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|Volume||From the Origins to the Present Age|
|Scuola||Secondaria di II grado|
1. The Origins and the Middle Ages
1.1 From Pre-Celtic to Roman Britain
|Who inhabited Britain six thousand years ago||A population who began to burn and cut down the forests, to grow cereals and to breed cattle, pigs and sheep.|
|Evidence of Britain’s first settlers||They built ritual sites, large, enclosed spaces used both for ceremonies and for defence, like Stonehenge in southwest England|
|Arrival of the Celts||Around 700 BC.|
|What they built||Hill forts.|
|Who the Druids were||The Celts’ priests|
|Key dates to indicate the Roman period||Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55-54 BC but the real conquest started in the years 43-47 AD under Emperor Claudius. Roman control of Britain came to an end in 409 AD.|
|One of the greatest Roman engineering projects||Hadrian’s Wall|
- How did the first inhabitants of Britain change the landscape? They began to burn and cut down the forests, to grow cereals like wheat, barley or oats
- What is Stonehenge? A ritual site, a large, enclosed space in southwest England used by the Pre-Celtic population both for ceremonies and for defence.
- What remains in modern times which is still Celtic? The Celtic language remains in Welsh in Wales, and Gaelic in Scotland and Ireland.
- What did the Celts live on? They lived on farming, hunting, fishing and metalworking.
- What did they introduce to make cultivation easier? The iron plough.
- What was the role of women among the Celts? Women were almost equal to men they could choose the man they wanted to marry and retained their own property. They could also lead other warriors in war - Boadicea, for example, was a warrior queen of one of the Celtic tribes who fought against the Romans.
- What did the Celts worship and what did they believe? They worshipped the natural elements such as the sun, the moon, trees and rivers. Water was regarded as a holy element which generated life and as the gateway to the world beyond death. They believed in immortality and in the transmigration of the soul from one person to another. For them life after death was still spent on the earth in caves, hills or lakes, and this belief was another reason for their respect for nature and its spiritual or magical dimensions.
- Why did the Romans conquer Britain? The economic attractions of Britain included the rich agriculture of the South, tin and lead in the West, the availability of slaves and Britain’s strategic importance as an offshore base.
- What did they bring with them and what did they build? The Romans brought their culture, the Latin language and Christianity with them. They built over 9,600 kilometres of paved roads in Britain, which remained in use for centuries. These roads were not always straight, but they were amazingly well built, and made troop movement, and later the movement of commercial goods, much easier.
- Why did the Romans leave Britain? What were the consequences? The Romans left Britain in 409AD as soldiers were withdrawn to defend Rome against the Barbarian raiders. The Romanised Celts were left alone to fight against the Saxon invaders from the North Sea Region of Europe.
- Look at picture 1. Which adjective would you use to describe these megaliths? Student’s activity. Suggestion: The megaliths of Stonehenge are impressive.
- What was the hill fort in picture 2 like? What was its aim? Hill forts were built on top of hills surrounded by ditches sometimes filled with water. They were built to defend people.
- Consider picture 3 and explain the reason why this important monument was made. Hadrian’s Wall was built as a defensive fortification and ‘customs barrier’ between the conquered Britons and the unconquered Scots and Picts in the North.
1.2 The Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings
- Why did the Anglo-Saxons settle south of Hadrian’s Wall? They settled south of Hadrian’s Wall because they were lowland rather than upland people and were looking for farming land.
- What was their society based on and where did they gather? Their society was founded on loyalty to the family, or clan, and the centre of communal life was the hall, where they gathered and swore loyalty to the chiefs in return for their protection.
- Who were the Danes and why did they attack Britain? The Vikings, whom the English commonly called ‘Danes’, were sea people from Scandinavia. They crossed the Atlantic on their longships looking for treasure, cattle and slaves.
- What internal changes did he introduce? He established his capital at Winchester and invited scholars from the continent. Latin texts were translated into Anglo-Saxon and the AngloSaxon Chronicle was commissioned in 890. Church schools were opened and a new legal code was created.
- What was Danegeld? Danegeld was a tribute paid to the Vikings by the Anglo-Saxons to be left alone.
1.3 The Norman Conquest and the Domesday Book
- declared victory
- William gathered 3,000 barons to claim the throne of England. F He gathered an army of 8,000 warriors. He had a cavalry of 3,000 men supported by archers and infantry.
- Both William’s and Harold’s armies used horses. F Only the Normans had horses.
- Harold’s soldiers joined their shields to create a defensive wall. T
- William killed Harold himself. F Harold was killed by four Norman knights.
- William was crowned in France. F He was crowned in Westminster Abbey, London.
- What happened to the English ruling class after the Norman Conquest? The Conquest annihilated the English ruling class because many Anglo-Saxon noblemen died in battle, were exiled or dispossessed of their lands.
- Who replaced the members of the English high clergy? They were replaced by French or Italian churchmen.
- What was the feudal system introduced by William I like? The new French barons obtained their land by becoming the king’s tenants and they paid their ‘rent’ in military services to the king. They built castles to demonstrate and keep their power. The barons were allowed to sub-let their lands to lesser tenants (knights) in return for their services. The military service given by the barons and knights, and the agricultural labour given by the peasants who belonged to the land of all the tenants, guaranteed security and food, and so peace and prosperity. William the Conqueror claimed to be the lord of the land and his central authority became stronger.
- What was the Domesday Book and what purposes did it serve? The Domesday Book was the record of a survey which gave the king detailed information on the country he now possessed, and it was also used for collecting the geld, or property tax.
- Why was it called Domesday? The English called the book Domesday because they felt it was like having their souls weighed up on Judgement Day (or ‘Doomsday’).
- What was listed in it? It listed the different types of land and their use, the number of productive people and their status and animals.
- Which languages were spoken in England after the Conquest? French replaced English as the language of government and the elite. Latin remained the main language in legal, administrative, ecclesiastical and intellectual contexts, and English survived in everyday speech.
- The ceremony in which a feudal tenant or vassal pledged reverence and submission to his feudal lord.
- Property tax.
- Judgement Day
- Look at picture 1. What does it show? What particular moment is illustrated? It shows the Battle of Hastings. The moment in which Harold was hit in the eye by an arrow.
- Consider picture 2. Who is represented? What is he doing? What is his relationship to the king? A nobleman. He is paying homage to the king. He recognises the king as his lord and promises to give him his services in return for land.
1.4 Anarchy and Henry Plantagenet
Ascended to the throne: 1154
Reigned for: 35 years
Succeeded by: his son Richard I
Reforms introduced: military (scutage), legal(travelling judges and common law), religious (Constitutions of Clarendon)
Did you know? After Becket’s murder, Henry II had to walk barefoot to Canterbury and was flogged by monks at the door of the cathedral to restore his reputation
- A tax which replaced the feudal duty of military service.
- Professional lawyers who travelled around the country to settle legal cases.
- A system of law based on custom, comparisons of previous cases and previous decisions.
- A person who dies for his faith.
1.5 From Magna Carta to the Peasants’ Revolt
1199 John became king
1215 King John signed Magna Carta at Runnymede
1225 Magna Carta was issued again in its final version
1258 The barons, led by Simon de Montfort, demanded that Henry III summon a Great Council of lords and bishops before deciding all important matters
1295 Edward I summoned the Model Parliament, a council made up of barons, clergy, knights and representatives of the towns
1337 Edward III claimed the crown of France and the Hundred Years’ War began
1348 A terrible plague arrived in Britain killing more than one third of the population
1377 Edward III died and the crown passed to his 10-year-old grandson, Richard II
1381 Introduction of a poll tax by Richard II and Peasants’ Revolt
1453 End of the Hundred Years’ War against France
- A charter demanding specific liberties.
- A council made up of barons, clergy, knights and representatives of the towns.
- A group of 24 knights, the same number the legendary Arthur had chosen, with high ideals of honour and service.
- A tax imposed on every adult, without reference to their income.
- What is the king doing and who are the people in front of him in picture 1? The king is signing Magna Carta in front of a group of barons.
- Who appears twice in the foreground in picture 3? What different actions is he doing? The picture tells the story of Richard II’s meeting with Wat Tyler. The king appears twice he is shown watching the Mayor of London kill Wat Tyler and, on the right, he is addressing the mob.
- fourteenth century
- one and a half million
- sheep farming
- 400 per cent
1.6 The Wars of the Roses
- Who was the first Lancastrian King of England? Henry IV.
- Who ruled England during Henry VI’s mental illness? Richard, Duke of York, was chosen to rule England as regent until the king recovered in 1455.
- When did the Wars of the Roses start? In 1455.
- What did the two roses symbolise? They symbolised the two royal families: the red rose was the symbol of the Lancastrians and the white rose of the Yorkists.
- Why did the Wars of the Roses break out? The main causes of the conflict were: both houses were direct descendants of King Edward III the ruling Lancastrian king, Henry VI, surrounded himself with unpopular nobles it was a time of general discontent and unrest there were a number of powerful lords who had their own private armies at their personal command Henry VI was considered to be mentally unstable.
- Who was Richard III? He was Edward IV’s brother and Duke of Gloucester. He secured the crown for himself when Edward died. He is said to have murdered his two nephews.
- How did the Wars end? The Wars ended when Richard III, the last Yorkist king, was defeated and killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 by the Lancastrian Henry Tudor, founder of the House of Tudor. Henry married Elizabeth of York, Edward IV’s daughter, thus uniting the two roses, and became king as Henry VII.
1.7 The development of poetry
- Anglo-Saxon literature was written by the scops. F Anglo-Saxon literature was anonymous and it was sung by the scops.
- During the Middle Ages the lyric became a popular literary form. T
- Early lyrics spoke about secular themes such as love and nature. F The earliest lyrics were religious in tone, but later they became secular, dealing with love and nature.
- Metrical romances were tales in verse about chivalry. T
- The authors of ballads were unknown. T
- Chaucer wrote metrical verse in the Northern dialect. F He wrote his masterpiece The Canterbury Tales in the East Midland dialect.
- The repetition of the same initial consonant sound in consecutive or closely connected words.
- A break that divides a line into two halves.
- A formulaic phrase that is used in place of a name or noun.
1.8 The epic poem and the pagan elegy
recollection of a glorious past
great deeds of heroes
military and aristocratic society
a long narrative poetical composition elevated style
rich, vivid language → type-scenes: banquets, battles, voyages, funerals
1.9 The medieval ballad
- A dramatic story with no moral aim
- rapid flashes
- very simple language
- mixture of dialogue and third-person narration
- fourline stanzas
- real and supernatural characters
- themes: magic, border rivalry, love and domestic tragedy, outlaws
1.10 The medieval narrative poem
it is a story in verse, often told in the first person
setting in time and place
description of characters
aim: to entertain and instruct
- What does April bring about? It brings about rain and the re-birth of nature (lines 1-4).
- How is the West wind called? What action does it perform? It is called Zephyrus. It brings nature back to life by blowing gently on tender shoots (lines 5-7).
- What are the little birds doing? They are singing because they also experience the re-generative powers of spring (lines 9-11).
- What effect does spring have on people? People get restless and long to go on pilgrimages (lines 12-14).
- Where do English people decide to go in spring? Why? They decide to go to Thomas Becket’s shrine in Canterbury because he is the most venerated among English saints (lines 16-17).
- Where did the pilgrims meet? At The Tabard inn, in Southwark, London (line 20).
- How many were they? Thirty, including the narrator (line 24).
- What did the narrator decide to describe? Their social condition, profession and clothes (lines 30-34).
1.11 Beowulf: a national epic
Beowulf’s composition: The poem was probably composed as an elegy for a king who died in the 7th century, and developed through many retellings before it was written down in the 11th century.
Its society: It is a warrior society, in which the relationship between the leader, or king, and his warriors is founded on loyalty.
The settings: Heorot, the great mead hall built by King Hrothgar of Denmark a misty, desolate lake, where Grendel’s mother lives Sweden, the land of the Geats.
The hero: Beowulf, a young, brave Scandinavian warrior who becomes King of the Geats and rules for fifty years.
The monsters: Grendel Grendel’s mother a fire-breathing dragon.
The main theme: The struggles the poem describes are the classic challenges of good against evil.
The hero’s virtues: Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men due to his incredible physical strength. He fights and wins many battles including his last. He is also strong enough to kill the monster Grendel with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. Another heroic quality of Beowulf is his ability to put his people’s welfare before his own. At the end of the poem, Beowulf is old and tired but he defeats the dragon. However, his most heroic trait is that he is not afraid of dying.
Language features: There is a lot of repetition: directions and reports are repeated, speeches are often followed by phrases such as ‘thus he spoke’ to emphasise that the words are those of a character and not of the narrator. The language is elevated with long lists of leaders and their military troops, as well as references to mythical and Christian elements. Lots of alliteration and stock formulae, parallelisms and antitheses recur throughout the poem.
T2 Beowulf and Grendel: the fight
- Time and again
From Text to Screen: Beowulf
- Where and when does the scene take place? The scene takes place on a beach at sunset.
- Where was Beowulf’s corpse laid? It was laid on a burial-ship.
- What can you see next to him? Weapons and gold artefacts.
- What burns the ship? Where? Some fire lit by warriors up on a snowy cliff is thrown down on to the ship.
- Who witnesses this funeral scene? Wiglaf, Beowulf’s faithful retainer, the queen, her daughter and lots of mourners.
- What is Wiglaf looking at from the beach? He is looking at Beowulf’s burial-ship burning.
- What can he see under his feet on the shore? He can see a gold cornucopia which belonged to Beowulf.
- What can he hear at the end? Wood cracking and the groaning of the ship sinking down into the sea
- He was the bravest of us.
- He was the prince of all warriors.
- His name will live forever.
- His song shall be sung forever.
Wiglaf: sorrow, regret, sympathy
the queen: sorrow, sympathy
The high-angle shot of the burial ship makes the moment more dramatic and the figure of Beowulf more vulnerable and powerless. The low-angle shot of the burning fire makes the subject look bigger and more powerful.
- B, C
- A, D
Student’s activity. Suggestion: Because it allows to tell mythic stories that are kind of real but not completely real. Perhaps it was the best way to create supernatural situations and creatures which would have been impossible in a traditional live action format. Examples: The Polar Express (2004), the first animated film using performance capture for all actors, and Avatar (2009), the first full length film using performance capture to create photo-realistic 3D characters, are the most popular
1.12 Medieval ballads
T2 Lord Randal
1st section (lines 1-20): The dialogue between mother and son.
2nd section (lines 21-24): Mother’s open declaration.
3rd section (lines 25-40): Lord Randal’s oral testament.
Pink words: repetitions
Highlighted in pink: refrain
Underlined in blue: the two protagonists, the mother and her son, Lord Randal
Green words: key words are present in the first half of the 3rd line of stanzas 1-6
Highlighted in green: the oral testament is introduced by repetition: Lord Randal is asked by his mother what he is going to leave to his mother, sister, brother, and his ‘true-love’
// key words linked to Lord Randal’s testament: he is going to leave his mother his cows, his sister silver and gold as a dowry for her future marriage, his brother his houses and land, and his ‘true-love’ hell and fire because he has been poisoned by her
the whole ballad is characterised by the question-answer format
- poisoned food
- hawks and dogs
- is going to die
- oral testament
- hell and fire
Link to Contemporary Culture: The ballad through time
|Blowin’ in the Wind||question and answer
|Eleanor Rigby||four-line stanzas
|description of characters: names, personalities|
|I Lived||four-line stanzas
1.13 Geoffrey Chaucer
- middle class
- religious views
- Poets’ Corner
The Cantebury Tales
- Who are the protagonists of The Canterbury Tales? Thirty people - men, women, monks and other members of the clergy, artisans, merchants and also the narrator, Chaucer himself.
- Where do they meet and where are they going? They meet at the Tabard Inn in London and are bound for Canterbury in Kent to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket.
- What kind of work is The Canterbury Tales? It is a long narrative poem written in rhyming couplets made up of iambic pentameters.
- How is it organised? The work consists of a ‘General Prologue’, where the pilgrims are introduced, and twenty-four tales. The tales are usually preceded by a prologue, which introduces the theme of the tale, and are sometimes followed by an epilogue.
- What is Chaucer’s function in the story? He is the reporting pilgrim: he tells us directly or sometimes ironically what he sees and what he thinks about it. This creates a sort of interplay between real and unreal so that the reader is left to decide whether what he/she is reading is true or not.
- What is the pilgrimage an allegory of? The journey of the pilgrims is an allegory of the course of human life.
- In what sense can The Canterbury Tales be regarded as a portrait of English medieval society? It includes representatives of feudal society, members of the clergy and the middle classes. Chaucer did not portray the aristocracy or peasants. This is because no nobleman would have travelled with commoners but instead with their own entourage. On the other hand, lowerclass people could not afford the expense of such a trip.
- What is its new factor? The new factor in The Canterbury Tales is individualisation: the character exists because he/she has reactions and is in movement. His/her ‘individualisation’ is therefore dynamic, in antithesis with the conventional medieval character portrait which was generally rather static.
- What method of description did Chaucer adopt? The descriptions of the pilgrims vary in length, point of view and tone some emphasise what the pilgrim wears, some what he/she does or thinks. Chaucer listed and described tools, clothes and personal qualities. The names given to the pilgrims refer to their profession and suggest a society in which work conditioned the personality and world view of each individual.
T3 The Prioress
- The text introduces a member of
B the high clergy
- Match the words from the text with their Italian translation.
- Decide whether the following statements about the Prioress are true or false. Correct the false ones.
- The Prioress is shy and reserved. T
- The narrator does not say her name. F She was known as Madam Eglantyne.
- She cannot sing during the service. F She sings with a fine intonation.
- She can speak French. T
- What shows that the Prioress’s manners at table were well taught?
D She tries to reach the meat in a composed manner.
- Describe the cause and effect relationship in lines 26-28.
Cause: She saw a mouse caught in a trap.
Effect: She used to weep.
- Briefly describe the Prioress’s attitude towards her dogs in lines 29-32.
She used to feed them with roasted meat, milk or fine white bread. She wept if one died or someone hurt them.
- Define the tone of these lines referring to the Prioress.
- Find all the words and phrases linked to the Prioress’s appearance in lines 35-39. What was she like?
She had an elegant nose and grey eyes, a very small, soft, red mouth and a wide forehead. She was tall and well-built.
- Highlight the lines where the Prioress’s rosary is described. What is it like? Where does she wear it?
Lines 41-45. It has precious beads and a golden brooch hanging from it. She wears it on her arm, like a bracelet.
- The Latin phrase written on the brooch (line 45) means
D that love conquers all.
- Identify the lines where Chaucer the pilgrim makes his presence known.
Lines 38, 40.
T4 The Merchant
1st section (lines 1-4): Physical description of the
2nd section (lines 5-13): Description of the Merchant’s profession and attitude.
3rd section (lines 14-15): Narrator’s opinion of the Merchant.
Highlighted in green: description of the
Highlighted in pink: description of the Merchant’s attitude
Highlighted in orange: description of the Merchant’s skills
Green words: historical details
Pink words: the narrator’s voice
Boxes: realistic, concrete details
Chaucer’s method of description mainly focuses upon the Merchant’s profession.
The Merchant has a solemn figure and a strong, ambiguous and rather pretentious personality.
- middle class
T5 The Wife of Bath
In our company there was a notable woman from near Bath who was a little deaf. She was skilled at weaving cloth and was much better at her job than the famous weavers of Belgium in Ypres and Ghent. She was very religious and in her parish no one dared make an offer before her at church because she got very angry
Physical appearance: deaf; bold, handsome, red
face; gap-teeth; large hips
Business and social skills: skilled at clothmaking and travelling; her social skills were that she was able to converse freely and with humour and she was good in bed
Personality: she got angry easily if someone overcame her in church, she was sociable
The clothes she wears on Sunday: finely woven kerchiefs, scarlet red hose, a garter, soft new shoes (Teachers may point out that red hose were usually worn by the aristocracy. The Wife of Bath was a wealthy woman and could afford buying expensive clothes to seem higher in rank)
Number of husbands: five
Places she has been: Jerusalem, Rome, Boulogne, St James of Compostella, Cologne
Way of riding: easily
The clothes she wears on pilgrimage: a wimple, a large hat, a flowing mantle, spurs
Red. This colour is usually associated with danger, passion or anger (red cape to bull).
‘on her head a hat / As broad as is a buckler or a shield’ (lines 26-27).
Lines 5-8, 9-10, 16, 19, 26-27. Chaucer exaggerates to make us see the Wife as a ‘larger than life’ character of big emotions and appetites. She’s not just proud, but very proud, not just vain but very vain she has not just been on one pilgrimage, but many she has not just had one husband but five.
Chaucer tells us that she hates anyone else to go up to the altar to give their offerings before her, she has to be first (lines 5-8).
The Wife’s face, forehead, hips and the colour of her complexion are described exactly in this way. She enjoys the company of men and has had five husbands, so she is ‘changeable’ and definitely ‘given to affairs of the heart’. Her fluent speaking can be seen in her social skills.
It is both because we are accustomed to seeing people as individuals, whereas in the 14th century this was not so. Even though she conforms to her astrological type, the details of her dress and her travels make her particular. In modern times we are strongly affected by Chaucer’s humour and that makes us see her as an individual, though one of a type.
Magna Carta as a source of liberty
- When and where was Magna Carta signed? It was signed at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15th June 1215.
- Whose rights were being protected in the Magna Carta? It concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people.
- Explain how Magna Carta is viewed today. It is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities and has been described as ‘the greatest constitutional document of all times - the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot’.
- Give two reasons why it is still considered relevant. It is still considered relevant because it is a cornerstone of the individual liberties that we enjoy today and a foundation of democracy as well.
- Which two important legal principles were specifically laid down in the Magna Carta? Clause 39 of the 1215 Charter states that ‘No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned […] or exiled, or in any other way ruined […] except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land’.
- Say which documents it directly influenced. The documents it directly influenced include the Bill of Rights of 1689 in Britain, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 in France, and the Bill of Rights in the United States in 1791 as well as more recent examples like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted in 1948, and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which came into force in 1953.
- Who was inspired by Magna Carta? Why? Famous people inspired by Magna Carta include Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-68), who cited the Magna Carta principle ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied’, and Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), who invoked Magna Carta and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in his defence statement in his 1964 trial.
- On what occasion was Magna Carta mentioned in a judgement by the American Supreme Court? It was mentioned in a judgment by the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the detention without charge of a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
- What is ‘detention without charge’? This refers to those who are arrested and kept in prison without a specific accusation.
My day will come
- Where did Bobby sleep? He slept on a filthy mattress lying on the floor.
- What was he only covered with? He was covered only with a blanket wrapped around his waist and a towel around his head and shoulders.
- Why did he use the expression ‘my journey to nowhere’? Because he was in prison in a very small cell.
- What could he see out of his window? He could not see much except the snow on the ground outside.
- What was his desperate need? Freedom.
- What was his cell like? The walls were dirty and stinking, rubbish and decaying food were scattered in the corners of a damp floor, the ceiling was tea-stained and the door was scraped and scarred.
- Why had a few given up? Because they couldn’t bear the unrelenting burden of torture, the continuous boredom, tension and fear, the deprivation of basic necessities like exercise and fresh air, the lack of association with other human beings.
- What could have happened if he had given up? If he had conformed by putting on prison clothes, his nightmarish cell would have been changed
- They were condemned to darkness, intense cold, an empty stomach and the four walls of a filthy cell.
- The victory, that is, their freedom, was near.
- Remaining unbroken, preserving his own identity.
- What was Bobby’s life in prison characterised by? His life in prison was characterised by cold, dirt, boredom and lack of human interaction.
- Can you find any similarities between Bobby’s life and a nightmare? Nothing was real in prison and everything reminds the reader of a nightmare: the setting, the terrible cold, the absence of any human being and the inhuman life conditions.
- What metaphor does he use to describe his cell? What is the function of this linguistic image? He uses the image of a tomb to describe his cell in order to make the reader visualise his life in prison better
The language is dry and extremely concrete.
Nobel Prize acceptance speech
- What does the word ‘Malala’ mean?
It means ‘grief stricken’, ‘sad’.
- What do the ‘voiceless children’ want, according to Malala?
She says they want change.
- Does Malala say that education is a ‘blessing’, a ‘necessity’ or both?
She thinks it is both
- What happened to her local village in the Swat Valley?
When she was ten, Swat, which was a place of beauty and tourism, suddenly changed into a place of terrorism. Education went from being a right to being a crime. More than 400 schools were destroyed, girls were stopped from going to school, women were flogged, innocent people were killed and people’s beautiful dreams turned into nightmares.
- Which two options did she have and which did she choose?
One option was to remain silent and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up and then be killed. She chose the second one.
- What happened to Malala and her friends in 2012?
They were attacked by terrorists while on their bus going to school.
- How many girls does she say are deprived of an education?
She says there are 66 million girls.
- Why does Malala think ‘strong’ countries are actually ‘weak’?
Because they create wars and can’t create peace.
- feudal system
- succeed to the throne
- agricultural society
- Peasants’ Revolt
- wage war
Alfred the Great: He was the King of Wessex,
he defeated the Danish commander Guthrum
at the Battle of Edington in 878. He established
his capital at Winchester and invited scholars
from the continent. He had Latin texts translated
into Anglo-Saxon and commissioned the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 890.
William I: The Anglo-Saxon and Norman armies faced each other near Hastings on 14th October 1066. The Normans won the battle. The narrative of Hastings was recorded in a tapestry, hanging in Bayeux, France, which is one of the most vivid representations of war in medieval history. William was later crowned William I in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day, 1066. William the Conqueror claimed to be the lord of the land and his central authority became stronger. That power was demonstrated by the Domesday Book (1086), a record of a survey which gave the king detailed information on the country he now possessed; it was also used for collecting the geld, or property tax.
Henry II: Henry II’s kingdom stretched from the Scottish border to the south of France. During his reign his main concerns were the insecurities of his French territories and the desire to re-establish the legal order in England. The feudal duty of military service was replaced with a tax known as ‘scutage’. In this way knights could choose to remain on their land and the king was able to pay professional soldiers. In the 1160s Henry introduced travelling royal judges, who were basically professional lawyers. The law they administered became known as ‘common law’, because it was used everywhere. In 1162 Henry appointed one of his favourites, Thomas Becket, to be Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas tried to assert the independence of Church from State, but in 1164 Henry had the Constitutions of Clarendon written: these stated that the king was supreme in civil matters and that all people in England, including the clergy, were subject to the Crown. The conflict between Becket and the king continued until 29th December 1170, when Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by four knights claiming to have been sent by the king. The king was forced to do humiliating penance and Thomas became a martyr and a saint. Pilgrims from all over England and Europe visited his shrine in Canterbury Cathedral.
