewife who cares for her husband and is behind him every step of the way. However, when it comes to the arguing with Othello, she becomes a woman being emotional abused by her husband, leading her death by her own husband at the end.
Emilia is Iago's wife, which says something about her submissive character already. She is also Desdemona's handmaiden; this is a vital part in her role in the play. She is the wife of pure evil, Iago, and the maid of the most kind, Desdemona. Emilia unknowingly plays a large role in Iago’s plan and is never suspicious. Emilia is, in some cases, the opposite of Desdemona. Even though women should be faithful and loyal to their husband, she considers that women should have a voice; be more independent and not relying on their husbands’ all the time.
Emilia gets angry at the fact that Othello calls Desdemona an unfaithful wife, hence her stating, in Act 4, Scene 3, “But I do think it is their husbands' faults/ If wives do fall. Say that they slack their duties, /And pour our treasures into foreign laps; /Or else break out in peevish jealousies, /Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us, /Or scant our former having in despite: /Why, we have galls; and though we have some grace, /Yet have we some revenge…” (217). Here Emilia is questioning men and how men can’t be without women. Yes, men say that women are lazy and this and that, but women have more of a saying in this world then men do. The speech that Emilia gives talks about how women should not be a “slave” to their husbands. All women have a voice and that we should be independent and be respected.
Bianca is very obedient and sweet-tempered, leading her to have a good number of suitors. Bianca is the strumpet who Cassio is with; her role seems small but significant. Bianca, even though called a strumpet, she is also considering as a woman with a goal. Her goal is to feel love and trusted by a man, but she is deceived as a whore, especially from Emilia. Bianca is brought into this play as Cassio's jealous mistress; he gives her Desdemona's handkerchief, not realizing whose handkerchief it really was. She was aware of the great risk involved when she married a moor. All three characters feel that they, as women, should not be judge nor treated with any less respect as a man does because women have a voice and they need to be heard.
Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca live in a society where women can't do the thing men do. Desdemona generously nature tries to help Cassio retrieve his spot as Lieutenant back. Emilia had illusions about men or love or marriage vows, even after Desdemona explains the importance of the handkerchief. But, these three women live by their own wills. As Iago reminded Othello in Act 3, Scene 3 the faithless wife is a well-known member of Venetian society. Somewhat like Iago, Othello also see women as strumpets and unfaithful after the Iago convinces Othello in the adultery that Desdemona is committing. In Act 4, Scene 2, Othello says “Was this fair paper, this most goodly book, /Made to write "whore" upon? What committed? /Committed? O thou public commoner. /I should make very forges of my cheeks, /That would to cinders burn up modesty, /Did I but speak thy deeds” (197). As mentioned in this quote, Othello see women as being unfaithful and mostly consider them as whores, especially his wife.
Both Desdemona and Emilia are loyal to their husbands, however, Desdemona is more of a person who hides her true self because she feels that a women should not argue with her husband, the one she loves because during the Renaissance women were seen more as being the house wife and do agree to every decision and action their husband make. Hence the reason why she doesn't defend herself as well as she suppose to when Othello believes that she has committed adultery. Emilia is also respectful and loves her husband Iago, but when Othello calls Desdemona a whore we see another side of Emilia in which she thinks that calling his own wife a whore, is basically crossing a line. She questions the role of men because once you're married a trust and loyal bond is born; there shouldn't be any type of disrespect within "soul mates". Bianca is just a woman who is looking for some affection, but is independent to be with whoever she wants because she is not really committed with anyone.
Women during the 15th century were considered more as being a house maid/house wife. Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca represent the three different sides of women: the noble and loyal one, the one who believes in having a voice, and the one who wants affection from a guy who is easy (strumpet). These stereotypes, women are still being compared to in today's society. We learn something about each of these female stereotypes. Over a period of time, women have fought for the respect and equality; even though these stereotypes still exist today, women are stronger in defending themselves and more respected. I believe Shakespeare brings the theme of women roles because we learn how women felt during that time and how history brought women to be equal to men.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Women's Role in Othello.

