Friday (Non-)Film Focus: Othello (yet again)

OK, so I open in Othello next weekend. As I’ve noted before, I’m playing Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, another in a series of Shakespeare’s dubious dads. I disappear after the first act, only to die off-stage sometime before Lodovico’s delivering of the news in Act Five.

But before I leave the stage (forever), I have one last rhyming couplet…

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The sprite-ly voice of conscience?

In The Tempest, given Prospero’s backstory, his desire for revenge and his plans to achieve it are clear and clearly understandable. So what changes to allow for the kumbaya hug-out that is the ending? I think the key is in the early moments of Act Five. In my head, I keep coming back to this moment. And seems I’m not alone, as reader “Pongo Literatii” commented a few days back for the blog entry Friday (non)Film Focus: a question of postcolonialism:

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Podcast 162: The Tempest — Videos, and Caliban speech study


This week’s podcast [FINALLY] returns us to our prolonged discussion of The Tempest. We have some video reviews, a discussion of two major Caliban speeches, an explanation for my tardiness, and a little preview.

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A quick word or two on that Epilogue

Crazy busy today, so only a couple of quick thoughts on the Epilogue to The Tempest


spoken by Prospero.

Now my charms are all o’erthrown,
And what strength I have ’s mine own,
Which is most faint. Now ’tis true
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardoned the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell,
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself, and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free.
  • Epilogue.1-20

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The Tempest speech study: Caliban, part one

As I re-read The Tempest, I’m fascinated by Caliban. It’s such a bizarre character, one that it seems Shakespeare himself doesn’t know how to present. Not human. And yet poetical (when he isn’t planning murder, usurp, or rape). Over the course of the next few days, let’s take a look at a couple of his speeches and see what we find in characterization.

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Cymbeline speech study: the wake-up call

Over the last week or so, I’ve been discussing some of the major speeches from Cymbeline. I started off with Act Two’s Iachimo-in-the-Box speech. Last weekend, I touched upon Posthumus’ full-scene, single-speech rant against women. Today, let’s move from the men to the main woman of the piece: Innogen.

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Cymbeline speech study: the rant

A couple of days back, I broke down the Iachimo-in-the-Box speech from Act Two, Scene Two of Cymbeline. Today, let’s take a look at another speech, pretty much a direct result of that first speech: the Act Two, Scene Five’s single-scene soliloquizing rant by Posthumus.

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Cymbeline speech study: Radiohead

Let’s check out some of the major speeches of Cymbeline and see if we can find any clues for the enterprising actor or director in the scansion and poetry. First up: Iachimo in the Box!

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Posthumus Leonatus’ dead mother says thanks, too.

Way back when, two years ago, when we were discussing that melancholic Dane, I mentioned that our friend scansion had helped us figure out how we were supposed to pronounce Ophelia’s big bro’s name: not “LAYerTEES” (like I had alway thought), but “layAIRtees.” Go figure. Who knew we’d get that same kind of revelation this month with Cymbeline? But we do…

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Volumnia’s last word (economy-sized)

OK, last week, I looked at Martius’ big speech (and we’ve already taken a look at the homo-erotic response to it, the longest speech by Aufidius) from Coriolanus. Today, let’s take a look at the longest speech of the play, this one by dear ol’ mum, Volumnia. There’s some pretty interesting stuff going on in the scansion (as well as a stage direction or two).

It’s Act Five, Scene Three, in the Volscian camp on the outskirts of Rome, where Martius and Aufidius ready their armies for the attack. Martius has already turned away Menenius (who seemed like a father-figure to him), and Martius has admitted doing so “cracked” (V.iii.9) his heart.

So who should walk in at this moment?

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