Magna Carta: In order to get more money to wage
wars to defend his French possessions, King John
collected higher taxes. The barons, the Church
and the general population were exposed to his
violent abuse of power. He seized lands without
process of law, imposed arbitrary taxes and
collected money from widows by threatening them
with a forced re-marriage if they did not pay. The
barons, knights, clergy and townspeople organised
a rebellion and asked the king to sign Magna
Carta, a charter demanding specific liberties.
The king signed it at Runnymede in 1215.
Parliament: In 1295 Edward I summoned a council made up of barons, clergy, knights and representatives of the towns. This was known as the ‘Model Parliament’, England’s first Parliament.
Peasants’ Revolt: In 1381, during the first years of Richard II’s reign, an extremely unpopular tax called ‘poll tax’ was introduced. Riots broke out all over England: it was the beginning of the Peasants’ Revolt. A huge crowd of people marched on London led by Wat Tyler to ask the king to abolish the peasants’ duties to their landlords. The young king agreed to meet the rebels and listen to their demands, but the Mayor of London had Tyler killed and subsequently the king did nothing to keep his promises and had the leaders of the revolt executed.
|Epic poem||Medieval ballad||Narrative poem|
|Main features||long narrative poetical composition, type-scenes||dialogue and narration, a series of rapid flashes||narrator, setting in time and place, description of characters|
|Characters||aristocratic and military society, heroes||members of the family, outlaws, supernatural creatures||representatives of the gentry, clergy and middle classes|
|Theme||good vs evil, the glorious past, celebration of the brave deeds of heroes||love, death, war, the supernatural||the spiritual journey, criticism of society|
|Style||vivid, elevated language, caesura, alliteration, kenning||simple language, repetition, refrain||rhyming couplets, humour, irony and satire|
|Mood||heroic||tragic||humorous, ironic, satirical|
|Aim||didactic, celebration of heroic values||to entertain, no moral aim||to entertain and instruct|
|Key information given||Lord Randal has been hunting in the greenwood and has been poisoned by his ‘true-love’.|
|How the information is given||Through a dialogue between Lord Randal and his mother|
|Information missing||Character’s and setting’s description.|
|Techniques used by the author||Repetition and refrain.|
- Details and evidence to describe her character
She was shy and reserved (line 2), she sang with a fine intonation (lines 5-6), she had elegant table manners (lines 10-19), she was pleasant and graceful (lines 20-24), she was sensitive and would weep if someone hit her dogs (lines 31-33).
- Details and evidence to describe her appearance
She had an elegant nose and grey eyes, a soft red mouth and a wide forehead (lines 35-38), she was tall and well-built (line 39).
- Details and evidence to describe her clothes
She wore her veil in an elegant manner, not suited to a nun (line 34), she wore an elegant cloak (line 40), her rosary was a bracelet of precious beads from which hung a golden brooch (lines 41-45).
- Technique used by the writer
- Details and evidence to describe his character
He constantly spoke of his profits but he was actually in debt (line 11), he had a pretentious way of speaking (lines 5-6).
- Details and evidence to describe his appearance
He had a forked beard (line 1).
- Details and evidence to describe his clothes
He wore a colourful dress, a Flemish beaver hat and buckled boots (lines 2-4).
- Technique used by the writer
The Wife of Bath
- Details and evidence to describe her character
She was sociable (line 30) but she got very angry if someone went in front of her in church (lines 5-8).
- Details and evidence to describe her appearance
She was deaf (line 2), she had a bold, beautiful, red face (line 14), gap-teeth (line 24) and large hips (line 29).
- Details and evidence to describe her clothes
On Sunday she wore finely woven kerchiefs (line 9), scarlet red hose, a garter and soft new shoes (lines 12-13). On pilgrimage she wore a wimple, a large hat, a flowing mantle and spurs (lines 26-29).
- Technique used by the writer
2. The Renaissance and the Puritan Age
2.1 The early Tudors
- parish churches
- In what sense did England become more ‘cosmopolitan’ during the reign of Henry VII? Henry VII sponsored John Cabot to explore eastern America and planted the Tudor flag in Nova Scotia. During his reign Erasmus of Rotterdam brought the Humanism of the Renaissance to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, while the scholar Sir Thomas More moved England closer to North-European thought and the origins of Protestantism. The king also married his son and heir to the Aragonese heiress Catherine and two of his daughters equally well to the Kings of France and Scotland.
- What was Henry VIII like? He was good-looking, skilled at sports, music and poetry and interested in theology.
- What did he think of Martin Luther? The king disagreed with Martin Luther’s anti-Catholic theses and he wrote an attack on Luther which won him the title of ‘defender of the faith’ from the pope.
- What facts paved the way to the breach with Rome? Henry asked the pope to declare his first marriage invalid, but the pope refused. So the king broke with Rome, divorced Catherine and, in 1533, he married Anne Boleyn.
- What were the effects of the Reformation? With the Act of Supremacy (1534) Henry was declared ‘the Supreme Head of the Church of England’, and it became treason to deny it. Temporal and religious powers were thus joined in the figure of the monarch. Thomas Cromwell, the king’s chancellor, suppressed 400 small monasteries and confiscated their lands and money. Monastic chapels became parish churches and the land of the monasteries was sold, so the new merchant class had access to a landed status that had previously been a privilege of the nobility.
- Who was Thomas Cranmer and why was he an important figure of the period? He was the Archbishop of Canterbury and the king’s chancellor. He performed Henry VIII’s wedding ceremony to Anne Boleyn. He was a dominant figure in the English Reformation. He prepared a new prayer book that was sent to all churches during Edward VI’s reign. He was imprisoned by Mary I in the Tower of London for heresy and later burned at the stake.
- What did Edward VI make compulsory? The Book of Common Prayer, mainly prepared by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.
- What did Mary I’s Counter-Reformation bring about? The restoration of Catholic rituals and heresy laws. The queen earned the name ‘Bloody Mary’ giving the Protestant Church about 300 martyrs by burning them at the stake.
- The title Henry VIII was given by the pope because of the attack he wrote on Martin Luther.
- The act which declared Henry VIII ‘the Supreme Head of the Church of England’.
- The name Mary I was given for burning about 3 people at the stake.
- Look at the first picture on page 80. What was the Tudor rose like? It combined the red rose of the House of Lancaster with the white rose of the House of York. It symbolised the end of the civil war between the two royal families, as highlighted by the crown on top of the two roses.
- Look at picture 1 on page 82. Read the caption and try to identify the people represented in the painting. Henry VIII is sitting on the throne in the middle and passes the sword of justice to his Protestant son Edward VI. Elizabeth I is on the right, holding the hand of Peace and followed by Plenty. On the left are Elizabeth’s Catholic half-sister and predecessor Mary I and Mary’s husband Philip II of Spain, with Mars, the god of war.
2.2 Elizabeth I
- toleration, tolerance
- Why is Elizabeth’s reign regarded as the golden age of England? It was an age of stability, religious toleration and victory at sea it was the time of entertainment and the rising star of Shakespeare.
- How would you define Elizabeth’s religious policy? Tolerant as regarded ornament in churches and ceremonies, but she consolidated the Reformation in 1559 by re-introducing the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity.
- Why did she never marry? She regarded marriage as dangerous because she thought a foreign husband would subject England to overseas rule, while an English one would create factions and plots.
- What was the aim of the royal progress? To show Elizabeth’s person and the power of her office.
- Why did Mary, Queen of Scots, represent a danger for Elizabeth? She had a claim to the English throne she was a Catholic and became the centre of conspiracies against Elizabeth.
- How did Elizabeth encourage overseas exploration? She encouraged her sea captains to explore new lands and look for treasure.
- What were the main reasons for the defeat of the Spanish Armada? The English ships were faster and better armed than the Spanish ones, so they were able to scatter part of the Armada and get close enough to attack with their cannons. The Armada escaped to the North Sea, damaged and hit by storms.
- Why is Elizabeth regarded as one of the greatest of English rulers? She managed to create a popular and majestic image of the sovereign who appeared as the defender of a nation and the preserver of peace. She brought England unity and glory
Picture 1: the cult of the Virgin Queen
Picture 2: the royal progress to show the queen’s person and power
Picture 3: the exploration of the seas by the sea captains combined with piracy
Picture 4: the defeat of the Spanish Armada
From History to Screen: Elizabeth
- The queen denies having committed a bloody act.
- The old man is called Sir William.
- The queen says she is as strong as a man.
- The old man does not convince her to accept the help of Spain.
- The queen declares that from now on she will act only according to her own will.
- The queen says she is not afraid.
- The queen makes the old man a lord.
- The old man is going to retire from politics.
- The word ‘must’ is not used to princes. E
- Forgive me, Madam but you are only a woman. W
- If I choose, I have the heart of a man. E
- I am my father’s daughter. I am not afraid of anything. E
- God knows all my advice has only ever been to secure Your Majesty’s throne. W
- I have decided to create you Lord Burghley, so you may enjoy your retirement in greater ease. E
A the one which reveals Elizabeth’s authority; 1
B the one which reveals her courage; 3
C the one which reveals her political ability; 6
She says that she is going to create him a lord as if it were an honour, while in reality she is freeing herself from his presence at court so as to be able to decide on her own about politics. She calls him directly ‘Lord Burghley’ and no longer ‘Sir William’ because she does not let him protest and she makes her decision sound as definite.
- There is a kind of incomprehension between Sir William and the queen. A curtain is shown at the beginning between the two. A medium shot is employed for the queen and a close-up for Sir William.
- The old man fears the other man, Walsingham. He looks left with a scared look.
- The queen assumes a new and stronger authority. She is shown in front of a window, in full light. The shot employed is low-angle.
- The old man understands that the queen is now strong and independent of his advice. The soundtrack underlines the importance of the queen’s words and she is surrounded by light. Close-ups are used for both characters.
We perceive the superiority and the independence of the queen.
- He is a distant, enigmatic character.
- At this point there is a kind of insuperable distance between her and the viewer (Sir William).
- They are uttering definite, dramatic words.
2.3 Renaissance and New Learning
- binding together
- the Tudors’ view of the world They inherited a general concept of order from the medieval view of the world. The universal order was represented as a chain of being.
- the links of the chain of being They were fixed, there was no mobility from one ring to the next. The hierarchy of existence was complete and closed and included: God as spirit, spiritual beings or angels, human beings, the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, the material (inanimate) world.
- man’s position He shared the body with lower creations and the spirit with higher creations, so he had the unique function of binding together all the levels of being.
- what was outside the chain Chaos, madness and evil.
- the concept of correspondence All of creation was bound together, which meant that whatever affected one thing affected other elements in the chain. This was called a ‘correspondence’.
- the three parts of the chain corresponding to each other There were three parts of the chain corresponding to each other: macrocosm (the universe, nature and the skies), microcosm (the human body as a map of the universe), the body politic (the kingdom, including its government and citizens).
- the idea of nature God’s instrument.
- the natural rules of the State. Subordination and unity.
- Answer the following questions.
- How did Copernicus’s ideas shake the old view of the universe? He questioned the Ptolemaic system since he held that the sun, and not the earth, was at the centre of the universe.
- Where did the term ‘Humanism’ come from? The term derived from the Latin studia humanitatis, a course of classical studies including grammar, poetry, rhetoric, history and moral philosophy which aimed at improving man through knowledge.
- What did Humanism encourage? Humanism encouraged confidence in the power of human reason to interpret man and nature, in the value of literature as an instrument of reason and in the dignity of modern English as a literary medium.
- Correct the following statements about New Learning.
- The men of letters lost confidence in the individual. They believed in the power of human reason.
- The Humanists only wrote in Latin. They used English instead of Latin in their writings.
- The English Renaissance was pagan in essence. It was strongly Protestant.
- The works of the period were characterised by serene images. They lacked the pagan serenity of the Italian Renaissance and were characterised by baroque exuberance.
2.4 The early Stuarts
Mother: Mary, Queen of Scots
Ascended to the throne: 1603
His concept of monarchy: ‘divine right of kings’
He united Scotland to England and Wales creating Great Britain
He introduced: a distinctive flag (the Union Jack), common coinage, a new translation of the Bible
He held a conference at Somerset House and achieved a peace treaty with Spain
He met the representatives of the bishops and the Puritans at Hampton Court in order to solve the religious conflict between them.
Did you know? The Gunpowder plotters were Catholics who wanted to blow up Parliament and the king, but the conspiracy was found out and the plotters were executed.
The consequence of religious uniformity was the emigration of many dissenters to the New World.
Bonfire Night is an annual celebration on 5th November with fireworks and effigies of Guy Fawkes, which are burnt on bonfires.
1625 Charles became king
1628 The Petition of Right
1635 Charles I extended ‘ship money’
1640 Charles I summoned the so-called Short Parliament, which refused to give him the money he needed to pay his army to fight a rebellion in Scotland. A new Parliament was then elected, the so-called Long Parliament
1642 Charles I entered the House of Commons to arrest its five most extreme MPs, but they had already escaped. The king raised an army of Royalists and declared war. The Parliamentarians, the king’s opponents, prepared to fight back. The Civil War had begun
- A document stating that the king could not imprison without trial or impose taxes without the consent of the Commons.
- A tax imposed on coastal towns for their defence.
- One of the great institutions of English history which reflected the change in wealth that had taken place in the Tudor period with a shift from the medieval Church and the landed aristocracy to a rising middle class of small landowners, city merchants and the professions.
2.5 The Civil War and the Commonwealth
|Struggle between||the tyranny of Stuart absolutism||the liberty of Parliament|
|Class conflict between||the aristocratic landowners||the middle class of merchants, artisans and the small gentry|
|The two parties||Royalists, or Cavaliers||Parliamentarians, or Roundheads|
|Who they supported||the king||Parliament|
|Regional concentration||Wales, Cornwall and the west of England||the city of London, the sea ports and eastern England|
The Parliamentarian army, called New Model Army, was stronger because it was made up of professional soldiers and it had a cavalry. These ‘Ironsides’ were better armed and equipped they were mainly middle-class men who thought that God was on their side, and they were trained through hard discipline and collective prayer.
Charles I was captured in 1648 and was brought to London, where a commission was set up to try him for treason. The king was condemned to death and his execution took place in 1649.
Form of government: Republic.
Parliament: The ‘Rump’ Parliament, made up of 121 radical members. The House of Lords was abolished.
Military campaigns: A campaign of repression in Ireland which culminated in the slaughter of the citizens of Drogheda; the defeat of the Scottish Royalists who had crowned Charles I’s son, Charles II, King of Scotland.
Leader: Oliver Cromwell, who gave himself the title of ‘Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland’.
Laws: In 1651 Parliament passed the Navigation Acts, giving a sort of monopoly of trade to British ships.
Puritan rules were introduced, including execution for adultery, the abolition of popular pastimes, games, dancing and theatre performances. Inns, pubs and theatres were closed down. Cromwell banned Christmas and Easter and replaced them with days of fasting
Reading and Use of English - Part 6
- A. The extra sentence is D.
Listening - Part 4
Reading and Use of English - Part 1
2.6 The sonnet
|Italian or Petrarchan sonnet||English or Shakespearean sonnet|
|Number of lines||14 lines in iambic pentameter||14 lines in iambic pentameter|
|Layout||2 sections: the octave presents an issue or a situation; the sestet contains the solution of the problem or personal reflections||4 sections: three quatrains present a theme or three different arguments; the final couplet solves or summarises the problem|
|Rhyme scheme||octave: ABBA ABBA
sestet: CDE CDE or CDC DCD
|first quatrain: ABAB
second quatrain: CDCD
third quatrain: EFEF
couplet: GG (wp ndr)
|Turning point||at the end of the eighth line, and the ninth is sometimes introduced by words like ‘and’, ‘if’, ‘so’, ‘but’ or ‘yet’||at the end of the eighth line, and the ninth is sometimes introduced by words like ‘and’, ‘if’, ‘so’, ‘but’ or ‘yet’|
|Language||full of oxymora||full of oxymora and conceits|
|Themes||love and desire for a lady who cannot return the poet’s love||love, beauty, decay and art|
2.7 Metaphysical poetry
- what the term ‘metaphysical’ means It means ‘concerned with the fundamental problems of the nature of the universe, and man’s function or place in life’.
- when the Metaphysical poets wrote During the first three-quarters of the 17th century.
- who the most influential was John Donne.
- what they reflected. The intellectual and spiritual crisis of their age, the difficult transition from the Renaissance to the modern age.
beginning in medias res
rich and varied diction
Latinisms and Anglo-Saxon words
- What kind of man was the Metaphysical poet? He was a man of wit, sensitivity, knowledge and cleverness.
- Where did he get his imagery? From the areas of religion, astrology, alchemy, geography and philosophy, which illustrate the intellectual excitement of the age.
- How did he arrange his images? In an unexpected way, so as to surprise the reader.
- What is the Metaphysical conceit? It is an unusual and intellectual kind of metaphor, where the poet exploits all fields of knowledge for comparison.
- Who was a remarkable poet of the 17th century, along with John Donne? Why? John Milton was a remarkable poet of the 17th century, along with John Donne. He represented a highly individual voice and his poetry showed a variety of contemporary influences, blending elements of both the humanist and the Puritan traditions.
- Who is speaking? Who do you think he is addressing? The poet is speaking, probably with his errand man.
- Explain in your own words what the speaker asks the addressee to do. What strikes you about these requests? The speaker asks him to catch a falling star, to make a mandrake root pregnant, to tell him where all the time past is and who split the devil’s foot, to teach him how to listen to the mermaids’ song and how to avoid the pangs of envy, to find out what helps an honest mind to succeed. What strikes about these requests is that they are all impossible or absurd.
- The last three lines of each stanza contain the theme of the poem. What do they reveal about the poet’s feelings towards women and love? He challenged the concept of ideal love and the image of the woman as a remote goddess. Instead of praising her beauty, he depicted the woman as a calculating liar
2.8 The development of drama
- file di gallerie coperte
- spettatori dai gusti grossolani
- tetto di paglia
- palcoscenico interno
- tenda, sipario
- palcoscenico superiore
- arredi scenici
- Where were performances held before the building of the first permanent theatres? They took place in the nave of churches at first, but soon they moved outside. This meant that Latin was replaced with English and lay people took the place of monks and priests in these performances, which became known as ‘mystery plays’.
- What was the stage like in Elizabethan theatres? Permanent theatres were circular or octagonal. Within the outer walls there were three tiers of roofed galleries, looking down on the stage, and the yard, or ‘pit’, where the poorer spectators, or ‘groundlings’, stood. The stage itself, technically known as an ‘apron stage’, projected into the yard, so that when the theatre was full, the players were surrounded on three sides. No more than twelve actors could appear on stage at the same time due to the space restrictions. Over the stage the ‘shadow’ or thatched roof protected the players from the rain. In the front of the stage there was a trap door used for devilish apparitions and disappearances, and also for burials. The actors’ tiring house was presumably at the back of the stage. There were two doors for entrances and exits. Behind the stage there was an inner stage which was used not only for discoveries, but also for concealments. There was no general stage curtain. There were also an upper stage hidden by a curtain and a balcony used by musicians.
- What time of day were the plays performed? Why? The plays took place in daylight, usually starting at 2 p.m. because of the absence of electric light.
- How did the audience know the time and place in the play? The time and locality were usually mentioned in the dialogue.
- As in the modern theatre, a curtain separated the Elizabethan audience from the actors. F There was no curtain and the action was continuous. A scene ended when all the actors left the stage and a new set of characters came on.
- The device of the soliloquy forced the actor to shout to make himself heard. F In Shakespeare’s time the actor came forward on the apron stage into the midst of his audience. Communication was intimate and direct. The device of the soliloquy was a natural way for a character to explain his thoughts and intentions.
- The poor scenery obliged the audience to use their imagination. T
- The location of the scene was very important and was carefully built. F There was no scenery and the stage relied on conventions using a limited number of props. For night scenes a simple candle or torch represented the night world.
- Boys acted female roles. T
|Elizabethan theatre||Modern theatre|
|Curtain||There was no curtain. The action was continuous, and a scene ended when all the actors left the stage and a new set of characters came on.||It separates the audience from the actors.|
|Time of the performances||They took place in daylight, usually starting at 2 p.m. because of the absence of electric light.||They take place both in daylight and in the evening. Actors act in bright light before spectators hidden in a darkened auditorium.|
|Scenery||There was no scenery. The stage relied on conventions using a limited number of props. For night scenes a simple candle or torch represented the night world.||Sophisticated sceneries are employed.|
|Actresses||Women did not act in Shakespeare’s time and the female parts were acted by boys.||Female parts are acted by actresses.|
|Theatrical companies||The Elizabethan acting company was a permanent ‘fellowship of players’, and they worked on the basis of a share system||Actors and actresses act in different companies.|
Elizabethan drama was much influenced by popular sources (allegorical types, vivid caricatures and realistic comedy, the idea of man’s place inside an ordered universe and of the mutability of fortune and the stars); the Italian Commedia dell’arte (Niccolò Machiavelli: display of horrors, unnatural crimes, vice and corruption, intrigues, lies and villains); Greek tragedies; Seneca (division of the play into five acts, tragic and bloody incidents, the taste for revenge, the making of good rhetoric out of conflicting emotions and passions).
2.9 William Shakespeare
- 23rd April
- grammar school
- he was only 18
- went to London
- an excellent playwright
- a private patron
- Lord Chamberlain’s Men
- were performed
- historical dramas
- thirty-six of the plays
T6 Shall I compare thee
- shall not fade
- The rhyme scheme of the sonnet is
C ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
- Match the following sections in the sonnet with the corresponding lines.
- The turning point is
B in the ninth line.
- The two terms of comparison in the first two quatrains are the ‘fair youth’ and a summer’s day. Why is summer imperfect?
Because it is not temperate, it is sometimes too hot and sometimes not sunny enough. Finally summer and its beauty will never last, but end.
- Line 5 contains
C an alliteration. (hot/heaven)
- Paraphrase line 9.
But your beauty will not decline, it will be eternal.
- What word meaning ‘beauty’ is repeated in the second and third quatrain? Choose other meanings of this word from the following:
expensive, clear, dark, light, bad, just, possessive. The word meaning ‘beauty’ is ‘fair’ (lines 7, 10). Other meanings of this word are: clear, light, just.
- What is the prevailing personal pronoun?
- What quality does this feature give the poem?
- The words in the couplet have
A one syllable. (Monosyllabic words give a very regular effect and show certainty and confidence.)
- Define the poet’s attitude towards time in this poem.
The poet opposes time, and the decay of beauty it implies, by means of his poetry which has eternal value (line 12).
- Write down the theme of the sonnet.
The theme of the poem is the relationship between art and time.
T7 Like as the waves
1st section (lines 1-4): Time passes relentlessly.
2nd section (lines 5-8): From the passage of time to the passage of human life.
3rd section (lines 9-12): Time is responsible for the downfall of men’s lives.
4th section (lines 13-14): The poet’s verse will live on and continue to praise the worth of the beloved.
Highlighted in pink: simile comparing the speed
of the passage of time to the speed of waves
rushing towards a shore
Blue words: the action of moving forward is repeated without end and there is no turning back
Highlighted in yellow: extended metaphor for the different stages of man’s life from birth to death
Highlighted in blue: alliteration which marks the fall of the subject from light to darkness. It is echoed in the couplet in the adjective ‘cruel’, which connotes time
Highlighted in orange: personification of time as the antagonist
Pink words: destructive power of time
Red dots: opposition between ‘nothing stands’ and ‘my verse shall stand’, which underlines that only the poet’s verse will be able to defeat time
Highlighted in green: symbol of death
Highlighted in light brown: turning point
- turning point
2.10 Shakespeare the dramatist
- How must Shakespeare’s plays be dated? They must be dated by combining three kinds of evidence: external, internal and stylistic.
- What is the progress of a play usually linked to? It is usually linked to the gradual clarification of things which are left mysterious at the beginning. Themes are hinted at, but their real meaning becomes apparent much later.
- What conventions did Shakespeare employ in his plays? As a rule, in a Shakespearean play a scene is over when all the characters have left the stage. Shakespeare used soliloquies, asides, introductory passages spoken in a prologue or by chorus, funeral orations and death-bed speeches.
- How are directions and descriptions provided? They are often given indirectly, hidden in a question or a metaphor.
- What social class do Shakespeare’s characters mainly belong to? They belong to different social classes, from the aristocracy to nurses, rustics and servants.
- How are his characters usually related? Hierarchy forms the background of every play. Another important feature is the importance of family ties: these relationships are often in contrasting form, suggesting conflict between the older and younger generations. Finally there are symmetrical correspondences.
- What style did Shakespeare employ in his comedies and tragedies? He used different levels of speech and action. A character may suddenly change from everyday prose to solemn verse. There is sometimes the insertion of allegorical scenes, songs, music and dances, as well as magical transformations.
- What are image-clusters? They are recurrent groupings of metaphors and similes. They are connected to the main themes of the plays and define their tones.
- What is Shakespearean language characterised by? It is characterised by a dramatic number of new words, obscure and archaic words, mythological allusions and rhetorical figures.
Romeo and Juliet
- How does the first act end? It ends with the meeting of Romeo and Juliet and with the couple discovering that their families are enemies.
- What does the dialogue between the two lovers deal with? It deals with love and their desire to be married.
- Who marries Romeo and Juliet? Friar Laurence.
- Who is Mercutio? Who kills him in the third act? Mercutio is a friend of Romeo. He is killed by Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin.
- Where is Romeo exiled after killing Tybalt? He is exiled to Mantua.
- Who gives Juliet a drug to make her appear to be dead? Friar Laurence.
- What does Romeo do after seeing Juliet apparently dead in the tomb? He poisons himself.
- How does Juliet kill herself? She stabs herself with Romeo’s dagger
- Where does the play take place? Shakespeare chose the Italian city of Verona as the setting of this play because Italians were popularly considered violent and passionate, characteristics which easily charmed the English at that time. The social context of the play arises from the struggles between two families, the Capulets and Montagues, to gain political control of the city. This is the reason why most of the action happens out-of-doors.