Women's Role in Othello

In the play "Othello", Shakespeare presents us with another male dominated society where women are inferior. Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca are rejected by their partners, but love them completely and unselfishly. All three women are in unbalanced relationships, feeling more for their self-centered men who appear unable to reciprocate. Nevertheless, these women display genuine feelings toward each other unlike any of the male-male friendships.
Desdemona and Emilia are both married to career military soldiers. Newly wedded Desdemona is inexperienced (innocent) in the "real world" despite being raised by a prominent Venetian Senator. In contrast, Emilia appears to have been married for some time. She is knowledgeable to the ways of a soldier, yet only believes a portion of what her husband tells her. Although Emilia has been Desdemona's attendant since the play's start (maybe much earlier), we really don't get an intimate view of their relationship until Act 4, Scene 3.
During this scene, Emilia is truly concerned for Desdemona and her problems with Othello
. Desdemona tells her, "Even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns – prithee, unpin me- have grace and favor in them (line 21)." She also tells Emilia if she should die before her to wrap her body using the sheets on the bed. At first, Emilia thinks this is only "talk", but Desdemona begins to tell her about the song she learned from her mother's maid

(Barbary). This becomes an intimate moment between the two, as Emilia is unpinning Desdemona's hair and preparing her for bed (like a mother helping her young daughter). This showing of affection is strictly among the women of this play. The men are the ones who are committing all the violence and most of the distrust. This conversation continues intimately throughout the rest of the scene, but heightens when Desdemona says, "O these men, these men (line 67)!" She can't believe women cheat on their husbands, and asks Emilia if she would cheat on Iago. Emilia attempts to soften her answer, and realizes Desdemona's view of love is "pure romance" and taken seriously. Act 4 ends with Emilia asking for equality between both sexes (this theme also appears in the other plays we read). If women don't receive respect and fidelity from their husbands, they aren't required to be obedient and faithful. Even though Emilia asks for equal treatment among the sexes, she is fully aware this will not likely happen. All they can do is confide in each other. Unfortunately, Bianca doesn't have this luxury.
Bianca is a woman who traveled from Venice to Cyprus (the same as Emilia and Desdemona) to be with Cassio. Like Emilia, she appears worldly and loves her partner without any reservations, but fully aware of her place in a male-dominated society. After Iago kills Roderigo in Act 5, he attempts to blame Bianca for Cassio's attack. Bianca is obviously upset by Cassio's injuries, but immediately responds to being called a strumpet. "I am no strumpet, but of life as honest as you thus abuse me (line 142)." Bianca is more honest than Emilia (who lied about the handkerchief that ultimately costs Desdemona her


life), and Iago (who accused her of being involved in Cassio's attack). How can we believe any of Iago's statements regarding Bianca when he is unreliable throughout the play?
Bianca also seems to be fully aware of her relationship with Cassio. They are both uncommitted to each other, and Bianca knows nothing will ever evolve. Cassio never talks with her about his demotion from Lieutenant, something you would confide in with your partner. Bianca also appears to break off her relationship with Cassio when returning the handkerchief to him (Act 4, Scene 1, line 177). *One thing that may shed some light on the many references to Bianca prostitution (even though there is no real evidence in this play that she is one) is at the beginning of Act 1, lines 20-22. "One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, a fellow almost damned in a fair wife." This is the only reference to Cassio's wife. Maybe he is a cheating husband. This could be the reason Bianca is viewed as a prostitute, a home wrecker. This would also explain why they have an uncommitted relationship.
The three women of "Othello" are similar to other female characters in Shakespeare's plays. They seek (or strive for) respect and equality between both sexes, and fall short in a male-dominated society. Again, Shakespeare allows us to view women as they did during the Elizabethan period. With this in mind, it isn't surprising our three women face a grim future by play's end: two die, and the other will be forgotten.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Hardy's pessimism

 Hardy's pessimism
Hardy is known for his pessimism. Actually the factor that plays a very significant role in his novels is that of chance. The negative shades that are visible in his writings are an effect of what he had seen in his childhood. A sight of two hangings will definitely leave an imprint on the psyche of a child’s mind as it did on Hardy's mind.
The Victorian age was an age of doubt, of contradictions and conflicts. This fact too shows its impact on the writings of Hardy. People were to live by the Bible but many took it in the strict sense and followed the literal words strictly. We see in ‘Tess of the D’urbervilles’ how Tess is treated unjustly by the society, which followed the law in words and not in spirit.
In Hardy’s tragic drama of life a conflict between man and destiny is the centre of events. David Cecil remarks,”A struggle between man on one hand, and an omnipotent and indifferent fate, on the other hand goes on and that is Hardy’s interpretation of the human situation.”
Man is a mere puppet in the hands of an all powerful fate or destiny. Hardy’s novels remind us of Shakespeare’s lines from King Lear:

“As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods, —
They kill us for their sport.”
According to Hardy there is a mysterious force that is always hostile to human happiness and circumstances always conspire against him and lead him towards destruction.

“Happiness is but an occasional episode in the general drama of life”.

