GRE literature (1500s-1600s)

GRE literature (1500s-1600s)

Shepheardes Calendar, 1579
– Spenser
– In emulation of Virgil’s first work, the Eclogues, Spenser wrote this series of pastorals to begin his career. However, Spenser’s models were rather the Renaissance eclogues of Mantuanus.
– deliberately archaic spellings, in order to suggest a connection to medieval literature, and to Geoffrey Chaucer in particular.
– The poem introduces Colin Clout, a folk character originated by John Skelton, and depicts his life as a shepherd through the twelve months of the year.
– It is also remarkable for the extensive commentary included with the work in its first publication, ascribed to an “E.K.” E.K. is an intelligent, very subtle, and often deeply ironic commentator, who is sometimes assumed to be an alias of Spenser himself. The term sarcasm is first recorded in English in Spenser’s poem.[3]
– The twelve eclogues of The Shepheardes Calender, dealing with such themes as the abuses of the church, Colin’s (Spenser) shattered love for Rosalind, praise for Queen Elizabeth, and encomia to the rustic Shepherd’s life, are titled for the months of the year.
– The opening line of each eclogue expresses characteristics of the month, and the poem as a whole charts common accuracy of the seasons, the toil and celebrations of the village year. The precision of the description of birds, flowers, and harvests is balanced by an underlying theme of the hardships and rituals that each season entails. Each pastoral in the poem can be classified into one of three categories, identified as moral, plaintive, or re-creative.

– January: unhappy love of Colin for Rosalind (gods that pity lovers’ pain)
– April: song in praise of Elizabeth.
– May: Shepherds who are rival pastors of the Reformation end their sermons w/an animal fable.
– October: contemplation of the trials and disappointments of the poet
– ends w/ a parable comparing life to the 4 seasons of the year.

The plaintive and re-creative poems are each devoted to presenting Colin Clout in his double character of lover and poet, whereas the moral poems are mixed with mocking bitterness, which moves Colin from a dramatic personae to a more homely style.

The Shepheardes Calender is a poem that consists of twelve eclogues. Each eclogue is named after a different month, which represents the turning of seasons. An eclogue is a short pastoral poem that is in the form of a dialogue or soliloquy. This is why, while the months come together to form a whole year, each month can also stand alone as a separate poem. The months are all written in a different form. For example, Aprill has a lyrical “laye” which honors the Queen. Maye gives off characterization and greater description. As the reader passes through each month and gets closer to the end of the year, the wording becomes less beautifully lyrical and more straightforward; closing together the poem the way the month of December closes up the year. Spenser uses rhyme differently in each month. There is a very cyclical pattern that shows off the kind of style that Spenser was going for, making the reader feel as though they are going through the cycle of each year just as the narrator does. The months all have repetition of elements and arguments. The style of the poem is also influenced by writers such as Chaucer and Skelton.

Faerie Queene, 1590
– Edmund Spenser
Book I is centered on the virtue of Holiness as embodied in the Redcrosse Knight. He and his lady Una travel together as he fights the dragon Errour, then separate as the wizard Archimago tricks the Redcrosse Knight in a dream to think that Una is unchaste. After he leaves, the Redcrosse Knight meets Duessa, who pretends to be captured in order to trap him. Duessa leads the Redcrosse Knight to captivity by the giant Orgoglio. Meanwhile, Una overcomes peril, meets Arthur, and finally finds and rescues the Redcrosse Knight from his capture, from Duessa, and from Despair. Una and Arthur help the Redcrosse Knight recover in the House of Holiness; there the Redcrosse Knight sees a vision of his future. He then returns Una to her parents’ castle, rescues them from a dragon, and the two are betrothed after resisting Archimago one last time.

Book II is centered on the virtue of Temperance as embodied in Sir Guyon, who is tempted by the fleeing Archimago into nearly attacking the Redcrosse Knight. Guyon discovers a woman killing herself out of grief for having her lover tempted and bewitched by the witch Acrasia and killed. Guyon swears a vow to avenge them and protect their child. Guyon on his quest starts and stops fighting several evil, rash, or tricked knights and meets Arthur. Finally, they come to Acrasia’s Island and the Bower of Bliss, where Guyon resists temptations to violence, idleness, and lust. Guyon captures Acrasia in a net, destroys the Bower, and rescues those imprisoned there.