- How do Romeo and Juliet develop throughout the play? In the first act Romeo Montague is presented as a man belonging to the ‘courtly love convention’ because of his intense adoration and respect for a lady who is chaste and impossible. It is his love for Juliet which makes him dynamic and courageous: he risks his life at the Capulets’ house to be near her and later breaks a banishment order risking death, to see her again. At the end he commits suicide rather than live without Juliet, which is the ultimate proof of his loyalty and love for her. Juliet Capulet is beautiful, rebellious, kind and loving. At the beginning she appears as an obedient child: she rarely does anything on her own but does what her parents say. Her first meeting with Romeo causes her to move quickly towards maturity. She immediately shows determination and strength in her open confessions of love and desire for Romeo. She belongs to no characterisation, classification or idealisation: she is a real woman. When she wakes in the tomb and finds Romeo dead beside her, she does not kill herself because of her weakness as a woman, but rather because of her strong love, just as Romeo did. Juliet’s suicide, in fact, needs more determination than Romeo’s because while he swallows poison, she stabs herself with a dagger.
- How is love associated with light in this play? Love is one of the most important aspects of Romeo and Juliet. In the first act Romeo uses the image of light typical of courtly love: when he first sees Juliet, he compares her to the brilliant light of the torches that illuminate the Capulets’ great hall. Juliet is the light that frees him from the darkness of his perpetual melancholy. Even in the famous balcony scene Romeo links her to the sunlight, daylight and the light emanating from angels. In turn, Juliet compares their newfound love to light, primarily to stress the speed at which their romance is moving, but also to suggest that, just as the lightening is a glorious break in the blackness of the night sky, so their love turns out to be a flash, a wonderful glow in a dark world.
- What are the most important themes of the play? They are the power of love. passion and violence. individual against society (what the lovers want as individuals is in conflict with what their families and society want). the power of fate.
- What are its most important stylistic features? In Romeo and Juliet traits of Shakespeare’s immature style are to be seen. His rhythms are regular. rhymes are common, often used in ‘couplets’. Occasionally he even inserts a sonnet into the dialogue. Imagery is all about oxymora.
- Is Romeo and Juliet a comedy or a tragedy? Romeo and Juliet is characterised by elements both of comedy and tragedy. It is a comedy because it begins with the material for a comedy, like the instant attraction of the young lovers, the masked balls, the comic servants and the superficial life of street fights. However, this play differs from the conventional comedy because in the end knowledge is not for everybody, but only for the two protagonists and, even then, not completely. Speed is the medium of ‘fate’: in the last scene time triumphs because less than a minute’s hesitation would have saved the lives of Romeo and Juliet. It is a tragedy on account of the tragic role played by chance. the protagonists must fight against external forces that make their relationship difficult, but, unlike the great tragic heroes, they experience no inner struggle.
T8 The masque
1st section (lines 1-10): Romeo’s monologue and
the code of courtly love.
2nd section (lines 11-25): Romeo and Juliet’s dialogue and their first kiss.
Pink words: words appealing to sight and to
Highlighted in light blue: paradigm of brightness
Highlighted in pink: paradigm of darkness in antithesis with brightness. Even the rhyme scheme underlines this antithesis
Highlighted in violet: metaphors for Juliet
Red dots: lines linked to the courtly love convention
Highlighted in blue: metaphor for Juliet underlining her being holy and pure
Highlighted in orange: metaphor for Romeo; both Romeo and pilgrims pursue an ideal
Violet words: words marking the beginning of each section of the sonnet (quatrains and couplet)
Underlined in blue: lines referred to Juliet as being compared to a saint: as saints do not move, so Juliet does not move and accepts Romeo’s kiss
Lilac words: words appealing to touch and to physical love
Highlighted in yellow: stage directions The different colours and marks at the end of each line highlight the rhyme scheme: AA BB CC DD EE in the 1st section; ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, typical of the Shakespearean sonnet, in the 2nd section
Boxes: Tenor = Juliet
Vehicle = rich jewel/snowy dove/holy shrine
- What mood does Shakespeare create with the language of this scene? Students’ activity.
- Is the theme of this passage in keeping with the poetic tradition of the time? The theme of these lines is love and it is in keeping with the poetic tradition of the time. However, while the first ten lines appeal to the sense of sight, which is the typical one of the conventional courtly love tradition, the dialogue between Romeo and Juliet (lines 11-25) is devoted to touch, which evokes an image of physical love.
- courtly love
- holy shrines
T9 The balcony scene
- Which lines show that Juliet did not realise that Romeo was there at first? Lines 8-9. She refers to him in the third person. Then in line 16 she asks: ‘What man art thou […]?’
- Does he tell her his name? Explain. No, he does not, but he makes her understand that he has been listening to her and tells her that she hates his name, so he must be Romeo.
- Consider lines 23-44. Find the lines or phrases that Juliet speaks which mean the following.
- I’m glad it is dark so you cannot see me blush. ‘Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek’ (line 24).
- I cannot deny what I have said. ‘fain, fain deny / What I have spoke: but farewell compliment!’ (lines 26-27).
- Perhaps I should have been more discrete. ‘I should have been more strange, I must confess’ (line 40), but also ‘I am too quickly won’ (line 33) and ‘I am too fond’ (line 36) express Juliet’s determination.
- Do not think because I’m giving in to you, that my feelings are only superficial. ‘not impute this yielding to light love’ (line 43).
The theme of Juliet’s monologue is that Romeo is a Montague and yet she loves him
It creates tension and curiosity.
Romeo is tender, romantic, artful, passionate. Juliet is impulsive, personal, direct, artless, practical.
They were innocent adolescents at the beginning, now Juliet is emphasising that their relationship has become responsible and adult. She is ready to defy his parents and marry Romeo and is resolute in her decision.
Sight. Romeo and Juliet both describe what they can see Juliet talks of the darkness which even withholds the sight from each other but which allows their love to reveal itself and develop
|‘thy self’ (line 2)
‘hand’, ‘foot’, ‘arm’, ‘face’ (line 4)
‘any part belonging to a man’ (line 5)
‘Take all myself’ (line 12)
|‘name’ (lines 1, 3, 6-7, 10-11, 18, 20)
‘Montague’ (lines 2-3)
‘rose’ (line 6)
‘Romeo’ (lines 8, 10, 15)
‘title’ (line 10)
‘word’ (lines 13, 22)
How does Juliet’s reflection upon the language shake the medieval code?
Juliet’s reflection upon the language shakes the medieval code since she tries to separate Romeo’s name, that is ‘appearance’, from what he is really. Romeo is influenced by Juliet’s words and he is ready to refuse his name.
|Conventional behaviour||Juliet’s behaviour|
|The woman does not reveal her love to her beloved: ‘I should have been more strange’ (line 40)||‘If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully’ (line 32)
‘I am too quickly won’ (line 33)
‘I am too fond’ (line 36)
Even if Romeo’s answer is uncertain, he has been influenced by Juliet and he is now ready to refuse his name.
|Sonnet sequence||Romeo and Juliet|
|Characters||The angelical woman is the embodiment of both physical and moral perfection.||Juliet is compared to a ‘rich jewel’, a ‘snowy dove’, a ‘holy shrine’, so to something pure and chaste. However, she is also an unconventional female character as she expresses her love vividly and through concrete images.|
|Language||Oxymora, conceits, linguistic images.||Romeo’s elaborate images are in contrast with Juliet’s direct language.|
From Text to Screen: Romeo + Juliet
- Beginning of the sequence Romeo is going to speak.
- Juliet’s face, after Romeo’s first words.
- Romeo kisses Juliet’s hand.
- Romeo tries to kiss Juliet.
- Romeo and Juliet are in front of the lift.
- In the lift just after the kiss
- Juliet’s dress is adorned with a pair of wings.
- Romeo is wearing a coat of arms.
- Romeo and Juliet kiss in the lift.
- If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine. R
- Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much. J
- Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? R
- Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. J
- O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do. R
- Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake. J
- Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take. R
- Then have my lips the sin that they have took? J
- Give me my sin again. R
- You kiss by th’ book. J
close-up: C, D, E
American shot: A
extreme close-up: B, F
- What prevails in the soundtrack of the sequence? Music, mostly of violins. it plays softly at the beginning and then reaches a crescendo.
- How does it affect the sequence? It helps create a delicate atmosphere and a feeling of accomplishment when the two young lovers finally kiss each other.
The Merchant of Venice
- What does Bassanio need? He needs some money to travel to Belmont and woo Portia.
- What kind of test has Portia’s father planned? Her suitors must choose among three caskets or chests: the suitor who chooses the one containing Portia’s picture will marry her.
- How much does Shylock lend Bassanio? Three thousand ducats.
- What does Shylock demand if he fails to repay him? A pound of Antonio’s flesh.
- Who elopes with Jessica? Her secret lover, Lorenzo.
- What chest does Bassanio choose? The leaden one, which contains Portia’s picture.
- Who disguises herself as a lawyer? Portia.
- What is Shylock forced to do at the end of the play? To convert to Christianity
the world of business,
wealth and greed
largely dominated by men strict laws and heavy atmosphere
Jews are persecuted by the Christians mercy is denied
the world of ideal love
Christians and Jews are brought together respect is restored
- what tradition Shakespeare drew upon to portray Shylock. The traditional portrayals of Jews as villains, mocked or marginalised. He certainly drew on anti-Semitic prejudice but at the same time he included elements that radically unsettle that prejudice.
- why Shylock is a complex character. Shylock is a complex character because Shakespeare emphasised his humanity by showing that his hatred of the Christians arose from the mistreatment and abuse he suffered in a Christian society. Readers and audiences feel pity and compassion rather than contempt. On the other hand, Shylock’s lack of mercy for Antonio prevents us from considering Shylock in a completely positive light.
- how the Venetians carry out the process of exclusion of Shylock. They deprive him of his identity as a Jew by forcing him to convert to Christianity.
- how the Christian characters differ from Shylock in dealing with business. Christian characters regard human relationships as more valuable than business ones, whereas Shylock is only interested in money. Merchants like Antonio lend money free of interest, and risk their wealth and reputation for those they love, whereas Shylock’s greed seems to be stronger than his love for his daughter.
- why the Christian characters are ambiguous. Because they also act out of personal interest, like Bassanio. they may talk more about mercy, love and charity, but they do not always show these qualities in their behaviour.
- how many types of love are presented. Four kinds of love: the love of a friend, the love of a daughter to her father, romantic love bringing together people from different backgrounds or with different motivations, love for money and possessions.
- the idea of justice in the play. Justice is seen in relationship with mercy. The two views of this relationship are those of the Old and New Testaments.
- the way reality and appearance are linked to value and worth. The female characters dress up as men to elope with their lovers (Jessica) and to attend the trial (Portia and Nerissa), and the least monetary valuable casket turns out to contain the greatest prize.
- the influence of popular narrative tradition on the play. The use of the number three and the tradition of winning a bride by solving a riddle.
- what Christian teaching lies behind the symbol of the lead casket. Several Christian teachings lie behind this symbol: the idea that desire is an unreliable guide and should be resisted, that appearance is often deceiving, and that people should not trust the evidence provided by the senses.
T10 The bond
- congregate On
- brings down
- pleaseth me
- Re-order the main events of the text.
- Shylock agrees to lend Antonio three thousand ducats on condition that he will return them after three months.
- Antonio arrives.
- Shylock explains why he hates him.
- Antonio has abused Shylock both verbally and physically many times.
- Shylock wonders whether a dog could lend money.
- Antonio says it is easier to exact a penalty from an enemy.
- Shylock promises he will be kind to Antonio.
- Shylock suggests going to a notary and signing a bond.
- List the reasons why Shylock hates Antonio.
- He is a Christian (line 10).
- He lends out money gratis and lowers the usurer’s rate (lines 12-13).
- He hates Shylock’s race and abuses him (lines 16, 25).
- The word ‘bargains’ in line 18 means
- Find other words connected with trade. What kind of society is introduced in the passage?
‘lend(s)’ (lines 12, 40, 47, 50, 53), ‘money(s)’ (lines 12, 26, 34, 37, 39, 47, 50, 60), ‘rate’ (lines 13, 22), ‘usance(s)’ (lines 13, 26, 60), ‘merchants’ (line 17), ‘well-won thrift’ (line 18), ‘interest’ (line 19), ‘sum(s)’ (lines 21, 67), ‘beholding’ (line 23), ‘exact the penalty’ (line 55), ‘doit’ (line 59), ‘notary’ (line 64), ‘seal’ (line 64), ‘bond’ (line 65), ‘repay’ (line 66), ‘forfeit’ (line 68). It is a kind of society based on money coming from trade.
- The number three is repeated several times. What does it refer to?
It refers to the sum of money (‘Three thousand ducats’) lent by Shylock and to the duration of the contract (‘three months’).
- Write down the names Antonio calls Shylock.
- ‘misbeliever’ (line 29).
- ‘cut-throat dog’ (line 29).
- Say how Shylock reacts.
With patience and resignation (lines 27-28).
C will continue to abuse Shylock.
- Write down what penalty Shylock establishes.
If Antonio fails to repay him in three months, Shylock will cut off a pound of Antonio’s flesh from where he pleases (lines 66-71).
- Say what themes are introduced in the text.
The main theme is the difference between the Christian characters and Shylock. The former appear to value human relationships over business ones, whereas Shylock seems only interested in money. Prejudice is another theme. it is linked to religion but also to cultural differences. Linked to it is the theme of hatred. In the background there is the theme of usury and its condemnation.
- Summarise the view of Venice and of the Jews conveyed by the text.
Venice is a trading town, a symbol of wealth, but it is also associated with greed. Jews are marginalised and abused, they handle and lend money, practices that are morally inappropriate for Christians. The image of Jews as blood-thirsty murderers of Jesus seems to provide a backdrop for the demonic appellations against Shylock
T11 I am a Jew
1st section (lines 1-14): Solanio and Salerio are talking about the gossip at the Rialto concerning the shipwreck of one of Antonio’s ships.
2nd section (lines 15-31): Shylock curses his daughter for fleeing his house. Solanio and Salerio say they know who she eloped with. Shylock knows that Antonio has lost one of his ships and wants him to respect the contract.
3rd section (lines 32-44): Salerio asks Shylock what he will do with Antonio’s flesh. Shylock’s reply gives voice to his desire for revenge and he blames the Christians for teaching him such behaviour through theirs.
Boxes: Antonio’s behaviour against Shylock: Shylock blames Antonio for scorning him and his race, causing him financial loss and raising his enemies against him.
Shylock’s case against prejudice: The key idea of his speech is that Christians and Jews are the same in body, feelings and reactions. He objects to the prejudice according to which the Jews are considered an inferior race.
Highlighted in yellow: positive words referred to Antonio. They denote the bond of friendship that links the Christian characters and again highlight Christian goodness
Highlighted in grey: negative words referred to the way the Christians see Shylock. The connection with the devil is made clear
Highlighted in orange: Shylock’s reaction to Jessica’s elopement. She is his blood and flesh. He claims the filial bond
Pink words: metaphors linked to Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, and her lover, Lorenzo. He is presented as a tailor that has made her feathers and wings (she is compared to a bird) to fly away from her nest. Note that the nest is referred to as a ‘dam’, which usually refers to wild beasts
Highlighted in green: Shylock’s use of repetition gives his language great dramatic force. Repeated words and phrases add to the emotional intensity of the scene
Light blue words: oppositions in which Jessica is connoted positively (‘(her) flesh’, ‘ivory’, ‘Rhenish’) in contrast with her father who is given negative attributes (‘thy flesh’, ‘jet’, ‘red wine’). She is connoted as a precious person, while Shylock is corrupt (the black colour of jet) and ordinary (red wine)
Highlighted in light blue: words referred by Shylock to Antonio. They denote his hatred for the Venetians and Antonio’s bad administration of money
Red dots: Shylock’s declaration of identity, an identity concerning body and soul
- human being
- What is the name of the castle where the story is set? Elsinore.
- What appears to the sentries? The ghost of Hamlet’s father.
- What nationality is Fortinbras? Norwegian
- Who is Horatio? Hamlet’s friend.
- How was Hamlet’s father killed? The murderer, Claudius, poured poison in his ear while he was sleeping in his orchard.
- What is the cause of Hamlet’s madness, according to Polonius? His love for his daughter Ophelia.
- What is the title of the play performed at court? The Murder of Gonzago.
- Who plans for Hamlet to be killed once he arrives in England? Claudius.
- Does Ophelia die by sword, poison or drowning? She drowns herself.
- How does Hamlet die? In a duel arranged by Claudius, Laertes wounds Hamlet with the poisoned tip of his sword.
- What were probably the reasons for Shakespeare’s choice of Denmark as the setting of the play? It was a Protestant country like England and it was near Norway.
- What are the features of Hamlet’s language? The most striking characteristic of Hamlet’s language is its ambiguity. He uses metaphor, simile and, above all, wordplay. His words have a hidden meaning, they have, therefore, enormous affinities with the language of the unconscious which proceeds equally through various forms of distortion and alterations in meaning.
- What does Hamlet complain about and what are the causes of his melancholy? He complains about the fact that he has to play roles that he does not believe in. He is the [non]-revenger in a revenge play, the [non]-heir to the throne, the [non]-lover of the heroine, the [non]-son to the [non]-father. The shock Hamlet receives on the death of his father and re-marriage of his mother is the cause of his melancholy.
- What themes are linked to the theme of revenge? They are themes that are central to humanity: the relationships between father and son, mother and son, and Hamlet and his friends, love relationships, madness, youth and age, action and inaction, the corruption linked to power, the existence of God and a life after death, the meaning of the theatre itself. Hamlet is a play of life and death and of man’s ambiguous relationship with both. It is also about melancholy and doubt.
- What is a major question in the play? The relation between ‘appearance and reality’.
- What is the function of the ‘play within the play’? It is wanted by Hamlet to expose his father’s murderer. Furthermore, it is a most interesting expedient because it turns the actors into an audience.
- Can Hamlet be regarded as a revenge tragedy? Why? Yes, it can. It contains all the typical elements of the revenge tragedy: a violent crime committed against a family member of the hero, the hero’s period of doubt which involves complex planning, the appearance of a ghost to get the avenger to carry out the task, the avenger’s soliloquies and asides, his isolation which may turn into madness. There is bloody action and many deaths occur throughout the entire play.
T20 Hamlet meets the gost
1st section (lines 1-13): First meeting between Hamlet and his father’s ghost.
2nd section (lines 14-28): Description of the ghost’s punishment in the other world.
3rd section (lines 29-97): Introduction to the theme of revenge and description of the murder.
Boxes: Frightened reactions to the afterdeath (ll. 17-24): The ghost says that if he could reveal the secrets of the afterdeath, Hamlet would be deeply distressed, his blood would freeze, his eyes would start from their sockets and his hair would part.
Official version of the king’s death (ll. 40-49): The king is said to have been stung by a snake while he was sleeping in his orchard, but the ghost explains that this is not true: the ‘serpent’ is in fact Hamlet’s uncle, who now rules the country.
Contrast between Hamlet’s father and Claudius (ll. 54-57): Hamlet’s father was characterised by dignity and the respect of the vow of marriage, whereas Claudius is defined as a wretch.
Details of the murder (ll. 65-84): While Hamlet’s father was sleeping in his garden, as he used to do in the afternoon, his brother poured some poison into his ear.
Highlighted in green: Hamlet’s responses to the ghost’s words are a blend of imperatives, future simple and exclamations. They convey Hamlet’s surprise and fear, his indignation and inner turmoil
Highlighted in yellow: the late king’s ghost addresses his son with a series of imperatives to attract his attention and spur his will. The use of this tense underlines the father-son relationship
Highlighted in light blue: words referred to the world after death. They hint at the suffering of hell according to medieval tradition. Their function is to introduce the theme of the afterdeath that will be later developed in Hamlet’s famous monologue ‘To be or not to be’ (T21).They also confirm the idea of the ghost as the spirit of a dead person. The ghost’s identity, on the other hand, is revealed in line 13
Highlighted in pink: revelation of the ghost’s identity
Highlighted in orange: metaphor of the ear. The whole passage is built on the metaphor of hearing, the ear is a symbol that connects the individual and the national sphere, the microcosm and the macrocosm. Line 41: macrocosm, the ear is the symbol of Denmark. Line 69: microcosm, the king’s ear
// connotation of the murder. It is horrible and unnatural because it is fratricide and regicide. It implies the usurpation of the throne and also of the royal bed. In the Elizabethan world view, the killing of the king brought about chaos. The reign of Denmark is here presented as being corrupted, abused and out of joint
Red dots: words referred to Claudius, who is connoted as a beast and given wicked and immoral attributes. He is described as a serpent, a traitor, an adulterous and lascivious beast
Underlined in blue: words referred to Queen Gertrude, who is presented ambiguously: she is seemingly virtuous, an angel with the sense of guilt tormenting her.
- What is a ghost? How should we classify it?
It is an emanation from the afterlife, encountered in our own, returned from beyond the grave, and thus living and dead at the same time. Material, visible, capable of speech, yet insubstantial, a ghost is a ‘thing’ that is not a thing. We are afraid of ghosts because they defy the oppositions we take for granted, they represent a trace of the impossible in what we know as reality.
- Why are people afraid of ghosts?
In popular tradition ghosts are generally objects of dread because their effects are malign or they can be laid once a wrong has been put right. But more commonly apparitions predict disaster.
- What influences are Elizabethan stage ghosts conventionally ascribed to?
They are generally ascribed to the influence of Seneca, but they often owe at least as much to old wives’ tales.
To provide necessary background information.
To remind Hamlet of his role.
To raise the question of what happens after death.
To emphasise the main themes of the play.
To fulfil the Elizabethan taste for the supernatural.
To give the character a supernatural dramatic dignity.
T13 To be or not to be
- slings and arrows
- by opposing
- is heir to
- Must give us pause
- grunt and sweat
- What is Hamlet concerned with?
B The ultimate questions of man’s existence.
- Circle the personal pronouns. Is Hamlet talking to himself?
Hamlet is not actually talking to himself, in fact the ‘first person’ in his soliloquy is plural and not singular (lines 6, 12-13, 26-28).
- What do the verbs ‘suffer’ (line 2) and ‘take arms’ (line 4) mean? What different attitudes do they denote?
To suffer misfortune is to put up with it; to take arms, by contrast, is to become a warrior. These verbs introduce the antithetical alternatives that will surface later in the speech between submission and intervention.
- What alternative is introduced in lines 5-10?
To die, and therefore to sleep and put an end to suffering.
- What is pointed out in lines 10-13?
An obstacle: the fear of what might happen after death.
- List the injustices and miseries inflicted on mankind mentioned by Hamlet in lines 15-19. What could bring relief to man?
The passing of time, political oppression, social discrimination, unreturned love, the delays of justice, the insolence of power, ingratitude. A small knife could bring relief (lines 20-21).
- What meaning does the word ‘conscience’ in line 28 acquire at the end of the soliloquy?
There is a clear relationship between ‘conscience’ and ‘consciousness’ or the power of thought.
Various grammatical structures are used, a series of infinite forms (‘To be, or not to be’ is followed by ‘to suffer’, ‘to take arms’, ‘To die, to sleep’, ‘to say’, ‘To die to sleep’, ‘To sleep’, ‘to dream’) gives voice to Hamlet’s uncertainty and enables him to distance himself from the action. The frequent questions give way to further questions instead of finding a solution.
In lines 8-9 death is seen as a welcome relief. In line 12 Hamlet sees it from a medieval perspective, according to which death is a physical liberation from the prison of the body and earthly affliction.
The fear of something after death is expressed in the image of the unknown country from where no traveller comes back (lines 23-25), which paralyses the will and prevents self-destruction.
The conclusion of Hamlet’s argument is maybe the most remarkable part of the soliloquy (lines 28-33). The opposition of sickness and health that characterises the whole play returns here in the ‘pale cast of thought’, which turns the ‘native hue of resolution’ pale and sick and inhibits man’s power of action and enterprise.
If it is brave to kill oneself, and cowardly to remain alive, then conscience makes cowards of us all. Hamlet calls the ability to cross the border between life and death courage, the ability to stay alive and bear the pain of human condition cowardice. The preoccupations of modern man - his dilemmas, vain quests and searching - are confirmed. The great art of this soliloquy lies in the way in which the personal is elevated to the level of the universal.
- who Macbeth meets while returning home from battle; Three witches.
- what title Macbeth is given at the beginning of the play; ‘Thane of Cawdor’.
- who his first victim is; Duncan, the King of Scotland.
- whose ghost haunts Macbeth; Banquo’s ghost.
- who Macbeth murders after meeting the witches again; Macduff’s wife and children.
- what covers Lady Macbeth’s hands in her imagination; Duncan’s blood.
- who Duncan’s sons are; Malcolm and Donalbain.
- who becomes King of Scotland at the end. Malcolm.
|The moors||Macbeth’s castles|
- What are the main characteristics of the witches? Are they responsible for Duncan’s murder? They have malicious intentions and prophetic powers but are not active agents: they just talk and offer prophecies and potions. No, they say nothing about killing Duncan: they simply appeal to what Macbeth wants to believe.
- What kind of character is Macbeth? Macbeth can be regarded as a tragic hero. At the beginning of the play he is a highly respected soldier. At the end of the play he is totally alone because of his ambition and his own free decisions. His most remarkable quality is his awareness of what is happening to him. He suffers terribly throughout the play but never compromises. This gives a heroic quality to his tragic course of action.
- How does Lady Macbeth change throughout the play? In the first part of the play she shows great strength of will and is the driving force behind her husband. In the second part of the play she gradually loses her confidence, and finally goes mad and dies.
- What does the play Macbeth mainly analyse? What takes place in the mind of the criminal.
- Is there a villain? There is no villain acting against the hero: Macbeth is both. He begins as the heroic warrior and ends up as a murderous tyrant.
- What are the most frequent words used in the play? The words ‘blood’, ‘bloody’ and ‘to bleed’.
- What characters and images are connected with the theme of equivocation? The reversal of values introduced by the three witches, the chain of metaphors connected with ‘clothing’, especially clothes that do not fit, and the repetition of the verb ‘to seem’.