Hardy gives different shapes to fate and destiny. A change in the weather changes the fate of Henchard, the protagonist of ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’. It could the death of a horse changing the life of Tess or a chance meeting with Alec, the villain turned into preacher in ‘Tess of D’urbervilles’.
Nature, in Hardy novels, too takes the form of cruel fate. Nature is not a source of joy or mysticism as in the poetry of Wordsworth. It is not at all benevolent.
And in the end as in ‘Tess of D’urbervilles’ Hardy is forced to comment:

“The President of Immortals, in Aeschylean phrase, had ended his sport with Tess.”

But inspite of all this Hardy’s novels are not totally dark. For instance, ‘Tess of D’urbervilles’ ends on a note of hope. There is a new beginning, something to look forward to.

Desdemona as a Tragic Heroine

Desdemona as a Tragic Heroine

When one considers the play Othello, Othello stands out as the tragic hero. He is not, however, the only one. To be a tragic hero, a character has to be suffering worse than he deserves, isolated from society, defeated at the end of the story, sacrificed for a cause, or have a tragic flaw. Desdemona is one character in Othello with some of these characteristics. Desdemona is a tragic heroine because her suffering is not proportional to her mistakes, she is overcome by forces she cannot control, and she is sacrificed for the benefit of others.

Desdemona, like most tragic heroes, endures suffering that is greatly out of proportion to her mistakes. Desdemona is a kind and friendly individual. Her problem is that she is too kind. She also lacks the wisdom to see what grave danger she is in. Desdemona wants Cassio and Othello to be friends again. She starts spending more time with Cassio, unaware that Othello will become jealous. She does not realize that Othello suspects she is cheating on him. If she knew soon enough that Othello thought she was cheating on him, she could have explained to him what the situation was. Othello might have believed the truth while he was not yet blinded by jealousy and hate. Later on, when Desdemona wakes up to find Othello by her bed, he practically tells her that he plans to kill her. She could have escaped Othello if she was smart enough to figure out she was going to die and leave when she could. Even though Desdemona is naive, she does not deserve the suffering she experiences. She is abused verbally and physically by Othello and then finally smothered to death. Just because someone is naive and lacks the wisdom to prevent her downfall, she does not deserve to die. Since Desdemona's suffering is greatly out of proportion to her mistakes, she has this characteristic of a tragic heroine.

Desdemona is overcome by forces of a world she cannot control. She tries to control her husband by making him be friends with Cassio again. She arranges meetings between them and always says good things about Cassio. She never does get Cassio and Othello to be friends again. Instead, her actions cause Othello to believe that she is cheating on him. This puts him in a jealous rage, in which he smothers her to death. Because Desdemona is overcome by the force she is trying to control, which is Othello, she has this characteristic of a tragic heroine.

In this play, Desdemona can be considered to be a sacrificial heroine. Although she does not sacrifice herself, she is sacrificed by some force like fate. This is done to expose Iago and reveal the truth. When Desdemona is alive, Othello will not believe that she is not cheating on him. Just before her death, when Desdemona says she does not love Cassio, Othello still does not believe her. It is only when she dies that everyone comes forward with the truth. All the characters then know what a liar Iago is, and what all the cruel things he did were. Now that the truth is revealed, Iago will not be able to have anyone else believe his lies. This may have saved many lives from being ruined. Because Desdemona is sacrificed so that the truth can be known, she is a sacrificial heroine, and therefore has that characteristic of a tragic heroine.

Desdemona is a tragic heroine because her suffering is not in proportion to her mistakes, she is overcome by forces of a world she cannot control, and she is sacrificed for the benefit of others. One quality of a tragic heroine is that her suffering is greatly out of proportion to the mistakes she has made. Desdemona is abused and then murdered by her husband, but all she has done wrong is to be naive. Another quality of a tragic heroine is that she is overcome by the forces of a world she cannot control. Desdemona tries to control Othello by getting him to be friends with Cassio again. Instead of this happening, she is murdered. One more quality of a tragic heroine is that she is sacrificed for the good of others. When Desdemona is alive, Othello will not believe that she has been faithful. Only with her death is the truth revealed. Then Iago is exposed as the true villain he is, and nobody can be fooled by his lies again. Because Desdemona endures suffering out of proportion to her mistakes, is overcome by forces of a world she cannot control, and is a sacrificial heroine, she therefore has qualities of a tragic heroine.

Sunday 6 January 2013

Is Desdemona’s character too good to be true?.

Is Desdemona’s character too good to be true? Explore the depiction of her character

Throughout "Othello," Shakespeare shows that Desdemona is a pure, honest and law-abiding woman. They are her main characteristics when she is passive. However, when we focus on the first act of Othello, we see another characteristic which is her assertive personality. When we begin to study the play, these ideas are immediately put across to us through the introduction.

