IB English Group Blog

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Notes on Setting: A Doll's House and The Lion and the Jewel

A Doll's House:

  • The setting of this play is very simple and the set is limited; all the action takes place in one room. The effect of this is a sense of being trapped, and contributes to the realism of the action.
  • There are no outside scenes. This means that the characters describe outside action, and the audience is forced to imagine if they want to fully experience the play
  • The action is very focused by the setting of this play. Since there is little else to look at besides the actors, the attention of the audience is directed towards the actors.
  • Since the action is so limited by the setting, the time scale of this play seems much more realistic. This makes the play as a whole very beleivable for the audience.
  • A Doll's House is set in the 1890s, which contributes to the development of the female characters. Without this important element in the setting, the play would not be able to take place, as Nora would have been allowed to sign the bond on her own

The Lion and the Jewel:

  • This play is mainly set outdoors. This makes it more difficult to create realistically in a theatre
  • Baroka's palace, the other main location for the play highlights the contrast between Baroka and Lakunle, Sidi's other suitor, with his schoolhouse. The palace is lavish compared to the simple schoolhouse
  • Sidi is the main character, and as such we see her travelling back and forth between the two settings as she is trying to decide what she will do. The changes in setting help create a sense of uneasyness in the audience
  • The time period is colonial, and as a result the audience sees the effects of this on the action. Mainly, Western influence and its impact on the village is brought to light.
  • The setting is a limiting factor in this play, neither time scale or stagecraft will allow accurate representation of the flashbacks, so mime is used.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Effect -- Othello, The Lion and the Jewel and A Doll's House

Othello - Feel bad for Othello, resent the situation. He is pitied as a victim of racism, especially sine he was loved as a friend of the family, but not good enough as a son-in-law. Shown in the well-known passage on p. 31 "Her father loved me oft invited me. . ."
Sympathetic toward Desdemona. She is very devoted, but he murders her anyway. Devotion shown I court on p. 37 "That I did love the Moor to live with him/My downright violence and storm of fortunes/May trumpet to the world."
Can’t stand Iago, but yet are awed by his intelligence. His deceptions are horrible and we want them to be prevented, but at the same time we wonder how on earth he came up with all this and managed to make it work.
Cassio seems really dumb, although we kind of feel bad for him as a tool. It’s hard to believe how easily Iago managed to get him drunk, but because of Iago’s intelligence, we are somewhat empathetic.
Roderigo is an even bigger idiot, but at the same time we also pity him as an even bigger tool. He falls for quite a few lies, such as selling his land to woo Desdemona, going through Iago to give her gifts, and believing him when he talks Roderigo out of murdering him.
At first the audience is happy with the marriage and situation, then becomes repulsed, frustrated. Does it even matter?!!
The desired feeling that this didn’t have to happen, it was a great loss of life.

The Lion and the Jewel - Females tended to dislike Sidi and find her too obnoxious. Males seemed to like her better, at least at the beginning. Passages such as "Had he the precious book/That would bestow upon me/Beauty beyond the dreams of a goddess?/For so he said./The book would announce/This beauty to the world. . ." (p. 11) convince us that she is naVve and self-centered.
Lakunle was seen as either chauvinistic or enlightened. He attempted positive change, but the way he went about it was disrespectful and repulsive. When he says things like, "Ignorant girl, can you not understand?/To pay the price would be/To buy a heifer off the market stall." (p. 8) he is trying to spread enlightenment, to revolutionize the village, but he is too easily frustrated and has too sharp a tongue to practice what he preaches.
Baroka was even more repulsive. He’s a crude man, a total pig. Very dissatisfied with him. The play feels light and fluffy until he is introduced. There are many, many examples of this, but one of the most disturbing occurs on p. 18 when he closes the act by saying "Yes , yes . . . it is five full months since last I took a wife . . . five full months . . ."

A Doll’s House - Torvald is seen in one of two ways – as an idiot who cannot handle his own wife and treat her as an equal, or as a man who falls victim to one of those horrible women who don’t know what they want and will never be satisfied. The reaction is either disgust or pity and empathy.
Similarly, Nora is seen as either a woman victimized by overpowering, unenlightened men or as an irritating little brat. We are either empathetic or feel she deserves to be alone.
Both Nora and Torvald cause the strongest reaction at the end of the play. On page 66, Torvald says, "Yes, what then? – when I had exposed my wife to shame and disgrace?" to which Nora replies, "When that was done, I was so absolutely certain, you would come forward and take everything upon yourself, and say: I am the guilty one." Two pages later, at the end of this discussion, Nora tells Torvald that in order for her to come back and stay, both of them would have to be so changed that their life together would be a real wedlock. This implies that their eight years of marriage in which they had three children were nothing but a sham, they were simply going through the motions. Interpretations of this depend on the emotions toward these two characters.
Krogstad repulses the audience and seems to be the one who should meet his doom in order to create a happy ending. The line, "Very well. Do as you please. But let me tell you this – if I lose my position a second time, you shall lose yours with me." (p. 25) is what really delivers this effect.
Linde and Krogstad shock us. We do not expect or understand their engagement. That scene is rather complicated. First, on page 49, we are given the impression that they barely know each other anymore.
LINDE Now Nils, let us have a talk.
KROGSTAD Can we two have anything to talk about?
LINDE We have a great deal to talk about.
KROGSTAD I shouldn’t have thought so.
Next, on page 51, Christine proposes and Krogstad is shocked by it, as we would expect.
LINDE Nils, how would it be if we two shipwrecked people could join forces?
KROGSTAD What are you saying?
LINDE Two on the same piece of wreckage would stand a better chance than each on their own.
KROGSTAD Christine!
Finally, Krogstad discovers she is serious, and is overjoyed. This is the part which is particularly confusing.
KROGSTAD Christine, are you saying this deliberately? Yes, I am sure you are. I see it in your face. Have you really the courage, then – ?
LINDE I want to be a mother to someone, and your children need a mother. We two need each other. Nils, I have faith in your real character – I can dare anything together with you.
KROGSTAD (Grasps her hands) Thanks, thanks, Christine! Now I shall find a way to clear myself in the eyes of the world.


Spectacle in Drama


The scene when Othello is arrested is spectacular because of it’s dramatic content and possible props carried by the actors. It introduces the courthouse scene.
The courthouse scene at the beginning of the play set the atmosphere. It was spectacular because it is so serious. Previous to this scene we catch a glimpse of Othello’s wedding which is supposed to be a joyous occasion. However, the court scene brings the racial differences and other social controversy surrounding this marriage to the audiences attention by way of visual spectacle, a full courthouse with jury, judge, the accused and the accuser.
OTHELLO: Hold your hands,
Both you of my inclining and the rest.
Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it
Without a prompter. Where will you that I go
To answer this your charge?