- How does Shakespeare deal with the theme of time in the play? This theme is associated with a chain of images concerned with ‘growth’: babies, seeds, plants and trees. The question is whether time progresses in a way that is pre-ordained. If this is the case, then whatever action we take to change the future can be only one of the steps necessary to achieve that precise future. The alternative is a future which is neither fixed nor inevitable, therefore one that can be shaped by human activity.
- What are the consequences of Duncan’s death? Since Duncan is the symbol of social harmony, order, justice and honesty, his death is connected with ‘exceptional natural events’. After his death the macrocosm of nature mirrors the chaos of the social microcosm: the sky is troubled, darkness covers the earth during the day, Duncan’s horses break their stalls and eat one another.
- What is the connotation of the night in this play? Night does not convey the idea of peace and rest but, on the contrary, is connected with lack of sleep and madness.
T14 Duncan's murder
- What do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth think they hear? How do you think they feel? Macbeth hears a noise, Lady Macbeth says it is an owl and the crickets, and then asks him if he spoke. They are nervous and feel guilty; they are afraid of being discovered.
- What does Macbeth find he cannot say? ’Amen’, which is an affirmation after a prayer. The guards ask for blessing ‘God bless us’, and Macbeth, the murderer, cannot pronounce it. It is also a way of saying that he cannot join in with the communion of good people.
- In two speeches Macbeth repeats a verb frequently. What is the verb? ‘To sleep’.
- What does Lady Macbeth tell her husband to do? First to wash his hands, then to take the daggers, the murder weapons, back into the room and thirdly to put blood on the grooms.
- Does Macbeth do as his wife advises? No, Lady Macbeth finally does it because Macbeth refuses to go back into the room.
There are short lines and broken bits of dialogue. Both characters nervously listen for sounds which could lead to their discovery. It is Lady Macbeth who decides to frame the servants, and she who actually does it and then gets Macbeth to go back to their room, wash and change his clothes. She seems to be the practical one. Her cold blooded planning and her remark ‘A little water clears us of this deed’ (line 64) makes her less sympathetic than Macbeth, who has done the murder but is passionately affected by it.
He uses the word ‘deed’ (lines 1, 70). His preoccupation with sleep is both the acknowledgement of his lack of innocence and the end of natural living. He feels remorse, because he is genuinely emotionally distressed, he is afraid to think of what he has done. However, his thoughts are for himself and not for his victim.
A It reveals some aspects of the characters’ personality.
B It establishes the relationship between the characters.
C It explains events which have taken place offstage.
‘pictures’ (line 50), ‘painted’ (line 51), ‘gild’ (line 52), ‘incarnadine’ (line 59), ‘green’ (line 60), ‘red’ (line 60), ‘colour’ (line 61), ‘white’ (line 62). This is all connected with the themes of equivocation and false appearances.
- Macbeth refers to sleep by means of a series of metaphors. Write them down. What common idea do they share? ‘that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care’ (line 30), ‘The death of each day’s life’ (line 31), ‘sore labour’s bath’ (line 31), ‘Balm of hurt minds’ (line 32), ‘great Nature’s second course’ (line 32), ‘Chief nourisher in life’s feast’ (line 33). They share an idea of relief, rest and peace.
- ‘Sleep no more! / Macbeth does murther Sleep’ (lines 28-29). Write down each phrase near the appropriate meaning of the word ‘sleep’:
- Macbeth does murther Sleep
- Sleep no more!
- Madness, instead, will be Lady Macbeth’s punishment later in the play. Point out the lines that foreshadow her destiny.
- Madness, instead, will be Lady Macbeth’s punishment later in the play. Point out the lines that foreshadow her destiny.
- Blood and water
These two images are interwoven. Besides introducing two of the main themes of the play, they also help point out the basic difference in the characters of the hero and the heroine.
- What does each image symbolise?
- Blood: It symbolises the guilt of murder which sticks to Macbeth’s hands and cannot be washed away
- Water: It symbolises the possibility of redemption.
- What are the different attitudes of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to their bloodstained hands? Macbeth is obsessed with the sight of blood on his hands, it reminds him of his crime. Lady Macbeth has a more practical attitude and suggests washing the blood away
- What does each image symbolise?
In the Elizabethan vision of the world, the whole universe was governed by divine will, nature was God’s instrument and the social hierarchy a product of nature. Therefore, subordination and unity were the natural rules for the State, which should be subject to a single head. Thus the king or the queen became the symbol of stability and unity, and the murder of the king/queen was considered as an act against nature which would lead to chaos and disorder.
- Can you think of any reason why Duncan’s murder takes place offstage? There are several reasons. First of all, representing regicide on the stage was regarded as an offence against the figure of the king. Second, the open structure of the Elizabethan stage made it difficult to handle corpses. Finally, the murder offstage enabled Shakespeare to throw light onto his characters’ reactions and at the same time to stimulate the audience’s imagination.
- Was this device effective for the Elizabethan audience? Would it be still effective for a modern audience? It was certainly effective for the Elizabethan audience, which was accustomed to use imagination. Students’ activity.
- Lady Macbeth, whom Malcolm calls the ‘fiend-like queen’, is seen as particularly evil, especially as women are meant to be the gentler sex. Do we sympathise more with Macbeth than her? If so, is her gender the reason? We sympathise more with Macbeth as he is the round character who speaks to the audience a lot, and we are familiar with what is happening to him. At the beginning of the play we are shown a more scheming, cold blooded Lady Macbeth, and we tend to forget that Macbeth himself far surpasses her in cruelty as the play progresses. Her madness and death seem like her just punishment and we are sucked into Macbeth’s unemotional reaction to it. It is possible to see her as having failed to be his equal, as not having his amazing but tragic ambition. Shakespeare makes her very unsympathetic when he unsexes her with her speeches encouraging Macbeth to manly acts. This adds to our cultural belief that women should be carers and nurturers, and not murderers, and makes us accept the soldier Macbeth as a killer, but not his lady wife.
T15 A tale told by an idiot
1st section (lines 1-10): Macbeth’s present inability to react normally.
2nd section (lines 11-23): The pointlessness of life.
Highlighted in yellow: alliteration underlines the haunting rhythm of Macbeth’s thoughts
Highlighted in pink: semantic area of horror and darkness
Highlighted in green: repetition pointing out the obsessive presence of time
Pink words: personification of time
Light blue words: metaphor for man in relation to time. Macbeth has realised that man has the illusion of being able to change his destiny, but each step he takes in that direction simply confirms and consolidates the future established by fate
Red dots: metaphors for life. Life is nothing but a flickering light, a passing shadow, an actor playing a part, or a meaningless story (‘brief candle’, ‘walking shadow’, ‘poor player’, ‘tale / Told by an idiot’). These are all things which have brief duration and which are insubstantial; they are not what they seem - the candle is not light, the shadow not its substance, the actor not the character and the tale a fiction. The players and tale are so effective because Macbeth itself is a tale told by players, and though also not real, it presumably has the audience’s rapt attention at this point!
Boxes: Macbeth’s change since the beginning of the play: After all the ‘horrors’ he has ‘supp’d with’, Macbeth does not know fear any more. Macbeth’s reaction to his wife’s death: He has no particular reaction and says that she should have died sooner or later
- Who is Macbeth addressing? Seyton, the audience or himself? The audience.
- What is this technique called in drama? What is its aim? Monologue. The character speaks about his thoughts.
- How would you define the tone of Macbeth’s words? Choose from among the following. Disillusioned, indifferent, cynical, lucid, resigned.
- Macbeth can be regarded as a tragic hero. The following features are typical of the ‘tragic hero’ in Shakespearean tragedies. Tick the ones that apply to Macbeth. The tragic hero is worthy and brave but has a weakness; experiences a struggle between the best and worst sides of his personality; after coming close to success, experiences destruction.
- enchanted island
- had imprisoned
- What is the name of the magician who used to be Duke of Milan? Prospero.
- Who is Prospero’s brother: Sebastian, Alonso or Antonio? Antonio.
- Who was Sycorax? She was a witch, the mistress of the island and Caliban’s mother.
- Which character helps Prospero in his work as a magician? Ariel.
- Is Caliban a sailor, a nobleman or a slave? A slave.
- What does Prospero force Ferdinand to do? To do menial tasks.
- Who are the two characters that Caliban meets after the storm? Trinculo, the king’s jester, and Stephano, the royal butler.
- Who marries Miranda? Ferdinand.
- Where does the action take place and what are the features of the setting? It takes place on a ship at sea and on an island located somewhere in the Mediterranean or in the New World (Bermuda in particular). It is away from national claims and from any kind of civilisation. This makes it theatrical, the ideal stage for a series of magical occurrences as well as for a multi-sensory experience.
- What are the symbols of Prospero’s power? Prospero’s books, which are his source of supernatural knowledge; his robe, which he wears as a magician and takes off when he is an ordinary man; his wand, which represents his instrument of power.
- What is Ariel like? Ariel is a spirit of the air; he is very fast, he can become invisible and can change his appearance. He has a gentle nature and his voice sometimes sounds like a lion’s roar.
- What are Caliban’s contradictory traits? He is repulsive in appearance and behaves instinctively, but he can be sensitive and has a sense of beauty.
- In what sense is The Tempest characterised by ‘serenity’? Shakespeare seems eager to show that good may come of evil. There is, in fact, no tragic ending: criminals are prevented from causing death and forgiven, and all ends in peace and reconciliation.
- How many types of magic are there? There are two types of magic in the play. There is the black magic of the witch Sycorax, which works evil on its victims and is usually the result of a pact with the devil, and then there is Prospero’s magic, which comes from study and knowledge and is used for good purposes.
- What historical issue does the play seem to explore? The dangers of English expansion abroad.
- What does Prospero symbolise in this perspective? Prospero becomes a symbol for European colonial power, with which England was growing increasingly familiar in Shakespeare’s lifetime.
- How does the play explore the nature of the theatre? It displays the full resources of the theatre: dramatic action, special effects, music, magic and monsters.
- Why does Prospero have to give up his magical powers in the end? Because life must be lived in the real world, without the aid of magic.
T16 Prospero and Ariel
- sulphurous roaring
- I boarded
- odd angle
- Read lines 1-57 and put these facts into the order in which they appear in the text.
- A terrible storm has been created.
- Everyone was very frightened.
- The passengers jumped overboard, Ferdinand first.
- The storm took place close to the land.
- No one is hurt.
- They are in groups (except Ferdinand) in different parts of the island.
- The king’s ship is safely in harbour.
- The sailors are all asleep.
- The rest of the king’s fleet of ships has gone home, thinking the king and his ship are lost.
- Ariel’s liberty (lines 65-66, 69).
- B. That he is immaterial.
- A. Earth.
- ‘thunder-claps’ (line 15)
‘cracks’ (line 16)
‘roaring’ (line 17)
‘tremble’ (line 18)
- He can fly (line 2), dive into the fire (line 3) and ride on the curled clouds (lines 3-4). He can divide, flame and burn in many places (lines 11-12). He can drive a ship in the harbour (lines 46-47), fetch the dew from the Bermudas (lines 48-49), make people fall asleep (lines 51-52) and disperse them (lines 52-53).
- He obeys Prospero’s orders but he is restless at the idea of more work and reminds Prospero of the promise to free him.
- Pro = for, forward
Spero = hope
- C. It means that he has an optimistic view and is capable of forgiveness.
- He is beneficent. He is worried about the safety of the people involved in the tempest, and he does not want to kill them but to make them experience what loss and sorrow mean.
- C. Affectionate father and much-loved naughty child.
- Shakespeare was often criticised in his own time for not observing the ancient Greek laws of drama: unity of time, place and action.
- He informs us that it is after two o’clock and that his work must be finished by six (lines 62-63).
- On the island.
- The main subject is the tempest performed by Prospero thanks to Ariel. No unrelated content is introduced.
- Yes, he did.
- The tempest is not real but just an illusion, a performance created by the magician Prospero with the help of the spirit of the air Ariel, who has performed it thanks to his supernatural powers. The themes introduced in the text are illusion and metamorphosis, white magic and forgiveness.
T17 Prospero and Caliban
- 1st section (lines 1-12): Insults between Prospero and Caliban.
- 2nd section (lines 13-50): The once good tie between Prospero and Caliban has become a master-slave relationship.
- 3rd section (lines 51-62): Prospero’s power on Caliban.
- Highlighted in pink: words used by Prospero to refer to Caliban. He calls him slave, so he establishes the master-slave relationship. The adjectives used are very negative and connote Caliban as a disgusting, unreliable creature connected with the devil (‘got by the devil himself’, ‘hag-seed’)
- Highlighted in light blue:Caliban’s curse on Prospero and his daughter
- Light blue words:Prospero’s punishment of Caliban
- Highlighted in light brown:Prospero’s benevolent attitude to Caliban when he came to the island
- Highlighted in blue:Caliban’s affection towards Prospero at the beginning of their relationship
- Pinks words:Sycorax’s black magic powers
- Highlighted in green:Caliban’s guilt: he tried to rape Miranda. This justifies Prospero’s change of attitude towards him
- Highlighted in grey:aknowledgement by Caliban of Prospero’s power: he submits to him but only out of fear
- Box:Main theme of the text: Prospero is a European who has taken charge of a remote island and gets the local inhabitants work for him. He is the symbol of European colonial power, whereas Caliban stands for the ‘colonised’, the native of the island.
- Caliban showed Prospero the beauty and fertility of the island and how to exploit it. Prospero gave Caliban food, taught him his language and gave him human care. As a result, Caliban was subdued by Prospero’s way of life and civilisation. At first he appreciated his kindness but then became gradually dominated by hatred because he felt deprived of what belonged to him.
- Caliban probably aroused sympathy and curiosity in the Elizabethan audience.
- Shakespeare makes Prospero pronounce a line which explains the end of the play: ‘The rarer action is / In virtue than in vengeance’. Here virtue acquires many meanings: humanity, charity, love, good faith. Prospero is not a vengeful deity, he typifies good, ‘white’ magic.
2.11 John Donne
- John Donne was born in London 15
- He was admitted to the Inns of Court, in London, to study law. It was in these years that he wrote his early love lyrics Songs and Sonnets and satires 15
- He was appointed private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, one of the highest officials in Elizabeth’s government, and his prospects of a successful career were bright 16
- He married Egerton’s niece, 17-year-old Ann More 16
- He wrote Divine Poems and two anti-Catholic pamphlets which were his public renunciation of the Catholic faith 16
- He was taken by Sir Robert Drury on a diplomatic mission to France and other countries. Donne’s separation from his wife at this time probably provided him with the occasion for writing the poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning 16
- He took holy orders in the Anglican Church 16
- His wife died 16
- He wrote Holy Sonnets 16
- He died and was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral
- Because he created a way of writing which turned around these features: an intense dramatic quality; the use of wit and unusual, intellectual metaphors called ‘conceits’; the use of a variety of tone and register.
- For its range and variety and its rejection of the conventionally ornamental.
- The struggle between physical and spiritual.
- The image of ‘death’, often connected with darkness and sickness, and the image of the ‘world’.
- He changed the concepts concerning love and women. He emphasised woman’s inconstancy and described several female characters, from the innocent girl to the woman who is aware of sexual pleasure.
T18 The Sun Rising
- all alike
- country ants
- the addresser and the addressee; The addresser is the poet and the addressee is the sun.
- the time and place; The scene is set in a bedroom (lines 20, 30) at dawn (lines 1-2).
- the reason for the poet’s self-assurance; He is in love and feels the emotion returned.
- the other people involved or mentioned; ‘Late school-boys, and sour prentices’ (line 6), ‘courthuntsmen’ and ‘the King’ (line 7), ‘country ants’ (peasants) (line 8), ‘those kings’ (line 19), ‘all princes’ (line 21), the woman (lines 14-15, 21).
- the suggestions the poet gives the addressee; Lines 5, 7-9, 16, 19, 29.
- the addressee’s duties. To shine and warm the world (lines 27-28).
- The rhyme scheme is regular; it is ABBA CDCD EE.
- The length of the lines varies. The second line is the shortest in each stanza.
- It conveys the flow of feelings from anger to relaxation.
- Sun: ‘Busy old fool, unruly’ (line 1), ‘Saucy pedantic wretch’ (line 5), ‘Thy beams, so reverend, and strong’ (line 11), ‘half as happy as we’ (line 25).
- Woman: ‘her eyes have not blinded thine’ (line 15), ‘both the Indias of spice and mine […] lie here with me’ (lines 17-18), ‘She is all states, and all princes’ (line 21).
- Use the adjectives from the box to define them.
- Sun: Insulting, scornful, angry.
- Woman: Sensual, content, admiring, proud.
- Think of the effect of this juxtaposition. Tick as appropriate. It provides the text with a more complex emotional structure. It conveys a strong sense of reality
- No, they do not. The only conventional image is that of the woman’s eyes.
- They convey the idea of the woman’s sovereignty, of her vital importance to man. She is also an object of discovery for her lover.
- Analyse the terms of the metaphor in line 8.
- Tenor ants
- Vehicle country men, peasants
- Common ground hard-working, modest, numerous, seemingly unimportant
- ‘I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink’ (line 13), ‘If her eyes have not blinded thine’ (line 15), ‘both the Indias of spice and mine […] lie here with me’ (lines 17-18), ‘all states, and all princes’ (line 21), ‘Thou sun art half as happy as we’ (line 25), ‘Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere; / This bed thy centre is, these walls, thy sphere’ (lines 29-30).
- Stated premiss The duty of the sun is to warm the world.
- Implied premiss We arethe world.
- Conclusion By warming the lovers, the sun warms the whole world.
Donne wants to say that the lovers’ bed is like the earth, at the centre of the universe, and that the walls are its orbit. He is thinking like a Ptolemaic astronomer.
Topic 2: Life’s crossroads
George Gray: EDGAR LEE MASTERS
- What does George Gray regret? He regrets wasting his life trying to find what he should do in life.
- What does he explain in lines 6-8? He explains his mistakes and why he did not succeed in reaching his destiny.
- How does the boat in line 3 reflect his choices? The boat is the metaphor of the dead man who has given up fighting and is at rest in his grave.
- What advice does he give? People should follow their destinies giving a meaning to their own life.
- What is the tone of the poem? It is regretful and caring.
- Do the lines have a regular rhyme scheme? No, they do not. The poem is written in free verse.
- Can you find examples of personification? Sorrow (line 7), ambition (line 8) and the boat (line 16).
- What is the sea a symbol of? It is the symbol of life.
- What is the theme developed in the poem? Man cannot make his own destiny, but it is his destiny that must find him.
- Do you agree with this view? Student’s activity. An expected answer would include the students’ thoughts and ideas about whether we make our destiny, through what we do or fail to do, or it is destiny that finds us.
What is love? Five theories on the greatest emotion of all
- How can the physicist claim that love is chemistry? Lust is a temporary passionate sexual desire involving the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and oestrogen, whereas in true love the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin.
- What does Pragma need in order to be successful? To be successful, it requires actively practising goodwill, commitment, compromise and understanding.
- Is Philautia a selfish form of love? Why/Why not? Philautia is not a selfish form of love as in order to care for others, you need to be able to care about yourself.
- According to the philosopher, which is the best form of love? According to the philosopher, at its best all love is a kind of passionate commitment that we need to nurture and develop
- What happens if love is not nurtured? It withers and dies.
- When is love an all-consuming, physical pain? When it becomes an obsession.
- What is the paradox of love according to Catherine Wybourne? The paradox of love is that it is supremely free but ties us with bonds stronger than death.
- What is her conclusion about love? Her conclusion is that love is life’s greatest blessing.
Demons, IMAGINE DRAGONS
The demons are the singer’s insecurities, self-doubts and negative emotions. These inner flaws are characterised as ‘demons’ from ‘night visions’.
He would like to protect her from the dark side of his personality, but he says it is impossible to get away from it because ‘it’s woven in (his) soul
His decision is to let his partner go in order to ‘save that light’ that shines bright in her eyes.
- And the saints we see are all made of gold’
The good are not real people but pictures or statues that cannot help.
- We still are made of greed’
All of us are motivated by wanting too much of everything.
- ‘I say it’s up to fate’
The singer refers to an inner debate about whether what happens is inevitable (brought about by fate or destiny) or whether what happens is actually due to our own actions.
- religious service
- king by divine right
- dismiss (the Parliament)
Henry VII: He was the first Tudor King of England.
He introduced high taxes and banned nobles from
raising their own armies. However, he had to face
several Yorkist plots against him, often helped
by the Kings of Scotland or the Irish. In 1496 he
sponsored John Cabot to explore eastern America
and planted the Tudor flag in Nova Scotia. During
his reign Erasmus of Rotterdam brought the
Humanism of the Renaissance to the universities
of Oxford and Cambridge, while Sir Thomas More
moved England closer to North-European thought
and the origins of Protestantism. Henry VII’s
foreign policy was very cautious. He married his
son and heir to the Aragonese heiress Catherine
and two of his daughters equally well to the Kings
of France and Scotland.
Henry VIII: He wrote an attack on Martin Luther and his anti-Catholic theses, which won him the title of ‘defender of the faith’ from the pope. However, he broke with Rome following the pope’s refusal to declare the king’s first marriage invalid. With the Act of Supremacy (1534) Henry was declared ‘the Supreme Head of the Church of England’, and it became treason to deny it. Henry’s religious revolution was extended to Wales and Ireland. Temporal and religious powers were thus joined in the figure of the monarch. Thomas Cromwell, the king’s chancellor, suppressed 400 small monasteries and confiscated their lands and money.
Edward VI: During his reign, as a consequence of the Protestant Reformation, religious services were held in English instead of Latin and the Book of Common Prayer, mainly prepared by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, became compulsory with the Act of Uniformity (1549).
Mary I: She wanted to restore Catholicism in England. In 1554 she married Philip II of Spain and this made England an ally of Spain against France. Mary’s Counter-Reformation brought the restoration of Catholic rituals and heresy laws. The queen earned the name ‘Bloody Mary’ giving the Protestant Church about 300 martyrs by burning them at the stake.
Elizabeth I: Her reign is often considered England’s golden age. It was an age of stability, religious toleration and victory at sea. She consolidated the Reformation in 1559 by re-introducing the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity. Church doctrine was Protestant and culminated in the Thirty-nine Articles of Anglican faith of 1562. Elizabeth encouraged her sea captains to explore new lands and look for treasure. Moreover, in 1588 England’s supremacy at sea was confirmed by the victory of Elizabeth’s navy against the Spanish Armada.
James I: He ignored Parliament and based his
rule on the theory of the ‘divine right of kings’.
He believed that, as a monarch, he was the
representative of God on earth.
Charles I: Like his father, he avoided Parliament and ruled eleven years without it. The Commons were strongly Protestant and denied the king money for more than a year at a time. This confrontation led to the Petition of Right of 1628, which stated that the king could not imprison without trial or impose taxes without the consent of the Commons. The petition became the foundation of all later declarations of civil rights, but Charles dismissed it because he thought that he was king by divine right. As he needed money to pay his army to fight a rebellion in Scotland, the king was forced to summon the socalled Short Parliament in 1640, which refused to give him the money. A new Parliament was thus elected, the so-called Long Parliament. Meanwhile a rising middle class wanted the king to be subject to Parliament, which began passing laws to reduce his powers. The king raised an army of Royalists and declared war against his opponents, the Parliamentarians. Charles I was captured in 1648, condemned to death and finally executed. During the Civil War the Long Parliament was purged of 370 Presbyterian and Royalist sympathisers. The remaining 121 most radical members were called the ‘Rump’ Parliament.
Oliver Cromwell: He was the commander of the Parliamentarians. Under his rule the Rump Parliament abolished the monarchy and declared a republic, the ‘Commonwealth’. The House of Lords was abolished and censorship was introduced.
|Charles I’s reign was troubled by a continuous clash with Parliament. It was a struggle between tyranny, embodied by Stuart absolutism, and liberty, represented by Parliament. The king dismissed the Petition of Right of 1628 because he thought that he was king by divine right. He also used his royal prerogative to extend taxes and pay his army to fight rebellions. He raised an army of Royalists and declared war against the Parliamentarians||The Long Parliament was purged of 370 Presbyterian and royalist sympathisers. The king was condemned to death and his execution took place in 1649. The Rump Parliament abolished the monarchy and declared a republic, the ‘Commonwealth’. The House of Lords was abolished and censorship was introduced. Cromwell took the New Model Army to Ireland for a campaign of repression which culminated in the slaughter of the citizens of Drogheda. Cromwell also defeated the Scottish Royalists who had crowned Charles I’s son, Charles II, King of Scotland. Cromwell gave himself the title of ‘Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland’. In 1655 Cromwell divided the country into eleven military regions under major generals. Puritan rules were introduced, including execution for adultery, the abolition of popular pastimes, games, dancing and theatre performances. Inns, pubs and theatres were closed down. Cromwell banned Christmas and Easter and replaced them with days of fasting. The republic encouraged foreign trade and both the merchant and the war fleet grew rapidly. In 1651 Parliament had passed the Navigation Acts, giving a sort of monopoly of trade to British ships.|
Strict morality; simple and disciplined life of prayer, study and work; individual search of one’s personal God through prayer and biblical study; hard-working attitude; predestination and election; God’s grace and salvation.
- Macrocosm and microcosm.
In the Renaissance the concepts of microcosm (from the Greek words mikros, ‘small’, and kosmos, ‘world’) and macrocosm (from the Greek words makros, ‘large’, and kosmos, ‘world’) underlined the correspondence between the individual and the universe. The particular reflected and contained the universal, and these two concepts acted and reacted in concert. Macrocosm stood for the universe, nature and the skies, while microcosm was represented by the human body as a map of the universe.
- The chain of being.
The Tudors represented the universal order as a chain of being, which had two main characteristics. First, the various ranks in the chain were fixed. Second, the hierarchy was complete and closed. All of creation was bound together, which meant that whatever affected one thing affected other elements in the chain. This was called a ‘correspondence’. Macrocosm and microcosm corresponded to each other in the chain together with the body politic (the kingdom, including its government and citizens). The whole universe was governed by divine will; nature was God’s instrument, the social hierarchy a product of nature. Anything that was outside the chain was considered to be chaos, madness and evil.
- the layout; Three quatrains and a final couplet.
- the turning point; Line 9 in Sonnet XVIII; line 13 in Sonnets LX.
- the dramatic quality; Sonnet XVIII: the poet addresses the addressee (‘Shall I compare thee’); Sonnets LX begin in medias res.