Within the introduction, we observe the portrayal of Desdemona by the Duke of Venice and Brabantio. It is clear that Brabantio believes “[she is] a maiden never bold, of spirit so still and quiet that her motion Blushed at herself;” the language Brabantio uses is a much idealised view of her. He might be seeing her as she was in her younger days. But really, she is hardly a blushing “maiden.” Perhaps, there is some truth in this due to him being her father. When Desdemona is described by Iago, he speaks to the other characters in the play in prose such as Brabantio “Zounds, sir, you’re robb’d…you have lost half your soul… an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe.” (A form of non-verse writing which is used mainly when a character of low class is speaking) and when, he is describing Desdemona to Othello, he insults her. However, in his second soliloquy in 2:3 he compliments her and tells the audience in blank verse (the style often adopted by high class characters) the truth of what he thinks about her. He has no reason to lie at this point of the play. Othello describes Desdemona’s courtship as “But still the house affairs would draw her thence; She’d come again, and with a greedy ear Devour up my discourse.” So she is distracted from her housework by Othello’s account and his life and she becomes fascinated by him, and comes back as often as she can. The image of a “greedy ear” and “devour” stress how keen she is like a hungry person eating an eagerly anticipated meal. Shakespeare uses the word “greedy” because it shows us she is eager to hear Othello, so she can know him better. She She becomes increasingly emotionally involved, and she asks him to tell her more about his life, he responds with “When I did speak of some distressful stroke That my youth suffered” She is moved to tears of compassion when she hears of his sufferings and “She wished she had not heard it, yet she wished That heaven had made her such a man.” So the audience can see her as young woman living a sheltered, routine experience, emotionally susceptible to the glamour and sense of adventure Othello brings to her life. Also we see her as someone who is easily roused to pity and compassion, all these lead to her falling in love.

She is a sexually liberated in that she obeys her own passion to marry Othello. She doesn’t consult her father, a radical step to take at that time, as fathers were normally regarded as having total authority over their children. Compare it to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, when Theseus is talking to Hermia in 1:1, “Be advised, fair maid, To you your father should be as a god;” As a result of her marriage Brabantio believe that she cannot be trusted, for “she has deceived her father” he also believes she will betray Othello. When Desdemona has deceived her father, this leads to Brabantio’s death because she has caused him to die of a broken heart. Finally she insists on going to Cyprus, because she has dedicated her soul and future life to Othello’s honourable and courageous attributes. “And to his honours and his valiant parts Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate. ” She is innocent in that the thought of marriage has not been attractive to her- she has been, according to Brabantio in 1:2- “So opposite to marriages that she shunn’d/ the wealthy curled darlings of our nation”- and it is only when she meets Othello that her feelings change. When married she becomes a traditionally submissive wife, and finds it hard to believe Othello can be jealous or cruel. Shakespeare makes Desdemona as an innocent maiden because she is viewed by Cassio as an “exquisite lady” and Emilia as an “angel” who is not tainted by any evil, as Iago is. Shakespeare’s uses the handkerchief as a symbol of love, trust and marriage, and when Iago takes the handkerchief; all three are broken, ultimately causing Desdemona’s death.

Desdemona’s carefully chosen, articulated words, concerning a daughter’s conflicting duties towards her father and the man she loves, echo in other Shakespearean plays such as "King Lear" and "Romeo and Juliet". “I do perceive here a divided duty…My life and education both do learn me How to respect you…as my mother show’d To you, preferring you before her father… I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord.” Her speech shows her thoughtfulness, as she does not insist on her loyalty to Othello at the expense of respect for her father, but rather acknowledges that her duty is “divided.” Because Desdemona is brave enough to stand up to her father and even partially rejects him in public, these words also establish for the audience her courage and her strength of conviction. Later, this same ability to separate different degrees and kinds of affection will make Desdemona seek, without hesitation, to help Cassio, thereby fuelling Othello’s jealousy. Again and again, Desdemona speaks clearly and truthfully, but, tragically, Othello is poisoned by Iago’s constant manipulation of language and emotions and is therefore blind to Desdemona’s honesty. She becomes more assertive when she asks the Duke to let her accompany her new husband to Cyprus “That I did love the Moor to live with him” in Elizabethan time they would find this shocking because of the racial difference and her open avowal of her sexuality. This is a deliberate decision by Shakespeare. We see her purity and assertiveness towards the Senate when she “saw Othello's visage in his mind,” which means that she can see his inner beauty and does not care about outward good looks. The language she utilizes is mostly honest and innocent, suiting her characteristics. Such purity resides in sharp contrast to Iago, who is vile, guilty and tainted.
She makes it clear that she wants the freedom to marry anyone she pleases. She feels an emotional subjugation to Othello and falls in loves him with him because of his stories, and those stories are able to sway and conquer her own feelings, “She loved me for the dangers I had passed,” She is also assertive when she asks about her rights as a married woman because she thinks, she will be deprived of the privileges (sexual and otherwise) a wife ought to have. There is a dramatic irony when she wants to marry Othello, because when she wants to marry him, it ends up as a disaster for her and it leads up to her death. When she is the victim, Desdemona becomes quiet and submissive through Othello’s horrible accusation, “cunning whore of Venice.” Another quote highlighting her submissive character can be found in the following passage: “Do not talk to me Emilia, I cannot weep, nor answers have I none but what should go by water.” Shakespeare is implying that she is upset, so tears are about to flow. Shakespeare made Desdemona a patient Griselda from Chaucer tale, ‘glorious in her resignation in the face of husbandly chastisement’; she shows ‘exemplary passivity in adversity’ and becomes a stereotype of female passivity.

