Summative Entry

While people in the English Renaissance wore different clothes and had no access to digital technology, their artistic expressions and the experiences these embody still have an impact on human beings living in the 21st century.


Despite the vast differences, our time has compared to the time of the English Renaissance, the latter still has still given an impact on the former in several different ways.

One way is the subject that English Renaissance works touched upon.  Despite the initial complications of iambic pentameter, diving deeper, Shakespeare’s works actually have a very deep insight of human psychology and the mind.  Though he does not blatantly say “This character has this trait because of this reason”, that is part of why his writing is so effective: because people themselves are complex beings who do not and most likely would not want, to share how they are truly feeling and what possible dark desire drives them to do what they do.

This is established in Shakespeare’s play, Richard III, where though we are presented a monstrous figure in the titular Richard, his knack for violence and misogyny is hinted many times to be stemmed from his deep desires and craving to be loved – something that his own mother deprived him of due to a condition he himself cannot help.  Also, in Raleigh’s Conclusion to his The History of the World, he rightfully points out about how people tended to hide their true, ugly colours behind beautiful facades.

This adds to my other point of how the art and expression of the English Renaissance still makes an impact even today.  The works that were created by great names of the time of not just Shakespeare but also Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson, tend to have rather important lessons that are all the more noteworthy for today’s circumstances.  Shakespeare’s Richard III spoke about the atrocities of people with power as seen with the titular character, but his character of the Fool who is present in King Lear and Twelfth Night is another highlight of this point.  The Fool is meant to be an entertainer yet the words that are strung by him have disturbingly honest and compositions of how the world is filled with insanity so insane that people think it is no longer insane until you become what they think is insane (King Lear), and how words are cheap and can be taken out of context (Twelfth Night).  

Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest also presents the point of nature vs. nurture and whether one is better than the other or if we just need a balance and compromise between the two.  This is seen with the scholarly Prospero (nurture) and his interactions with the native Caliban (nature).  Despite Caliban’s antagonism, it is debatable whether he is justified in his anger and tension towards Prospero since the latter did come to his home and Prospero does show not only a controlled manner but also a need to control.

Likewise, in Marlowe’s play, Doctor Faustus, we have a cautionary tale of how humanism and a dangerous thirst for the knowledge of things that are better off not knowing about, result in the demise of the titular character.  Jonson’s Volpone is also a cautionary tale but is disguised as a comedy where the titular character, Volpone, after all his scheming and deceit, finally gets his comeuppance at the end of the play.  It is a very needed tale for today since it deals with greed especially considering our present time’s increasing value for materialistic needs and consumerism.  Raleigh’s Conclusion to his The History of the World also deserves another mention on again, no matter how much you try to hide behind a pretty mask, it is fake and death will not care for that glittering mask or your riches and achievements.

It is a shame that nowadays not many people try to look deeply into Shakespeare’s works or the works of the English Renaissance.  The reason being that they actually dive really deep into aspects of the human mind and the world that are needed for today since time shows people still suffer from corruption, greed, and arrogance.  Regardless, to those that did choose to take that dive have definitely been impacted by its lessons, flowing language and all around wit and even tragedy that they portray.  And as long as there are people who appreciate and acknowledge those works, they can still continue to bring an impact, even for years to come.

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Peer Review #7

Peer Review – Jesse Owad

“Hello there, Jesse – I also picked this topic for this week’s blog and it’s fascinating reading what others put down for it. I do agree that the map’s intention was definitely to highlight the foolishness and vanity of the people in the world with the use of the jester and the Fool. Especially with how the Fool is seen as being far more aware of the world compared to many others in Shakespeare’s plays. There are a few spelling errors such as “suttle” (subtle) and “roll” (role) but overall, you got your main point across and I like how simple and straightforward it is. Good work!”

Seventh Shakespeare blog post (Week 10, Friday 12th of May)

It’s a Fool’s Fools World

See if you can discover the origins and meaning of this image of the world in a fool’s cap. Google World in a Fools Cap… and take it from there.


“This fellow is wise enough to play the fool.”

