Monday, March 28, 2011

Reread: Charlotte's Web

For the class I TA, I had to reread Charlotte's Web. I've read it a few times in the past (both when I was younger and when I took Children's Lit a few years back). And I have to say, reading it again felt like revisiting an old friend. There were a few things I didn't remember until after they happened, but otherwise everything was very familiar, especially all of the characters. Charlotte's Web really is a wonderful story and I'm glad I had this chance to reread it.

For those that don't know this story, it is all about the young pig, Wilbur. He discovers that he is going to be killed by the farmer in the winter. His best friend, the grey spider Charlotte, decides that she's going to save him. It really is a lovely tale, and well worth reading, no matter how old you are!

Also, here is a picture that I had drawn on the back inside cover of my copy when I was younger. :)

School Book: 'Tis Pity She's a Whore

Today I read John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. I've never read anything by John Ford before, and this was quite the introduction to his work.

The play starts out with Giovanni telling his tutor that he is in love with his sister. His tutor, a Friar, tells the young man to pray to heaven in the hopes of redemption from this wicked path. But Giovanni goes to tell his sister, Anabella, about his feelings, only to discover that she feels the same way about him. But she is being pressured to choose a husband.

And so this is the story of their incestuous relationship and all of the complications that arise around it. I wasn't expecting the subject matter, but it was a really good play and I really enjoyed reading it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

School Book: The Changeling

Today I read The Changeling by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley. It's the final play that was included in Three Revenge Tragedies. I don't normally like to do this, but I am going to talk about some very specific points in the plot (particularly the ending), so *Spoiler Alert* for anyone who plans on reading it.

I thought The Changeling was a really great read. Like The White Devil, it is about a strong female character, in this case Beatrice-Joanna. Beatrice is due to marry Alonzo by her father's orders within a few days, but she meets and falls in love with Alsemero. Deciding that she would rather marry Alsemero, she enlists the help of De Flores, her father's servant who is in love with her, to off Alonzo so she can be with the man she loves. But De Flores will not be bought off, but instead insists that she pay him with her virginity.

The most surprising thing about this play was the ending. The sub-plot involves two gentlemen who are respecitively feigning being mad and being a fool to gain the love of Isabella, the wife of the Doctor. They are found out, and the Doctor's man, Lollio sets them on a collision course to kill one another. At the same time, because they are both missing from court, they are blamed for Alonzo's death. Alonzo's brother seems ready to go after them in revenge. But none of that happens. Alsemero finds out that Beatrice was unfaithful to him, and he discovers with whom. The two confess to Beatrice's father and Alonzo's brother, but kill themselves before anyone else can make a move. And so they die, but bring everyone else back together.

While I did really like The White Devil, I thought the ending of The Changeling really put it apart from pretty much all of the revenge tragedies I have read so far. There wasn't a big pile of bodies at the end. Instead only the two who deserved death were dead at the end. And by dying by their own hands, no one had to be punished for seeking their own revenge. The Changeling was a fantastic play, which was well-worth reading. It was definitely one of the best out of this class!

School Book: The White Devil

I read The White Devil over a week ago, but I guess I forgot to write about it.

I liked The White Devil a lot more than The Revenger's Tragedy. I think this was partially because The White Devil wasn't built up as much as The Revenger's Tragedy was. It was also a lot easier to figure out what was happening. It also had a lot more happening much quicker than The Revenger's Tragedy.

The White Devil is the story, rather loosely based on the real-life figure, of Vittoria Corombona. Vittoria is married to Camillo, but her brother panders her to his lord, the Duke of Brachiano. They fall in love with each other, and hatch a plot to kill off their spouses so that they can be together. The plot succeeds, but brings about some unexpected complications, such as the ire of a Cardinal, Brachiano's wife's husband, and Lodovico, an Italian count who loved Brachiano's wife. Things quickly get out of hand, ending quite tragically for almost everyone involved.

The White Devil isn't quite as crazy as The Revenger's Tragedy, but I thought it was the better of the two plays. It had a better pace and was just a lot easier to relate to. And the character of Vittoria was far better crafted than any of the characters from The Revenger's Tragedy.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

School Book: The Revenger's Tragedy

Like Women Beware Women, Three Revenge Tragedies has multiple plays in it (The Revenger's Tragedy, The White Devil and The Changeling). Like the plays in Women Beware Women, I'll write about these plays separately

Today I finished reading The Revenger's Tragedy. I was rather excited to read it because a few people have told me that it's really good. And it was pretty good, once you can figure out what's happening. I think the main problem is that the protagonist enters the play already seeking revenge. It seemed to take a lot to figure out what had happened to make him want revenge against both the Duke and his son. But not knowing what had happened didn't really hamper the play. It still built up momentum and came to a fantastic (and somewhat hilarious) conclusion.
So even though it seemed a bit tough to figure out the beginning of the play, it was a great read. This is another one which I heartily recommend!