From Confusion to Rage

Why Are the History Plays So Hard?! There is little doubt that the Henriad is much better than the Henry VI plays. There’s little doubt that pretty much all of the history plays are better than the Henry Vi plays. Despite being well-written and largely entertaining, they can still be quite difficult to work through. … Continue reading From Confusion to Rage

Decontructing the Tudor Myth

By usurping Richard III in 1485, Henry Tudor (now Henry VII) brought about the end of the Wars of the Roses, decades of turmoil for the English people. The Tudor Dynasty meant a long period of peace and prosperity for England...at least that is what they wanted us to believe. Unfortunately for the Tudors, Henry’s … Continue reading Decontructing the Tudor Myth

1 Henry IV Part 3

Act IV, Scene 1 Hotspur showers Douglas with compliments, which he graciously accepts. Just then, a messenger comes in bearing the unfortunate news that Hotspur’s father, Northumberland has taken ill and won’t be able to bring his army to meet them. They worry that this will dampen the spirits of their men and look like … Continue reading 1 Henry IV Part 3

1 Henry IV Part 2

Act II, Scene 4 Prince Hal has recently returned from a night of drinking with some random men. He argues that this will be good for him because, as King, he will be able to talk with anyone in his kingdom. He thanks Poins for joining him in tricking Falstaff and plans to kill the … Continue reading 1 Henry IV Part 2

1 Henry IV Part One

Act I, Scene 1 King Henry IV reflects on the positive direction of the kingdom. Following the turmoil of Richard II’s reign, which ended in his usurpation, the country is at peace. Neighbor no longer fights neighbor and they can all get behind the cause of driving those darn pagans from their Christian lands. Unfortunately, … Continue reading 1 Henry IV Part One

Introduction to Henry IV, Part 1

It will surprise no one to know that Shakespeare took a fair amount of creative liberty when presenting the history of Henry IV's reign. He did this in part to create a more compelling story and in part to satisfy the Tudor propaganda that was extremely relevant to his ability to produce plays. First, he … Continue reading Introduction to Henry IV, Part 1

Portia: Independent and Controlled

Since I touched on the anti-Semitism in my introduction, I thought I would try to take the road less travelled (or at least the road less congested) and discuss Portia. I found Portia to be a striking female character because she exists in this grey area in between being independent and being under the control … Continue reading Portia: Independent and Controlled

The Merchant of Venice Part 3

Act III, Scene 3 Antonio is under arrest. He tries to speak with Shylock, but he will have none of it. He demands to have his bond because of how Antonio mistreated him. After he leaves, Salarino curses Shylock’s name. Antonio tells him not to do that. He understands why Shylock hates him. He also … Continue reading The Merchant of Venice Part 3

The Merchant of Venice

Act II, Scene 6 Gratiano and Salarino wait beneath Jessica’s window for Lorenzo, who is late. They start discussing how new love unfolds. Gratiano insists that all things are chased more persistently than they are achieved. However, they have no real time to discuss the topic because Lorenzo has arrived. He apologizes for being late … Continue reading The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice Part 1

Act I, Scene 1 Antonio is sad, but he doesn't know why. His friends suggest that it's because his entire fortune is currently tied up in ocean ventures and the ocean can be pretty unpredictable. He doesn't think that's it. Then, they suggest it's because he's in love. Antonio finds that idea to be completely … Continue reading The Merchant of Venice Part 1