Desdemona is assertive near the beginning of the play where we are told that “[she is] half the wooer”, indicating that she is an active female who will make her own choices, choices such as marrying Othello or defending Cassio. The latter is the other important occasion where she takes the lead is when in 3:3 she pleads with Othello to reinstate Cassio, who has been removed from his post after his brawl with Roderigo. Shakespeare wanted to stress the kindness she has for her husband’s friend and Shakespeare wanted the audience to know that. She persists with her pleading, despite Othello’s attempts to talk of other things, and finally she says, “What? Michael Cassio, That came a-wooeing with you, and so many a time, When I have spoke of you dispraisingly, Hath ta’en your part- to have so much to do To bring him in?” Finally, Othello agrees to see him. In 3:3, there is another dramatic irony when Desdemona heavily uses the word “honest” referring to Iago, and within minutes Iago‘s wickedness will have begun to destroy her. In the same scene, when Desdemona first asks Othello to restore Cassio to his post, she keeps on about it and finally wins him over. But when the handkerchief is lost 3:4 Desdemona tries to pretend that this is Othello’s trick to distract her from pleading for Cassio; but she knows that the handkerchief is lost. So you could say that she is being cowardly here, trying to avert Othello’s anger. However, she is also brave because she continues pleading for Cassio. Shakespeare structures this scene so that Othello knows what has happened to the handkerchief, but Desdemona doesn’t know about it. We have seen earlier that she is easily moved to pity and compassion-when listening to Othello’s accounts of his adventures in 1:3, he says, “often did beguile her of her tears When I did speak of some distressful stroke That my youth suffered.” This is another example of that, as well as a matter of repaying a debt to the man who helped persuade her to marry Othello. Iago uses this pleading in his plot against Othello to make it seem that Desdemona and Cassio are lovers, but this just illustrates his ability to turn good to evil. In the rest of the play she is more sinned against than sinning, and her main function is to become the unwitting, innocent victim of Iago’s plotting.

In Act IV, this is a scene which is in the middle of the conversation. Again it is not difficult to recreate the conversation between Othello and Emilia which has preceded their entrance; it quickly becomes clearer that he now thinks Desdemona as a prostitute and Emilia, accordingly, as her bawd. He has also slapped her in public which had humiliated her. In 4:1 Othello strikes Desdemona, she says “I have not deserved this” and she “weeps”; Othello tells her to leave and Lodovico, who has observed the scene and says “Truly an obedient lady, I do beseech your lordship, call her back.” So she doesn’t with respond with anger or accusations, Lodovico tell us that she remains passive and mild despite provocation. In the same act, Shakespeare uses the song “Willow” as symbol of her foretold death. It creates a sad atmosphere and we the audience feel sympathetic and moved by her because Othello has lost faith in her. The song she sings is similar to Ophelia in Hamlet, who is also a victim of conflict between men. Her death cannot be passive, as she is pleading for her life, she cannot also be said to be dignified. However, it brings us to an emotional, harrowing scene. Near the end of the play, Emilia enters and asks “O who hath done this deed?” Desdemona replies “Nobody, I myself. Farewell. Commend me to my kind lord.” She attains dignity and nobility, because with her final breath, she denies Othello has killed her, and calls him “my kind lord.” Shakespeare implies that such a noble person as Desdemona will accept the blame for her own death and she would protect her loved one Othello at any cost.