Book III is centered on the virtue of Chastity as embodied in Sir Britomart, a lady knight. Resting after the events of Book II, Guyon and Arthur meet Britomart, who wins a joust with Guyon. They separate as Arthur and Guyon leave to rescue Florimell, while Britomart rescues the Redcrosse Knight. Britomart reveals to the Redcrosse Knight that she is pursuing Sir Artegal because she is destined to marry him. The Redcrosse Knight defends Artegal and they meet Merlin, who explains more carefully Britomart’s destiny to found the English monarchy. Britomart leaves and fights Sir Marinell. Arthur looks for Florimell, joined later by Sir Satyrane and Britomart, and they witness and resist sexual temptation. Britomart separates from them and meets Sir Scudamore, looking for his captured lady Amoret. Britomart alone is able to rescue Amoret from the wizard Busirane and reunite the lovers.

Book IV is centered on the virtue of Friendship as embodied in Sir Cambell and Sir Triamond.

Book V is centered on the virtue of Justice as embodied in Sir Artegal.

Book VI is centered on the virtue of Courtesy as embodied in Sir Calidore.

Tamburlaine, 1590
– Christopher Marlowe
– Persian emperor Mycetes sends troops to defeat Tamburlaine, a Scythian shepherd. T meanwhile is wooding Zenocrate Princess of Egype. T defeats M by persuading the Persian soldiers and M’s brother Cosroe (who wants to dethrone M) to join him in exchange for M’s throne. He reneges, takes Persia. Overthrows Bazajeth, emperor of Turks, and enslaves him. B and wife Zabina commit suicide. T takea Africa and Damascus (but at Ze’s request, allows her father to be a tributary king). Pt 2, T’s son Calyphas doesn’t want to fight and doesn’t fight, so T kills him. T conquers Babylon through savagery (kills the governor who tried to save his life in exchange for the treasury and drowned everyone else). Burns a Quran, declares himself bigger than God. Finally dies, telling his sons to conquer the earth.
Taming of the Shrew, 1590-92ish
– Shakespeare
– characters: Baptista (father), Bianca (sister), Katherine/Kate, Pertruccio, Lucentio, Grumio, Gremio, Hortensio, Tranio, Vincentio
Richard III, 1592
– Shakespeare
– a long meditation on evil
– summary: Richard is Duke of Gloucester and wants to usurp his brother King Edward IV; he arranges the death of his brother George, Duke of Clarence, keeps the young princes locked up until he is crowned king and then kills them anyway, and wants to marry Elizabeth from this family; In the end, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, declares war on Richard and he is killed in battle
– famous opening monologue: “Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this son of York”
Doctor Faustus, 1592
– Christopher Marlowe
– Marlowe’s version has a good angel and bad angel, present when F considers pursuit of magic, when he signs his life to the devil, and when F is about to be dragged to hell @ end of life.
– Marlowe’s version is simpler than Goethe’s; M’s is about not surpassing human ability. G in the opening wager between Mephistopheles and God sets the stage for F to make his own decisions.
– In Marlowe’s play, F hurts multiple ppl under M’s influence. In Goethe’s play, F only hurts Gretchen. Gretchen drowns her illegitimate child.
Defense of Poesy, published 1595
– Sir Philip Sidney
– to establish poetry as highest of arts, best fitted to please and to instruct (after Horace)
– climate of criticism twd imaginative arts; they were seen as barely more than tools for corruption (vile distraction that promotes idleness at best, immorality at worst). Moreover, a lot of it was awful, but he believed there was aesthetic and moral value in literature. Trained in Greek and Roman lit, and the classical and Renaissance defenses of the arts, he steps up in defense, though he finds he has to redefine its function and assign it a more significant aesthetic role. In the grand Ciceronian rhetorical tradition, he builds an argument.
– argument 1: first light-giver to ignorance.The first works of science, philosophy, law, history were poems; the Italian and English languages were established by poetry. Hebrews & Romans considered their poets prophets. “So as he goeth hand in hand with Nature, not enclosed within the narrow warrant of her gifts, but freely ranging only within the zodiac of his own wit.”
– The aim of poetry, of all earthly knowledge, is “to lead and draw us to as high a perfection as our degenerate souls, made worse by their clayey lodgings, can be capable of.” The moral philosopher feels he’s best equipped bc he can define and discuss virtue and vice; the historian’s examples from the past he argues are more concrete. The poet, Sidney finds, can combine both by giving precept and example, he poet is free to portray the ideal, while the historian must be faithful to his subjects, and they, being human, mingle faults with their virtues. The poet may show evil punished and good rewarded; the historian must record the vagaries of fortune, which allows the innocent to suffer and the vicious to prosper.
– the philosopher is boring; The poet “doth not only show the way, but giveth so sweet prospect into the way as will entice any man to enter into it.” their “golden” world of possibility is superior to the “brazen” one of historians who must be content with the mere truth of happenstance. He then lays out the pleasing and instructive things about the different types of poetry to figure out where it went wrong.
Richard II, 1595
– Shakespeare
Richard II, written around 1595, is the first play in Shakespeare’s second “history tetralogy,” a series of four plays that chronicles the rise of the house of Lancaster to the British throne. (Its sequel plays are Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2, and Henry V.) Richard II, set around the year 1398, traces the fall from power of the last king of the house of Plantagenet, Richard II, and his replacement by the first Lancaster king, Henry IV (Henry Bolingbroke). Richard II, who ascended to the throne as a young man, is a regal and stately figure, but he is wasteful in his spending habits, unwise in his choice of counselors, and detached from his country and its common people. He spends too much of his time pursuing the latest Italian fashions, spending money on his close friends, and raising taxes to fund his pet wars in Ireland and elsewhere. When he begins to “rent out” parcels of English land to certain wealthy noblemen in order to raise funds for one of his wars, and seizes the lands and money of a recently deceased and much respected uncle to help fill his coffers, both the commoners and the king’s noblemen decide that Richard has gone too far.

