Friday, March 27, 2009

Trinity Term Schedule

Dear all,

we will be discussing the following texts in the final classes of term:

1. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

2. Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House.

3. Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire.


Rory Loughnane.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Essay Questions for Hilary and Trinity terms

Essay questions for Groups 2, 3 & 4.

Answer on one of the following questions. Students must submit an essay of between 1,500 and 2,000 words. Submission deadlines can be found in the freshman student handbook.

1. Write on the significance of audience interaction in Mankind.

2. Discuss the significance of the Queen’s decision in The Lady of May.

3. Write on false representations of the past in The Spanish Tragedy.

4. In any two plays from Hilary and Trinity term of this course discuss one of the following topics: the rise of the middle-class; female empowerment; the supernatural; madness.

5. In The Duchess of Malfi the Duchess’ downfall is caused by her placing private desire above public interest. Discuss.

6. How is the conventional good/evil dichotomy interrogated in King Lear?

7. Time is the greatest antagonist in Dr Faustus. Discuss.

8. Write on representations of Elsinore in Hamlet. How does the setting inform our reading of the play?

9. Discuss Ibsen’s analysis of social relationships in A Doll’s House in terms of one of the following: obligatory silences; escapism; or bondage.

Monday, February 23, 2009

King Lear: Questions of the week!

Q1. Discuss the significance of the discussion between Gloucester and Kent in the play's opening scene.

Q2. How do you interpret Cordelia's motivations in the love-test?

Q3. Discuss Shakespeare's use of the Fool in the play? How does this character direct playgoer interpretation?

Q4. Re-read the final scenes of the play. Is there a conclusive dramatic resolution to the action?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Questions of the Week! The Duchess of Malfi

Q1. Discuss Bosola's does he attempt to justify his own actions to himself? Is he believable?

Q2. Is the Duchess a good mother to her children?

Q3. Does the play end on a note of hope or pessimism?

Q4. Discuss Webster's use of stage spectacle in the play. Is he being deliberately provocative and gratuitous? Or is he carefully building and defeating playgoer expectation? Or is he conveying visually the horror of the unspoken of the play?

Questions of the week! Spanish Tragedy

Q1. Discuss Kyd's use of the Portuguese sub-plot to the mirror the action of the Spanish court.

Q2. Discuss the evolution of Andrea's character over the play. Does he become more vengeful as the play continues, and what are we to understand from this?

Q3. Discuss the (very short-lived!) love relationship between Horatio and Bel-imperia. Is there an element of social-climbing to Horatio's actions, and/or is Bel-imperia just trying to further her revenge?

Q4. How does the Revenge/Andrea framing device inform our reading of the play? Does it confuse the moral implications of the play's conclusion?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Questions of the week! The Lady of May

Q1. Describe the character of the May Lady? In your answer please consider her lack of choice in the nuptials.

Q2. With the contemporary political context in mind, discuss Sidney's possible motivations in writing such an entertainment.

Q3. Discuss the Queen's decision. How does it fit in with the rhetorical debates that have just ceased?

Q4. Consider the significance of Master Rombus. Is education deemed important by characters in the text? Is there a wider significance to this point?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Questions of the Week! Morality Plays

Q1. Describe how in Mankind the playgoers are forced into "sin". How does this alter our interpretation of the play?

Q2. Discuss humour in Mankind or its absence in Everyman.

Q3. Does allegory aid our understanding or make finite meaning impossible?

Q4. How do morality plays reflect the cultural concerns of a late fifteenth/early sixteenth century audience? Can we understand these plays as entertainments, religious didacticism or both?