The above image is referred to as The Fool’s Cap Map of the World.  It is considered a mystery just what the image stands for and what it symbolizes.  What can be certainly assessed, however, is the time of its creation which dates ca. 1580-1590 (Jacob, Franks).

The Fool’s Cap contains a variety of imagery.  Overall, it is a jester’s cap with the typical belled ends along with a jester’s staff, but instead of a face, we have a map of the world.  It is not certain whether the map itself is the face, or the face of the jester is hidden behind it.

Another aspect of the image that is noteworthy are the inscriptions.  They are all written in Latin.  A panel at the jester’s right consists of the following phrases:

Who created the map? It's still a mystery. One of the names on this cartouche may be the illustrator's.

“‘Democritus Abderites deridebat,
Heraclites Ephesius deflebat,
Epichthonnis Cosmopolites deformabat’

Translation (“Fool’s Cap World Map”):
‘Democritus of Abdera laughed at it’ [the world],
Heraclitus of Ephesus wept over it’,
Epichtonius Cosmopolites portrayed it’;

Democritus of Abdera was an Ancient Greek philosopher who is remembered for his formulation of the atomic theory of the universe.  Democritus’ atomic theory decrees that the universe is made of two elements: atoms and the void in which they exist and move.  Additionally, atoms cannot be destroyed, differed in size, shape, and temperature, constantly moved, were invisible, and there was an infinite number of them.  For the statement “Democritus of Abdera laughed at it’ [the world]’ could be taken as him laughing at how people find themselves so self-important when in reality, they wouldn’t exist had it not been for something so small (the atom).

Heraclitus of Ephesus was another Ancient Greek philosopher, except his theory related to change and flow.   In Heraclitus’ theory, the universe is in constant change with an underlying order or reason called Logos (Mastin, Luke).  Interestingly, he was also known as the “Weeping Philosopher” and supposedly had moments of melancholia and depression that prevented him from finishing his works.  He was also considered misanthropic and a loner who scoffed at the masses along with being unafraid to criticize others like Hesiod and Pythagoras, and only respected a few wise men.  For him to “weep over it’ [the world]” could refer to the bitter disdain of how it has developed.  We took a look at the Fool while looking at King Lear as well, and Lear’s realization of the world in his madness as sounds similar to Heraclitus’ misanthropy.Finally, we have the phrase Epichtonius Cosmopolites.

Finally, we have the phrase Epichtonius Cosmopolites.  It actually just means along the lines of “everyman” (Jacobs, Frank).  So for the phrase of everyman ” portraying it’ [the world”, can refer back to Shakespeare’s phrase of how all the world’s a stage where everyone is an actor.  Basically, everyone simply plays roles throughout their life.  It can also mean that people are entrusted the world but considering how Democritus laughed and Heraclitus wept, the everymen aren’t doing a good job preserving it.

What the image stands for is another question altogether.  We spoke about the image and the importance of the role of the Fool in both King Lear and Twelfth Night.  Both concluded that the Fool was actually very aware of the world’s problematic aspects such as how people who were mad were actually saner than the ones who were considered “sane” along with how words are cheap and can be twisted around.  It could also be considered how people are foolish if they refuse to look closer at people’s interior qualities rather than take things at face value.


(Works Cited)

“Fool’s Cap World Map”. Collections.Rmg.Co.Uk, http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/206385.html.

Jacobs, Frank. “480 – The Fool’S Cap Map Of The World”. Big Think, 2016, http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/480-the-fools-cap-map-of-the-world.

Mastin, Luke. “Heraclitus”. Philosophybasics.Com, 2008, http://www.philosophybasics.com/philosophers_heraclitus.html.

Peer Review #6

Peer Review – David McGettigan

“Hello there, David. Quite an informative entry you have here about Petrarch! It’s intriguing reading about Petrarch himself and giving insight about his works in literature – I didn’t know much about him, so it’s nice to see his background and his connection to humanism along with the features of what makes a piece of literature Petrarchan. It’s also very helpful when you compared a Petrarchan sonnet to one conducted by Shakespeare to highlight the differences in what makes one their own work. Overall, thank you for this very informative post and teaching me something!”