BRABANTIO: To prison, till fit time
Of law and course of direct session
Call thee to answer (82-87, Act 1, Scene 2)
Dramatic irony is spectacular because throughout the play it is possible for the audience to see visually how Iago plots.
IAGO: I hate the moor:
And it is thought abroad, that twixt my sheets
He hath done my office: I know not if’t be true;
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do as if for surety. He holds me well; the better shall my purpose work on him.
Cassio’s a proper man; let me see now,
To get his place and to plume up my will
In double knavery - How, how? – Let’s see: -
After some time, to abuse Othello’s ear
That he is too familiar with his wife.
He hath a person and a smooth dispose
To be suspected, framed to make women false.” (392-404, Act 1 Scene 3)The drunken celebration is spectacular because of blood that is spilled during this scene. The effectiveness of this scene is great due to the visual satisfaction of a fencing duel and a gushing wound.
The handkerchief is spectacular because it is visually symbolic. One could even go so far as to say that the plot is created around the handkerchief because it is the only “ocular proof” that Iago and Othello have against Desdemona.
“OTHELLO: To lose’t or giv’t away with such perdition
As nothing else could match” (61-64, Act 3, Scene 4)
The scene where Othello strikes Desdemona in front of an audience including Desdemona’s cousin is spectacular because it is a clear and visual proof of Othello losing his mind and beginning to fall into Iago’s web of lies. It shocks the audience into a feeling of hopelessness and takes away any thought of Othello being able to escape his fatal flaw. With this strike the audience can see events being set into a final motion and we know that Desdemona is doomed.
Final scene is spectacular because of the raw emotions shown in the faces of the actors. Desdemona is dead on the bed, while Othello, in tears is dying as well. This scene is extremely emotional and the audience is struck by the many strong emotions felt by the characters in this scene.
“DESDEMONA: The poor soul sad sighing by sycamore tree,
Sing all a green willow;
He hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,
Sing willow, willow, willow
The fresh streams ran by her, and murmured her moans. (41-49, Act 4, Scene 3)

Merchant of Venice

One of the opening scenes of the play is when Lorenzo kidnaps Jessica. This scene is spectacular because the kidnappers are masked and Jessica is in boys clothing. The audience’s attention is caught by the odd situation and wonders at the significance of this scene as it pertains to the plot. The costumes of the characters visually improve the drama in this scene making it spectacular.
The casket scenes are spectacular again because of the costumes worn by characters. The first two suitors are characterized by the culture of their own country and the number of people in their entourage. They seem to be very big and important but the audience later finds out just how small they are. The casket scene with Bassanio is also spectacular because tension is built through the large number of people gathered to watch Bassanio make his choice and the soliloquies given by Portia.
“MOROCCO: The first, Of gold, who this inscription bears,
‘Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire’.
The second, silver, which this promise carries,:
“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves”.
This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt:
“Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath”.”(4-9 Act 2 Scene7)

The party following Bassanio’s correct choosing of the casket is also spectacular. All the people drinking and making merry is quite a scene. The audience perceives sentiments of joy, and relief during this scene.
The court scene at the end of the play is also spectacular. A full court of people including a judge, and jury is very spectacular. The audience can also see that Portia and her maid Nerissa are dressed as men to hold this trial of Shylock and Antonio.

The Lion and the Jewel

The dancers in this play show spectacle. When the villagers act out when the white
photographer come to the village and see Sidi while singing and dancing around. This is pleasing to the eye of the audience and creates an aura of fun and carelessness about the village. Sidi also poses during this scene and acts out her part in the story. The sheer number of people on stage during this point in time creates spectacle.
This same type of spectacle is shown at the end of the play when Sidi is getting married to Baroka. The dancers and singers make a wedding procession and follow joyfully.
The wrestling match between Baroka and the man that he wrestles is quite drawn out and dramatic. Sidi also sings and dances during this scene. It shows spectacle by giving visual proof of the strength of Baroka and Sidi is beautiful when dancing.
Baroka’s bedroom is spectacular because of its lavish decorations. To the audience it seems as if the room is a visual symbol of Baroka’s lifestyle because of its excess of decoration and the expensive furnishings.
Sidi is an example of spectacle. It is important that she be very beautiful and scantily clad to give the audience an idea of the intense desire that men have for her both Lakunle and Baroka.
The motorbike which was possessed by the photographer is also described in great detail along with the idea of a train.
(quote p37)
Stamps are also a visual symbol of the village. By making their own stamps the village takes another step towards catching up with the rest of the world and it also removes this village from isolation and connects it with the rest of the world.

A Doll’s House

Spectacle is shown in A Doll’s house when the Christmas tree is brought into the house. Nora is very concerned that the tree remain hidden from the children. This foreshadows the secrecy motif that evolves in the rest of the play. The Tree is one of the few props used in the minimalist play.

NORA: Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the children do not see it till
this evening, when it is dressed. (Act 1 Scene 1)

Nora’s Chocolates are also an example of spectacle in the play because they are relied on excessively to show her childlike character. She also wants to decorate the Christmas tree with them, towards the end of the book. In the beginning of the book the chocolates show that Nora does not always listen, or tell the complete truth to her husband.

The window in the play shows spectacle through imagination. We as an audience know that significant events take place on the other side of the window however we cannot see them and therefore the audience must use their imagination and the window becomes a symbol of the outside world in this play. Doors also have a similar role in this story.

Nora’s dancing of the tarantella is spectacular. It shows the change in her character from a indecisive, childlike character to a much deeper character. At this point in the play, Nora ceases to be a doll, and begins a spider type, darker role.
(RANK sits down at the piano and plays. NORA dances more and more wildly. HELMER has taken up a position beside the stove, and during her dance gives her frequent
instructions. She does not seem to hear him; her hair comes down and falls over her
shoulders; she pays no attention to it, but goes on dancing. Enter MRS LINDE)”(pg 47)

Nora’s change in clothing is an example of spectacle because it shows the audience how Nora has changed physically and emotionally, and it also shows that her husband only notices her physical change, because that is what he is used to seeing her as.

The play all takes place within one room. Through the lack of spectacular scenery, the writer creates a feeling of festering, closed in, closeness.