- imagery; Sonnet XVIII: metaphor of the summer; Sonnet LX: similes and metaphors concerning time;
- the themes. Sonnet XVIII: the passing of time and the awareness of the transience of beauty; Sonnet LX: the passing of time and the role of art (art defeats death);
3. The Restoration and the Augustan Age
3.1 The Restoration of the monarchy
Restoration life: Theatres, race-courses and taverns re-opened; fashion and gossip replaced religious debate; rejection of strict morality in favour of a more rational interest in the real, present world, rather than a concentration on the life of the soul.
Charles’s patronage: In 1662 Charles II patronised the Royal Society, which was an association of scientists and intellectuals.
The religious question: The Corporation Act (1661) excluded the dissenters from public offices; the Act of Uniformity (1662) imposed the use of the Book of Common Prayer and the Test Act (1673) required all public employees to conform to the Church of England.
Two disasters: In 1665 there was a devastating outbreak of bubonic plague and in 1666 the Great Fire of London raged for five days, destroying nine-tenths of the buildings within the City’s medieval walls.
The re-building of London: Charles II asked the architect Sir Christopher Wren to re-build the old insanitary City. Wren presented a plan for a new City with wide streets and squares, buildings and churches in the neoclassical style. St Paul’s Cathedral was his masterpiece.
3.2 From the Glorious Revolution to Queen Anne
Causes of the revolution: James II placed Catholics in positions of authority in the army and universities. His heirs were his two Protestant daughters, Mary and Anne. James, however, then married the Catholic Mary of Modena and became the father of a Catholic son who took precedence over Mary as James’s successor. Parliament feared another civil war, so it began to negotiate with William of Orange, whose Protestant wife Mary, James II’s daughter, was next in succession to the throne.
Constitutional monarchy: During William and Mary’s reign, acts were passed which set the course of parliamentary rule in Britain: the Toleration Act (1689) introduced more religious tolerance; the Bill of Rights (1689) established that the king could levy taxes, raise an army and suspend laws only with parliamentary consent; a Triennial Act asserted that Parliament should last for three years.
Succession to the throne: The Act of Settlement (1701) excluded Catholics from the throne and declared that Anne and her heirs would succeed William.
Scotland and Ireland: The Catholics in Ireland and Scotland supported the exiled James II, who landed in Ireland and tried to seize control over the English Protestants who lived there. William III defeated him in the Battle of the Boyne. During Anne’s reign the Act of Union (1707) established the United Kingdom of Great Britain which united England and Scotland with a single Parliament in Westminster. Ireland remained a separate kingdom with its own Parliament, though subordinate to Westminster.
The development of the British Empire: After the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) England got the French possessions in Canada and the monopoly of the slave trade with Spanish America. British traders began to do business with the West Indies, China and the Far East.
3.3 The early Hanoverians
- rely upon
1714 George I succeeded to the throne
1721 Sir Robert Walpole became the first Prime Minister and headed the longest government in English history
1727 Death of George I, and George II’s accession to the throne
1729 John and Charles Wesley founded Methodism
1739 War with Spain broke out
1742 Walpole was forced to resign
1745 ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ raised a rebellion in Scotland to make his claim to the throne
1746 Battle of Culloden and defeat of the Jacobites
1756 William Pitt became Prime Minister and the Seven Years’ War broke out
1758 Pitt sent a military expedition to North America to fight against the French
1760 The British controlled Montreal and most of Canada; George II died
1763 End of the Seven Years’ War
The extra sentence is B
3.4 The Age of Reason
The 18th century in England was called ‘Augustan’ after the period of Roman history which had achieved political stability and power as well as a flourishing of the arts.
Civility and moderation, that is, the ‘art of pleasing’, became the 18th-century ideal. Morality and fashion demanded simplicity and emotional authenticity. This influenced the emerging of the figure of the gentleman. However, there was a counter-culture which developed a taste for manly sports such as boxing, racing and fox-hunting, which became important in rural social life. There was a growing tendency towards material gain, individual happiness and pleasure as the main objectives of life.
- According to the 3rdEarl of Shaftesbury, man has an innate sense of what is right and wrong, and virtue lies in ‘good breeding’, learning correct social behaviour from childhood.
- Civility and moderation became new ideals linked to simplicity and emotional authenticity. This influenced the emerging of the figure of the gentleman.
- Look at picture 1. Who is represented?
Explain how the figure of the woman evolved during the age. The picture shows three ladies in a circulating library. In the 18th century an increasing number of English women, who were particularly active in social and cultural life (they visited friends, attended the theatres and coffee houses, where they were no longer banned), began a writing career and influenced the rise of the novel as the most distinctive literary genre of the period.
- Consider picture 3 and explain what it represents. Why were these gardens created?
An English garden. They were created in order to plan the natural space carefully and to express values such as freedom, simplicity and balance.
Across Cultures - The circulation of ideas
- Why was there a new need for a means of spreading ideas in the 18th century?
Because there was a spread of the cultural debate. The cultural literacy linked to the Enlightenment and its spread of rationalistic ideas had improved.
- What difference did the printed word make?
It was one of the main ways in which the ideas spread.
- Which was the first English periodical and when and where was it published?
The first English periodical was A Current of General News, which was published in London in 1622 and printed by Archer and Bourne.
- When and where did the first daily newspaper appear?
The first daily newspaper, Leipziger Zeitung, appeared in Germany in 1660.
- In which ways did journalism evolve in England?
It developed as a free profession, encouraging the struggle for political and individual freedom.
- In which ways did 18th-century journals differ from the previous ones?
They avoided using controversial tones as they wanted to achieve the moralisation of public opinion among their middle-class public.
- What were the main features of Daniel Defoe’s The Review?
It was the main government organ and its political stance corresponded with that of the Tories. It also covered religion, trade, manners and morals.
- Why were some politicians concerned by the spread of journals and newspapers?
Because they began to fear a more widespread access to power.
- How did some newspapers respond to the increased tax on the paper they had to use?
Some publications, such as The Daily Courant or The Daily Advertiser, began to use advertising as a means of survival.
- What did English journalists fight for?
They fought to defend liberal principles and the right to cover parliamentary debates.
- coffee houses
3.5 Restoration poetry and prose
- Verse It rejected complexity in favour of classical simplicity.
- Language Metaphysical conceits were replaced by order and clarity as a result of the exercise of reason.
- Subject matter The real world with its social events, its ethics and ideals, became the main object of interest.
- Mood Satiric.
- Inspiration Classic writers like Horace, Martial and Juvenal.
- Locke believed that reason is the only way to knowledge. F Experience achieved through the senses and reason were equally important and could not be separated.
- Hobbes thought that the monarch must be obeyed because the individual is selfish. T
- The new interest in science helped get rid of ignorance without sacrificing imagination. F It freed the minds of men from fear and superstition, but at the same time it neglected imagination.
- The Royal Society recommended the use of English to describe scientific experiments. T
3.6 Restoration drama
It was roofed and artificially lit with candles. The audience sat in the dark in galleries, and on benches or even on boxes in the pit.
There were footlights, a drop curtain and painted movable scenery at the back of the stage for the most important scenes in a play.
There was no roof and performances took place in daylight.
There was no scenery. The stage, known as an ‘apron stage’, projected into the yard, so that when the theatre was full, the players were surrounded on three sides. No more than twelve actors could appear on stage at the same time due to the space restrictions. Over the stage the ‘shadow’ or thatched roof protected the players from the rain. In the front of the stage there was a trap door used for devilish apparitions and disappearances, and also for burials. Behind the stage there was an inner stage, which was used for discoveries and concealments. There was no general stage curtain. There were an upper stage hidden by a curtain and a balcony normally used by musicians.
- prices of plays; They varied, but were mainly expensive.
- acting; Actresses played female roles, and actors were tied to the theatre by contract.
- audience. The audience belonged to the upper classes, and going to the theatre became a fashion.
Excited laughter; characters more likely to be types than individuals; the ‘fop’ and the ‘gallant’, or ‘fortunate lover’; wit and satire; prose dialogue; realistic picture of life; the theme of marriage linked to the pursuit of sex and money
3.7 A survey of Augustan literature
- Augustan literature showed the economic and intellectual progress of the period.
- Most of the population could not read.
- Education at school was limited by the few schools and the early leaving age.
- Buying books and having time to read was considered a luxury
The growing importance of the middle classes; the belief in the power of reason; the individual’s trust in his own abilities
Puritan morality still played a leading role in the life of many middle-class readers, so both novelists and journalists combined religious and secular interests in their works
Poet’s role: The poet saw his role as one of providing ‘social’ poetry with models of refined behaviour.
Techniques used and their aim: Satire and mock-heroic verse were still the favourite techniques for criticism and moral concern.
Language: Rejection of everyday language in favour of poetic diction.
Style: Use of standard phrases and periphrases for everyday objects, apostrophe, inversion and personification as well as Latinised words and constructions.
Audiences began to enjoy pantomime, a kind of ballad opera, a mixture of political satire, picaresque adventures and love interest. The Restoration comedy of manners was replaced by the sentimental comedy, dealing with everyday problems in simple language, where virtue triumphs over vice.
3.8 The rise of the novel
- the fathers of the English novel; Daniel Defoe and Samuel Richardson.
- the novelist; The spokesman of the middle class.
- the writer’s aim; To write in a simple way in order to be understood even by less well-educated readers.
- the story; It dealt with real life and different human experiences. It was particularly appealing to the practical-minded tradesman, who was self-made and self-reliant.
- the hero; The ‘bourgeois man’. A well-defined character, he was generally the mouthpiece of his author and the reader was expected to sympathise with him.
- the narrative technique; The writer was omnipresent - he chose either the third-person, omniscient narrator or the first-person narrator; chronological sequence of events; strong temporal dimension; references to particular times of the year or of the day.
- the setting. Specific references to names of streets and towns; detailed descriptions of interiors.
main representative: Daniel Defoe with his novel Robinson Crusoe
main features: realistic descriptions of time and place
main representative: Jonathan Swift with his novel Gulliver’s Travels
main features: imaginary nations with strange new societies and peoples employed to satirise contemporary English society
main representative: Samuel Richardson with his novel Pamela
main features: told through letters exchanged between different characters
main representative: Henry Fielding with his
novel Tom Jones
main features: episodic in structure; it is concerned with the adventures of a young hero who has to deal with tyrannical masters and misfortunes but generally manages to escape these situations by using his wit
main representative: Laurence Sterne with his novel Tristram Shandy
main features: the orderly narratives of events have little relation to the disorder of the human mind, which is not linked to a logical sequence of events
- What is the name of the narrator? Is that his real name? It is Robinson Crusoe. No, his real name is Robinson Kreutznaer, turned into Crusoe because of the English ‘corruption of words’.
- What are the place and time references like? They are realistic and detailed.
- Focus on the hero.
A What education did he receive?
A ‘competent share of learning’; his father wanted him to become a lawyer.
B What were his real interests?
Going to sea and travelling.
C Did his father approve of them? Why?
No, he did not, because he had the chance to improve his social condition by application and work. He also thought that the ‘middle state’ was the best of all.
- What perspective does the first-person narration introduce? It introduces a biographical perspective.
- How would you define Defoe’s style? It is simple and matter-of-fact.
- Can you perceive the writer’s aim in this first page of the novel? He wants to exalt the middle-class man.
3.9 Daniel Defoe
- He was an outsider. He was a Dissenter, a Protestant who refused the authority of the Church of England.
- He was one of the greatest journalists of the age. He started to write in Whig papers; as a journalist his greatest achievement was The Review, the periodical which he published three times a week from 1704 to 1713.
- He was a prolific writer. He wrote articles, political essays and pamphlets and numerous novels.
- He sold his pen to the political party which governed the country. When in prison, he denied his Whig ideas so as to be freed. He then became a secret agent for the new government.
- He always held his head high. He made three appearances in the pillory, which were meant to degrade him publicly but which turned into triumph when some of his friends threw flowers at him instead of rocks or rotten eggs.
- He is the father of the English novel. He represented the new middle class that wanted to see their life and ideals portrayed in literature. His narrative technique was original and became the basis for the development of the realistic novel.
- His novels are fictional autobiographies. They pretend to be true stories through the biographical details and memories provided by the protagonist. They are also preceded by a preface by the author which emphasises their authenticity.
- The plots of his novels lack coherence. The structure of his novels is characterised by a series of episodes and adventures held together by the unifying presence of a single hero. The lack of a coherent plot is due to the fact that Defoe neither planned his works nor revised them; his main aim as a writer was to produce a large and effective output not intended for a critical audience.
- How does Robinson get on the island and how long does he stay there? He is shipwrecked there during a voyage to Africa to get more slaves. He stays there for 28 years.
- What is the function of the island in the novel? It is the ideal place for Robinson to prove his qualities, to demonstrate that he deserved to be saved by God’s Providence. Robinson organises a primitive empire on the island, thus becoming the prototype of the English coloniser. His stay on the island is seen as a chance to exploit and dominate nature.
- How does the story actually begin? It begins with an act of transgression, of disobedience, which places the character in a situation of separation that will culminate with his isolation on the island after the shipwreck.
- What issue does Robinson’s life on the island develop? It develops the issue of the relationship between the individual and society, between the private and the public spheres.
- What can man do, according to Defoe? He can shape his destiny through action. He can overcome doubt and modify reality through his work and the interpretation of his achievements in the light of the Bible and God’s will.
- Who does Friday represent? He represents the colonised.
- What details does Defoe’s style focus upon? Defoe concentrates his description on the primary qualities of objects, especially their solidity, extension and number, rather than on the secondary ones (colour, texture, flavour).
- In what sense can the novel be read as a spiritual autobiography? The novel is full of religious references to God, sin, Providence and salvation. Robinson reads the Bible to find comfort and guidance, experiences the constant conflict between good and evil, and keeps a diary to record events to see God’s will in them. He prays to God to be freed from sin rather than to be rescued from the island.
- Social class: The trading middle class.
- Family: A German father and an English mother.
- Character: He is restless and wants to find his own identity as an alternative to the model provided by his father.
- Work experiences: He becomes the owner of a plantation in Brazil.
- The society he creates on the island: It is not an alternative to the English one; on the contrary, it can be read as an exaltation of 18th-century England and its ideals of mobility, material productiveness and individualism.
- Outlook: Pragmatic and individualistic.
- Approach to reality: Objective and rational, as demonstrated by his journal-keeping.
- Relationship with God: He reads the Bible to find comfort and guidance, and keeps a diary to record events to see God’s will in them. He prays to God to be freed from sin rather than to be rescued from the island.
- Conflict experienced: The constant conflict between good and evil, between economic motivation and spiritual salvation.
- Relationship with Friday: Master-servant.
Did you know? Robinson’s real name was Robinson Kreutznaer and he was born in York in 1632.
T19 A dreadful deliverance
- draw breath
- clambered up
- contend with
- were all swallowed up
- Write the setting next to each group of lines.
- Lines 1-The sea.
- Lines 20 The mainland / the island.
- ‘coup de grace’ in line 2 means
C an action that ends something that has been gradually getting worse.
- ‘I took in’ in line 8 means
B I swallowed.
- Complete the sentences about Robinson.
- When he sank into the water, he felt confused.
- As he saw himself near the mainland, he tried to reach / swim to the shore.
- He saved himself by holding tight onto a rock.
- He climbed/clambered up the cliffs and sat (down) on the grass.
- He looked (up) at the sky and thanked God for saving him.
- List the reasons why Robinson considers his deliverance ‘dreadful’ (line 27).
- He has no dry clothes.
- He has nothing to eat or drink.
- He has no weapons to hunt for food or defend himself.
- Write down his provisions.
- A knife;
- a tobacco pipe;
- a little tobacco in a box.
- What is Robinson’s greatest worry? What solution does he find?
- Being devoured by a ravenous beast. He decides to climb into a bushy tree and sleep there.
- The passage is narrated in
A the first person.
- The narration
C brings the reader close to the narrator’s mind and feelings.
- The events are described
B in chronological order.
- Tick the main features of the language.
- Tick what the vocabulary of the passage is concerned with.
T20 Man Friday
- comely, handsome
- stark naked
- What was Robinson doing while the young savage was sleeping? He was milking his goats.
- What did the young man do when he saw Robinson? He ran to Robinson and lay down on the ground to show his gratitude.
- What name did Robinson give him? Why? He named him Friday, which was the day he saved his life.
- What English words did Robinson teach him? ‘Master’, ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
- Did he let the young man live according to his people’s traditions and customs? Why? No, he abhorred them and wanted Friday to submit to his way of life (lines 39-42).
|Build||comely; handsome; perfectly well made; tall; well shaped; straight, strong limbs|
|Face||manly; sweet, soft features; round and plump|
|Hair||long; black; not curled|
|Forehead||very high and large|
|Eyes||great vivacity and sparkling sharpness|
|Skin||not quite black; very tawny; a bright kind of a dun olive colour; agreeable|
|Nose||small; not flat|
|Mouth||very good; thin lips|
|Teeth||fine; well set; white as ivory|
Positive. He has a very good countenance and most features remind Robinson of European people (lines 3-6).
The Europeans, Brazilians, Virginians and other natives of America (lines 5, 9-10).
- Humble and submissive.
The submission of a savage and his slow transformation according to the coloniser’s standards.
Robinson Crusoe represents the typical 18th-century middle-class Englishman concerned with making money and dealing with worldly matters. He went to Brazil, where he became the owner of a plantation; then he went to Africa in order to get more slaves, and after being shipwrecked on a desert island, he gradually re-built the same kind of society as existed in his country, where the ideals of mobility, material productiveness and individualism were exalted. He organised a primitive empire: his stay on the island was not seen as a return to nature, but as a chance to exploit and dominate nature. He chased away and killed some savages; he saved a savage and gave him an English name, forbade him to eat other men, taught him his English language - to say ‘master’, ‘yes’ and ‘no’ -, gave him some clothes to wear: in other words, he made him a cultured man according to the Western culture. Robinson created a new identity for his servant, he was not interested in his real identity.
From Text to Screen: Robinson Crusoe
|First part of the sequence||Second part of the sequence|
|Place||A desert island: some rocks, some green bushes, a white beach with corpses floating in the light blue water of the surrounding sea, some floating tree trunks and branches.||Branches of a big tree over the water of the sea.|
|Light||The bright light of the sun.||It is nearly dark, the sky is covered with big, dark clouds.|
|Sounds||Sinister loud music, the soft sounds of birds and of the sea waves.||Soft music.|
|Main shots||American and medium shots.||Long shot|
|Atmosphere conveyed||Still, mysterious and dreadful.||Peaceful but also threatening and sinister|
- his physical appearance; He is emaciated, exhausted, and wounded on his left arm, hip and back.
- his clothes; He is wearing a pair of brown ragged knickerbockers, a white shirt stained with blood and a pair of worn black shoes.
- his actions; He watches everything carefully and decides to have a look around. On the nearby beach he discovers the corpses of some of his companions and small lifeboats.
- his feelings; He is at first shocked and then desperate.
- his first concerns. His first concerns are to see if any of his companions are still alive, then to bury those who have died - a typical Christian concern -, and finally to worry about his own survival.
- ‘As I took my first steps in that unknown land, a dread came over me, I began to realise in truth how terrible was my condition.’
- ‘As I laid my poor companions to rest, I confess my thoughts were for my own soul.’
- ‘I did not know in what land I had been cast.’
- ‘I spent that first night not daring to imagine what dangers might crawl beneath me.’ What has Robinson succeeded in doing? How has he reacted? He has succeeded in burying his friends and in finding a shelter in a tree for the night. His desperation seems to have overwhelmed him.
It is almost night and a whole day has passed; Robinson is sitting on the branch of a big tree over the water of the sea, immersed in reflection. His life has been turned into the lonely experience of a castaway out of time. The subtheme of the sequence is man’s duty to survive.
How does the director reveal Robinson’s thoughts? By the use of voice-over
What kind of shots open the sequence? The sequence opens with a medium shot on Robinson, then a long shot is employed.
- the camera movements: The camera is fixed
- the character’s actions; Robinson is sitting on a tree branch and does not move.
- the effect achieved. The awareness of the character’s desperate situation.
Link to Contemporary Culture: The myth of Robinson
'Myth': a traditional story, especially one that explains the early history of a group of people or social phenomena.
Archetype: a very typical example of a particular kind of person or thing, or the original model of something which has been imitated.
The myth tries to rationalise and explain the universe and its phenomena: common types of myths are creation myths. Archetypes appear in myths, literature and the art of all societies: common archetypes are the death-rebirth motif, the sacrifice of the hero and the fatal woman.
- What aspects of Robinson’s story lead readers of every culture to identify with him? The excitement of adventure and his victory over mishaps.
- What qualities of Robinson’s character can appeal to the common reader? His self-reliance, courage, resourcefulness and independence.
- What does the part of Robinson’s story related to the desert island add to its appeal? It stresses the desire of self-preservation and makes Robinson the universal representative of humanity, the person for whom all readers can substitute themselves.
An island where no one spoke
The narrator is a woman; Cruso (notice the different spelling) is not hard working but lazy, he does not keep a journal, he has not saved any tools from the ship, he is a boring man rather than an adventurous hero; he does not want to leave the island. Friday has not got a tongue (it is not known whether Cruso is responsible for that). This hero is not of any interest for the writer.
She is bored, she is not interested in manual labour, she symbolically cuts herself off the world of the island by ‘becoming deaf’. She still wears the tattered petticoat she had when she came ashore. Her skin has become brown; she behaves like a savage when she eats and she keeps on watching the horizon for someone to rescue her.
It represents the distortion of the essence of his being by civilisation: Friday’s voice of instinct has been torn, with his tongue, from his mouth.
- What had happened between Susan and Cruso? They had been lovers (lines 33-34).
- What would she have done if she had been sure to spend all her life on the island? She would have offered herself to Cruso again and she would have borne him a child.
- Were there any laws on the island? What was the value of laws to Cruso? Yes, the only law was that they had to work for bread. The value of laws to Cruso was that of a control on immoderate desires.
3.10 Jonathan Swift
- Swift’s family was of Irish origin but was forced to leave Ireland at the time of the Revolution of 1688. F His family was of English origin.
- Swift found a job at the house of Sir William Temple, a Whig statesman. T
- His first satires were all concerned with religious subjects. F They also regarded literature and scholarship (The Battle of the Books).
- He became Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. F He became Dean of Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral.
- He supported English rule in Ireland. F He denounced the injustices Ireland suffered from in his pamphlets.
- He made serious proposals to improve the situation of the poor in Ireland. F He made ironic, bitter proposals in his work A Modest Proposal.
- how Swift has been labelled; He has been labelled alternatively as a misanthrope, a man with a morbid attitude, a monster or a lover of mankind.
- what his attitude to his contemporary society was; He was seriously concerned with politics and society, and his attitude was mainly conservative. He did not share the optimism of his age and the pride in England of his contemporaries.
- how he viewed reason; As an instrument that man must use properly; too intensive a use of reason is an error of judgement and therefore unreasonable. Thus he insisted on the need to take a common-sense view of life.
- what his favourite means of expression was. Irony and satire.
- carried out
- What lands does Gulliver visit? He visits the land of Lilliput, the land of Brobdingnag, the island of Laputa and the land inhabited by the Houyhnhnms.
- What people does he meet? The Lilliputians, who are very small people; the giants in Brobdingnag; absent-minded astronomers, philosophers and scientists on the flying island of Laputa; horses endowed with reason that rule over the Yahoos, a vile man-like race.
- What sort of character is Gulliver? Gulliver is a typical European. He is middle-aged, well-educated and sensible; he is a careful observer, he takes care of his family and runs his business prudently. He has experience of the world and he fully supports the culture which has produced him.
- What is his function in the novel? To develop a critical awareness of the limitations of European values.
- Why does Gulliver’s Travels differ from traditional works of travel literature? Throughout the 17th century the imaginary voyage had been used by French writers as a vehicle for their theories. The traveller usually discovered some happy societies where men lived a simple, uncorrupted life, following natural instincts and the innate light of reason; and from these utopias European man was seen as the victim of civilisation. Gulliver’s experiences are different because the people among whom he is cast are in no sense children of nature. They all live in highly organised societies and are governed by institutions.
- What constant opposition is expressed in the novel? The constant opposition between rationality and animality.
- How can the novel be interpreted? On different levels: as a tale for children, as a political allegory of Swift’s time, as a parody of voyage literature, as a masterpiece of misanthropy and a reflection on the aberrations of human reason, as a book written by a madman, as a warning for modern man.
- What are the ingredients of Swift’s satirical technique? Distortion or exaggeration; the use of the traveller; the way he organises the new world by constantly changing the perspective on human conduct. Through this altered perspective, Swift can manipulate Gulliver’s reactions to the changing circumstances in order to highlight his satiric points in a very humorous way.
T21 The projectors
1st paragraph: Gulliver meets the first projector of the Academy and witnesses his experiment about the processing of sunbeams out of cucumbers to warm the air.
2nd paragraph: Gulliver observes another experiment about the reduction of natural excrement to its original food.
3rd paragraph: The meeting between Gulliver and another projector who tries to turn ice into gunpowder.
4th paragraph: Gulliver meets an ingenious architect who builds houses by beginning from the roof.
5th paragraph: Gulliver meets three professors in the school of languages.
6th paragraph: The project of shortening discourse is introduced.
7th paragraph: The project of abolishing words is described.
- Green words: description of the projectors
- Highlighted in orange: the realistic details of the experiments
- Underlined in blue: the absurd objectives of the experiments
- Red dots: the places Gulliver visits at the Academy of Lagado
- Highlighted in blue: women who do not approve of these experiments are associated with the vulgar and the illiterate
- Where is Gulliver and who does he meet? He is at the Academy of Lagado, on the island of Laputa, and he meets different projectors.
- What are these characters like? What is their attitude? They are old, thin, pale and dirty. They look completely absorbed by their projects, they seem to believe firmly in what they are doing, they even beg for money to carry on their experiments.
- What is the first project about at the school of languages? It is a project to shorten discourse by cutting polysyllables into one, and leaving out verbs and participles.
- What is the second project about and what advantage does it imply? It is a scheme to abolish all words. It implies the advantage of preventing the lungs from corrosion due to speech.
- Is an alternative given to the use of language? Yes, men should carry the things they need to speak about a particular topic.
