As we’re now into the 6th month of what is being described as the worse financial crisis since The Great Depression, we’re beginning to sort out what is happening and what we might have to do about it. Of course there are always two (or three) schools of thought about how we should proceed. But which one we choose depends on how we define the problem.
Please take a listen. After you have, post what you think. We thought September 11th was the defining moment of your young lives, but this crisis will be what determines our futures.
There are also some associated links on the episode page (like a senator and Treasury Sec. Geithner commenting about how good this episode was, in their very “senate-hearing” boring manner) or links to the Planet Money blog/PodCast which details different elements of the economic system what they mean/do.
One last element that I would like you to consider: how does this audio episode make itself persuasive? Is it primarily logos, ethos, or pathos? Consider if it is persuasive at all. What do you think its overall aim is? Do they have an agenda (a preconceived conclusion that they would like you to walk away with)? Or do the reporters seem even-handed? And what techniques do they use to build their ethos about this complicated topic? How do you feel after listening?
Here are different takes to pose the question of staging and blocking. And with the film medium, there’s another character: the camera. All of this must be kept in the mind when working out a scene. Here are three forms of Hamlet’s famous “soliloquy.” The first is from my favorite version, Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet (1996), a nearly 4 hour masterpiece. The next two are with Ethan Hawke from 2000 who is dark, brooding, lonesome in a world full of replications (notice that he’s in the Action aisle). The second take is spliced with various other scenes that occur later–visual foreshadowing, you might say (Julia Stiles plays Ophelia); the director also chooses an ingenious toy for the soliloquy: video. The fourth has a very very different sense of the text… see for yourself:
As now many of you know (not necessarily relish, but know in a sad way), you have been flying blind. You have very little of the nuts and bolts to build much of anything resembling comprehension. Your plentiful lack of vocabulary knowledge has led many of you to waste your efforts in simply reading words, rather than actively producing knowledge and understanding. So look to’t! And do not read without a dictionary.
Likewise, even if you are able to produce meaning, then you’re left with a second problem: what is going on onstage? That must be supplied partly by your understanding of the lines themselves, for Shakespeare often includes stage directions within his characters’ lines (“Shall I strike it with my partisan?” or “Sit we down now.”)
Next comes the most essential level: what is going on inside each character’s brain? Not just what why are they saying what they’re saying… No, more. In fact, Hamlet‘s characters are so pregnant with thought that even when alone and speaking out their own thoughts, they are thinking about what they are saying. There is never a time when someone simply says, “This is what I think and that’s that.” No. They listen to themselves and others, their minds change, they strike upon new ideas, they interrupt themselves and others. They are very much like real people who don’t know the right answer until it strikes in their brain like an electric shock. That’s why Hamlet’s soliloquies (the real soliloquies, when no one else is on stage) are challenging: he is listening to himself and changing his own mind based on his observing his own thoughts. Much like reasoning aloud.
I have found a solid resource that I think does a fine job of working on the multiple levels without resorting to simplistic “translation” (I use the word fearfully, for Shakespeare is different not in kind, but in degree). It can be found at http://www.clicknotes.com/hamlet/. There is text, notes on the text (much more plentiful than your school book editions), and summaries which go into the to whys and wherefores (to be redundant) of the characters’ language.
If you’re still having difficulty, I recommend that you turn to that web page, if you haven’t already.
We started off the period with a syntax worksheet. Remember: when you are measuring syntax, place dashes over the periods for “periods are hard to see, dashes are not.” Pretty much the rest of the period was spent discussing Hamlet.
Key points in Hamlet:
·Taking notes on Hamlet and all other literary works from the Renaissance is wise. It makes it easier to retain information.
· The long passages are poetic and therefore contain many metaphors; they also have anti-cliches which in turn, gives them status.
· Shakespeare was pro-monarch. His beliefs were that democracy would destroy man and that with democracy there would be corruption and chaos. With rule by the common, society is enslaved. If this doesn’t make sense we have another way of putting it: society is ruled by the “stupid people.”
· Most things in Hamlet relate to the Great Chain of Being. This includes the sick king. We discussed how the king’s impairments are the state’s as well. There is corruption in the government when the king is sick.
· In the play, the Great Chain of Being had been disrupted. Hamlet was not ready to take the thrown and his uncle was power hungry, concluding that Claudius became king.
·Also, it is said that when the GCoB is disrupted, the dead walk the street. This is perhaps a reason for the “pretentious figure” appearing.
Act 1 scene 2: king’s speech
· Fear of attack is spreading but the king must reassure his subjects. He starts by addressing the recent funeral, then with parallel structure, discusses the recent marriage. He is looking to balance things.
·Claudius mentions that the advisors agreed with the decision of him becoming king; this gained the trust of the people and made them believe it was wise.
·He speaks in the plural; monarchs refer to themselves this way because they have 2 bodies: the physical body and the spiritual body of the state.
·Claudius brushes off the subject of Fortinbras. Controversial!
*TIP: read the passage slowly and out loud. It’s a play its meant to be read aloud.
We started class off with a syntax worksheet with an excerpt from The Fanatics by Eric Hoffer. The author used the anaphora “without him” to emphasize the absence of “him.” Also the length of the final sentence is contrasting in length to the ones before it. This creates a greater impact because of its short and abrupt length compared to those before it. It helps to put slashes on the periods, so you can better see the length of the sentence.
On a side note (yes, 5th period has lots of these):
The correct meaning of the word litter is any garbage that is not in the garbage can. So, if you see a litter of kittens throw them in the nearest garbage can, they’re out of place.
We also reviewed Hamlet. Act 1 confronts many things that are amiss in the kingdom of Old Hamlet. These include:
·They are preparing for war
·THERE IS A GHOST!
·The ghost violates the order that maintains the structure of the universe
Some more Hamlet notes:
·Hamlet contains the hierarchy structure
·King above the people
·The modern power structure goes from the bottom up so people control the government
·English speaking countries have always restrained their emotion thus allowing the established order, democracy, to survive
·You should get your own book to keep your own notes
·The superiors in the book (queen, king, prince) speak in a more complex English
·Hamlet is a poem so you have to open your eyes to the metaphors
Kings Speech, Act 1 Scene 2 Lines 1-39
·King Claudius tells country to move on from the death of Old Hamlet
·He uses paradox to make an argument for his marriage
·He partly blames his advisors and countrymen for his wrong doings as to make his action seem less unpleasant
Read the book slowly to recognize the logical reasoning of the characters.