The opening scene of the play begins by showing deep contrasts between the various characters who belong to various classes of society. This is all very showy as each member of society in their own way displays airs: Eliza wails to bring attention to herself, the Eynsford women clamor Freddy to find them a cab so they may keep their gowns in their delicate perfection, the bystanders join in the chaos with exclamations, gossip and assumptions of their own, Colonel Pickering is sure to act a gentleman toeverything that crosses his path, and Higgins enjoys causing turmoil and wonder amongst everybody by showing off the extent of his knowledge on the spot, showing off his notes and generally acting impertinent and arrogant.

Flowers and Money
In the beginning of the play, Eliza’s violets are tossed about on stage by Freddy’s
running into her and her swinging her basket around as she wails on stage, weaving in between bystanders before she confronts the “copper’s nark”. During this scene, money is also tossed about between characters. Both of these spectacular bright spots contrast with the dreary somewhat dirty surroundings and Eliza’s general persona. They also give a visual foreshadowing as to Eliza’s blossoming into a respectable, fashionable, socialite woman who is later capable of working in a florist’s shop, retaining her own purse with what responsibility and accountability she deems reasonable.

Changing Outfits
Eliza’s outfits and outward appearance change throughout the play in correspondence with her socialite fluency.*street urchin outfit, odd outfit to impress upon Higgins the seriousness of her intentions for elocution lessons outfit, Japanese outfit, garden party outfit, duchess outfit, day clothes in last scene* Although, reflecting Shaw’s belief of a person’s inner energy, Eliza always has a bit of spunk in her personality, her personality matures and she seems to become more substantial as a person as her clothing does the same. Ironically, it is only society that views her as more substantial; Shaw’s satire highlights how in reality, this is not so. The ultimate charm of Eliza is that she is sophisticated, but still retains her human, genuine personality which shines through the spectacle of her clothing, giving height to her grandeur as a “duchess”.

The scene where Eliza is stripped down for the bath and is thrown in for a decent and thorough washing is -with the bubbles and water and clothing and limbs and hair flying everywhere- is quite a show for the audience. The idea and visibility of the bath and its contents add another dimension to the theatre for the audience to delight in Eliza’s hilarious, unwarranted fear of drowning in something so basic as a bath.

The accents of all the actors on stage provide great entertainment for the audience,
British and non-British alike.
“BYSTANDER: It's aw rawt: e's a gentlemen: look at his be-oots. She thought you was a copper's nark, sir. (p 7)

Due to the style of furnishing during the time period in which Pygmalion is set, the
interior of even a simple library would be quite elaborate and lavish. Each act of
the play is set someplace new (except for Mrs. Higgins’ apartment which provides a basis for judging Eliza’s development).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


A Doll’s House
To draw attention to/influence change in family structure.
To draw attention to secrecy in society. (appearance vs. reality)
To show the absurdities in relationships.
To show the beginning of feminist thoughts. (Nora’s change)
To draw attention to society’s sickness. (Dr. Rank)
To show the imperfection in the conception of “women’s roles” in a marriage.

To draw attention to discrimination.
To depict jealousy as the tragic flaw.
To question deception.
To deal with the subject faithlessness within relationships.

A social commentary/criticism.
To draw attention to/influence change in the class system.
To draw attention to women’s roles. (objectification)
To criticize the emphasis on proper language.
To show the contrast between men’s and women’s views on relationships. (Higgins does not understand Eliza’s unhappiness with simply becoming a bachelor with him as he would wish.)
To entertain.

The Lion and the Jewel
A comparison of cultures, black comedy, heavy use of irony.
To draw attention to the difference in relationships in the African culture and European culture. (For example, the bride price.)
To criticize the treatment of women in African cultures.
To demonstrate similarities between African and European cultures. (For example, vanity.)
To question societal structure; aimed at reform. (satire)
To criticize marriage structure.
To contrast western ideas vs. Nigerian tradition.

The Merchant of Venice
To draw attention to discrimination.
To use satire to attack marital structure (Portia’s lottery, the caskets.)
To contrast happy and unhappy society. (Belmont vs. Venice)
To draw attention to women’s rights. (Shakespeare shows women’s potential with Portia’s impressive demonstration in the courtroom even though she is not considered good enough to be there)

Symbolism in "A Doll's House" and "Pygmalion"


A Doll’s House:

1) A Doll’s house- This title symbolizes Nora’s confinement within the lifestyle she lives. She is expected to live as a mindless object within the walls of her house, with no responsibilities aside from those expected of a wife. She plays with the children and thinks of money and clothing, at least that is the personality she exhibits.

2) macaroons- These cookies show her childish tendencies, such as sneaking unhealthy food. It also shows the side of her that she hides from her husband, or her concealed self.

3) Christmas tree- Another symbol of concealing in the book. Nora wants to hide the Christmas tree from her children, showing secrecy. She also does not want them to see it before it has been decorated, symbolizing the contrast between realistic and idealistic, which is a common theme throughout the novel. "Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the children do not see it till this evening, when it is dressed." (3)

4) Bird, Squirrel- These nicknames are representative of Nora’s false self, or the image she portrays. She is shown as a mindless woman who innocently lives her life according to her husband and wastes her time on frivolous things.

5) Tarantella- This dance symbolizes Nora’s change from an innocent woman (the bird) to more of a devious character. It shows the transformation into her true self, which is not a transformation that her husband enjoys. She becomes more independent in thoughts and actions at this point and is attempting to conceal the fact that she went behind her husband’s back in order to get a loan. She is spinning a "web of lies".

6) the bond- The bond symbolizes the secrets Nora keeps from her husband, and is the basis for much of the conflict in the story. It is seen as a thing of evil, and seems to bring out the worst traits in each character, such as Nora’s lies, Torvald’s self-involvement (for he worries only about what it will do to his career), and Krogstad’s vengefulness.

7) the letter- The letter symbolizes Nora’s vulnerability and is a cause of panic toward the end of the play. Once it is discovered it will expose Nora’s deceit to her husband and put their family in jeopardy.

8) Doctor Rank- This character symbolizes fate in the play. He speaks frequently of the sickness in society and seems to have a pessimistic view of the world. He is dying and must meet the fate he has been dealt, since fate cannot be altered and only accepted.

9) Mrs. Linde- She shows contrast to Nora and represents the coming of age of women.

10) Money- Symbolizes the shallowness of this society, since much of the play revolves around it. Many of the characters lives seem to depend on money in order to fulfill their needs.