To conclude, Shakespeare uses Desdemona as a character, who many people misinterpret as completely passive and misled. However, Shakespeare makes her seem the most noble and trustworthy character in the play. She has been considered to be corrupted by her husband but we see her in a different light. She is a woman of many good qualities. Shakespeare uses her innocence to emphasise the pathos of her situation and the horror of her fate. She is a thoroughly good character, but sufficiently self-willed and passion-driven to be convincing. However, she is not perfect as she has deceived her father. She romanticised everything including Othello. Her character is angelic but she has been too trusting. Shakespeare through her character shows us how kind and compassionate people can be; but he also shows how she deceives her father to follow her desires, so we see her as a plausible human being with human weaknesses.

Critical Analysis of the “The Painter” by John Ashbery .

    Critical Analysis of the “The Painter” by John Ashbery

Ashbery makes a genuine effort to portray the poetic vision of an artist’s mind by concentrating on the dictum "ut pictura poesis"--"as is painting, so is poetry". Through poetry he glorifies a mere painter’s struggle to find his true artistic form and inclination towards a specific way of being creative in The Painter.
“For some people the fear of inner torment is such that the desire to create has to be repressed: ‘He does not embark on any serious pursuits commensurate with his gifts lest he fails to be a brilliant success. He would like to write or paint but does not dare to start’ (Horney 107). Or if the desire to create is not repressed, the creative process will be wracked with anxiety or hampered by self torment.” This quote from the book Therapeutic dimensions of autobiography in creative writing by Celia Hunt aptly captures to some extent the condition the painter in the poem who seems confused on whether to draw sea or not and how to capture the sea just the way it was.
A similar theme is also tackled by the great American poet, Emily Dickinson. In her short poem she writes: “Artists wrestle here! /Lo, a tint Cashmere! /Lo, a Rose! /Student of the Year! /For the easel here/Say Repose!” This poem lays bare the face that the artist always juggles with his tools and crafts in order to create what he wants. For him to relax is unthinkable likewise the painter in the poem faces a lot of troubles in making this special piece of art (the sea). The painter seems to self actualize himself by materializing the urge to paint a portrait of the sea which will give the chaos of his creative world a poetic and appeasing feeling.
Ashbery is known for his surrealist poetry and in The Painter he uses his skill to masterfully create connections between varied images. Using the modified form of sestina (last words of the verses are mostly changed) he is able to make these images jump into a creative hotchpotch. But the irony of the poem is that the artist portrayed in the poem seems to go through a rough patch in his life yet the creativity by which the poet himself writes speaks volume of it; the poet is able to create with the painter in the poem a smooth imagery of an artist’s struggle towards his creative independence -- a mere human’s effort to fight for what he deems right. For his creative vision to evolve he goes against all the odds set by the society. Ashbery was himself a painter and his surrealist automatic writing in the poem seems to give power to the automatic drawing the painter is trying to achieve in the poem, as the artist wishes: “he expected his subject/ To rush up the sand, and, seizing a brush,/ Plaster its own portrait on the canvas.
Interpretation of this poem is complicated. On the surface level one can judge what is happening but on a deeper level the reader may not be able to interpret the unfathomable depth. One reason quite evident is the surrealism employed. Just like the artist’s mind the poem is also free of conscious control. It takes on its own route and it paints with its own brush strokes with the artist’s creative vision.
Ashbery takes into account many aspects of syntax and rhyme in his poetry and one of it is the repetition of words. The reader may not notice immediately about it but after a careful examination it comes to light that, Ashbery repeats the word "canvas", "buildings", "brush", "subject", "prayer" seven times and "portrait" eight times in the poem. This repetition creates a surrealistic effect in the poem.
The painter in the poem is on the beach and contemplates his tempestuous subject. Sea here symbolizes the freedom, the chaos, the harmony of the waves and the creative space for the painter. The sea symbolizes freedom as it liberates the painter from the hustle bustle of the city life behind him (“the building”). The painter is like a child imagining a prayer. His innocent imagination muses over what to draw on his canvas. Though the painter loves to paint the sea but he is confused by the daunting question of how to draw and live in one’s own creative vision, how to capture the universe around us. Even though he has brush in his hand but his canvas seems empty, this paint-less canvas brings out the fact that the painter himself has lost his creative vision, or he is going through the phase of imagination blockage and he is unable to take a plunge into mind's eye where haphazard brushes could be waved like a magic wand and a beauty of its own kind would emerge into a classic piece of art. His lack of strength to take on a decision leads the people around him to take control of his mind. They ask him to make a portrait of “Something less angry and large”, that is to say; do not draw the sea due to its turbulent nature and gargantuan effect which is unfathomable by human mind to capture. The painter seemed unable to convey “his prayer” to the people that he wants “nature, not art, [to] usurp the canvas”.
The skillful painter then tries to paint his wife. He does that without really making a creative endeavour because she seemed a ruined building in the first place that is not something he would want to paint. He does make an attempt, though unwillingly. It is throttling to the painter as an artist is a free will creature and no matter what happens he has to go to his roots of desire that is he has to be a creative by not conforming to traditionalists. He has to fulfill his urge to create his own tradition. His desire to go back to the sea appears to be the only right thing to do.
"Imagine the painter crucified by his subject." signifies a powerful figure that could draw faultlessly the things he see, and be astonished and spiritualized by the creative vision he has with the drawing. The painter in the poem proves his creative vision and creative authority when “He provoked some artists leaning from the buildings”; suggesting their eagerness to stick to the roots; the traditional way of painting. The poet clearly implies that the traditional painters are bent towards following an authority by which they could judge the painter and his work.
The people, the critics and the painters of traditional sort did not appreciate the effort of the painter and thus life’s way of taking the unconventional approach irrationally by not getting accepted by his own people fell upon the painter as they threw the portrait of the sea from the tallest building. This "portrait" symbolizes something that the people, the critics and the painters of his age were not able to handle the pressure posit on them by the painter or his creative vision of the sea. Such non-conformist and cavalier attitude is also visible in Ashbery’s life, as he nonchalantly says that his goal is "to produce a poem that the critic cannot even talk about.”
In the end of the poem “the sea devoured the canvas and the brush”. It signifies that the portrait drawn by a mere artist cannot be fathomed by man himself because chaos of the sea is unfathomable and it was as if “his subject had decided to remain a prayer”. Thus the freedom and turbulence the sea entails with it consumes man’s creation as well. The chaos of the world cannot be painted in a canvas, at least people around them would not let the painter do that, yet his creative drive would urge him to create what he instinctively desires. Neither the painter would stop nor the chaos around him would end. The cycle of life would go on like this.

