Shakespeare is no doubt, the most influential playwright to have ever existed. His ability to weave fantastical themes with realistic desires of love, greed and upward mobility has created a multitude of plays that pushes the audience’s imagination. As I was reviewing my old blog posts about the various works that we have read in our class, I have come to realize that what had captured my imagination, my attention about Shakespeare’s plays is not only the various villains in his plays, but specifically the physical and psychological connection of a villain and their intent to become bitter and hateful towards the other characters.
All of my posts specifically target a physical aspect that creates the bitterness or hatred in the plays. In my first blog I focused on the themes of eyes. I had, unknowingly, named the eyes as a type of villain, because of their reliance to fool the characters in the comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which the love potion is applied to the character’s eyes and causing them to fall in love with the wrong characters. My second blog post focused on the play, Much Ado About Nothing and the hatred of Don John, because of being physically born as not only an illegitimate heir, but the first-born son, similar to the story of Cain and Abel and Jacob and his brothers; and in my Richard the III blog, I had focused on the how the deformity of Richard has caused a bitterness because of the lack of being loved by others.
Although the nature of blogs in connecting how physical aspects of a character can cause psychological strife for the other, had not changed, I had come to realize that my blogs had become less narrow. Unlike in the first blog which was specifically the use of eyes in Shakespeare’s plays, I had veered into the relationship of Don John and Don Pedro, to the overall topic of why Richard is so bitter. Since I am interested in why Shakespeare creates such brilliant villains, I can see how my blogs had turned to something specific to something broad. Shakespeare’s plays, especially his tragedies, leave such an open, unanswered reason to why someone can become evil. In his comedies that we had explored in class, sometimes the answer is obvious to why the villains are villains such as Iago and Malvolio, who both want a chance for upward mobility. But even these villains, as we discussed have an unexplained element of why they do the things that they do and the damage that they like to cause to others. It is never clear with Shakespeare to why these people are bad. Again some obvious signs like my posts had pointed out are the psychological in connection with the physical aspects of being evil. Being born as an illegitimate heir, sharing half your DNA with a royal, but being denied and hated because the other half is not or is not married to your father, is a physical aspect. Furthermore this theme is also applied with the idea of physical deformity with Richard III. This is paralleled nicely with the destruction and chaos caused by these characters which brings a physical deformity of societal rights which is something that I would love to revisit.
Society plays such a huge impact in Shakespeare’s plays that going back to continue to talk about how the conventional societal “love” is created in Shakespeare’s world, or how society during his time viewed disability and illegitimate heirs is something that I would have like to further develop and investigate in my blogs. I was able to touch lightly upon those ideas, but I would love to go back and actually analyze each societal setting. I have also noticed the reflection that Shakespeare’s plays have on modern and early literature such as the Bible and Frankenstein. Creating a character analysis of the monster and other biblical figures such as Cain and Abel, and how Richard III is like Saul is another surprising aspect of Shakespeare’s plays that I would like to have developed more.
I definitely enjoy and learn a lot from the weekly blogs. What I have noticed that I had started to do since reading the weekly blogs is slowly adding in the perspective of society of Shakespeare’s time. I have looked more and more into what the people and society back during this era consider as good or bad. Furthermore the other ideas and perspectives of my classmates, help me notice things that I would have never noticed or take into consideration. In fact whenever I read plays I tend to never analyze the importance of stage directions but there is many times in which I have read a post about stage directions and the scene suddenly becomes clearer and I can grasp the propensity of the scene. But what I truly enjoy in the weekly blogs are the comments. I love to read how I can further explore a topic or how I need to narrow my topic further. I like the constructive criticism behind each and every comment I create and receive from my fellow classmates, so we can all understand Shakespeare a little bit more than we did before.