Saturday, October 27, 2012

Exploring Shakespeare's Themes and Characters: A Reflection on My Blog Posts

Throughout my blog posts, I tend to focus in on one character and the way they function within the given play. I find Shakespeare's attention to characterization to be brilliant and highly developed. For this reason, understanding the characters of the play is a crucial component to understanding how the play works as either a tragedy or a comedy. In other posts, I have also explored how a minor thematic element of the play applies to the whole work. Through exploring the way Shakespeare uses these themes and characters, I found myself writing the answers to many of the questions I myself had about the plays we've read.  So far, blogging has been a way for me to explore my raw thoughts on the plays and see how these thoughts develop further.

My first blog post was titled "The Imaginative and Mysterious Mind of the Dreamer." This post was about the ambiguous nature of reality and the dream world, and how the two realms appear to collide in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." As I revisited this post, I realized that it was surprisingly my favorite one. While the other two posts focus more on characters, this post is much more focused on theme and philosophy in the play. I took the time to do some outside research in this post, and then related it specifically to how the subconscious world  functions in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I recall finishing this blog post, and thinking "I'm starting to understand what Shakespeare was really trying to do here." I believe part of what made this post successful was how I did not simply try to define the play as a tidy little comedy. Instead, I aimed to explore what was unsettling about the play-- the way in which we never know what is and what is not reality.

My second blog post was titled "War and Masculinity: A Look into Claudio's Character."  This post explores how a character (Claudio) associated with masculinity and war victory, becomes a figure of vulnerability in "Much Ado About Nothing." In blog this post, I aimed to show how Claudio's wartime success does not give him the proper sense to succeed in everyday life. When I revisited this post, I really liked that it exposed the weaknesses in Claudio's character and showed the irony behind his association with strength and honor. This post therefore shows how the reality of Claudio's character does not pair up with the initial expectations of a war hero character.

My third post was titled, "Understanding the Motivation behind Richard's Villainy." I must admit that this post was less focused, and did not have a specific angle as the other posts did. This post clearly shows that I had a very undeveloped understanding of Richard's character after only one act. The post is therefore more driven by contemplation and assumption than actual supported analysis. When I went to reread this post, I was slightly shocked that I would post something so unfocused. I think I could have made this a much stronger post by reading ahead and exploring Richard's incredible power to use heartless manipulation to get what he truly desires. This post only touched on the surface of Richard's character, and what really cause him to resort to villainous behavior.

I really enjoy having this blog assignment as part of our class. This assignment allows me to write to a point, and therefore better understand they way aspects of the play function. While class discussion is extremely helpful, the blog assignment challenges me to explore what I find significant in the play. I therefore see this blogging assignment as a means to reflect on the text in a very constructive manner. When I went back to read my blog posts, I realized that the most successful posts were those which had a sense of structure and specific focus. I value that this assignment helps to strengthen my close reading abilities, and ultimately find what is  particularly significant within the text.

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