Richard has a cousin, named Henry Bolingbroke, who is a great favorite among the English commoners. Early in the play, Richard exiles him from England for six years due to an unresolved dispute over an earlier political murder. The dead uncle whose lands Richard seizes was the father of Bolingbroke; when Bolingbroke learns that Richard has stolen what should have been his inheritance, it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. When Richard unwisely departs to pursue a war in Ireland, Bolingbroke assembles an army and invades the north coast of England in his absence. The commoners, fond of Bolingbroke and angry at Richard’s mismanagement of the country, welcome his invasion and join his forces. One by one, Richard’s allies in the nobility desert him and defect to Bolingbroke’s side as Bolingbroke marches through England. By the time Richard returns from Ireland, he has already lost his grasp on his country.

There is never an actual battle; instead, Bolingbroke peacefully takes Richard prisoner in Wales and brings him back to London, where Bolingbroke is crowned King Henry IV. Richard is imprisoned in the remote castle of Pomfret in the north of England, where he is left to ruminate upon his downfall. There, an assassin, who both is and is not acting upon King Henry’s ambivalent wishes for Richard’s expedient death, murders the former king. King Henry hypocritically repudiates the murderer and vows to journey to Jerusalem to cleanse himself of his part in Richard’s death. As the play concludes, we see that the reign of the new King Henry IV has started off inauspiciously.

Romeo and Juliet, 1595
– Shakespeare
– characters: Romeo, Juliet, Friar Laurence, Juliet’s nurse, Benvolio (Romeo’s cousin), Mercutio (Romeo’s friend), Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin)
– famous prologue: “Two households, both alike in dignity / In fair Verona, where we lay our scene”
Amoretti, 1595
– Spenser
Amoretti is a sonnet-cycle tracing the suitor’s long courtship and eventual wooing of his beloved. The work begins with two sonnets in which the speaker addresses his own poetry, attempting to invest his words with the power to achieve his goal (the wooing of Elizabeth Boyle). From the third sonnet through the sixty-second sonnet, the speaker is in an slmost constant state of emotional turmoil and frustrated hopes. His beloved refuses to look favorably upon his suit, so his reaction ranges from desparing self-deprecation to angry tirade against her stubbornness. Most often the speaker dwells upon his beloved’s beauty, both inner and outer, and the overpowering effects this beauty has upon him. He uses a variety of motifs to explicate his feelings and thoughts toward the subject of his ardor: predator and prey, wartime victor and captive, fire and ice, and hard substances that eventually soften over long periods of time. Each of these is intended to convey some aspect of his beloved’s character or his own fears and apprehensions.

In Sonnet 63, the Amoretti undergoes a drastic change in tone. The long-sought beloved has acceded to the speaker’s request, making her his fiancee. Several sonnets of rejoicing occur, followed by several expressing the speaker’s impatience at the lengthy engagement prior to the wedding day. Here, too, the speaker turns his attention from his earlier aspects of the beloved’s physical beauty–her eyes and her hair in particular–and begins to be more familiar with her, to the point of describing in detail the scent of her breasts. From Sonnet 63 through Sonnet 85, the speaker revisits many of his earlier motifs, changing them to suit the new relationship between himself and his beloved. Now he is the hunter and she is the game; he is the victor, and she the vanquished. His earlier criticisms of her pride and stubbornness also change to become admiration for her constancy and strength of mind.

