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AP Seminar King Lear: Introduction. Shakespeare’s Language. Yes, Shakespeare’s language is considered Modern English! His diction is difficult to understand because Some of his words are no longer used. Some of his words have changed in meaning. His sentences are unique in that

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shakespeare s language
Shakespeare’s Language
  • Yes, Shakespeare’s language is considered Modern English!
  • His diction is difficult to understand because
    • Some of his words are no longer used.
    • Some of his words have changed in meaning.
  • His sentences are unique in that
    • He often uses anastrophe.
    • The verb often precedes the subject (e.g., goes he rather than he goes).
    • The subject often is placed between two parts of a verb phrase (e.g., he does go rather than go he does).
    • The object often precedes the subject and verb (e.g., Him I hit rather than I hit him).
    • Sometimes the verb precedes the subject and the object precedes the subject and verb: “Such unconstant stars are we like[ly] to have from him” (I.ii.347-348).
    • Sometimes words that are normally together are separated.
    • Sometimes basic sentence elements are held back until subordinate material is presented.
    • Sometimes words are omitted.
  • Shakespeare’s unique syntax helps to
    • Maintain the rhythm (usually iambic pentameter).
    • Heighten the emotional intensity of the scene.
  • Pay close attention to Shakespeare’s use of prose and poetry. Who speaks in prose? When? What is its effect? Who speaks in poetry? When? What is its effect?
  • At times, it is helpful to rearrange the words in sentences.
video links
Video Links
  • “St. Crispin’s Day Speech” from Henry V:
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptqev-KEmhU
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luqr-UX_oSM&feature=related
  • “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” from Macbeth:
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZnaXDRwu84
  • “Seven Ages of Man” from As You Like It:
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziXqEX6AwKA
dialectical journal
Dialectical Journal
  • Four observations and interpretations per entry (12 total entries):
    • Language (poetry vs. prose, puns, stichomythia, etc.)
    • Nature imagery and symbolism, including references to human nature
    • Irony and paradox
    • Parallel plots
    • Elements of tragedy (tragic flaw, hamartia, peripeteia, anagnorisis, catastrophe, pathos, catharsis)
    • Connections to Oedipus Rex
  • Summary of each Act
  • Three vocabulary words from each Act
important literary terms and concepts
Important Literary Terms and Concepts
  • Archetype: An archetype is a basic model, a prototype, a paradigm, an exemplar; an archetype is atavistic (a throwback) and universal; it is a product of the “collective unconscious.”
  • Imagery and Symbolism:
    • Nature
    • Eclipses
    • Storms
  • Paradox: A seemingly contradictory statement, which upon further analysis makes sense; that which sounds impossible but is actually possible; a side-by-side play on contradictory ideas that clash and reconcile simultaneously.
    • The paradox of blindness!
    • The paradox of the fool!
  • Pun: A pun is a play on words, which Shakespeare uses quite frequently.
  • Stichomythic dialogue (stichomythia) and antilabe: Alternating individual lines of verse between two speakers.
  • Motifs and Themes
  • Tone
  • Tragedy
    • Tragic Hero
    • Tragic Flaw
    • Hamartia
    • Rising Action or Complication
    • Falling Action, Unraveling or Denouement
    • Climax or Crisis
    • Peripeteia—Reversal)
    • Anagnorisis—Recognition
    • Catastrophe
    • Resolution
    • Catharsis
motifs and themes
Motifs and Themes
  • Motif: a recurring element (e.g., object, idea, character type, or theme) or contrasting elements in a work of literature that helps to illuminate theme.
  • Theme: a common, recurring topic seen throughout a literary work; or a prominent and oftentimes abstract idea in a literary work.
  • When asked to explore how a motif (e.g., a Bar Mitzvah, a Bat Mitzvah, or a Quinceañera) helps to illuminate a theme, make sure to identify a prominent idea (e.g., empathy, not age, equals maturity) in addition to a common, recurring topic (e.g., coming of age).
  • Example
    • Motif :
      • Ultima and Tenorio
      • Compassionate, benevolent daughter (Cordelia) and scheming, malevolent daughters (Goneril and Regan)
      • Loyal son (Edgar) and a scheming, Machiavellian son (Edmund)
    • Theme (Topic): Good vs. Evil; Loyalty vs. Betrayal
    • Theme (Prominent Idea): For good to truly triumph over evil, we must learn to forgive those who perform evil deeds.
slide8

Paradox: A seemingly contradictory statement, which upon further analysis makes sense; that which sounds impossible but is actually possible; a side-by-side play on contradictory ideas that clash and reconcile simultaneously. Paradoxdeals with an apparent logical contradiction; irony deals with an incongruity between what is expected and what occurs, what is said and what is meant.

Examples:

  • “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”
  • “It’s the little things in life that are colossal.”
  • “Stone walls do not a prison make.”
  • “None so blind as those that will not see.”
  • Although blind, Teiresias sees more clearly than Oedipus who can see.
  • By exercising freewill, Oedipus fulfills fate!
stichomythic dialogue stichomythia alternating individual lines of verse between two speakers
Stichomythic dialogue (stichomythia): Alternating individual lines of verse between two speakers
  • A technique used to provide contrast to long speeches
  • A technique used to present thesis and antithesis, questions and answer, argument and refutation.
  • A technique that allowed playwrights to distinguish for the audience one masked actor from another
  • A technique used to heighten the drama
  • Usually occurs at moments of high tension
  • Usually structured in parallel lines of verse
  • Sometimes structured using antilabe
tragedy
Tragedy
  • An action of great magnitude is at the center of the plot.
  • Pathos (that which evokes pity or sympathy) is an essential element of the play.
  • The plot is carefully sequenced, moving from the complication to the unraveling or denouement.
    • Rising Action orComplication (i.e., the rising action): Prologue to turning point (i.e., crisis or climax)
    • Unraveling or denouement (i.e., the falling action): Turning point (i.e., crisis or climax) to the resolution
    • Complicated plots involve reversal (peripeteia), which is a sudden change or reversal of circumstance or fortune, and recognition (anagnorisis), which is a change from ignorance to knowledge.
    • A catastrophe occurs, which usually spirals outward: not only does the tragic hero suffer, but his family also suffers, thus producing pathos (great sorrow and pity, which evokes empathy).
    • A catharsis occurs, which is a purification or purging of emotions, a spiritual renewal.
tragic hero
Tragic Hero
  • He is elevated to a high status and position in society, and he possesses noble stature and greatness.
  • While he embodies nobility and virtue, he is flawed.
  • His downfall or demise is due in part to freewill, an error in judgment (i.e., hamartia) associated with a tragic flaw (e.g., hubris).
  • His downfall or demise is due in part to fate.
  • His misfortune is not wholly deserved; the punishment exceeds the crime.
  • He gains awareness, insight, and self-knowledge as a result of his fall from grace.