1) Pygmalion- This title symbolizes the difference between real and superficial human characteristics. Pygmalion was the man in Greek myth who created a statue of a woman who turned real. This play is the inverse of that story. It involves a real girl who is turned into a "statue" or an object created by Higgens.

2) taxi- The taxi shows the division between the upper and lower classes in this play. The mother and daughter are looking for a taxi in the beginning of the play and complain about being in the rain, while the poorer people must bear the rain. "But we must have a cab. We cant stand here until half-past eleven. It’s too bad." (3)

3) slippers-These symbolize Higgens’ feeling of possessiveness over Eliza and also Eliza’s internal strength. He demands that she fetch his slippers for him and she throws them at him, which eventually leads to her departure and decision that she will live without him, showing her integrity.

4) letters- Letters seem to symbolize devotion in this play. Freddy writes Eliza very frequently, which convinces her of his love for her.

5) money- Money is of great importance to each character throughout the play. It is what divides the classes and causes Eliza to want to change her appearance and speech. Much of the motivation behind the characters’ actions is driven by money.

6) flowers- Symbolize nature’s beauty and show how Eliza ends up flourishing and blooming like a flower. Flowers are shown in the beginning which can predict the changes she will go through, but they are also always constant in her life. She wants a job that involves flowers, and this does not change, just like her internal self does not change either.

7) handkerchief- The handkerchief symbolizes part of Eliza’s change from a flower girl to a proper woman. She is taught to use it from the beginning of her transformation, and it is her first step to becoming a duchess. "Remember: thats your handkerchief; and thats your sleeve. Don’t mistake the one for the other if you wish to become a lady in a shop." (20)

8) piano- A piano is a symbol of wealth in this book. The upper class people seem to all own pianos and are able to play them, showing their success and proper disposition.

9) Mr. Doolittle- This character is a symbol of non-conformity in the play. He is contrasted with Eliza, who manages to conform to the role in society that was made for her by Higgens. Mr. Doolittle was given a similar deal, where he was given money and a job, only he did not enjoy his new role in society and refused to change his own thoughts and feelings because of it. "Done to me! Ruined me. Destroyed my happiness. Tied me up and delivered me into the hands of middle class morality." (73)

10) chocolates- These are used to bribe Eliza into doing what they need her to, and symbolize the childish side of her personality.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Symbolism: The Lion and the Jewel

The Lion and The Jewel’s Symbols:
The Jewel: Sidi is considered the Jewel of the village, exploited and exposed by the foreign photographer. Sidi was renowned for her beauty and was desired by many of the men in the village. Because of this, she was considered the Jewel of the village.

The Lion: Baroka is the chief of the village and despite his age was still sexually active and still considered manly. Baroka was searching for a new wife, and won over Sidi with his manly ways. Baroka is compared to an African symbol for strength, the lion, which could be comparable to our bear.

Lakunle: Lakunle represents the influence of western society in the village. Lakunle was taught in a western style manner and tries to promote those ideas in the minds of his hometown villagers.

The Railroad: The railroad represents western civilization advancements in technology as well. It also is a reappearance of Lakunle’s symbol. Thus it also represents the forcing of western ideas on the unwilling villagers.

Stamps: The stamps in which Baroka temps Sidi to put her face on represent the falsehoods, which Baroka tempts Sidi with.

Photographer/magazine: The magazine symbolizes the reoccurring theme of technology and western culture dominating other cultures. The magazine was also the vector for Sidi’s developing vein self-image.

Bridal Price: The bridal price represents the village’s customs, which Lakunle feels are barbaric. Sidi’s reluctance to wed without the bridal price also represents her pride. Without a bridal price she believes she would be considered de-flowered.

Sadiku: Baroka’s first wife, Sadiku, represents the initiation of Baroka’s deceitful plan to win over Sidi. Sadiku symbolizes the gossipy woman who cannot hold her tongue.

Wrestling/Drums: The wrestling and drumming taking place in Baroka’s house when Sidi enters are used to reinforce Baroka’s established masculinity which he hides in order to rape Sidi.

Dialogue: Courtney, Ben and Hugo

Othello: Dialogue

-Negative and/or positive speech is used in Othello to more clearly develop character traits. By the type of speech that the characters use you can determine the nature of the character’s intentions. Often Iago uses very negative language while Othello uses more positive wording.
“Doth like a poisonous mineral gnaw my inwards; and nothing can or shall content my soul Till I am evened with him wife for wife; or failing so, yet that I put the Moor at least into a jealousy so strong that judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do in this poor trash of Venice…” –pg.65

-When Othello is convinced by Iago that Desdemona is hiding an affair from him he seems to almost transform into another character. This transformation is shown through the dialogue that Othello speaks.
“But I do love thee; and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again.” -103
“Now do I see ‘tis true. Look here, Iago, all my fond love thus do I blow to heaven; ‘tis gone.”- pg. 127

-Dialogue is used to show past events that are required to understand the ideas expressed in the play. Othello shares about his past by use of dialogue instead of actually portraying entire scenes to represent these events.
“Wherein I spake of most dangerous chances, of moving accidents by flood and field , of hair-breadth scapes I’th’imminent deadly breach, of being taken by the insolent foe and sold to slavery; of my redemption thence, and with it all my travels’ history.” – pg 31

-A common linguistic device used by Shakespeare is the soliloquy. The character addresses the audience, creating the effect that he is simply musing his own thoughts to himself. Through this device we see the characters true feelings towards situations and other characters. Iago often has soliloquies.
“Thus do I ever make my fool my purse;
For mine own gained knowledge should profane
If I would time expend with such snipe
But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor.”

-Characters are contrasted through their manner of speaking. Cassio is a gentleman and as such has gentle speech. Iago even when pretending to be honest has a crude way of speaking. The banter between Cassio, Iago and Desdemona on the shore at Cyprus is a good example of character contrast. Iago comments quit curtly on what he believes to be the nature of women while Cassio is reserved and polite in his speech.

Pygmalion: Dialogue

-A main idea of this play is the difference between social classes and how language plays a key role in that division. The language Shaw uses in this play has a purpose of accenting that class division. The upper class characters speak much more eloquently while the lower class characters speak with improper English.