- Who opposed the project? Women in conjunction with the vulgar and illiterate.
- Is there any inconvenience to the new scheme? The only inconvenience is that a man with great business or culture should carry too many things on his back, unless he can afford one or two servants to help him.
No, he does not. He is not considered by the projectors and he is required to be silent during his visit to the Academy. By describing in detail the absurd objectives of each experiment, he openly expresses his disapproval.
They are referred to as rebels and are associated with the vulgar and the illiterate. In lines 43-46. Swift stresses the absurdities of the projects.
Swift was concerned with the aberration of human reason. He thought reason was an instrument that should be used properly; too intensive a use of reason was an error of judgement and therefore unreasonable. Thus he insisted on the need to take a common-sense view of life.
- joint monarchs
- seize control
- customs duties
- take action
- foreign policy
- raise a rebellion
- material gain
- Charles II: A series of acts were passed, like the Corporation Act (1661), which excluded the dissenters from public offices; the Act of Uniformity (1662), which imposed the use of the Book of Common Prayer and the Test Act (1673), which required all public employees to conform to the Church of England.
- William III and Mary II: The Toleration Act (1689) introduced more religious tolerance by granting freedom of worship to dissenting Protestants but excluded Catholics and Unitarians. The Bill of Rights (1689) re-enacted freedoms that had been stated by Magna Carta and the Petition of Right, and it established that the king could levy taxes, raise an army and suspend laws only with parliamentary consent. A Triennial Act asserted that Parliament should last for three years. The Act of Settlement (1701) excluded Catholics from the throne and declared that Anne and her heirs would succeed William.
- Queen Anne: In 1707 the Act of Union was passed by which the kingdom of England and Scotland, established by James I, was replaced by the United Kingdom of Great Britain with a single Parliament in Westminster.
Two opposing parties, the Tories and the Whigs; the cabinet and the first Prime Minister; debate and circulation of ideas; greater social mobility of the new middle classes; poverty and petty crime; the Grand Tour of Europe; Italian Palladian style; foundation of Methodism by John and Charles Wesley; Sunday schools.
- A general European war, the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), a conflict over territory between Austria and Prussia. Walpole was forced to resign in 1742 but the Whigs stayed in power.
- The Jacobite rebellion of 1745, raised in Scotland by Charles Edward Stuart who wanted to make his claim to the throne. Charles was supported by a few Scottish clans and by France. The Jacobites were defeated at the Battle of Culloden (1746) and Charles escaped to France, while most Jacobites were executed or sent to penal colonies overseas.
- The Seven Years’ War of 1756-63, considered as the first ‘world war’ because it was fought in three continents. The conflict had its roots in Europe between Britain and Prussia on one side and an alliance of France, Austria and others on the other side.
- The Restoration as a reaction to the Civil War and Puritan Commonwealth.
- Society: Rejection of strict morality; a more rational interest in the real, present world, rather than a concentration on the life of the soul. Theatres, race-courses and taverns re-opened, and fashion and gossip replaced religious debate.
- Science: The Royal Society, which was an association of scientists and intellectuals. The motto of the Society, nullius in verba - ‘on the word of no one’ - was a direct challenge to the dependence of the old philosophy on authorities.
- Politics: The landowners, both nobles and gentry, resumed their leadership of society and the newly elected Parliament, the so-called Cavalier Parliament, met in 1661. It ordered the bodies of the regicides, including Cromwell, to be exhumed and hanged.
|James II married the Catholic Mary of Modena and in 1688 he became the father of a Catholic son who took precedence over Mary (James’s Protestant daughter) as James’s successor||In January 1689 William and Mary became joint monarchs as William III and Mary II at the request of Parliament. The monarch had been chosen by Parliament, not by ‘divine right’. During their reign acts were passed which set the course of parliamentary rule in Britain and paved the way to constitutional monarchy.|
Rationality and rejection of extremism in all its forms; civility and moderation (the ‘art of pleasing’); counter-culture: material gain, individual happiness and pleasure; optimistic view of the natural world: benign and beautiful.
It was roofed and artificially lit with candles. There were footlights, a drop curtain and painted movable scenery at the back of the stage The audience sat in the dark in galleries, and on benches or even on boxes in the pit, which became a very fashionable place to be seated.
- the writer’s aim; To write in a simple way in order to be understood even by less-educated readers.
- the story; It was related to the world of tradesmen and to the Puritan ethics of the middle classes
- the hero; He was a middle-class man (the ‘bourgeois man’) with contemporary name and surname, which served to reinforce the impression of realism.
- the narrative technique; First- and thirdperson narrators were employed; chronological sequence of events.
- the setting; It was given great attention as regarded references to time and place.
- the types of novels. The 18th-century novel developed different sub-genres: the realistic novel, the utopian novel, the epistolary novel, the picaresque novel and the anti-novel.
- Title of the novel: Robinson Crusoe
- Main ideas: The hero, Robinson, belongs to the middle class, he is restless and wants to find his own identity in alternative to the model provided by his father. Robinson’s life on the island develops the issue of the relationship between the individual and society, between the private and the public spheres. The novel can also be considered as a spiritual autobiography. It shows an objective approach to the events through clear and precise details.
- Supporting references: The society Robinson creates on the island is not an alternative to the English one; on the contrary, it can be read as an exaltation of 18th-century England and its ideals of mobility, material productiveness and individualism. Defoe shows that, though God is the prime cause of everything, the individual can shape his destiny through action. The novel is full of religious references to God, sin, Providence and salvation. It can be read as a spiritual autobiography where the hero reads the Bible to find comfort and guidance, experiences the constant conflict between good and evil, and keeps a diary to record events to see God’s will in them. Robinson prays to God to be freed from sin rather than to be rescued from the island. What Defoe explores is the conflict between economic motivation and spiritual salvation. The language is simple, matter-of-fact and concrete to reinforce the impression of reality.
- Title of the novel: Gulliver’s Travels
- Main ideas: Gulliver is a typical European. He is middle-aged, well-educated and sensible; he is a careful observer, he takes care of his family and runs his business prudently. He is, like Robinson Crusoe, one of the practical seamen through whom England started to rule the seas. Swift employed distortion or exaggeration as the main ingredients of satire; the reader is invited to see something very familiar in such a way that it becomes simultaneously ridiculous or even disgusting and yet funny. The key to this technique is the use of the traveller, the figure who is the reader’s contemporary and fellow countryman. The genius of Swift’s satire in Gulliver’s Travels is shown in a second feature, the way he organises the new world by constantly changing the perspective on human conduct. The novel has four settings - Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa and the land of the Houyhnhnms.
- Supporting references: Gulliver has experience of the world and he fully supports the culture which has produced him. In this way Swift implies that the transformation which takes place in Gulliver through his voyages cannot be linked to any extravagance of his character. Only when circumstances force him to think, does Gulliver learn something and begin to develop a critical awareness of the limitations of European values. Swift’s originality lies in his presenting Gulliver always displaced, first in relation to little men and then to big ones, and finally and suddenly forced into comparison not with men but with animals. Through the altered perspective on human conduct, Swift can manipulate Gulliver’s reactions to the changing circumstances in order to highlight his satiric points in a very humorous way.
- Who is the narrator? What has he been doing? What was he worried about? Robinson. He has done several voyages to the ship to get as many goods as possible. He was afraid the rain might spoil the goods he had found on the ship, so he spent the day in covering and securing them.
- Explain the features of the narrator’s character. Justify your answer by quoting from the text. He has a very pragmatic and individualistic outlook. He does not surrender even though his condition is very hard (lines 3-4, 9-12).
- Write down which themes of the novel can be found in this short text. The shipwreck, survival and pragmatism.
4 The Romantic Age
4.1 Britain and America
- New taxes on the American colonies.
- No representation in the British Parliament.
- The ideas of philosophers and writers like Burke and Paine.
- The American Declaration of Independence stated that governments can only claim the right to rule if they have the approval of those they govern.
- Adam Smith’s philosophy of economic liberalism encouraged free trade and economic self-interest; it was against intervention or restrictions on free markets from the government.
- A group of Irish Catholics and Protestants who joined in 1791 and aimed at forming their own republic.
- George III’s reign was one of the longest in English history
- The king levied new duties on corn, paper and tea to reduce the public debt due to the Seven Years’ War
- The American colonists thought that the taxes were unjust since they had no political power
- The American cause was supported by Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine
- The Americans were divided into Patriots and Loyalists
- The independence of America was recognised by the Treaty of Versailles in 1783
- The United States of America adopted a federal constitution and Washington was the first President
- William Pitt the Younger’s policy promoted profitable trade and finance and supported Adam Smith’s theory of laissez-faire.
4.2 The Industrial Revolution
- coal mines
- traced back
- steam engine
- Reasons: Rise in living standards after the Black Death; increase of population; enclosures, increase of agricultural production and selective animal breeding; growing demand for goods; technological innovations; presence of coalfields in the Midlands and the North as a source of energy.
- Consequences: The productivity of workers improved, and manufacture became easier and faster, reducing the prices of goods. The population shifted from the rural South to the industrial areas of the North and the Midlands. The ‘mushroom towns’ were built around the mines and factories. Employers preferred women and children because they could be better exploited. The smoke and dirt polluted the environment. Overcrowding and lack of hygiene made working and living conditions appalling. Industrial working conditions were characterised by mechanisation, monotony and division of labour. The deterioration of diet and health led to higher mortality
4.3 The French Revolution,riots and reforms
- 1789 The French Revolution broke out
- 1793 The French royal family and thousands of people considered as enemies of the Revolution were executed during a period called the ‘Reign of Terror’. France declared war on Britain and Holland
- 1805 The Battle of Trafalgar and death of Admiral Horatio Nelson
- 1815 The Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon was defeated by the British soldiers led by the Duke of Wellington
- 1819 The Peterloo Massacre in Manchester
- 1820 George III died and was succeeded by his son George IV
- 1829 Sir Robert Peel created the Metropolitan Police
- 1830 George IV died and was succeeded by his brother William IV
- 1832 The Great Reform Act was passed which extended the vote to almost all male members of the middle classes and re-distributed seats on a more equitable basis in the counties
- 1837 William IV died and his 18-year-old niece, Victoria, succeeded him to the British throne
- Step 1: Skimming.
- 1st section: From ‘In the late 1780s’ to ‘the Regency (1811-20)’.
- 2nd section: From ‘Meanwhile in France’ to ‘Britain and Holland in 1793’.
- 3rd section: From ‘The French had a weak navy’ to ‘Battle of Waterloo’.
- 4th section: From ‘The costs of the war’ to ‘Peterloo’.
- 5th section: From ‘The mad George III’ to ‘public order’.
- 6th section: From ‘When George IV’ to ‘the British throne’.
- Step 2: Active reading. Student’s activity.
- Step 3: Well-developed sentences.
- 1st section: In 1810 George III became totally incapable of reigning and in 1811 his son George, the future George IV, was made Prince Regent.
- 2nd section: The spirit of intellectual rebellion pervaded the works of the poets; they shared the enthusiasm and the hopes aroused by the Revolution but they were bitterly disillusioned when, in 1793, the royal family and thousands of people considered as enemies of the Revolution were executed during a period called the ‘Reign of Terror’.
- 3rd section: Napoleon’s victories in Europe were balanced by Britain’s supremacy at sea.
- 4th section: Discontent after the war led to unrest which frightened the authorities, who tried to repress the protests under many laws allowing arrest without trial, forbidding the combination of working men into trade unions, and silencing the freedom of expression.
- 5th section: Concessions indicative of a new political awareness were made towards the end of the 1820s.
- 6th section: The Whigs wanted to bring in electoral reform and, despite strong opposition, the Great Reform Act was passed in 1832.
- Step 4: Thesis statement. The last two decades of the 18th century and the first three of the 19th century marked a period of great political concern regarding the outcome of the French Revolution and a season of social unrest and repression by the authorities in Britain. Nevertheless, the first steps towards change through reforms were taken.
- Step 5: Summary writing. Student’s activity.
4.4 A new sensibility
- lay down
|Augustan poetry||Early Romantic poetry|
|Subject||impersonal material; elevated subjects||subjective, autobiographical material; humble and everyday life; melancholy; meditation on the suffering of the poor and on death; the desolate; love of ruins, graveyards, ancient castles and abbeys; revival of interest in the past|
|Style||loud and noble eloquence||lyrical and personal expression|
|Tone||intellectual||intimate, emotional, reflective|
|Aim||immediate impact||generalised reflection|
|View of nature||an abstract concept, a set of divine laws and principles established by God, which man could order and control thanks to the faculty of reason||a real and living being|
Internet Point: The sublime
- Find information about what the sublime was concerned with in the Romantic Age. It was concerned with the potential power of style and composition in the visual arts as much as in the language. In fact, Romantic writers thought about the grandest and most terrifying aspects of nature, and reflected them in their writings.
- Look at these paintings and state what view of the sublime is conveyed.
- Philip James De Loutherbourg, An Avalanche in the Alps, 1803. London, Tate Gallery. Loutherbourg develops the concept of the sublime revolved around the relationship between human beings and the grand or terrifying aspects of nature.
- Joseph Mallord William Turner, Mer de Glace, in the Valley of Chamonix, Switzerland, 1803. New Heaven, Yale Center for British Art. The desire to become ‘a part’ of the ‘mountains’ is an important aspect of the Romantic period. J.M.W. Turner’s watercolour sketches of the area around Mont Blanc depict small, frail human figures surrounded by vast, over-hanging precipices and ice.
- Joseph Wright of Derby, Vesuvius in Eruption, ca 1776-80. London, Tate Gallery. This image is terrifying and reflects the pleasing horror of the sublime violence that exists in nature.
4.5 Early Romantic poetry
- Pastoral poetry
- main representative: William Cowper
- features: celebration of country life (simplicity, domesticity); nature seen as a source of innocence and delight
- Nature poetry
- main representative: James Thomson
- features: nature in its physical details; his observation of nature included wild scenery and led to reflections on the character of the primitive man, who was contrasted with civilised man
- Ossianic poetry
- main representative: James Macpherson
- features: cult of a simple and primitive life, growing interest in folk traditions; melancholy and suffering, description of a wild, gloomy nature
- Graveyard School
- main representative: Thomas Gray, Edward Young
- features: melancholic tone; cemeteries, ruins and stormy landscapes
4.6 The Gothic novel
- State what taste characterised the novel in the second half of the 18th century. It was characterised by a taste for the strange and the mysterious, by a genuine impulse for freedom and escape from the ugly world, and by the fear of the triumph of evil and chaos over good and order.
- Say who Gothic novels were addressed to. They were addressed to all social classes.
- Highlight the connotation of the word ‘Gothic’. The adjective ‘Gothic’ was first applied to architecture long before it connoted literature. The writer Horace Walpole (1717-97) was the first to establish a link between the two; his obsession with his beloved miniature castle at Strawberry Hill was the inspiration for The Castle of Otranto (1764), and its subtitle, ‘A Gothic Story’, marks the first time that the term was used in a literary context.
- setting: influenced by the concept of the sublime
- → place: ancient settings, like isolated castles, mysterious abbeys and convents with hidden passages and dungeons
- → time: the night
- suspense and mystery increased by: supernatural beings, like monsters, vampires, ghosts and witches
- aim: to arouse fear in the reader with the threat of realising all the potentialities of the mind beyond reason
- plot: often complicated by embedded narratives
- characters: perceive the world around them as hostile
- → hero: usually isolated either voluntarily or involuntarily; the wanderer or outcast wanders the earth in perpetual exile, usually as a form of divine punishment
- → heroine: both afflicted with unreal terrors and persecuted by a villain
- Who is the narrator? Does he interpret what he sees for the reader or does he just describe what he sees? From whose point of view are the events told? The narrator is omniscient and unobtrusive since he just describes what he sees. The point of view is Emily's.
- What is the general atmosphere of this room? What feelings does it arouse? The atmosphere is of fear and imminent danger; there is a close relationship between the girl and the room: fear and horror pervade her soul while what she has perceived as ‘something’ seems to approach her.
- Which are the main Gothic ingredients of this text? They are: terrifying description; mysterious atmosphere; dark, gloomy setting; unexplained sounds; a heroine struck by terror, which freezes and nearly annihilates her.
Link to Contemporary Culture: Gothic to Modern Gothic
- how long Gothic novels have been scaring us; For about 250 years.
- the definitions of ‘terror’ and ‘horror’ given by Ann Radcliffe; Terror is characterised by obscurity or the indefinite use of threatening events; it ‘expands the soul, and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life’. Horror, on the other hand, almost destroys the reader’s mental ability by means of an explicit exposition to atrocities.
- what terror creates and what horror presents. Terror creates an atmosphere of superstitious suspense, while horror crudely presents the physical revolting macabre in an atmosphere of spiritual despair
- What are the origins of Dracula? Bram Stoker came across the name Dracula in a book entitled An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia (1820), which reports the existence of Vlad the Impaler in the 15th century. A footnote of the book stated that ‘Dracula in the Wallachian language means Devil’. Stoker changed the name into Count Dracula and turned the character into a vampire, a creature he had read about in folklore and legends.
- How is the story told? It is told through journals and fragments of letters.
- What are its main events? The novel can be divided into four parts. The first describes Jonathan Harker’s business trip to Count Dracula’s castle, where he meets three powerful supernatural creatures who are female vampires. In part two, Dracula travels to England, where he seduces and destroys an innocent English girl, Lucy Westenra. In the third part a number of characters, among whom Dr Abraham Van Helsing and Art, join together to fight Dracula and to track him to his castle. In the fourth part the chase is successful and ends in the destruction of Dracula within his castle.
- What themes are developed? The fear of female sexuality, death, creation and overcoming the boundaries between life and death.
What are the powers and supernatural traits of vampires? Do they have any limitations? Students’ activity. Suggestion: Vampires are traditionally said to possess the following powers and supernatural traits: they are potentially immortal; they survive on blood; they have the strength of twenty men; they can shape-shift into wolves and bats; they can appear as mist or elemental dust; they have no reflection in a mirror and cast no shadow; they have hypnotic power over their victims and can turn them into vampires. However, they do also have limitations: they may not enter a house unless they are invited in; they lose their supernatural powers during daylight hours; they must sleep on the soil of their native land; they can cross running water only at the slack or flood of the tide; they are repelled by raw garlic and holy symbols (crucifix, Holy Wafer); they can be destroyed by driving a stake through their heart and then cutting off their head.
- Jonathan Harker
‘his face flushed’; ‘in a stupor’
- Count Dracula
‘a tall, thin man, clad in black’; ‘scar on his forehead’; ‘a thin stream trickled down (his) bare breast’; ‘his torn-open dress’; ‘hellish look’; ‘His eyes flamed red with devilish passion’; ‘the great nostrils of the white aquiline nose’; ‘the white sharp teeth’; ‘full lips’; ‘blood dripping mouth’
- Mrs Harker
‘white-clad figure’; ‘Her white night-dress was smeared with blood’; ‘helpless attitude and disarray’; ‘Her face was ghastly, with a pallor which was accentuated by the blood which smeared her lips and cheeks and chin’; ‘from her throat trickled a thin stream of blood’; ‘Her eyes were mad with terror’; ‘poor crushed hands, which bore on their whiteness the red mark of the Count’s terrible grip’
- Where was Jonathan and what was he doing? He was lying on the bed and breathing heavily.
- What was his wife’s position? She was kneeling beside the bed, facing outwards.
- How was the count holding her? He kept her arms at full tension with his left hand, while with his right hand he gripped her by the back of the neck, forcing her face down on his bosom.
- How did the count react when the men burst into the room? He turned his face, he threw his victim back on to the bed and sprang at them.
- What did they do to stop him? The Professor held the envelope containing the ‘Sacred Wafer’ towards him, while the others advanced lifting their crucifixes.
- How did he leave the room? He turned into a faint vapour which trailed under the door.
- What did Mrs Harker do when she drew her breath? She screamed wildly and wailed despairingly.
- How did Van Helsing and Art react to this? Van Helsing covered her body with a coverlet, while Art ran out of the room.
- How did the men try to help Jonathan? They tried to wake him by flicking his face with a wet towel.
The count is connoted as a hellish, devilish creature and a wild beast. On the one hand he survives on the blood of his victims, he is very strong, he can appear as mist and he has hypnotic powers, but on the other hand he is repelled by holy symbols - crucifixes and the Holy Wafer.
A ghost in black
- the setting in place and time; ‘the burial ground’ (line 1), at dusk (‘fading light’, line 6).
- the characters involved; The narrator and the woman in black.
- what the woman looks like; She is wearing a bonnet which reveals a wasted face. Her look reminds the narrator of an extreme illness even if her expression is of a desperate, yearning malevolence. Her face, in its extreme pallor, her eyes, sunken but unnaturally bright, are burning with passionate emotion. She seems the embodiment of the purest evil and hatred.
- what feelings and sensations she arouses in the narrator. He is surprised and bewildered at her presence. Her dreadful expression fills him with fear; his knees start to tremble and his flesh to creep: he never knew such dread, horror and apprehension of evil. He becomes paralysed with fear. When the woman goes away, his head clears and, all at once, he gets angry with her for the emotion she aroused in him, for causing him to experience such fear. That anger gets him to follow her and stop her, and then to ask some questions and receive proper replies
The Gothic features are: the setting (ruins and graveyard); darkness; the mysterious woman, that is, the ghost; the atmosphere of loneliness, fear and horror caused by the supernatural presence. The different element is the narrator’s anger in reaction to the emotion of fear aroused by the mysterious woman. Fear leads him to the determination to follow the woman and find out who she was.
4.7 Romantic poetry
- give expression to emotional experience and individual feelings
- process of poetic composition
- interest about the experience and insights of childhood
- sources of creation
- emphasis on the significance of the individual
- relationship with his fellows
- conventions of civilisation
- restrictions on the individual personality
- cult of the exotic
- vital role as the vehicles of the inner visionary perceptions
- what power it gave the Romantic poet; It enabled him to see beyond surface reality and discover a truth beyond the powers of reason; it allowed him to re-create and modify the external world of experience.
- how it affected the new role of the poet. He was seen as a visionary prophet or as a teacher whose role was to point out the evils of society, to give voice to the ideals of truth, beauty and freedom, to mediate between man and nature.
He was associated with purity and uncorrupted sensitiveness, he was unspoilt by civilisation, and closer to God and the sources of creation than an adult. Therefore childhood was a state to be admired and cultivated.
- what forms of individualism the Romantics exalted; They exalted the figures of the rebel, the outcast, the atypical.
- what view of society they had; They regarded society as an evil, corrupting force which restricted the individual personality and freedom. They exalted the figure of the ‘noble savage’ who, despite appearing primitive, actually has an instinctive knowledge of himself and of the world often superior to the knowledge acquired by civilised man.
- what current of thought encouraged this view. Rousseau’s thought according to which ‘natural’ behaviour, that is to say, unrestrained and impulsive, is good, in contrast to behaviour which is governed by reason and by the rules and customs of society.
It is the veneration of what is far away both in space and in time; the picturesque in scenery, the remote and the unfamiliar in custom and social outlook.
Nature was regarded as a living force and, in a pantheistic vein, as the expression of God in the universe. It became a main source of inspiration, a stimulus to thought, a source of comfort and joy, and a means to convey moral truths.
|18th-century poetry||Romantic poetry|
|Models and rules||strictly followed||broke free from them|
|Language||artificial circumlocutions||more vivid and familiar words|
|Imagery||decorative function||a vital role as the vehicles of the inner visionary perceptions|
attempt to theorise about poetry; the beauty of nature and ordinary things; visionary topics, the supernatural and mystery
experienced political disillusionment; clash between the ideal and the real; individualistic and escapist attitudes; alienation of the artist from society
- What does the poet see that arouses his emotion?
A rainbow in the sky.
- What three stages in man’s life does Wordsworth present?
Childhood, maturity and old age.
- Which stage seems to be the most important to him?
- What represents the element of continuity in man’s life?
The love for and contact with nature
- The poem contains a famous paradox, or apparent contradiction. Underline it.
‘The Child is father of the Man’ (line 7).
- The function of this paradox is
C to state a universal truth, though starting from an individual experience.
- The two terms of the paradox are written in capital letters. Can you think of a reason why?
They do not only refer to two stages of man’s life but they also symbolise their corresponding states of mind: innocence and experience.
- Focus on the theme of the poem. Complete the paragraph with the words from the box.
- grows up
Across Cultures: Man and nature
- What is an important characteristic of the Romantic Age? The relationship between man and nature.
- How did Edmund Burke define the ‘sublime’? He defined it not as a feature of nature, but as a particular way of perceiving and interpreting it.
- What can reflect the poet’s mood, according to German Idealism? Primitive, wild landscape or night scenes convey the inner feelings of the poet, connecting his soul with the supernatural and the divine.
- How did Coleridge describe nature in his poetry? He described the marvellous and abnormal in nature.
- According to the text, what is the difference between Wordsworth’s view of nature and that of Giacomo Leopardi? Wordsworth had a consoling view of nature, whereas Leopardi portrayed nature as an entity which is indifferent to man’s destiny.
- How did the relationship between man and nature evolve towards the end of the 19th century? It continued to evolve in the direction of a deeper symbolism.
- Literature (France)
- Philosophy and literature (Germany)
- Literature (Italy)
4.8 Romantic fiction
set in the upper and middle levels of society, generally in the country with few insights into town life
plot: visits, balls and teas as occasions for meeting
it explores personal relationships, class distinctions and the influence of money and property on the way people treat each other
themes: marriage and the complications of love and friendship
narrative technique: third-person narrator
narrative mode: dialogue
it uses irony; passions and emotions are not expressed directly
- When did the historical novel appear? Why? It appeared at the beginning of the 19th century at a time when, for the first time, men from different nations were brought into contact by the Napoleonic Wars. It is a literary genre that reflects the Romantic interest in the past, particularly the historical period of the Middle Ages.
- Who was the founder of this genre? Sir Walter Scott.
- What was his main achievement? His main achievement was to get people to realise that history was not just a list of political and religious events, but the product of human decisions.
- What did his novels deal with? They mainly dealt with the past of Scotland, which he mixed with imaginative adventures.
- In what sense did he introduce a new concept of history? He introduced a new concept of history, based on the lives of ordinary people, rather than on those of kings and noblemen. He was interested in the moments when an important historical crisis, especially in Scottish history, caused personal problems in individuals or in groups: Waverley (1814) and Ivanhoe (1819), his most important works, describe these conflicts.