Petrarch and the Sonnets

To be in Love or To be in Lurve

What picture of love/lurve is presented in the opening scene of 12th Night. How is this picture reflected in the language choices Shakespeare makes.


The opening scene of 12th Night presents Duke Orsino expressing his infatuation towards Countess Olivia.  Throughout his introductory lines, Orsino talks about love in a paradoxical way since he contrasts how it is a lovely feeling yet so sickening in the lines:

“If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”

In those three lines, he is essentially stating that if love is this sweet thing, continue giving it to him even if he feels sick to the point of death.  As he continues on with his lines, he expresses curiosity at love and how it does its affairs along with the effects of what it has done when he first saw Olivia.  The strong use of musical and floral imagery when describing love such as “…like the sweet sound, that breathes upon a bank of violets” and his introductory lines talking about how if music was the food of love, play on, gives Orsino a rather swooning picture of love/lurve.  A swooning infatuation that you would expect from someone who was either experiencing their first love or simply has been a bachelor/bachelorette for so many years and is just lonely.

Orsino though muses about love and how it works in the following lines:

“O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical”

In these lines, Orsino observes the strange effects of love and its own bizarre contrasting.  How it can be so powerful and endless as seen with him comparing it to the sea, but it can also be fleeting and disappear in only a minute as seen in the line “But falls into abatement and low price,/Even in a minute” where love’s effects become cheapened by the shortness of time.  Yet despite the short time, the finishing line notes still of its greatness by describing the feelings as “fantastical” which can mean bizarre, odd and remarkable, or fanciful and capricious.  All words describing love/lurve in Orsino’s perspective quite well.

When Curio starts talking, there is a play on words with the word “hart”.  Curio is talking about hunting for a hart (a stag) while Orsino, still in his lovestruck gaze, thought he was talking about a heart.  He then continues on with his tirade about love, except this time, we get to know who he’s so in love/lurve with as Olivia is finally mentioned by name.  This gives off the impression that Orsino, though infatuated with Olivia, is also very infatuated with the idea of love and how strong and wonderful yet crushing it can be.

Likewise, as the scene draws to a close with the introduction of Valentine, Orsino continues to express his infatuations.  For instance, he uses the play on words to his advantage by talking about how he has turned into a hart while his feelings and desires were the hounds pursuing him.  Once Valentine enters and reports how Olivia refuses to see a man after the death of her brother, Orsino continues painting his picture of how love was a strange thing: so fantastic yet also so punishing.  It can make him sick and restless but it is something so bizarre with its contrasting he wouldn’t mind revelling in it.

Peer Review #5

Peer Review – Jonas Camilleri

“Hello there, Jonas! What a lovely creative entry. I love how you contrast the moon’s cold and stony appearance by personifying it with a much warmer and compassionate nature as seen with its sympathy towards Cordelia. Exclaimed phrases such as “Oh my, what a catastrophe!” and “Oh the irony!” give your personification a more dramatic flair which adds flavour and expands the personality of the moon. A truly lovely and bittersweet creative writing piece on the moon’s lament. Great work!”

Shakespeare Blog Post 5

Shining Stars

Take a line from any one of the works studied today (poetry or prose), and use this line as the starting point for a paragraph or a poem expressing your own sense of why the renaissance is still worth knowing about.


 

Shine forth, thou star of poets, and with rage…

For even if the ages pass and time continues to run the earth, the time of Renaissance shall still glow.  Glow with a shining beacon that though not as prevalent in the hands of many a crafter, is still shaped and present in other forms.  From a spark of inspiration or a simple acknowledgment of its tremendous existence.  It still burns with a flame of importance.  For the focus gleams on form, style, and the mind.

Works continue to sing their sorrows and crow their laughter.  Shake a spear, Mars low and a bent son take form in the flowing words.  Though seemingly intimidating at first glance, take a deep breath and give it a chance.  For there are many ways to think and look at something that shines.