-Dialogue is used to contrast Colonel Pickering and Higgins. While both men are educated in phonetics and fairly well off they have very different character traits. Colonel Pickering is very gentlemanly while Higgins is much the opposite and is noted to be very rude. These traits are exhibited in their dialogue, mainly when speaking to Liza.
“How the devil do I know whats to become of you? What does it matter what becomes of you?” –pg. 64, Higgins
“It’s very kind of you to say so Miss. Doolittle” –pg. 70, Pickering

-By relating certain phrases and expressions to characters it is easier for the reader/audience members to develop a memorable perception of the characters. This is true with Liza Doolittle and her frequently exclaimed “Ah-ah-ah-ow-oo-o!”

-Dialogue is used in Pygmalion to the show what has happened in gaps of time that are not portrayed onstage. Without dialogue between Pickering and Higgins discussing progress made with Liza, the passing of 6 months would seem very unrealistic to the audience and would result in a skewed sense of time. The change in Liza’s speech also aids with establishing time in the play.

-Dialogue assists with side plots that are present within the play by do not get as much stage time. While there is less time for characters to be developed by their mannerisms, even small sentences can identify and develop a characters. In the case of Pygmalion, Mr. Doolittle does not get as much “stage-time” as other characters but because his dialogue is unique and memorable he is a fully developed character.

Merchant of Venice: Dialogue

-Act 4-Scene 1 pg71
Portia-Why, this bond is forfeit; and lawfully by this the Jew may claim a pound of flesh, to be by him cut off nearest the merchant’s heart. Be merciful: take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.
Shylock: When it is paid according to the tenour. It doth appear you are a worthy judge; you know the law, your exposition hath been most sound: I charge you by the law, whereof you are a well-deserving pillar, proceed to judgment: by my soul I swear there is no power in the tongue of man to alter me. I stay here on my bond.
This exchange of dialogue traps Shylock into something he cannot get out of. He must take the bond but without a jot of blood or else he must forfeit all his land and possessions.

-Act 4-Scene 1 pg 76
Antonio-So please my lord the duke, and all the court, to quit the fine for one half of his goods, I am content so he will let me have the other half in use, to render it, upon his death, unto the gentleman that lately stole his daughter. Two things provided more, that, for this favour, he presently become a Christian; the other, that he do record a gift, here in the court, of all he dies possess’d, unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.
This speech by Antonio reflects his character, his sense of mercy. It seems that the hidden moral of mercy is greater than revenge is finalized in this passage.

-Act 4-Scene 1 pg 77
Bassanio-Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further: take some remembrance of us as a tribute, not as a fee. Grant me two things, I pray you, not to deny me, and to pardon me.
Portia-you press me far, and therefore I will yield. Give me your gloves, I’ll wear them for your sake; and (for your love) I’ll take this ring from you. Do not draw back your hand; I’ll take no more, and you in love shall not deny me this.
Bassanio-This ring, good sir? Alas! It is a trifle, I will not shame myself to give you this.
This swap of dialogue creates dramatic irony because the audience knows why Portia wants the ring but Bassanio has no clue that the lawyer Balthalzar is actually Portia in disguise. This lets the audience wonder if he will give it to her in the end since Portia was the one that bid him not to lose it.

-Act 3- Scene 1 pg 45
Shylock speech-
Generates sympathy towards Shylock. The audience now knows WHY he wants revenge on Antonio. Character development.

-Act 1 Scene 3 pg 17
Shylock- Why, look you, how you storm! I would be friends with you, and have your love, forget the shames that you have stain’d me with, supply your present wants, and take no doit of usance for my moneys, and you’ll not hear me: this is kind I offer.
Bassanio-This were kindness.
This passage sets up the plot of revenge by Shylock by making Antonio and Bassanio feel that he is acting from a good heart but the audience later knows that this is not Shylock’s plan at all.

A Doll’s House: Dialogue

-Act 1 pg 23
Krogstad- Tell me, Mrs. Helmer, can you by any chance remember what day your father died?—on what day of the month I mean.
Nora- Papa died on the 29th of September
Krogstad-that is correct; I have ascertained it for myself. And, as that is so, there is a discrepancy which I cannot account for.
The significance in this extract is Krogstad knows when Nora’s father died but he attempts to get the answer out from her since he knows the signature was forged by Nora.

-Act 1 pg 3
Nora-Hide the Christmas tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the children do not see it until this evening, when it is dressed
This opening dialogue is important because it introduces the theme of secrecy. The word “Hide” is related to lots of different areas in the play. The plot of hiding Krogstad’s letter, Dr. Rank hiding his love for Nora or Nora hiding her true self from Torvald.

-Dialogue is often very short. There are not many long speeches made by characters. Often the dialogue seems much like simple banter even when the conversation is serious. This type of dialogue emphasizes the novels fast pace.
“Helmer: Didn’t Little Sweet-Tooth just look in at the confectioner’s?
Nora: No, honestly, Torvald.
Helmer: Not even to taste on little sweet?
Helmer: No, of course not.
Helmer: Not even to nibble a macaroon or two?
Nora: No, Torvald, really; I promise you” Page 151

-Much of Ibsen’s creates dramatic irony through much of his dialogue. The characters expressions and choice of words create irony.
“Helmer: Is that my little skylark twittering out there? ...Scampering about like a little squirrel?” Page 148
Nora is much like a bird in a cage. She is also like a squirrel because she is hiding away money from Torvald to repay her loan. The audience becomes aware of these facts, but Torvald does not.

The Lion and the Jewel: Dialogue

-The dialogue includes idioms and expressions that belong to African culture. Even though the dialogue is in English it is given an African feel.
“Baroka: Who knows? Until the finger nails
Have scraped the dust, no one can tell
Which insect released his bowels.” Page 43

-Dialogue classifies the main characters through their manner of speaking.
Sidi is young and naïve and speaks plainly. Her speech is ineloquent and emphasizes her main traits.

-Lakunles is conceited and arrogant. He speaks pompously, trying to achieve an air of grandeur befitting his attitude.
“Lakunle : Faith. Because I have fait.
Oh Sidi, vow to me your own undying love
And I will scorn the jibes of these bush minds.” Page 6

-Baroka is old and somewhat of an enigma. His true intentions are hard to guess throughout most of the novel. He speaks in parables and idioms.
“Baroka: Oh. OH. I see you dip your hand
Into the pockets of the school teacher
And retrieve it bulging with knowledge.”-Page 50


Merchant of Venice

Venice - Urban city, concerned with the material world - the main plot takes place here; the bond, the loss of Antonio's ships.
-Scenes take place in streets (plot is focused, moving in a straight line) or buildings (the characters are "trapped" in the plot)

Belmont - Pretty, "magical" place, concerned with matters of the heart - where Bassanio and Portia, and Gratiano and Nerissa fall in love, also where Jessica and Lorenzo elope.
-Some scenes take place in gardens - connection with nature, open spaces, and freedom - free from the restrictions of society, freedom for characters to "be themselves".
-Music in some scenes adds a sense of being joyful and carefree. Act 5 Scene 1 (p. 83) - "Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn:/With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,/And draw her home with music."