- What links the Scottish novelist to the Italian Alessandro Manzoni? Both Scott and Manzoni mingled historical truths and fiction; they set their novels in historical contexts that point out the political and cultural conflicts between, respectively, Scotland and England, and Lombardy and Spain.
- Did they employ the same linguistic means? No, they did not. Scott made an extensive use of Scottish dialect since he wanted to celebrate the glorious past of his country and its independence from England, while Manzoni removed any regional inflections from the language he employed in the definite edition of The Betrothed because he aimed at creating a national consciousness.
- What did the American independence lead to in literature? It increased the need for an American culture and literature that could reflect the American identity.
- Why did the short story emerge as a distinctive American form of prose? Because it was suitable for wide circulation in cheap magazines and providing ideal entertainment for the reader.
- Who was the most important American writer of short stories? Edgar Allan Poe.
4.9 William Blake
Born: In London in 1757.
Education: Trained as an engraver when he was a boy; later he studied at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Beliefs: A political freethinker and a radical, he supported the French Revolution; he had a strong sense of religion.
- Poetic: Songs of Innocence (1789), Songs of Experience (1794).
- Prophetic: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790s), Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793), America: A Prophecy (1793) and Europe: A Prophecy (1794).
Role of the artist: The guardian of the spirit and imagination.
Did you know? The most important influence on his life was the Bible.
|Songs of Innocence||Songs of Experience|
|Narrator||a shepherd||a bard|
|View||innocent and optimistic||more pessimistic|
|Symbols||lambs, flowers and children playing on the village green||more complex|
|Themes||childhood, innocence, happiness, freedom and imagination||experience and adulthood|
- Who is ‘I’ in line 1?
- What is the setting in time and place?
London at night.
- Write down the senses through which the speaker perceives the scene.
- The people he sees are
B tired and suffering.
- The rhyme scheme is
- Write down the words that are repeated.
- ‘charter’d’ (lines 1-2);
- ‘mark’/‘Marks’ (lines 3-4);
- ‘In every’ (lines 5-7);
- ‘cry’ (lines 5-6, 9);
- ‘I hear’ (lines 8, 13).
- Decide what effect they create. Tick as appropriate.
They create a sense of obsession and anxiety.
- What is the symbolical meaning of the word ‘charter’d’ (lines 1, 2)?
A Society and nature are dominated by commercial profit.
- Find the metaphor linked to the idea of imprisonment.
‘The mind-forg’d manacles’ (line 8).
- Underline what kinds of restraints Blake identifies in the poem.
Religion, political institutions, marriage laws.
- Note down the three victims of the industrialised town Blake mentions in lines 9-16.
- The chimney sweeper
- the soldier
- the harlot
- Match the victims with who or what exploits them.
A The false respectability of marriage.
B The Church.
C Political power.
The chimney sweeper is the victim of the Church, which at that time was behind the workhouses. The soldier is the victim of the political power, which demands his death in war. The prostitute is the victim of the false respectability of marriage.
- Say why the Church is ‘black’ning’ (line 10).
C Because it exploits the children instead of helping them.
- Find the expressions referring to the consequences of prostitution in the context of urban life.
‘Blasts’ (line 15), ‘blights with plagues’ (line 16). Teachers should explain that the word ‘plagues’ refers to the sexually transmitted diseases that the ‘youthful Harlot’ would contract and pass on to others - men married for convenience but with no desire for their wives -, giving the ‘curse’ a real destructive power as it could well lead to infertility in marriage.
- How would you define the tone of the poem?
Indignant, sorrowful, bitter.
- What is Blake’s attitude to the society of his time in this poem?
He is sad and accusing at the same time; he sympathises with the victims. Teachers should explain that Blake thought that society and institutions oppress man, depriving him of the innocence and happiness of childhood. He also condemned industrialisation which exploited children and women and contributed to man’s unhappiness and repression
- chimney sweeper
- The poet contemplates the Lamb and wonders who created it.
- The poet finds the answer to his question.
- Highlighted in yellow: the addressee, the Lamb
- Highlighted in green: the speaker, the poet
- Pink words: the question the poet asks the Lamb
- Highlighted in grey: description of the Lamb, connotation of joy, tenderness, mildness
- Highlighted in light blue: attributes of ‘He’, that is, God, the Creator
- Blue words: answer to the poet’s question
- Green dots: examples of repetitions
- Highlighted in pink: assonance
- Box: Rhyme scheme: AABBCCDDEE
- What kinds of sounds prevail in the poem? Are they suited to the Lamb and the speaker? The prevailing vowel sounds are ‘ee’ and ‘ai’ (long vowels); the prevailing consonant sounds are ‘l’, ‘s’ and ‘m’ (soft consonant sounds). They convey an idea of sweetness and tenderness that suits the mild, innocent figure of the Lamb; the rhythm is slow and suits the meditative attitude of the poet.
- What is the main syntactic structure of each stanza? How are they related? The first stanza consists of a question which finds an answer in the statements of the second stanza.
- What qualities of the Creator of the Lamb are emphasised in the first stanza? The goodness and generosity of the Creator.
- What does Blake associate the Lamb with in the second stanza? With a child and the figure of God, therefore with innocence.
- What link does he establish in line 18? ‘He’ (the Creator) = ‘a lamb’ → ‘a child’ = ‘I’ (the poet).
- What qualities is the poet given? The poet shares the divine power of creation and the innocence of the child and the Lamb.
T24 The Tyger
- Who is the poet addressing? The Tyger.
- What is he wondering about? He is wondering about who created the Tyger and whether it was the same Creator that made the Lamb (lines 3-4, 20).
- What ‘fire’ is he referring to in line 8? The fire burning in the eyes of the Tyger, the energy of Creation.
- Who is ‘he’ in line 19? The Creator
Rhyme scheme: AABBCCDDEE (deviation: lines 3-4, 23-24)
Length of words: short
Number of feet in each line: four feet
Kind of feet: trochee
Rhythm: fast, hammering
What devices make the rhythm so?
Repetition and alliteration of harsh sounds.
The poem is built around questions.
The metaphor stands for the chaos and confusion of the universe before Creation.
- Find the vocabulary of metal working.
‘hammer’ (line 13), ‘chain’ (line 13), ‘furnace’ (line 14), ‘anvil’ (line 15).
- Underline all the parts of the body which emphasise the strength of the labour required.
‘hand’ (lines 3, 8, 12, 23), ‘eye(s)’ (lines 3, 6, 23), ‘shoulder’ (line 9), ‘feet’ (line 12).
- Find the verbs of construction/creation. What do you notice about these verbs?
‘frame’ (lines 4, 24), ‘seize’ (line 8), ‘twist’ (line 10), ‘clasp’ (line 16). These verbs are of Saxon origin and are monosyllables with prevalence of consonant sounds.
- What sort of Creator is this one, as opposed to the mild Creator of the Lamb? Tick as appropriate.
He is an immortal and powerful being. He is a God artisan whose work surpasses the speaker’s understanding.
- The myth of Icarus: line 7. In Greek mythology Icarus was the son of Daedalus. His father made him wings to escape from Crete, but he flew too near the Sun; the wax holding the wings melted and he fell into the Aegean Sea.
- The myth of Prometheus: line 8. In Greek mythology Prometheus was a Titan who stole fire from heaven to help mankind, whom Zeus wished to destroy, and was punished by being chained to a rock in the Caucasus. Every day an eagle fed on his liver, which grew again during the night. He was freed by Heracles.
- Write down the corresponding images from the text.
- Fallen angels (line 17) ‘the stars’
- Surrendered (line 17) ‘threw down their spears’
- Were afraid (line 18) ‘water’d heaven with their tears’
- What disturbing question about the Creator rises in the poet’s mind? He wonders how the God who created the sweet and mild lamb could also make the terrifying Tyger.
- Are this question and the others in the poem given an answer? No, the poem does not provide any answer and ends with a question.
|Features||The Lamb||The Tyger|
|Sound devices||repetition, alliteration||repetition, alliteration|
|Syntax||rhetorical question||questions with no answer|
|Vocabulary||semantic area of nature||semantic areas of craftsmanship and the body|
|The animal||sweet, soft, mild||beautiful, terrifying|
|The Creator||good, generous||powerful, frightening|
|The poet’s attitude||confident, he identifies with the lamb||he cannot understand the mystery of the Creation|
Blake is exalting the qualities of energy and instinct as opposed to reason. He thought that the possibility of progress, of achieving the knowledge of what we are, lies in the tension between opposite states of mind, which exist not in linear sequence but in parallel: they are simultaneous. This is the theory of ‘complementary opposites’.
4.10 Mary Shelley
Date of birth: 1797.
Parents: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97) and William Godwin (1756-1836). Both her parents had been heavily influenced by the ideas of the French Revolution and were part of a small radical group.
Intellectual stimuli: Her father’s house was visited by some of the most famous writers of the day, like the Romantic poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Where she lived: At first she fled with the poet P.B. Shelley to France; then they rented a country house on the banks of Lake Geneva; later on they moved to Lerici, where one day Percy set sail in a storm and drowned; Shelley finally returned to England in 1823.
Famous for: Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, published anonymously in 1818.
Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus
- North Pole
- What were the origins of the novel? It seems that a number of things, like the reading of ghost stories, speculation about the re-animation of corpses or the creation of life, Shelley’s personal anxieties and the memories of her sense of loss at the death of her own mother, were the origins of the novel.
- Why did science influence the novel? Mary Shelley was interested in science, and particularly chemistry, so that by the time she wrote Frankenstein, she was aware of the latest scientific theories and experiments in the fields of chemistry, evolutionism and electricity. These sources provided contrasting scientific attitudes important to her conception of science in Frankenstein, whose protagonist is the first embodiment of the theme of science and its responsibility to mankind.
- What is the narrative technique employed? The novel is told by different narrators: at first, Walton informs his sister, whose initials are the same as those of Mary Shelley, MS, that is, Margaret Saville; then, Frankenstein informs Walton, who informs his sister; finally, the monster informs Frankenstein, who informs Walton, who informs his sister. Thus the whole novel has Walton’s sister as the receiver, but presents three different points of view. The form of the novel is epistolary; perhaps the writer wanted to disguise her own voice as a woman by hiding behind three male narrators.
- Who are the main characters? The three most important characters of the novel are Walton, Dr Frankenstein and the monster. They are all linked to the theme of the double. Walton is a double of Frankenstein since he manifests the same ambition, the wish to overcome human limits in his travelling towards the unknown, and the same wish for loneliness and pride of being different. Frankenstein and his creature are complementary: they both suffer from a sense of alienation and isolation, both begin with a desire to be good but become obsessed with hate and revenge.
- What are the most important themes? They are: the quest for forbidden knowledge, which is present throughout; the overreacher, in the characters of Walton and Dr Frankenstein; the double: Dr Frankenstein and the monster are two aspects of the same being; the penetration of nature’s secrets, which is related to the theme of the overreacher; the usurpation of the female role, since the creation of human beings becomes possible without the participation of women; social prejudices through the figure of the monster as an outcast.
- Which of the above curiosities interests you most? Student’s activity.
T25 The creation of the monster
- From the first paragraph find the date, the time of the day, the weather and the source of light.
It is a dreary night of November, already one in the morning; it is raining; the source of light is a candle nearly burnt out.
- What are the colours of the text?
C Yellow, black and white.
- What atmosphere characterises the scene?
A A desolate atmosphere.
- Complete these sentences about Frankenstein’s perception of his creature (lines 5-6).
- Frankenstein sees the dull yellow eye of the creature open.
- He hears it breathing hard.
- He perceives its limbs move. With which three senses does Frankenstein perceive the creature? Sight, hearing and touch.
- Study the description of the creature (lines 5-14). Which parts of his body are ugly?
His eyes (dull, yellow and watery), his yellow shrivelled skin stretched over the muscles and arteries, his dun-white sockets and thin black lips.
- Find out:
- how hard Frankenstein worked to achieve his ‘dream’; He worked for nearly two years and worked so hard that he deprived himself of rest and health (lines 16-17).
- Frankenstein’s reactions to the realisation of his dream. Horror and disgust (lines 18-19).
- Look at your answer to activity 5.
- Why do you think these features make the creature a monster as soon as it is animated? Student’s activity. Suggestion: It is always difficult to overcome the thought that Frankenstein should have noticed that the creature was not beautiful before animating him! So one must consider that the ugliness and therefore monstrousness of the creature was all in the face and the animated expression. With its skin stretched, the creature would not make facial expressions which would be ‘normal’. Above all, the eyes, which would previously have been closed, would not have shown any feelings. Really perspicacious students may also think about the voice, which would have uttered those ‘inarticulate sounds’, and how unfamiliar sounds are threatening in normal human communication.
- What features of the creature really disturb Frankenstein? His being between life and death, organic and artificial, animate and inanimate.
- Why does the creature not have a name of its own? Because it does not appear to fit with reason and logic.
- Why is Dante quoted in the last sentence of the text? Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the first part of The Divine Comedy contains a complete, horrifying account of hell; Mary Shelley is stating that her literary creation is more disturbing than hell.
- Elizabeth and Frankenstein’s mother are mentioned in his dream. What do you think they represent? Tick as appropriate.
Frankenstein’s innocent past world.
- The passage is narrated in
A the first person.
The narrator is Dr Frankenstein.
4.11 William Wordsworth
- What principles did he state in the ‘Preface’ to Lyrical Ballads? He stated what the subject matter and the language of poetry should be. Poetry should deal with everyday situations or incidents and with ordinary people, especially humble, rural people. Even the language should be simple and the objects called by their ordinary names.
- What view did he have of nature and man? Man and nature are inseparable; man exists not outside the natural world but as an active participant in it, so that ‘nature’ to Wordsworth means something that includes both inanimate and human nature: each is a part of the same whole. Nature is a source of pleasure and joy, it comforts man in sorrow, it teaches him how to love and to act in a moral way; it is also the seat of the mighty spirit of the universe.
- Why is memory important in the growth of man and of the poet? Memory is a major force in the process of growth of the poet’s mind and moral character, and it is memory that allows Wordsworth to give poetry its life and power.
- What is the poet’s task? The poet becomes a teacher who shows men how to understand their feelings and improve their moral being. His task consists in drawing attention to the ordinary things of life, to the humblest people, where the deepest emotions and truths can be found. Therefore the poet is not a man in an ivory tower, but a man among men.
- How does poetry originate? All genuine poetry ‘takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity’ through the re-creative power of memory.
T26 Composed upon Westminster Bridge
1st section (lines 1-3): The poet’s general statement.
2nd section (lines 4-8): Description of a view of London from Westminster Bridge in the early morning.
3rd section (lines 9-14): The poet’s emotional experience.
The four highlights in the text mark the rhyme scheme. In particular:
- Highlighted in yellow: A
- Highlighted in green: B
- Highlighted in light blue: C
- Highlighted in pink: D
- The rhyme scheme is therefore ABBAABBA CDCDCD.
- Pink words: inversion
- Underlined in blue: repetition
- Green words: use of the language of the senses (sight and hearing)
- Red dots: personification of the town; the poet is struck by the beauty of the town, which is perceived as a living creature
- Box: Type of poem: There are an octave and a sestet, it is a Petrarchan sonnet.
- Explain the use of inversion and repetition. What do such devices add to the tone of the poem? Inversion: lines 2, 9, 11; repetition: ‘never’ (lines 9, 11). The tone is slow, emphatic, intensely emotional.
- What words and phrases give the town a sense of calm and solemnity? Calm: ‘silent’ (line 5), ‘a calm so deep’ (line 11), ‘at his own sweet will’ (line 12), ‘asleep’ (line 13), ‘lying still’ (line 14). Solemnity: ‘majesty’ (line 3), ‘splendour’ (line 10), ‘mighty’ (line 14).
- Lines 9-11 provide an exception to the use of the present tense which characterises the whole poem. State what tense appears in these lines and what its function is. The shift to the past simple tense underlines that the poet is recollecting the scene.
- How does Wordsworth suggest that the town and nature are connected? They are linked by the beauty of the morning. London is ‘bare’ because in the early morning it is not covered with smoke, it is clothed by the rays of the morning sun. Even the Thames, which is an important route of transportation during the day, flows peacefully and naturally at this time of the day.
- Which of the following themes does Wordsworth develop in this poem? Tick as appropriate. The city does not possess a beauty of its own, it is nature that adorns it in the early morning
- elegant dress
- time of day
- working day
Both poets described the city of London at the time of industrialisation. They both included the river Thames in their description. They both perceived the city through the senses of sight and hearing, and used personification.
Text 1 Wordsworth associated big cities with noise and smoke, and loved the countryside. In the early 19th century, however, London still retained a partially rural atmosphere. Most of the city occupied the northern bank of the Thames and was, as the poet records, ‘Open unto the fields, and to the sky’ on the southern bank of the river. Although Wordsworth praises the majesty of the scene, he sees no people and makes the point that the city is ‘smokeless’, ‘silent’ and ‘asleep’. So he sees it positively only when the population is not engaged in their work. Wordsworth’s negative attitude can be deduced by this absence.
Text 2 Blake describes London at night. The city is ugly, in the hands of traders and full of suffering. Unlike Wordsworth’s London, it is crowded with people of all kinds, from chimney-sweepers to soldiers and prostitutes. These are all victims of industrialisation and institutions. Even the Thames is imprisoned and cannot flow freely as in Wordsworth’s poem. The poet’s attitude is anguished and bitter, and there is a direct attack on industrialisation and rationalisation.
- at a glance
- What was the poet doing? What was his mood? The poet was wandering in the countryside. He was in a mood of loneliness and absentmindedness. When he says that he ‘wandered lonely as a cloud’, he reminds us of those moods when we are aimless, undirected, and not fully related to the world around us. This sense of detachment from experience is strengthened by the description of the cloud which ‘floats on high’.
- What did he see suddenly? He saw ‘a crowd’ of daffodils.
- Where were the flowers? By the lake under the trees. Daffodils grow best in the shade and where there is water, and so it is not by chance that the flowers are at this particular point in space.
- What did the poet associate the flowers to? To the stars in the sky which shine and twinkle in the Milky Way.
- How many did he see? Is that possible? He says ‘Ten thousand’. No, it is the poet’s imagination.
- What was nature like? All was in a state of dance and joy, even the waves of the lake.
- How did the poet feel? He also felt happy because his mind was once more active, making order in a world which seemed disorderly and pointless so short a time before.
- Why does the author say ‘A poet’ in line 15? He speaks here of the poet in general, a man who, according to Wordsworth, has a ‘more lively sensibility’. Only such a man can find himself in a state of creative joy when placed in such a situation.
- What kind of state does the poet describe? What is described here is the poet’s capability not only of organising experience so that it becomes coherent and delightful, but also of recalling it at future times.
- Is this solitude similar to the loneliness of the first stanza? This kind of solitude is very different from the melancholy loneliness described at the beginning of the poem. In this condition the poet finds his heart dancing with joy, a joy which revives the pleasure experienced when he observed the dance of the daffodils in the breeze.
- What is the result of this experience? The experience is not lost, but may be recovered when wanted. When the poetic process makes the experience available once again, the daffodils ‘flash upon that inward eye / Which is the bliss of solitude’.
They are seen as ‘a crowd’ (line 3) which moves and dances. The device used is personification.
In these lines Wordsworth shows the daffodils as part of a universal order: they grow where they are meant to do, just as the stars in the Milky Way are fixed in their courses, because of the natural law which dictates their existence. In all creation man seems the only creature that is capable of feeling not at home, of wandering ‘lonely as a cloud’.
Nature is joyful and alive. It is a pantheistic view of nature.
The poet focuses on ‘the show’ (line 18). The rhythm falls with a special emphasis on the poet’s gazing (line 17), an act in which the poetic transformation is set to work by the visual perception but takes place spontaneously, without full consciousness on the poet’s part of what he is doing. It is only afterwards, in recollection, that the act is understood and described. When the poet saw the daffodils, he ‘little thought’ (line 17) about what they meant to him. The thought came later, and the poem is the record of that thought and of the intellectual delight it offers. It is imagination that enables man to enter into and give life and significance to the world.
The present tense. The shift to this tense underlines that the poet is recollecting the scene in a state of tranquillity.
4.12 Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- He was disillusioned with the French Revolution. After his disillusionment with the French Revolution, he and the poet Robert Southey (1774-1843) planned to move to America and to establish a utopian community in Pennsylvania, called ‘Pantisocracy’, where every economic activity would be done as a community, and private ownership would not exist. This project, however, came to nothing.
- His friendship with William Wordsworth was crucial for his literary output. Most of Coleridge’s best poetry was written in the years spent in the Lake District with the poet William Wordsworth.
- He contributed to the Lyrical Ballads. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, his masterpiece written in 1798, is the first poem of the collection Lyrical Ballads.
- He became a literary critic. He finally settled in London, where he produced Biographia Literaria (1817), a text of literary criticism and autobiography.
- He explained his task as a poet in Biographia Literaria. He explained the dual task which he and Wordsworth had set themselves in the Lyrical Ballads. In contrast to Wordsworth’s preoccupation with subjects from ordinary life, his own task was to write about extraordinary events in a credible way.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
- wedding guest
- Polar regions
- was killed
- sacred law
- guilty soul
- Mariner’s life
- water snakes
- wedding guest
- What atmosphere pervades the whole poem? The atmosphere of the whole poem is full of mystery because of the combination of the supernatural and the real, of dream-like, nightmarish elements and visual realism. In fact natural elements are turned into supernatural pictures, common colours have a magic effect on the reader.
- Why are the characters of the ballad more types than human beings? The Mariner and his fellow shipmates are hardly characters in any dramatic sense. Their agonies are simply universally human. The Mariner does not speak as a moral agent, he is passive in guilt and remorse. When he acts, he does so blindly, under compulsion. From his paralysis of conscience the Mariner succeeds in gaining his authority, though he pays for it by remaining in the condition of an outcast. Coleridge makes him spectator as well as actor in the drama, so that he can tell even about his worst terrors with the calm of lucid retrospection.
- What is the role of nature in Coleridge’s poetry? Unlike Wordsworth, Coleridge did not view nature as a moral guide or a source of consolation and happiness. His contemplation of nature was always accompanied by the awareness of the presence of the ideal in the real. His strong Christian faith, however, did not allow him to identify nature with the divine, in that form of pantheism which Wordsworth adopted. Coleridge used the shapes and colours of nature to represent and symbolise emotional and mental states.
- What is the difference between The Rime and the traditional medieval ballads? It is the presence of a moral at the end, which makes The Rime a Romantic ballad.
- How has the poem been interpreted? It has been interpreted as the description of a dream, which allows the poet to relate the supernatural and the less conscious part of his psyche to a familiar experience; as an allegory of the life of the soul in its passage from sin, through punishment, to redemption; as a description of the poetic journey of Romanticism.
- What are the faculties of the mind, according to Coleridge? They are imagination and fancy.
- What are the main differences between primary and secondary imagination? ‘Primary imagination’ can be experienced by every human being; it is linked to perceptions; it is an unconscious process; it manifests itself through images which recall relevant sensorial experiences that happened in the past. ‘Secondary imagination’ is an echo of primary imagination; it can only be experienced by the poet, who consciously dissolves, dissipates the images linked to past experiences in order to re-create. The result of this process is the ‘new world’ of the poem created by the poet himself.
- What do Wordsworth’s ‘spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’ and the emotion to be ‘recollected in tranquillity’ correspond to in Coleridge’s knowledge process? They correspond to Coleridge’s primary imagination.
- What is the power of fancy, according to Coleridge? It is inferior to imagination because it is not creative: it is a ‘mode of memory’, a kind of logical faculty which enables a poet to associate material already provided and blend it into beautiful images like metaphors, similes and other poetical devices.
T28 The killing of the Albatross
- Identify the setting in time and place.
The setting in place is a street and the occasion is a wedding feast.
- State how many characters are introduced.
The Mariner and the Wedding Guest are the main characters, but ‘secondary’ characters are also introduced: the two ‘Gallants’ (Argument), the guests (line 7), the bridegroom (line 5), the bride (line 33), the minstrels (line 36), the Albatross (caption), the helmsman (line 70) and the mariners (line 74).
- Focus on the ancient Mariner’s description; then complete the sentences below.
- The ancient Mariner is an old man (lines 1, 79).
- His beard is long and grey (lines 3, 11); his eyes are glittering (lines 3, 13) and bright (lines 20, 40); his hands are skinny (line 9).
- He turns out to be a magic character since he hypnotises the Wedding Guest (lines 14-18, 38).
- è troppo complicato da scrivere :)
- The Mariner kills the Albatross.
- The Rime is a ballad. Tick the characteristics of the old ballad form it contains.
- It tells a dramatic story in verse.
- It is mainly written in four-line stanzas.
- It is full of repetitions.
- It contains a sort of refrain. (See for example lines 9, 13; 18-20, 38-40).
- It deals with supernatural events.
- It is written in archaic language.
- It is a mixture of dialogue and narration.
- The narration of the voyage is interrupted twice by the other character: the Wedding Guest.
- Underline the two occasions - one of which is external to the narration, while the other is a sort of comment. The narration is first interrupted in lines 31-40 by the sound of the bassoon; then at the end of the last stanza (lines 79-80) when the Wedding Guest comments on the action of the Mariner.
- Describe the listener’s attitude on these occasions. On the first occasion he shows his restlessness and awareness of being late for the wedding feast by beating his breast; on the second occasion, instead, he shows himself more interested in the Mariner’s story.
- Focus on the natural elements the ship meets at the beginning of the voyage.
- What does the personal pronoun ‘he’ (line 41) refer to? What poetic device does the poet use?
The pronoun refers to the storm, which is represented as a huge bird chasing the ship with its large wings. It is presented through the device of personification by means of adjectives, nouns and verbs usually referring to human actions or to the animal world.
- What other elements come next (lines 51-62)?
Mist, snow, the ice and snowy ʻcliftsʼ.
- What atmosphere do they create?
C Mysterious and magic.
- What side of nature does the Albatross represent?
A Benign side.
- What does the personal pronoun ‘he’ (line 41) refer to? What poetic device does the poet use?
