Does this costume make me look fat?

Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day?.-Prince Henry(1.2)

Reading this passage in tandem with my research, I am drawn to the corpulent body of Fastolf. It is obvious that this is a key character trait that must be associated with him, but I am curious as to whether this large figure was created with props or if there was a chubby actor in the group at the time. If this fat body was artificially created with stuffing, then the corpulence must be closely examined because it was a key detail that Shakespeare wanted to highlight. It may be to comedic ally highlight gluttony or to culturally comment on the extravagance’s downfalls.  If this character was acted by a beefy man, was he a temporary actor that got the job because of his size? If so, was this same actor invited back when Fastolf reappears? On the other hand, if this actor was a permanent member of the company, did Shakespeare specifically write this role for him? I ask these questions because Fastolf is such an interesting character, so if he was inspired by a real man, I bet he was a very interesting person.



The Parent Lecture 2.0

I know not whether God will have it so

For some displeasing service I have done,

That, in his secret doom, out of my blood

He’ll breed revengement and a scourge for me.

But thou dost in thy passages of life

Make me believe that thou art only marked

For the hot vengeance and the rod of heaven

To punish my mistreadings. Tell me else,

Could such inordinate and low desires,

Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts,

Such barren pleasures, rude society

As thou art matched withal, and grafted to,

Accompany the greatness of thy blood,

And hold their level with thy princely heart?

(3.2)- King

I found this lecture from the King extremely compelling because of its pure, emotional charge. The overbearing emotion comes through in the pose and religious allusion. The beginning of the speech is structured with long sentences that have a kingly tone, but the structure disintegrates as the king’s passions build. The use of anaphora when repeating the word “such” conveys a realistic expression of the subject matter. The king is lost for words and just needs to spew the thoughts bottled in his mind. The last three lines start with “a” and have other “a” words scattered because it is a harsh sound for a harsh topic. I love the realism in the language because I have seen my own parents adopt this.

The distance put between the king and God is also intriguing. The king blames God for giving him a terrible son, but as a divine ruler, he is supposed to be closely aligned with God to do his will. The expressed distance between these two figures highlights that the King is not the most “divine” of rulers and that his spot on the throne was unnaturally won.

Virgins and Whores

“I marvel why the chaster of your sex

Should think this pretty toy called maidenhead

So strange a loss, when being lost, ‘tis nothing,

And you are still the same”

(2.1) ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore 

In one of my other classes, I am reading Mary Wollstonecraft’s works regarding women’s rights, so when reading this passage with my feminist rage in the forefront of my mind, I felt a very strong disgust for Giovanni. In Early Modern London, virginity was cherished in respectable women. Queen Elizabeth was even given the title “The Virgin Queen” because this was a such a valued attribute. As an aristocratic male, Giovanni would be aware of these attitudes, but because he got what he desired, he artificially discounts this attribute that must have been extremely valuable to his sister. He rejects the society’s views on female sexual behavior for his own benefit-not for the emotions of his sister. In the context of the play, this line makes sense, but the articulation of sexual liberation on an Early Modern London stage would have been extremely radical. Playgoers were probably shocked when they heard this, especially women.

Hello, My name is Juliet. Welcome to my Crib

“He ran this way and leapt this orchard wall.

Call, good Mercutio.”

Benvolio 2.1


This spring break, I had the opportunity to visit Verona and see where Romeo and Juliet would have been situated. We spoke about there were different spaces for men and women in Verona, but the extent of this distinction did not occur to me until I walked the city streets of Verona. The streets were bustling with people, but besides the shops that opened its doors during the day, the streets were shut off by the buildings. Romeo’s supposive home is not even open to the public and can only be viewed from the outside. Maybe this is why Romeo had to roam the streets?

What really fascinated me was exploring the courtyard of Juliet’s home. I have attached a photo of the balcony. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed by the small size, but it made me question if the balcony used in The Rose was this size. Along this same thought, I began thinking about the logistics of how the young lovers kiss on stage if there was a balcony staged like this. Adjacent to the balcony were the “garden walls” that Romeo had to climb to see Juliet. They are large and no easy feat to climb. Shakespeare used artistic liberty on that account, but these towering walls just confirmed the notion of separate spaces for me in Romeo and Juliet.

#balcony #Verona #juliet

Continue reading “Hello, My name is Juliet. Welcome to my Crib”

‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore- with no good girlfriends

“I will. [Aside] If this were any other company for her, I should think my absence an office of some credit, but I will leave them together”(1.2)- Putuna

This quote occurs right before Putuna leaves the incestuous siblings on their own to confess their love. The irony is apparent, but the nature of the comment, the way it is presented, and the diction in it fascinates me. By merely highlighting the situation’s supposed innocence, the sibling’s relationship is brought to the forefront and causes audiences to question the nature of their relationship. Putana’s statement is politically correct and not something that requires to be hushed; yet she says it aside. This decision to make this statement private exemplifies the play’s reversal of the conventional. There are many asides in this play to create an environment of secrecy and confusion, so the theater becomes an unknown space for its characters to nagate. When analyzing the line closely, I noticed the interesting use of the word “credit”. This word reminded me of Merchant of Venice and its financial diction. When reading this play with a financial outlook, it becomes even darker. There was no financial gain in marrying a sibling, but the body (as we explored in Merchant of Venice) has value, especially the heart. These comments may be a bit scattered and unrelated in theme, but this prompting line really interested me because of its odd nature.

#stagedirections #finacialdiction #secrets

The Devil is in the Details

I went to go see The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus  not only because I became interested in the play after reading it for this class, but also because one of my really good friends was Faustus. This was my first GW production I saw and I was taken away by the talent in my fellow peers- especially Brewster. Like the audiences in Early Modern London, I was the most excited for the final scene. I was interested to see how this production would execute its affect in an age where visual effects have raised expectations and under a lower budget. I thought the use of lighting is what really made the chill effective. By putting the audience in the dark at the peak of the play then utilizing harsh red light, it was a shock . In addition, the use of white costume for Lucifer and Mephistopheles was ironic because white is typically associated with innocence, but it stood out on the stage with the use of lighting and adopted a different connotation. The dragging off of Faustus after the kiss was dramatic and exceeded my expectations for this production.  I am glad I was able to go support my peers with an educated understanding of the performance.

#actors #lighting #devils

Doctor Faustus: The third person

The only Early Modern London plays I have read, have been Shakespeare’s and I have always been confused as to why he was the one that dominated the field. I now know why. While I enjoyed Faustus, it is mainly for the plot and characters, not so much for the language. This work seems so bare compared to Shakespeare and I decided a large component of this is because Faustus constantly refers to himself in the third person. While Shakespeare also adopts the third person, he does so artfully and with meaning. Meanwhile, Marlowe’s constant use of the third person for Faustus started to annoy me. The constant name dropping could be due to the fact that Doctor Faustus has an extremely large ego, or it was just an elementary reminder to the audience about who the main actor is.  While I want to believe that the reason for this overbearing use of the third person is because Marlow wanted readers to be overwhelmed and annoyed with Faustus, the consistent over use leads me to believe other wise.