1590s - The Jews had very few rights, could not own property, etc. They were segregated from the Christians, forced to live in the ghetto. It was this racism, encouraged at the time period, which allowed for the whole plot to come to pass, due to the lack of respect between Anotnio and Shylock.
- Also, women have fewer rights, which is why Portia and Jessica are expected to listen to their fathers, and are not really allowed to marry whoever they like. Act 1 Scene 2 (p. 9) - "So is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father." This is also why Portia and Nerissa must dress as men in order to be taken seriously in the court.


The play starts in Venice, where Civilization is orderly and lawful, people are considered responsible for their actions, as Othello was for his marriage to Desdemona - he had to defend himself to the Court. This social attitude reflects Othello's own character at this point in the plot.

The action then moves to Cyprus, where order is guarded less closely, people are not necessarily forced to defend themselves, they can get away with things. This reflects the characters of Othello and Iago, who do not worry about defending their actions, but only of having their revenge for the wrongs supposedly done to them. Furthermore, at this point in the play, it is not necessarily clear that it is a tragedy, so one could think that Cyprus is the "magical" place where the newlyweds go after their marriage, and that the play will be a romance/comedy.

There is also a shift from the outside to the inside - at the beginning there are scenes which take place outside, where the characters are free and acting for themselves. As time goes on, however, more and more scenes take place inside, giving the sense that the characters are trapped, ensnared in Iago's web of lies.

Being inside all the time also leads to a sense of isolation; only a few characters are in one room at the same time. This allows for all the secrecy to go on, characters cannot interact properly to find out what is really going on, and Iago can isolate whomever he wants whenever he wants to plant the next lie.

Very early 1600s - There is much more racism than there is today, Othello would be a target for many, such as Iago, simply because of his race.
- Fewer women's rights, which explains why Othello believes Iago over Desdemona.

Travis and Chris will post setting notes for Doll's House, Pygmalion and The Lion and the Jewel sometime soon.

Effects : Robyn, Julie, Alyssa

I will post the rest when it is sent to me


The audience feels sorry for Eliza at the beginning of the play because she is all alone in the rain selling flowers. We can see the contrast between her and the richer characters and feel pity for her.

Throughout the rest of the play Eliza is annoying, the way she talks and overreacts to everything makes the audience dislike her. The author may have written her to be so annoying so that the audience would not like her and so that it would not be a typical play. One example of something that Eliza says that is annoying is “Ah-ah-ow-oo!” she repeats this many time throughout the play.

The audience dislikes Mr. Higgins because he is so perfect and is very hard to relate to as a real person. The way that he talks is very unrealistic, and he is not kind to the other characters.

Mr. Pickering on the other hand is liked by the audience because he so kind and generous towards everyone but especially Eliza.

The play overall leaves the audience very unsatisfied because we do not like how everything is resolved. The audience hopes that Mr. Higgins would fall in love with Eliza and that she would continue to live in his home . But the end of he play does not turn out like this and it effects the audience because it is inconclusive. “–Liza- Then I shall not see you again, Professor. Goodbye.” (page 89) This ending leaves the audience unsatisfied and disappointed.

Merchant Of Venice

Effect from Characters:

Antonio: The audience feels anger toward Antonio at the beginning of the play as he shows disrespect to Shylock as he is a Jew. “You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gaberdine.” (17) We feel as though Antonio is taking advantage of Shylock when the bond is made, as Shylock makes a living off of interest, yet Antonio refuses to pay interest, but agrees to give a pound of flesh if he does not pay back on time. The audience starts to feel sorry for Antonio when he loses his ships out to sea, and then he cannot pay back his bond. The sympathy towards Antonio escalates as Shylock seeks revenge. Even though we know Antonio is racist, we feel sympathy towards him as he was just doing a favour to his best friend.

Shylock: The audience feels sympathy toward Shylock throughout most of the play. Since our generation looks down upon racist actions, we see that Shylock was being mistreated, and we feel sorry for him. The point where the audience feels anger and shock toward Shylock is when he is about to kill Antonio. We also take pity on Shylock when his daughter, Jessica, leaves him to marry a Christian. She takes all of his money, and she sells the ring that was from her mother. The audience is shocked that he would actually go through with his bond. The audience also feel sympathy towards shylock at the end of the play when he is left with nothing. “Nay, take my life and all; pardon not tat: you take my house, when you do take the prop that doth sustain my house; you take my life when you do take the means whereby I live.”(76)

General Effects:

The beginning of the play gives the audience of this era a shock on how the Jews are treated. We take pity on them and believe that they should not be treated in that way just because of their religious beliefs. The audience also feels shock during the court scene, where Shylock is about to take revenge on Antonio, and was going to kill him. The audience does not believe that Shylock would actually go through with such an action, and we take pity on Antonio, and anger toward Shylock. The ending of the play seems to have a satisfactory feeling as Portia and Bassanio are married, and everyone seems happy, besides Shylock.

Action: Plot and Subplot



the plot revolves around the transformation of Eliza from the flower girl to the duchess.

introduction: Eliza is a poor girl, living alone and selling flowers for a living. She betrays her class status the minute she opens her mouth to Henry Higgins, an expert in phonetics. Her Lisson Grove English is of an inferior quality to the English of people with higher status, which, in Higgins opinion, is what keeps her "in the gutter".

complication: On a bet, Higgins agrees to educate Eliza in proper English to transform her into a duchess in six months. Higgins assumes the attitude that Eliza is his cross to bear, his grievious and heavy burden to educate. It is his perception that the teacher has a more difficult task than the taught. It is also his belief that Eliza has no feelings to hurt.

Pickering: Does it occur to you, Higgins, that the girl has some feelings?

