Category Archives: scansion

Timon of Athens — a lil’ diff’rent scansion

As long-time readers of the blog can attest, I love to take a day toward the end of our time with a play to look at some interesting things in the scansion–places where an interruption or pause is called for, or maybe where the iambic pentameter goes so awry that the verse just screams to be looked at and reacted to. But to be perfectly honest, I think I’ve been getting into a bit of a rut. So we’re going to switch things up a little here with Timon of Athens.

I want to look at moments when the scansion disappears altogether, those moments when a speech moves from prose to verse and/or vice/versa. Note, I say speech and not scene. Those instances are common. Mid-speech changes are much fewer.

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Timon of Athens — Speech Study: Timon’s eureka moment

Last week, I took a look at some of the ‘graces’ in Timon of AthensApemantus’ before the first feast, and Timon’s before the second and final feast. Today, let’s look a (sort of) third.

In Act Four, Scene Three, Timon has left Athens and is now in full Misantropos mode. And at the beginning of the scene, he has another long soliloquy; this one at 48 lines, is longer than his Act Four, Scene One, full-scene torrent.

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Speech study: Timon’s torrent of rage

Act Four, Scene One of Timon of Athens is one of those strange scenes, one where there is but one character on stage, delivering but a single speech.

Timon has just booted his guests from his home in Act Three, Scene Six, and then fled Athens himself. And just fourteen lines later, we find Timon now outside the walls of his city. And he releases a forty-one line torrent of rage, a prayer of misanthropy:

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A question of authorial attribution (again)

OK, I’ve talked a little about the whole “second playwright” issue with Timon of Athens–i.e., Shakespeare did not act alone. From what I’ve read on the subject (and remember, this is pre-”New Oxford Shakespeare”/Word-Adjacency-Network revelations), Thomas Middleton’s fingerprints are all over Act One, Scene Two, all of Act Three, and the last 80 lines of Act Four, Scene Three, of this play.

And after my initial read, I wondered about my early feelings/hunches about the play:

it’s going to be interesting when I take my second dive into the text, to see if I can tell the difference between what has been considered to be the division of labor.
  • NOVEMBER 6, 2016

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Cleopatra: No more but e’en a woman…

A couple of days back, I noted on Cleopatra’s speeches in Antony and Cleopatra, talking a little about the relative lengths, and the fact that her longest speeches all come after the death of Antony in Act Four, Scene Fifteen.

Today, let’s look at the first and (tied for the) of those longest speeches…

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Podcast 131: Macbeth: Bawdy, plus Tomorrow, Unsex Me

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[WARNING: The the first portion of the following podcast contains (a little) adult language, (some) sexual imagery, and (not too much) stuff to make you say, “Man, that’s (not really) a dirty play.” You HAVE been (kinda) warned. SKIP TO THE 10:10 MARK IF (super) EASILY OFFENDED.]

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This week’s podcast continues our two month-long discussion of Macbeth with a quick look at bawdy in the play (there’s not much), then a longer look at two major speeches in the play (“Tomorrow” and [not at all ironically] “Unsex me here”).

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