- set out
4.13 George Gordon Byron
- What were the main features of the Byronic hero? He was a passionate, moody, restless and mysterious man, who hid some horrible sin or secret in his past. He was characterised by proud individualism and the rejection of the conventional moral rules of society. He was an outsider, isolated and attractive at the same time. He was of noble birth, but wild and rough in his manners; his looks were hard, but handsome. He had a great sensibility to nature and beauty, but had grown bored with the excesses and excitements of the world. Women could not resist him, but he refused their love.
- How did Byron’s personality influence the Byronic hero? Byron’s poetry and life embodied the Romantic spirit. He was an unconventional aristocrat who, though rich and handsome, had a slight handicap, a deformed foot. As a student he not only drank, gambled and made brilliant conversation, but also began to write poetry that earned him a European reputation and exerted a significant influence on other writers. Byron firmly believed in individual liberty and hated any sort of constraint. He wished to be himself without compromises and he wanted all men to be free, and so went to fight against tyrants.
- What was Byron’s view of nature? Nature was not a source of consolation and joy, it did not embody any theory nor have any message to convey. The wildest exotic natural landscapes reflected the feelings of the isolated man.
- Was Byron’s poetry Romantic or classical? He continued to refer to 18th-century poetic diction and used a witty style to convey a satirical aim. However, his mood and the choice of his themes were Romantic.
The hero is a sort of magician.
He lives in a lonely tower in the Alps.
He invokes the spirits of the earth and air, or the waters.
His torment arises from an affair with his sister Astarte.
At the end he looks for a final solution in suicide.
Manfred as a Byronic hero: Solitary, driven by a sense of guilt, darkly handsome, tyrannical and passionate, but also kind, intellectual and brave.
Influences on the creation of the hero: The myth of Faust, Milton, the Gothic novel, and especially the archetypal figure of Cain as the man predestined to commit evil and to face damnation.
The narrator is Manfred himself.
The point of view is shifting, assembling different perspectives on Manfred through the other characters of the play.
The reader feels the same sense of exclusion as the hero.
T29 Manfred's torment
- Write down when and where the scene takes place.
- When: Midnight.
- Where: A Gothic gallery.
- The text is
A a monologue.
A is restless and continues to think.
- What do lines 10-11 mean?
C Having more knowledge than common man causes suffering.
- Focus on lines 13-27 and write the lines from the text which refer to these experiences made by Manfred.
- He has studied science and philosophy and tried his mind. Lines 13-16.
- He has done good actions and met good people. Lines 17-18.
- He has faced and defeated his enemies. Lines 19-20.
- He has experienced both good and evil but they have passed through him like water passes through the sand. Lines 21-23.
- All his aspirations and efforts have been useless and have bound him to damnation and lack of emotions. Lines 24-27.
- Consider lines 13-28 and find:
- a repetition of phrases: ‘But they avail not’/‘But this availed not’ (lines 17, 19, 21). It conveys Manfred’s critical mood and selfevaluation.
- a simile: ‘as rain unto the sands’ (line 23). It emphasises the fact that Manfred has gone beyond ordinary human experience.
- an apostrophe: ‘Now to my task’ (line 28). It underlines Manfred’s exercise of power.
- The phrase ‘Since that all-nameless hour’ (line 24) hints at a … in Manfred’s past.
B mysterious event
- Underline the elements of nature in lines 32-34.
‘the tops / Of mountains’ and ‘Earth’s and Ocean’s caves’.
- Consider lines 29-49 and write down:
- the task Manfred proposes to himself; He wants to raise the natural elements to his command.
- the spirits he is addressing; The spirits of the universe that surround the earth.
- the kind of power he has. A magical power stronger than all.
- Decide whether the following statements about the text are true or false. Correct the false ones.
- It describes Manfred’s past. F It provides only fragments of Manfred’s past.
- It catches the character in a moment of crisis. T
- It dramatises the portrait of an extraordinary temperament. T
- It introduces Manfred as our main source of information. T
- It hints at the character’s plans for the future. T
- It conveys some philosophical speculations. T
- It gives an insight into other characters. F No other characters are mentioned.
- Describe what kind of personality emerges from Manfred’s words. Write a few sentences using some of the adjectives from the box or adding others if you wish.
Manfred is a solitary, tormented and enigmatic character. He is selfconfident since he believes in his power and sounds excited when he tries to exercise it.
- In Manfred Byron explores the theme of the overreacher.
- What has Manfred been seeking beyond the limits of ordinary humanity? Knowledge.
- Has he made a pact with the devil? No, he does not mention it.
- What power has he achieved? His mind has given him dominion over and beyond the elements.
- Has his transgression brought him punishment? Yes, there is a curse on him.
4.14 Percy Bysshe Shelley
- He was a revolutionary thinker. He rebelled early against his conventional background and in 1811 he was expelled from Oxford University because of his radical pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism (1811), challenging the existence of God. He moved from place to place, including Ireland, where he made revolutionary propaganda against Catholicism and English rule. He rebelled against existing religions, laws and customs; he became a republican, a vegetarian and an advocate of free love.
- He was interested in the occult sciences and in scientific experiments. His contempt for traditional forms of religion was matched by an interest in the occult sciences and in scientific experiments.
- His private life was restless. At the age of 19, he married the 16-year-old Harriet Westbrook. They had two children and moved from place to place. When he and his wife came back to England, they realised their marriage was not working and separated. Eventually, he eloped with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin to Switzerland, where they met Byron. In 1818 they went to live in Italy, in voluntary exile, where Percy’s life was cut short by an accident: while sailing near Livorno, he was drowned during a storm.
- He wrote his best works while in voluntary exile in Italy. He wrote: Ode to the West Wind (1819); To a Skylark (1820); The Cenci (1819), a verse tragedy; Prometheus Unbound (1820), a lyrical drama dealing with the theme of intellectual rebellion, the desire for spiritual liberty and the belief that evil would be overcome by the power of love; Adonais (1821), an elegy written in honour of John Keats; A Defence of Poetry (1821), an unfinished essay concerning the importance of poetry.
- He died very young. His life was cut short by an accident in 1822: while sailing near Livorno, he was drowned during a storm.
Suggestion: The key ideas of the text are: poetry as the expression of imagination; Shelley’s view of nature as a veil hiding the eternal truth of the divine spirit and as a shelter from the disappointment and injustice of the ordinary world; the task of the poet, who is seen as a prophet and a titan challenging the cosmos; the importance of freedom and love as remedies for the faults and evils of society.
- What were the central themes of Shelley’s works? They were freedom and love. Through love Shelley believed that man could overcome any political, moral and social conventions.
- What role did imagination play, according to Shelley? Shelley’s essay A Defence of Poetry is where his belief in nature and the function of poetry is expressed most fully. It presents a lively defence of poetry as the expression of imagination which should be understood as revolutionary creativity, capable of changing the reality of an increasingly material world.
- What nature did he describe? Shelley’s nature, unlike Wordsworth’s, is not the real world, but a beautiful veil hiding the eternal truth of the divine spirit. Nature provides him with images, such as the wind and the clouds, and symbols for the creation of his cosmic schemes. Nature also represents a shelter from the disappointment and injustice of the ordinary world, the expression of his dreams and of his hopes for a better future.
- Who is the poet, according to him? He is both a prophet and a titan challenging the cosmos. His task is to help mankind to reach an ideal world where freedom, love and beauty replace tyranny.
- What are the main features of his style? Shelley’s verse covers a wide range of metric and stanzaic forms. He was a master of traditional verse forms, such as the couplet, blank verse and Dante’s terza rima; he moved from the political ballad to the classical elegy, but he is best remembered for his short lyric poetry.
4.15 John Keats
- Born: In London in 1795.
- Origin: A modest but reasonably well-off family; the first of five children.
- Education: He attended a private school in Enfield and, following the early deaths of his father (killed in a riding accident) and mother (of tuberculosis), he decided to study to become a surgeon in 1810. Seven years later he gave up medicine for poetry.
- Main interest: Poetry.
- Family problems: The early deaths of his father, and of his mother and brother because of tuberculosis; his ever-frail health which deteriorated rapidly.
- His great year: In 1819 he wrote a series of masterful poems: The Eve of St Agnes, characterised by those features which are conventionally called ‘Romantic’; the ballad La Belle Dame sans Merci, which shows a taste for medieval themes and form; the great odes: Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn, To Autumn, Ode on Melancholy and To Psyche; Hyperion, which shows the influence of Milton in its sonorous blank verse.
- Death: In 1820 the symptoms of tuberculosis became evident in Keats. In September of the same year he travelled to Italy in an effort to recover his health but died in Rome in February 1821. He was buried in the Protestant cemetery in Rome.
- When was Keats re-valued? When Keats died, he was hardly known outside his own literary circle, and even there it was taken for granted that his work was doomed to total neglect and obscurity. Many years later Matthew Arnold (1822-88), the most important Victorian critic of English literature, said of Keats, ‘He is with Shakespeare’, and there has never been a more complete judgement.
- What is the substance of his poetry? Unlike the lyrics of Shelley and Byron, Keats’s lyrical poems are not fragments of a continual spiritual autobiography. It is true that the odes of 1819 contain some deeply felt personal experiences, however, these are not the substance but the background. His use of the poetical personal pronoun ‘I’ is not linked to an individual within the context of his time, but stands for a universal ‘I’. His poetry rarely identifies scenes and landscapes with subjective moods and emotions. There is no sense of mystery or Wordsworth’s pantheistic conviction.
- What role does imagination play in his poems? For Keats imagination had a supreme value and it was this that made him a Romantic poet. His idea of imagination was twofold: first, the world of his poetry is artificial, one that he imagines; second, his poetry comes from imagination, meaning that most of his work, even most of the odes, is a vision of what he would like human life to be, stimulated by his own experience of pain and misery.
- Who is the poet and what is his task? In Keats’s view, the poet has ‘negative capability’. By this he meant the poet’s capability to deny his certainties and personality in order to identify with the object which he sees as the source of his inspiration and the place where truth lives. If the poet manages to rely on this negative capability, he can find sensations, which are the basis of knowledge leading to beauty and truth. This allows him to write poetry.
- What is the central theme of his works? The contemplation of beauty.
- What is the difference between physical and spiritual beauty? The poet’s first awareness of beauty proceeds from the senses, from concrete physical sensations. All the senses are involved in this process. This ‘physical beauty’ is caught in all nature’s forms, in the colours it displays, in the sweetness of its perfumes, in the shape of a flower, in a woman. Beauty can also produce a much deeper experience of joy, as Keats affirmed in the opening line of Endymion, ‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever’. This joy introduces a sort of ‘spiritual beauty’, that is the one of love, friendship and poetry. Physical beauty is linked to life, enjoyment, decay and death, while spiritual beauty is related to eternity. Keats identifies beauty and truth as the only true types of knowledge.
T31 La Belle dame sans Merci
- 1st section (lines 1-12): The meeting between a knight and a lady.
- 2nd section (lines 13-28): The knight’s involvement with the lady.
- 3rd section (lines 29-32): The climax of the story: the knight and the lady kiss each other.
- 4th section (lines 33-48): The knight’s dream and explanation of his situation.
- Highlighted in yellow: the landscape What season is described? Late autumn.
- Red dots: the knight’s physical appearance
- Highlighted in light blue: the knight’s actions
- Highlighted in pink: two metaphors are used to describe the knight’s physical features. His pallor is compared first to the whiteness of a lily, which is here associated with death, then to a rose which quickly withers
- Pink words: words and phrases used to describe ‘La Belle Dame’ What semantic areas are these words associated with? Beauty and magic.
- Violet words: the lady’s actions
- // expressions linked to the love between the lady and the knight.
What is the nature of this feeling? Sensual.
- Highlighted in grey: repetition of words belonging to the semantic area of magic
- Orange words: the knight’s dream
What do these people share with the knight? Their being death-pale.
- Boxes: from the verb ‘to lull’ to the verb ‘to dream’ (The rest of this stanza and the next two stanzas are about the knight’s dream.)
These lines highlight the consequences of the knight’s dream.
- An unidentified passer-by.
- The knight and the landscape surrounding him.
- Is there any correspondence between the landscape and the knight? Nature mirrors the knight’s sorrowful mood.
- The refrain. The repeated words and phrases increase musicality, underline particular concepts and help create a mysterious atmosphere.
- The knight.
- In stanza 7, which is devoted entirely to the lady. In stanza 8 the lady takes a dominant position in lines 29-30 (‘She took me’, ‘she gazed and sigh’d’).
- She stands for evil and belongs to the tradition of femmes fatales. She seduces the knight with her beauty and her sensual love (‘roots of relish sweet, / And honey wild, and manna dew’). The vision of the pale men in the knight’s dream suggests that she is destructive.
- The first three stanzas are balanced by the last three stanzas. The poem returns to where it started, so that it has a circular movement; to reinforce the connection between the opening and the ending, Keats uses the same language (for example ‘I see’ (line 9) and ‘I saw’ (lines 37, 41), ‘The sedge is wither’d from the lake, / And no birds sing’ in lines 3-4, and 47-48).
- A mysterious atmosphere.
- The wasting power of sensual love.
- This poem is written in four-line stanzas; there are several examples of repetition which underline particular concepts; it has a refrain; simple language and some archaisms are employed; it tells a dramatic story in verse; it is a mixture of dialogue and narration; it deals with supernatural events and the destructiveness of love.
- is wandering
- has withered
- focuses on
4.16 Jane Austen
- a small village
- by her father
- was published
- most mature
- after her death
- brother Henry
- well established
- Suggestion: Jane Austen is regarded as the master of the novel of manners. From 18th-century novelists she learned the insight into the psychology of the characters and the subtleties of the ordinary events of life, like balls, walks, tea parties and visits to friends and neighbours. From Henry Fielding in particular, she derived the omniscient narrator and the technique of bringing the character into existence through dialogue. Her style was also characterised by the use of verbal and situational irony, rather than by open interpretation or comment on the action. She wrote about the oldest England, based on the possession of land, parks and country houses; in her stories people from different counties get married as a result of the growing social mobility. Austen had no place for great passions; her real concern was with people, and the analysis of character and conduct. Romantic love gives Jane Austen a focus where individual values can achieve high definition, usually in conflict with the social code that encourages marriages for money and social standing. Her treatment of love and sexual attraction is in line with her general view that strong impulses and intensely emotional states should be regulated, controlled and brought to order by private reflection.
Pride and Prejudice
- Where is the novel set? It is set in Longbourn, a small country village in Hertfordshire, where Mr and Mrs Bennet live with their five daughters: Jane,Elizabeth, Mary, Lydia and Kitty.
- Are Elizabeth and Darcy the typical heroine and hero of the sentimental novel? Why? No, they have weaknesses that are in a kind of critical antithesis to the conventional heroes and heroines of the sentimental novels. Darcy is selfcentred and unsociable. Elizabeth has a strong spirit of independence and refuses to take on the roles which her family or socially superior people try to impose on her. Both Elizabeth and Darcy show an imperfect understanding of themselves and each other. She accuses him of pride and he accuses her of prejudice. These accusations are partly well-founded, but also work in reverse: she is proud, and her pride blinds her to his virtues; he is prejudiced by his upbringing and is disgusted by the vulgar behaviour of Elizabeth’s mother and sisters.
- What is the central theme of the novel? Both hero and heroine are involved in a journey towards self-awareness and self-knowledge.
- How is marriage presented? It is presented from several points of view: in terms of security and independence (Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins); arising out of physical infatuation (Lydia and Wickham, and Mr and Mrs Bennet); containing elements of love and prudence (Jane and Bingley, and Elizabeth and Darcy).
- What narrative techniques are employed by Austen? Irony; third-person narration, in which the reader mainly shares Elizabeth’s point of view; first-person narrative in the many letters (epistolary technique). Furthermore, Austen’s work comes alive for the reader in the vividness of the characters and the brightness of dialogue often quoted directly, without the mediation of the narrator.
T32 Mr and Mrs Bennet
- in want
- give over
- quick parts
- She would like him to make the acquaintance of Mr Bingley so as to introduce their daughters to him.
- He does not seem interested and makes ironical remarks
- To marry off her daughters
- Lizzy (line 42), because she is lively and clever (lines 46-47).
The main narrative mode is dialogue. In the first and last paragraphs there is the voice of the omniscient narrator
He is reserved, sarcastic and clever; she is rather ignorant and moody, apparently interested only in manners and in getting her daughters married
|Important concepts||Quotations from the text|
|Irony||‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’ (lines 1-2)|
|Theme of wealth||‘A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year’ (line 20)|
|Theme of marriage||‘You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them’ (lines 23-24)|
|Omniscient narrator||‘Mr Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice’ (line 57)|
From Text to Screen: Pride & Prejudice
- The first shot shows geese in the courtyard and a man feeding them.
- A girl, Elizabeth, is walking across the courtyard.
- She climbs the stairs and stops to listen to a middle-aged couple speaking inside.
- The woman is speaking about Netherfield Park, which has been let.
- Elizabeth comes into the house.
- She turns to Kitty, her sister, asking her not to listen at the door.
- Why are the three girls at the door so excited? Because a Mr Bingley coming from the North has rented Netherfield Park.
- Who is ‘single’? Mr Bingley.
- What is his annual income? Five thousand pounds.
- Why is Mrs Bennet apparently annoyed with her husband? Because he does not seem to be interested in a possible future marriage between one of his daughters and Mr Bingley.
- What does she ask him? She asks him to go and visit Mr Bingley at once.
- Is the man surprised at seeing his daughters at the door? No, he is not.
- How many daughters does the couple have? Five daughters.
- What does Mrs Bennet complain about? She complains about her husband’s lack of respect for her nerves.
- How does Mr Bennet answer her? He calmly says that Mrs Bennet’s nerves have been his constant companions for twenty years.
- What does he unexpectedly reveal? He has already visited Mr Bingley.
- What does Kitty ask her father? She asks him whether Mr Bingley is handsome.
- How does Elizabeth reply? She sharply replies that with 5,000 pounds a year it would not matter if he had warts.
- What will Mr Bennet consent to? He will consent to Mr Bingley’s marrying whichever girl he chooses among his five daughters.
- Why are the girls so happy at the end? Because Mr Bingley will come to the ball on the following evening.
A lively, exciting and frivolous atmosphere.
- Elizabeth: lively, witty, attractive
- Mrs Bennet: frivolous, excitable, narrow-minded, susceptible
- Mr Bennet: intelligent, calm
- the camera follows the movements of the characters; At the beginning the camera follows Elizabeth while walking, climbing the stairs and coming into the house; then the camera follows Mr and Mrs Bennet while they are going into the sitting room followed by their daughters.
- the camera focuses on a detail; When Mrs Bennet is seen through the door left ajar.
- the camera is fixed. Nearly at the end of the sequence, when the camera is fixed on Mr Bennet.
They are the relationship between the individual and society, the contrast between imagination and reason, and marriage.
- public debt
- the population increased
- mass consumption
- leading sector
- steam engine
- coal mine
- carry out repairs
- trade unions
- The Declaration of American Independence: On 4th July 1776 in Philadelphia, the Congress, made up by the representatives from 13 of the colonies, signed the Declaration of Independence, largely written by Thomas Jefferson, a lawyer from Virginia. It claimed that all men had a natural right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’. It also stated that governments can only claim the right to rule if they have the approval of those they govern, that is, ‘the consent of the governed’. The new republic of the United States of America adopted a federal constitution in 1787 and George Washington became the first President in 1789.
- Enclosures and agriculture: The population increased in the 1500s and 1600s, and agriculture was intensified. First, open fields were enclosed into smaller portions of land to make more efficient arable farms. Moreover, the soil was drained and made more fertile, so that cereal production was greatly increased. Finally, animals were bred selectively, producing more meat.
- Economic change and technological innovation: Clothing marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution because mass consumption of machine-made goods started. Cotton was the leading sector of industrialisation. More and more people began to consume things for pleasure, like tobacco, tea, coffee, sugar or alcohol. A succession of technological innovations transformed and improved the productivity of workers - some examples are Newcomen’s and Watt’s steam engines, Hargreaves’s Spinning Jenny and Cartwright’s loom. Heavy investment in technological development increased and innovation became linked to energy generated from coal. This changed the geography of the country, concentrating the new industrial activity near the coalfields of the Midlands and the North. Small towns, the so-called ‘mushroom towns’, were constructed to house the workers near the factories. Industrial labour imposed new work patterns: long working hours were about 65-70 a week. Industrial cities lacked elementary public services - water-supply, sanitation, streetcleaning, open spaces -; the air and the water were polluted by smoke and filth; the houses, built in endless rows, were overcrowded.
- The French Revolution: In France the principles of social equality of the Enlightenment led to the Revolution in 1789. In 1792 the French abolished the monarchy and declared their country a republic. The hopes aroused by the Revolution were bitterly disillusioned when, in 1793, the royal family and thousands of people considered as enemies of the Revolution were executed during a period called the ‘Reign of Terror’.
By 1797 the French general Napoleon Bonaparte had defeated much of Europe and was effectively ruling France as a military dictator. However, Napoleon’s victories in Europe were balanced by Britain’s supremacy at sea. The hero of the British navy was Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was killed at his great victory over the French and Spanish off Cape Trafalgar in 1805. Later the Duke of Wellington led British soldiers to victories in Portugal. Napoleon, weakened by his disastrous invasion of Russia, surrendered in 1814. His ‘100 Days’ in 1815 ended in his final defeat at the hands of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo.
- William Pitt the Younger’s policy; Pitt tried to simplify the financial system and reduce the national debt. He promoted profitable trade and finance and supported Adam Smith’s theory of laissez-faire. In 1801 the Act of Union joined Ireland and Britain to form the new United Kingdom. The Irish flag was added to create the Union Jack that is still used today.
- Adam Smith’s philosophy; Outlined in The Wealth of Nations (1776), Smith’s philosophy of economic liberalism encouraged free trade and economic self-interest, and stressed the division of labour.
- George III’s ‘royal madness’ and the Regency; George III suffered the first attack of what the doctors defined as severe mental confusion. The famous ‘royal madness’ was actually due to porphyria, a hereditary condition. In 1810 George III became totally incapable of reigning and in 1811 his son George, the future George IV, was made Prince Regent. The following period is known as the ‘Regency’ (1811-20).
- the Luddites; Named after their leader Ned Ludd, the rioters smashed the new machines which they believed had taken their work away.
- social unrest at the beginning of the 19th century; Social unrest frightened the authorities that tried to repress discontent under many laws allowing arrest without trial, forbidding the combination of working men into trade unions, and silencing the freedom of expression. The most serious incident was at St Peter’s Fields in Manchester in 1819, where a peaceful crowd, who had come to hear the radical Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt (1773-1835), was fired on by the local militia. Coming so soon after the victory over Napoleon’s tyranny at Waterloo, this ‘massacre’ was ironically named ‘Peterloo’.
- the Great Reform Act; It was passed in 1832 in spite of strong opposition. It extended the vote to almost all male members of the middle classes and re-distributed seats on a more equitable basis in the counties.
- the Factory Act. It was passed in 1833. It limited factory employment of children under 9.
|pastoral poetry||William Cowper||celebration of country life for its simplicity and domesticity; nature as a source of innocence and delight|
|nature poetry||James Thompson||nature seen in its physical, rather than abstract, details; wild scenery; reflections on the primitive man, who was contrasted with civilised man|
|Ossianic poetry||James Macpherson||cult of simple, primitive life; melancholy and suffering produced by war or by contrasting love; description of a wild, gloomy nature|
|Graveyard School||Thomas Gray, Edward Young||melancholy, ruins, cemeteries, stormy landscapes|
- imagination; It gained a primary role in the process of poetic composition. Thanks to the eye of the imagination Romantic poets could see beyond surface reality and discover a truth beyond the powers of reason. An almost divine faculty, imagination allowed the poet to re-create and modify the external world of experience.
- the role of the poet; The poet was seen as a visionary prophet or as a teacher whose task was to mediate between man and nature, to point out the evils of society, to give voice to the ideals of freedom, beauty and truth.
- childhood; There was serious interest about the experience and insights of childhood. To the Augustan Age, a child was important only in so far as he would become an adult and civilised being. Childhood was considered a temporary state, a necessary stage in the process leading to adulthood. To a Romantic, a child was purer than an adult because he was unspoilt by civilisation. His uncorrupted sensitiveness meant he was even closer to God and the sources of creation, therefore childhood was a state to be admired and cultivated.
- the importance of the individual; There was new emphasis on the significance of the individual. The Romantics saw man in a solitary state, and stressed the special qualities of each individual’s mind. They exalted the atypical, the outcast, the rebel.
- the cult of the exotic; Jacques Rousseau’s theories influenced the ‘cult of the exotic’, that is, the veneration of what is far away both in space and in time. Not only did the Romantic poets welcome the picturesque in scenery, but also the remote and the unfamiliar in custom and social outlook.
- nature; The Romantic poets regarded nature as a living force and, in a pantheistic vein, as the expression of God in the universe. Nature became a main source of inspiration, a stimulus to thought, a source of comfort and joy, and a means to convey moral truths.
- poetic diction. As regards poetic technique, breaking free from models and rules, the Romantic poets searched for a new, individual style through the choice of a language and subject suitable to poetry. The problem of poetic diction was a central issue in Romantic aesthetics. More vivid and familiar words began to replace the artificial circumlocutions of 18th-century diction; symbols and images lost their decorative function to assume a vital role as the vehicles of the inner visionary perceptions.
- The Gothic novel
- Setting: mysterious abbeys and convents with hidden passages and dungeons; isolated castles; ruins; night-time
- Narrative technique: complex plots; embedded narratives
- Characters: the wanderer or outcast in perpetual exile; heroine afflicted with unreal terrors and persecuted by a villain; supernatural beings (monsters, vampires, ghosts)
- Themes: horror; evil; atrocities
- The novel of manners
- Setting: upper and middle levels of society; generally in the English countryside
- Narrative technique: third-person narrator; dialogue as the main narrative mode; use of irony
- Characters: the country gentry and the urban upper-middle class
- Themes: marriage as social and economic status; the complications of love and friendship; money and property; decorum and propriety
- The historical novel
- Setting: historical context, particularly the period of the Middle Ages
- Narrative technique: mix of historical truths and fiction; Sir Walter Scott: extensive use of Scottish dialect to celebrate the glorious past of the country and its independence from England; Alessandro Manzoni: no regional inflections to create a national consciousness
- Characters: national heroes
- Themes: national identity; history as the product of human decisions