Higgins: Oh no, I dont think so. Not any feelings that we need to bother about. Have you, Eliza? (Shaw 23)

Eliza's education over a period of several months includes two large milestones: Mrs Higgins at-home day, and an Embassy in London. The first event is Eliza's entrance into higher society. This event is not an overwhelming success for Higgins but it allows the audience to see Eliza's progress. The latter event marks the conclusion of the bet. Higgins has won; he did not merely pass Eliza off as a duchess, she was believed to be Hungarian royality.

climax: Eliza runs away from Higgins and Pickering in the night. She meets up with Freddy who accepts her as she is and they drive about until dawn, at which point Eliza calls on Mrs Higgins. Freddy's obvious adoration is contrasted to the frostiness of the other men.

Liza: Whatever are you doing here?

Freddy: Nothing. I spend most of my nights here. It's the only place where I'm happy. Dont laugh at me, Miss Doolittle.

Liza: Dont you call me Miss Doolittle, do you here? Liza's good enough for me. Freddy: you dont think I'm a heartless guttersnipe, do you?

Freddy: Oh no, no, darling: how can you imagine such a thing? You are the loveliest, dearest -

(Shaw 68-69)

resolution: Higgins comes to find Eliza in an attempt to coerce her into returning. She refuses saying that he does not treat her as a human being. He flies into a rage, the power balance between them clearly shifted. Eliza walks away, free to do as she pleases, which at this point is marry Freddy.


There is a brief allusion to the fate of Mr Doolittle as he too is changed from a simple man to a man of wealth. His change, however, is not as thorough as is Eliza's. His evolution is from a man who begs his daughter for money to buy alcohol living by his own standards to a man of wealth, influence, responsability and expectations. His existance prompts questions about "middle class morality", to which it provides limited answers.

There are few subplots to force the audience to focus on Shaw's main plot; he has a very clear message that he does not want to muddle by adding additional subplots

A Doll's House:


This play delves into the characterization of Nora, the protagonist, and through her societal issues surrounding women's roles.

introduction: Nora is an endearing enough character, albeit seeming shallow. She is chipper, playfully spirited and there is mutual adoration between herself and her family. There is a lightness and an easiness about the family. This is slightly tainted by ominous foreshadowing when Nora lies to Torvald about eating macaroons.

complication: The arrival of Mrs Linde causes great changes for the family. She is jobless, so naturally Nora pleads with Torvald to find her a position in the bank. Torvald obliges Nora; he gives Mrs Linde Krogstad's position. This creates hardship for Nora. She has borrowed money without her husband's knowledge to save his life, from Krogstad. Ordinarily, this would not be a problem, except that she has forged her father's signature to obtain the money. Krogstad too has committed forgery, but he was caught and paid dearly for his actions. He threatens Nora with her forgery to ensure that she will not allow her husband to dismiss him. Eventually Nora decides that Torvald must know about her debt; this comes in the form of a letter from Krogstad to Torvald detailing his wife's endeavors. Torvald flies into a rage. Then a second letter from Krogstad arrives containing the bond. Torvald then destroys the bond, the evidence of Nora's lawlessness.

climax: Nora has had the revelation that she is not being true to herself by being foolish, and Torvald has made it clear that he does not support her when she acts out of sincerity. She realizes that she does not know Torvald. Thus Nora decides to leave, leaving all that is dear to her.

Nora: I have never felt my mind so clear and certain as to-night.

Helmer: And is it with a clear and certain mind that you forsake your husband and your children?

Nora: Yes, it is. (Ibsen 66)

resolution: There is little resolution. This effect adds to the potentcy of the play. The audience feels that there has been justice, but it is not emotionally satisifying, which leads to further inquiry.


There is a contrast between Nora and Mrs. Linde. They are introduced in the play as opposites; Nora has the ideal life, happiness, an adoring husband, three children, and security, while Mrs Linde is alone and jobless. Their interaction throughout the play causes them to trade roles. At the end of the play, Mrs Linde has a husband and security while Nora wanders alone and jobless, but free.

Dr Rank seems to personify secrecy, topics that cannot be discussed in polite company and shadowy dealings. He first appears after Nora has lied about the macaroons and hidden the tree, and his death coincides with Torvald learning Nora's secret about the loan.

The Lion and the Jewel:

This play concerns itself with the courtship of Sidi by both Baroka and Lakunle.


introduction: The audience is introduced to Sidi and Lakunle, the school teacher. Lakunle is trying to woo Sidi, who is rejecting his advances. He is an awkward, Westernized man or at least aspires to Western behaviours. He has the pride of what he believes to be that superior culture. Sidi is immune to his talk of modernized or Westernized practices.

complication: When Sidi sees herself in the magazine she gains an inflated idea of her worth. Her ego increases exponentially.

Sidi: Known as I am to the whole wide world,/ I would demean my worth to wed/ A mere village schoolteacher. (Soyinka 12)

Even as Sidi realizes her beauty, so does Baroka. He sends for Sidi to marry him, but she also refuses him. Baroka then admits to Sadiku, his first wife, that he is no longer a man. Sadiku, thrilled, rushes to spread the good news of this development to Sidi. Sidi joins in her celebration, even to the extent of paying Baroka a visit to mock him.

climax: Sidi has returned after spending much of the night in Baroka's company. She runs to Sadiku and Lakulne, weeping uncontrolably in helpless rage. The audience learns that she has been deceived by Baroka.

Sidi: [Baroka] told me...afterwards, crowing./It was a trick./He knew Sadiku would not keep it to herself,/ That I, or amybe other maids would hear of it/ And go to mock his plight./ And how he laughed!/ How his frog-face croaked and croaked/ And called me little fool!/ Oh how I hate him! How I loathe/ And long to kill the man! (Soyinka 59)

resolution: This is another play with and unsatisifying conclusion. Sidi, undaunted as ever, will marry Baroka, even though Lakunle has proposed again. She in fact spurns Lakunle's proposal as infinitly inferior to Baroka.


There are few subplots. The stark simplicity of the style of writing does not allow much for these.

