on Wednesday, February 20, 2013
How does reading a play differ from reading a novel?

  • Reading a play differs greatly from reading a novel. In a play, all you have to go off of is the characters' dialogue and a few stage directions. Because plays are written to be performed, not read, you have to do much more inference about the characters and their emotions than you would if you were reading a novel.
How might your interpretation of Twelfth Night be different is it was a novel
  • Twelfth Night might be much easier for modern readers to understand if it were written as a novel. Much of the humor of the play is lost on modern readers, and if they were given context clues around to dialogue, it might be easier to tell when characters are being funny.
How does watching the movie differ from reading the play?
  • Watching the movie version of Twelfth Night helps greatly with the reader's understanding of the action of the play. Because there is little description in the play, it can be hard to picture the events of the story. Seeing the play being performed by actors in accurate settings helps greatly withe a reader's understanding of the story.
on Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Antonio is certainly not one of the most prominent characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, but he does display some of the most eminent themes in the play, such as a love that triumphs over first impressions and appearances. Antonio rescues Sebastian, the twin brother of Viola, from the shipwreck that separated him from his sister (Shakespeare 60). Antonio is very sympathetic to Sebastian, listening to his tragic story and expressing his distress for Sebastian’s hardship (Shakespeare 60). Something in Antonio’s nature makes Sebastian feel that Antonio, “will not extort from [him] what [Sebastian] is willing to keep in,” and therefore, he tells Antonio of his true identity (Shakespeare 60). Antonio is very selfless when it comes to Sebastian, asking him, when he hears of his plans to leave, “will you stay no longer, nor will you not that I go with you?” (Shakespeare 60). When Sebastian refuses to let Antonio come with him, he says that taking him along would be, “a bad recompense for [Sebastian’s] love to lay any of [his bad luck] on [Antonio],” (Shakespeare 60). It is obvious that Antonio cares deeply for Sebastian, and vice versa. Sebastian mentions several times, “all [Antonio] has done for [him],” suggesting that Sebastian has been staying with Antonio for a while, recovering from his near-drowning. After Sebastian departs for Orsino’s court, Antonio, despairs that he cannot follow him, as he has enemies there. However, Antonio declares of Sebastian, “I do adore thee so / That danger shall seem sport, and I will go” (Shakespeare 62). This declaration showcases Antonio’s ardent dedication to Sebastian, and suggests that he may have romantic feelings toward him.

Work Cited:

Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. No Fear Shakespeare ed. New York: Spark Publishing, 2003. Print.
on Thursday, November 22, 2012
Jean-Antione Watteau was a real person - a 16th century French artist, who lived to be only thirty-six years old. This diary entry is fiction, written by yours truly, but all of the major details are historically accurate.
14 June 1721

I can no longer get out of my bed. The pains in my chest have become too strong, and I am becoming frail. This is not a sudden development; in fact, I hadn’t expected to last as long as I have. Each day I have been active less and less, many times at the disapproval of the AbbĂȘ. He wishes me to rest more, to conserve my strength. I know, however, from my lapses in health throughout my entire life, that it is no use. I know my body. I know my level of endurance. I knew, even before I became bedridden, before I consulted the Doctor, that it is unlikely I will recover from this period of ailment. Doctor Mead’s concoctions have done me little, if any good, and the damp, polluted air of London certainly did not help. I believe it is only a matter of time for me now. God has made his position clear. I see no point in praying.

on Thursday, November 8, 2012
The song “Somewhere Only We Know,” by the band Keane is filled to the brim with symbolism and metaphor. The entire song, written by Tom Chaplin, Richard Hughes, and Tim Rice-Oxely, has a resigned, nostalgic, and sometimes ever mournful tone. The lyrics, instrumentals, and vocal performance set this song apart from the common fair of Top-Forties and twenty-four hour radio. To those who do stumble upon it, it is a welcome break, and an auditory treat.
on Wednesday, October 31, 2012
13 February 1795

Dearest reader,

I will be gone by the time you read this. After I write I shall hide this diary in the floorboards. No one will find it in my lifetime. That may not be a very good estimate of time, however. I don't know how long I shall live. To be perfectly honest, I could be writing to no one. This diary could easily be lost in a fire, or used for tinder, or it may disintegrate before anyone ever pulls up the rotting floorboards of our home. But write I must. These thoughts build up inside of me, rattling against the inside of my skull, pounding through my veins. Traitorous thoughts. Dangerous thoughts. Revolutionary thoughts.

No one must know how I feel about the revolution. Such views are treason, against the king, and the entire royal family. Against Papa. Papa is a baron. I shall not name him for fear of these writings being found too soon, for fear of my safety, and his.

Papa detests the revolution. He calls the peasants and common-folk greedy bastards. He says they deserve what they get.

If Papa was forced to state favor for any of the revolutionaries, though, it would be Robespierre. He thinks he is a traitor, but a driven one. His ends are detestable, but his means are admirable. Whenever his says this it makes me nauseous.