"The Painter" by John Ashbery

The Painter" by John Ashbery

The best part about this poem is that it can be interpreted in any way you would like.

He repeats the word "canvas" 7 times, "portrait" 8 times, "buildings" 7 times, "brush" 7 times, "subject" 7 times, and "prayer" 7 times.

The artist is sitting out in front of the sea, imagining what he wants his protrait to look like. He expected ideas to come out so he could draw the sea, but he sat there in silence.
He didn't end up painting anything until the people who lived in the buildings told him to select a new subject to write about, something that may fit his mood better.
He picked to draw his wife, but he never ended up drawing her because she is art already, like ruined buildings.
Unsatisfied, he went back to the sea and wished for his ideas to come out from his soul already.
"Imagine the painter crusified by his subject!" means, imagine a man so powerful, who can draw anything he sees, be taken aback by the thing he is supposed to be drawing. Picture a man whose soul is so strong, yet he doesn't know how to put it on a canvas.
He looked back at the other artists, and said there is no way they can get the sea to sit still so they could paint it.
"Others declared it a self portrait" means, whatever he drew came from his soul. What he put on the canvas, was what he was. He drew nothing.
They threw away the portrait from the tallest building.

The "portrait" in this case can symbolize any type of worry, since the artist danced around his portrait for the longest time, ended up drawing nothing, getting annoyed, and just throwing it out. Nothing good can come from worrying, and you just have to let go. It can also stand for life.
The sea, can be the bigger picture. The man was trying to draw the sea, but he could never get it to sit still because things keep changing. When he didn't draw the sea, and others declared it a self-portrait, it's saying that the man wasn't consumed by the bigger picture (other people).

Saturday 5 January 2013

Oedipus Is to Blame .

Oedipus Is to Blame

In Sophicle's Oedipus The King, Oedipus plays the lead character in the play. Oedipus plays blindfolded throughout the play. His character that he betrays is typical of those who honestly believe they have no part in the situation that occurs. I agree with Bernard Knox that
Oedipus is responsible for the tragic outcome of the play. Oedipus's investigation of the death of King Laius is the reason for the tragic ending.

The scene where Oedipus opens the investigation is the
first step toward his downfall. Oedipus covers up the murder and is nervous when he hears the news. It is Oedipus's continuous effort to find the murderer. He wants to find the murderers of the king, not knowing that he is the murderer.

Oedipus is the head investigator for the murder of King Laius. Even though he tells the people of Thebes that, "I am ready to help." He promises the people that he would do anything to find the murderers of Laius. Trying to seek all knowledge of the situation, Oedipus request the presence of the servant that was pardoned. The servant not knowing the request has arrived to give Oedipus some shocking news about his
royal family.