Rules and Genre

Genre and Rules

Othello: Shakespearean tragedy (conforms to many of the Aristotelian rules of tragedy)
· Follows the life of the tragic hero Othello
· At the beginning of the play, Othello holds a highly respected position in the society as a general in the Venetian military and he is married to one of the most desirable women in the city who is the daughter of a senator
· Othello is admired as a noble and Christ-like figure who is honest and peaceful and willing to defend himself against accusations raised against him (the Senate scene)
· As Iago begins his plotting against his superiors, Othello gets caught up in a series of events that become more and more violent and criminal
· As the villain in the play, Iago plays on Othello’s weaknesses, his love for Desdemona and his fears that he could lose her and be made a fool of in front of his peers. This is Othello’s fatal flaw.
· By Act IV, Othello is transformed; he is no longer a hero, but a vengeful killer
· At the end of the play many innocent characters meet their death because of Othello’s alliance with Iago, the saddest of which is his wife Desdemona because she is so clearly a pure and faultless character. Roderigo, and Emilia are as victims.
· The play ends with the scene which emphasizes the sadness of the situation and this creates pity and catharsis in the audience

The Merchant of Venice: a problem play, a tragicomedy
· Aspects of Comedy
Ø A young couple wishes to get married
Ø They are blocked by the “casket” riddle created by Portia’s father before his death
Ø The young couple “escapes to Belmont an idealized rural setting away from the political/real world of Venice
Ø Portia uses a disguise to help her new husband’s friend, Antonio and in the process tests the love and commitment of Bassanio (the ring exchange)
Ø When Bassanio fails the test, Portia easily forgives him and the play ends happily
Ø Two young couples are married and there is sense that society is renewed and the foibles of humanity are reformed:
Ø The play has a strong moral teaching that aim to reform society: mercy is superior to justice, love is not based “external shows”

Ø Shylock, Lancelot and Gobbo are somewhat comic stereotyped or stock characters who act in exaggerated and according to rigid patterns

· Aspects of Tragedy
Ø Antonio is the title character, the merchant of Venice, who is a great man
Ø After he makes the dubious contract with Shylock, he becomes enmeshed in a series of events that seem to be leading to his death
Ø In the trial scene it appears that Antonio will die—yet there is no real justice in this

Doll’s House: a drama, a modern tragedy
· Ibsen is known as the “father of modern drama”
· In the modern time, there is no longer an understanding the universe is ruled by a kind and loving God who has a divine plan. Because of this the ending of modern plays do not have a satisfying, just ending where the hero learns the error of his actions and accepts his punishment: death
· The source of conflict in the play is caused by societal structures
· The hero is not a member of the aristocracy or ruling class, but is a member of the middle class
· The hero may not be a man
· Nora is a middle class woman
· The roles that she plays in society are pre-determined by the her gender and class
· In order to save her husband she secretly signs her fathers name to a bond and a series of events ensue that seem to entrap her
· The play ends in a very unsatisfying way when Nora decides to leave her husband. The audience feels that this somewhat just, but the issues of the play certainly not resolved…

Pygmalion: a parody of a romance/comedy

· Eliza meets Higgins
· At the start they do not like each other
· As their relationship grows—since they spend so much time together Eliza begins to see a new side of Higgins
· Eliza goes through a “magical transformation”
· There are mistaken identities and the use of disguise
· The play ends with the ironic marriage of Mr and Mrs. Doolittle
· Eliza leaves Higgins and runs off with Freddy

The Lion and the Jewel: post-colonial/ ironic/ black comedy

· Lakunle and Baroka are in love with Sidi
· Both male characters represent types: Lakunle, the Westernized ‘progressive’ and Baroka the African traditionalist
· Both male characters are satirized: the armpit plucking
· The play deals largely with Sidi’s decision about who she should marry
· In the middle of the play, Sidi concocts a deceitful plot aimed at exposing Baroka in the he outfoxes her and she is tricked
· The plays ends tragically, yet there celebration of a marriage with dancing and singing. The tone of the ending is very ironic, typical of contemporary “black comedy”

Sunday, April 15, 2007




Merchant of Venice

Pound of Flesh

The Jews follows a strict set of rules laid out in the Old Testament. Their lives are governed by specific Jewish laws.


Represents freedom, wealth and happiness; It is the home of Portia.


Represents injustice, debts,


The honest, loving heroes of Venice. They are the upper class, while Jews are bound to live in ghettos and not allowed to own property


Dishonest, uncompassionate, greedy and interested only in upholding the law, rather than what is just in the eyes of the people.


The suitors must choose the correct casket if they want to marry Portia. The casket is a symbol, representing the woman as "the prize".




Marital trust and fidelity

The Moor

Chess piece

Black Ram

Many people see Othello as an outsider, and even an animal. Iago likens him to an animal several times. When he alerts Brabanzio to his Desdemona's relationship with Othello he says, "An old black ram is tupping your white ewe"

Military Rank

The military rank of characters defines their place in society


Several characters demand to see things for themselves before they will believe a story (the term "ocular proof" is used)


Othello uses metaphors that symbolize his state of mind

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Elements of Drama: Plots and Sub-plots

*** This has yet to be added to and edited by Jessie ***


The main plot is the path of the tragic hero, Othello, and how he goes from being happy and in love, to being a murderer. His tragic flaw of jelousy and Iago's manipulation is what causes him to travel down this path. The play is centered around Othello's downfall and much emotion is stirred because of his fate.

The play has a variety of sub-plots and they all revolve around characters and their relationship with one another. The relationship between Desdemona and her maid Emilia is significant. Although they have been together quite some time, Emilia does not let on about Iago's plan when Desdemona confides in her. Iago has a relationship with both Roderigo, Cassio and Othello. Iago uses Cassio’s youth, good looks, and friendship with Desdemona to play on Othello’s insecurities about Desdemona. Roderigo, who is deeply in love with Desdemona, is convinced by Iago to kill Cassio. Of the many sub-plots, the relationship between Iago and Othello is the most important. Iago, with all of his manipulative relationships, is the one who drives Othello to death.

Merchant of Venice

Merchant of Venice can be defined as either a comedy or a tragedy. If the play is seen as a comedy, Portia's relationship with Bassanio can be see as the main plot. A comedy usually ends with a marriage. Bassanio chose the correct casket, which means that he gets to marry Portia. If the play is seen as a tragedy, audience members may see Shylock's unfortunate journey as the main plot. Because Antonio did not pay his debt back to Shylock, in court, Shylock is forced to become a Christian. The audience may define this as tragic.

One sub-plot is the relationship between Shylock and Jessica. Shylock claims he has a close bond with his daughter and is shocked when she leaves him to get married. Portia and her lady-in-waiting, Narisa, both dress as men and enter the court in attempt to save Bassanio's friend, Antonio. The reason why Antonio is in debt is because of Bassanio. Bassanio needed money so that he could impress Portia, and because he was unable to pay back Antonio, Antonio ended up owing Shylock a pound of flesh.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Was the minimum of six quotes just for the outline, or does it apply for the essay itself? I have 2 so far, and I think I'm going to get a bit overboard if I add 2-3 more. Is it alright as long as I go in depth with analysis of the quotes I have?