I don't agree with Papa. I never understood how he could watch as people starved, and died of illness, or lack of food. How he could deny them the simple things he takes for granted on a daily basis. How he cared more about how his meat was cooked than whether others has meat at all.

At night, I write constitutions for a new republic by candlelight, when everyone else in the manor is asleep. I draft up laws distributing food equally for all the people in France, providing healing whenever it was needed. I envisioned a France where people could be actors and painters and musicians and architects, or whatever they enjoyed. A France free of poverty and disease, of famine and hardship.

I know I am idealistic. Even if the revolutionaries accomplished something besides condemning every nobleman they could find to death by guillotine and gorging themselves with rich food.

Each night I burn what I write - all my constitutions and laws and visions gone in ashes and smoke. The parchment crumbles in my hands like broken, flaky dreams. Each time I am tempted to set fire to my fancy dresses, my canopied bed, the artwork on our walls.

I never do. I go to sleep with sooty fingers and dream useless, blackened dreams.


Marvella Beaudette
on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On the surface, Homer’s Odysseus seems like an ideal hero. He is brave, and strong, and as handsome as the gods. He is clever as well, as he easily tricks the Cyclops Polyphemus, and he can think on his feet, as is proved by the elaborate story he tells Eumaeus. Odysseus is adored by almost everyone; Circe, Calypso, and Nausicaa all fall in love with him almost instantly, and Athena goes out of her way to get him home safely. The only character in the Odyssey that doesn’t like Odysseus seems to be Poseidon, and his dislike was spurred by Odysseus’s blinding of his son, Polyphemus, and act which, to be fair, Odysseus only did in order it save his live and those of his crew.

Upon studying his character further, however, Odysseus is not as heroic as he might seem at a first glance. He is self centered and moody, and he is twice unfaithful to his wife, first with Circe, then with Calypso. He obviously thinks very highly of himself, and while he claims to have remorse over the deaths of the majority of his crew, he doesn’t shed many tears over it. He thinks nothing of pillaging unprotected towns after the sacking of Troy, and seems to be showered with riches wherever he goes. Additionally, no one in the story seems aware of Odysseus’s flaws. Odysseus is painted as a virtuous character in the eyes of all but the reader, and because of this, he seems egotistical and is easy to resent.

By the standards of his time, Odysseus is the epitome of a hero, but to a modern reader, he falls short of the praise he is given within the poem.
on Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The heroes of modern day are vastly different than those of classic hero stories such as The Odyssey. Because of this, heroes have evolved with the times, and the hero stories of today still follow the archetypal pattern of the Hero’s Journey. Take, for example, the 2012 superhero movie The Avengers, which was based on the Marvel comic books. Upon analyzing both stories, it is possible to find many similarities as well as differences between the heroes and environments of the Avengers, and that of Homer’s heroes.

Odysseus, the hero of the Odyssey, has few, if any flaws – he is brave, strong, and wise. Homer wrote his heroes to be personifications of all the admirable qualities of his society. In modern stories, like the Avengers, the heroes are more often obviously flawed. Tony Stark (also known as Iron Man), one of the heroes of the Avengers, is openly known to be, “volatile [and] self-obsessed,” and all of the heroes have issues getting along with one another. In modern times this is common. By showing that even characters with superhuman abilities have legitimate faults, it makes the heroes seem human, and more relatable than those of Homer.

However, both the heroes of the Avengers and the Odyssey
have demons and inner conflicts aside from the main plot of the story. For example, while Odysseus is forced to stay on the island of Calypso, he is constantly tortured with a longing for his home and for his family. Each of the Avengers has their own internal struggle as well. Natasha (the Black Widow) feels that she has, “red in [her] ledger,” and is determined to cancel out her past wrongdoings, and Bruce Banner grapples with keeping his anger – and by extension his transformations into the Hulk – in check.

Upon closer examination, it is possible to find parallels between other major elements of the plots of these two stories. These parallels can largely be attributed to the Hero’s Journey, an archetypal pattern that every hero story follows. For example, Olympic gods and goddesses play a major role in the story of the Odyssey, as they both help and hinder Odysseus, the hero of the story. In the Avengers, the secretive council that Nick Fury (the head of SHEILD) consults with mirrors the involvement of the Greek gods in the Odyssey, with Fury playing the role of Athena, who comes to the gods pleading the case of the hero. The gods and the council look on the hero[s] of the story positively – for the most part. However, when the council doubts the ability of the Avengers (and, similarly, when Odysseus harms a relative of Poseidon), the heroes of the story fall out of their favor.

The Odyssey and the Avengers can be compared and contrasted in even more ways than those aforementioned. The eternal archetypes of the hero and the Hero’s Journey make comparing stories from different times easy and the possibilities endless. However, each story has managed to remain unique, a fact that pays tribute to the magic that the Hero’s Journey creates.