War Poet : Edward Thomas

Biography Edward Thomas was educated at Oxford University where he studied history. He was known as a critic and as an essayist. He wrote a lot (mainly reviews) but did not get much money. Thomas started writing poetry in 1913 when he met Robert Frost, who encouraged him to write verse. December 1914 saw his first poems. Thomas was 37, married and with family when he enlisted in 1915 because of social pressure. He died on Easter Day 1917, without […]

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War Poet : Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

Biography Brooke's poems were very famous and influential. His War Sonnets, published in 1915, caught very well the mood of the time. He was born in 1887 in a very wealthy family and was educated at Rugby School and at King's college, Cambridge. He was said to be strikingly handsome and the unfair reasons why he was considered a popular war poet was because of both his 5 poems dealing with war and his appearance. In fact, Brooke's experience of […]

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World War One poetry : a problematic issue

Introduction War poetry is not a school of poetry in itself but it played a tremendous part since it inspired a new birth of inspiration. It was a totally new experience: nothing like that before in poetry, no war like WW1 before. War had already been a subject for poetry but never with such feelings. In English consciousness, in 1914, war was fought by processionals away from home and many people thought it glamorous. Before 1914, war poems would have […]

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Richard III : Order and Disorder, the Elizabethan problem

It is very often an issue in Shakespeare's plays. It deals with order and degree: each thing in the Universe has a place in a scale of things. It is more than a political doctrine: it implies a metaphysical organization of the Universe, which is also linked with theology. We can"t find an exponent of this doctrine, it is everywhere at the back of people's minds. It is a world picture in the collective unconscious consciousness. Disorder is the equivalent […]

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Richard III : the ambiguity of Richard's evil

I. The Vice Was the favourite character in medieval morality plays. He is both an intriguer and a deceiver. He creates laughter and engages the audience's sympathy in a conspirational relationship. Richard generates a special relation between word and deed. He tells the audience what he is going to do, then does it and finally recalls what he did: his soliloquies and asides create a feeling of conspiracy. The Vice was also a figure of carnival, who fights the established […]

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A Midsummer Night's Dream : a comedy

Introduction Shakespeare has used many genres to convey his stories, especially comedies, tragedies and historical plays. A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy. A comedy is a kind of drama which is intended primarily to entertain the audience and which usually ends unhappily for the characters. There are: romantic comedies: revolving around love (As you like it). satiric comedies: see French playwright Molière. I - A Midsummer Night's Dream and the convention of comedy Shakespeare was influenced by the concept […]

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Structure in A Midsummer Night's Dream

I - Characters and structure Multiplicity of lines. A Midsummer Night's Dream is remarkable for the many levels of its text. The play is different from Romeo and Juliet or the Taming of the Shrew (which have one main plot) because of the various levels of plots and characters. There are 4 levels: Theseus and Hippolyta, the young lovers, the mechanicals, and the fairies. There are connections between: Theseus & Hippolyta and the young lovers: made by Theseus, member of […]

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Introduction to A Midsummer Night's Dream

Place of the play in Shakespeare's work A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of the most famous and successful Shakespeare's plays. The play is part of the early work of Shakespeare (1554-1616), it was written and performed in 1595-1596, just after The Taming of the Shrew and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. There is a connection between Pyramus & Thisbe and Romeo & Juliet: one character kills himself because he thought his love is dead (tragedy of misunderstanding). It proves […]

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Background of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Introduction The characters are set in a given space and time. Shakespeare draws his material from a large body of social background, historical facts and myth: let us see the Greek background, the May festivities, and the fairies and spirits. I - Greek background The play is set in early Greece, in Athens. It is unexpected as so much of the play seems so typically England. Shakespeare was writing at the time where antiquity was the cultural reference, although the […]

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The dramatic quality in "Macbeth"

The order of sins are always strategically ordered : In Act I scene 2, Duncan is told about Macbeth's valorous qualities and Cawdor's sins. In act I scene 3, the witches call Macbeth successively "Thane of Glamis", "Thane of Cawdor" and "King". It creates dramatic irony: we know something about the character that he still ignores. Moreover, the technique of using a prophecy, that is to say a prolepsis tends to add tension and suspense. Violence is present throughout the […]

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Political questions in "Macbeth"

Political questions are typical of the Renaissance: it is due to the inheritance of rulers by divine right. Malcolm, the oldest of Duncan"s sons, is declared heir to the throne and Prince of Cumberland. Like Richard, Macbeth wants to disrupt the natural order of things. At the end of Macbeth, just like in Richard III, the natural order is restored ("Hail, King of Scotland") and the divine right is respected. The feudal social organization is based on duty, loyalty and […]

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Introduction to "Macbeth"

Introduction to "Macbeth" photo

Macbeth was written by Shakespeare between 1603 and 1606, between Caesar and Hamlet. It is the story of a murderer and usurper, like Richard III or Claudius (Hamlet) from crime to crime to achieve security. Macbeth is a villain but a more humanized character compared to Richard. Macbeth is a noble and gifted man. He chooses treachery and crime, knows them for what they are and is totally aware he is doing evil. Evil is concentrated in Macbeth and Lady […]

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