Oedipus, seeing his responsibility, demands anyone who knows about the murder to come forth. The City of Thebes is weak and powerless after the death of the king Laius. Oedipus says, "My spirit grieves for the city, for myself and all of you." If Oedipus had not proceeded with the investigation no one would know anything about him. Not one moment does he begin to think about the real situation he faces with the death of Laius.

Promising the people of Thebes that the murderer will be found through his investigation. Oedipus awaits Creon to return with the oracle from Apollo to help further his investigation. Oedipus is ready to hear the report for the gods. Creon say, "Apollo commands us to drive the corruption from the land, and don't harbor the murderer any longer." After hearing the report he begins to be unfolded by the prophecy from Apollo about the murder. If it had not been for Oedipus's determination to motivation of the investigation, no one would have discovered the murderer.

The investigation leads Oedipus's discovery of more information about the murder and his fate. Oedipus finds out that his fate is to kill. Once he finds out his fate, that he is destined to kill, Oedipus immediately recognizes what needs to be done.

Oedipus brings the tragic discovery on himself. He is responsible for the murder of the King. His life had already been pre-destined by the gods above. No one knew about the fate until the servant arrived. His continuous investigation leads to the truth about the true murderer. After questioning the people of Thebes and hearing the oracle, Oedipus does not understand until he understands his fate. Pursing the truth was not the best thing Oedipus could have done. 

The Decline of Oedipus in Oedipus Rex

The Decline of Oedipus in Oedipus Rex

  Oedipus began Oedipus Rex as a king, only to end the tale as a blinded beggar. Oedipus' fall from his kingly status was not by accident or because of some other person. Oedipus is the only one that can be blamed for his misfortune. Oedipus' character traits are shown most clearly during his spiraling downfall, thinking he is "a simple man, who knows nothing", yet knowing more than he realizes by the end of the story.

Throughout the story, Oedipus' haste or lack of patience is most evident. Wishing to end this mystery of the death of Laios as quickly as possible, Oedipus passes an edict to kill or exile anyone who withholds information. Teiresias tested Oedipus' patience in the beginning of the story with the information he was holding; "You'd try a stone's patience!

Out with it". This impatient accusing of Teiresias proved to be bad, especially since Teiresias foretold the ending of the story. If Oedipus had been more patient and waited, he might have not been quite so upset about the future, nor shaken up about what was to happen.

However, that one trait did not alone take away his position of high authority. Oedipus displayed anger throughout the whole story, which did not help him at all. During the story, we learn of Oedipus' anger as he knocked a passerby at the meeting of the three highways; "I struck him in my rage". Later, this passerby whom he angrily and quickly killed, was revealed to be Laios, Oedipus' father. Oedipus' anger also quickly shifted his judgment of Teiresias. "We are in your [Teiresias] hands. There is no fairer duty", Oedipus' respect for Teiresias quickly changed as Teiresias refused to tell of what was the trouble's cause. Oedipus began claiming that "Creon has brought this decrepit fortune teller" to mean that Teiresias was thought of as a traitor in Oedipus' thinking. Oedipus' anger is also shown as he begins to insult Teiresias by calling him a "wicked old man". Oedipus' anger throughout the beginning of the play hindered himself.

The final trait that was Oedipus' greatest enemy throughout the entirety of the play was his own truthfulness. Whenever new facts presented themselves, Oedipus gave them an honest look. As soon as it was suspect that Oedipus was involved, he acknowledged it; "I think that I myself may be accurst by my own ignorant edict". Oedipus never held back any evidence pointing to his possible future eviction and loss of his kingly status. As the plot grew to the uppermost point, Oedipus persisted testimony of the shepherd as he was "of dreadful hearing, yet he must hear" more. This trait was the binding trait that brought Oedipus' downfall. If Oedipus hid all the facts concerning himself, he could have easily buried this as nobody would know that he killed his father nor slept with his mother.

The decline of Oedipus' power was initiated by his traits of anger, haste, and truthfulness. Inevitably, the decline of power led to the plucking of his own eyes – as fortold by Teiriseas

A blind man, who has his eyes now…Brother and father--the very same; to her who bore him, son and husband—the very same who came to his father’s bed, wet with his father’s blood.

Thursday 3 January 2013

jazz .


In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At the funeral, Joe's wife, Violet, attacks the girl's corpse. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.

Jazz is the story of a triangle of passion, jealousy, murder, and redemption, of sex and spirituality, of slavery and liberation, of country and city, of being male and female, African American, and above all of being human. Like the music of its title, it is a dazzlingly lyric play on elemental themes, as soaring and daring as a Charlie Parker solo, as heartbreakingly powerful as the blues. It is Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison at her best.

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