Why Literature How to travel time

Why Literature? To be honest I don't know, or better I am trying to give an answer to that question. I have never thought about it as something indispensable, that without it the world would fall apart. I have always believed that Maths, Science and Physics were the ones that I needed to study hard in order to succeed in life or to become what my parents wanted me to be. So I decided to take on board this opportunity and use this diary as a record of my progresses in finding my answer.

The Canterbury Tales

We approached The Canterbury Tales in a more simple version, of course we analyzed some parts in the original language, such as the description of the Wife of bath, The Prioress and the Merchant, but we read The Canterbury Tales Retold in order to understand the main features of the story and the plot.

The Wife of Bath

In the General Prologue Chaucer describes the Wife of Bath, or Dame Alice. "Wife" is her status in society, even though she's actually a widow. She enjoys going to pilgrimages because she wants to find a wealthy man to become her sixth husband.

The Prioress

The character of the Prioress is a very contradiction, because she's a religious figure but she doesn't behave like one. The thing that surprised me the most it's the rosary she wears around her neck, with the motto "Amor vincit omnia" that concerns worldly profane love instead of divine love, that she should practice.

The Merchant

The merchant is an example of the rising middle class, he is fashionable because he's wearing clothes that were current fashion at the time. He constantly boast about his profits, even though he's actually in debt, but he's very able to hide it, because in medieval England being in debt was a sign of weak morals and vulnerability.

William Shakespeare

The Great Bard

The Bard lived in the Elizabethian Period, at that time the society was really violent, and that's why all his plays reflect this sense of brutality. The audience love to see bloodshelds on stage. As a matter of fact, Shakespeare didn't write his plays in order to be read, he wrote his plays because he wanted to be performed and played, that's why, in my opinion, reading only his plays can't release all their potential.

He coined hundreds of new words and expressions that we still use today, of course some of them were commonly used at the time but he was the first one that wrote them down. Both in class and at home we worked a lot about that issue and also about Shakespearean insults, and we ended up writing our own.

Shakespearean Sonnets

My Mistress' Eyes - Sonnet 130

Sonnet 130

We read this sonnet on the first days of March, it is peculiar because Shakespeare is sudverting the principles of the courtly love, in fact he is describing a real, flesh and bones woman, not as a statue as Petrarch and Dante used to describe their lover. So in this way we are able to know that the poet values her with very strong positive feelings, and not only with regard.

Shall I compare Thee to a Summer's Day - Sonnet 18

Sonnet 18

This sonnet is very particular because starts with a question and the main theme is beauty, or better the beauty during the youth, because only art, or literature in this case, is immortal, it will exists as long as someone will stare at it, but beauty, love, life, and youth are subjected to the incessant passing of time (final couplet). Shakespeare is making references to the beauty of the addressee, that in this case is the Earl Of Southampton.

Like as the Waves - Sonnet 60

Sonnet 60

Shakespeare wrote this sonnet during his youth, he's warning the reader about the incessantly pass of time and how it affects humans. He also deals with the different stages of the human life and how time is responsible of the downfall of men.

Hamlet

Hamlet in short

I decided to start this post with this quote from "Survivor" of Chuck Palahniuk, it definitely makes a reference to the Hamlet of Shakespeare that we analyzed just a few days ago in class. The quotation highlights the power we have on our own life, the power we have to stop it whenever we want, the power to lead it in the direction we prefer and the power to decide to live, or not. That was Hamlet's main dilemma, he was a Philosophy student and thought that the only power he could exercitate toward his own life was the decision to end it, when and how.

I really liked this tragedy because there are different themes at stake, like the constant ambiguity between death and life and between what is real and what it's not real. Hamlet's fatal flow is the constant procrastination of revenge, in fact throughout the development of the plot, Shakespeare counterposes ACTION and INACTION (thinking).

"Hamlet meets the ghost"

In this text, from act 1, scene 5 Hamlet meets his father's ghost, that says him that king Claudius killed him and want his son to take revenge. To be honest, I didn't like the character of the father, because asked his own son to kill his uncle, ruining his son's life. No father should ask his son to kill someone for him, in fact if king Hamlet didn't asked Hamlet to do so, he would have been happily married with Ophelia, but of course, that wouldn't have been possible because otherwise this wouldn't have been a tragedy.

"To be or not to be"

"To be or not to be"

Those are the most popular verses that Shakespeare have ever written on life and death (act 3, scene 1). Hamlet deals with the injustices he has to bear as a human being and reflects upon why he can't control his own life and why he's aware of things but he isn't be able to lead them; so he starts thinking about suicide, that in this case it isn't something that makes him a coward, but makes him someone who wants to take control of his own life.

"Ha! Have you eyes?"

In this text (act 3, scene 4), Hamlet abuses his mother verbally and physically because he just realized that the ghost was right and Claudius did really killed his father and now his mother, the Queen, is sleeping with him. At the end of the conversation Hamlet accidentally stabs Polonius (Ophelia's father) that was hiding behind a curtain, because he thought he was Claudius. From now on Hamlets loses his common sense and becomes really mad.

The play ends when all the main characters are dead, the only one that it's still living is Horatio, Hamlet's friend, who is responsible to tell Hamlet's story.

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet in short
Created By
Anna Barato
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