From Sonnet 86 to the end of the sonnet-cycle proper (Sonnet 89), division enters into the relationship. Sonnet 86 marks a moment of wrath on the part of the fiancee, a result of some lie told to her by an individual whom the speaker curses in no uncertain terms. Sonnets 87 through 89 dwell upon the speaker’s misery at being separated from his beloved, but there is an implied expectation that they will, eventually, be reunited.

The sonnet-cycle ends with a set of stanzas returning to the poem’s title character, Cupid. The first set of stanzas describe how Cupid led the speaker into harm when he was young by drawing his attention to a hive full of honey; when the speaker reached for the honey, he was stung by the resident bees and Cupid flew away. Later, Cupid wounds the speaker with an arrow plaed there by Diane, goddess of the hunt. Instead of instilling passionate love into the speaker, it instead causes pain.

The next set of stanzas turn Cupid’s attention from the speaker and toward the beloved. They describe an incident in which Cupid comes across the speaker’s beloved, but mistakes her for his own mother, Venus, goddess of love and beauty. The speaker tells Cupid that the mistake is understandable, as he has not been the first to confuse the two.

The final set of stanzas focus almost entirely on an incident involving Cupid and Venus. As a child, Cupid is annoyed by a bee buzzing around him as he tries to rest. His mother warns him to leave the bee alone, but Cupid instead impetuously grabs the bee in his hand. He is, of course, stung and releases the bee; his mother attempts to soothe him while teaching him a lesson: he has had no pity on many mortals whom his arrows have “stung,” so perhaps he should show the same kindness to them that she is now showing to him. Cupid, however, misses the lesson entirely and goes on arbitrarily firing his arrows at mortals without thought for the consequences of unrequited love. The speaker returns to himself as the target of Cupid’s indifferent attentions, resigning himself to languish in unconsummated love until Cupid sees fit to end his suffering.

Epithalamion is an ode written to commemorate the nuptials of the speaker and his bride. The song begins before dawn and progresses through the wedding ceremony and into the consummation night of the newlywed couple. Throughout Epithalamion, the speaker marks time by referencing the physical movements of the wedding party, the positions of the sun and other celestial bodies, and the light and darkness that fill the day.

Although firmly within the classical tradition, Epithalamion takes its setting and several of its images from Ireland, where Edmund Spenser’s wedding to Elizabeth Boyle actually took place. Some critics have seen in this Irish connection a commentary within the poem of the proper relationship between ruling England (the groom) and subject Ireland (the bride). Spenser’s love for the Irish countryside is clear through his vivid descriptions of the natural world surrounding the couple, while his political views regarding English supremacy is hinted at in the relationship between the bride and groom themselves.

Other critics have seen Spenser’s gift to his bride not simply as a celebration of their wedding day, but a poetic argument for the kind of husband-wife relationship he expects the two of them to have.

Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd, 1596
– Sir Walter Ralegh
If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every Shepherd’s tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move,
To live with thee, and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When Rivers rage and Rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb,
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields,
To wayward winter reckoning yields,
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy’s spring, but sorrow’s fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of Roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten:
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and Ivy buds,
The Coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joys no date, nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee, and be thy love.

Henry IV, 1596-98
– ShakespeareWhen the play opens, military news interrupts the aging King Henry’s plans to lead a crusade. The Welsh rebel Glyndwr has defeated King Henry’s army in the South, and the young Harry Percy (nicknamed Hotspur), who is supposedly loyal to King Henry, is refusing to send to the king the soldiers whom he has captured in the North. King Henry summons Hotspur back to the royal court so that he can explain his actions.

Meanwhile, King Henry’s son, Prince Harry, sits drinking in a bar with criminals and highwaymen. King Henry is very disappointed in his son; it is common knowledge that Harry, the heir to the throne, conducts himself in a manner unbefitting royalty. He spends most of his time in taverns on the seedy side of London, hanging around with vagrants and other shady characters. Harry’s closest friend among the crew of rascals is Falstaff, a sort of substitute father figure. Falstaff is a worldly and fat old man who steals and lies for a living. Falstaff is also an extraordinarily witty person who lives with great gusto. Harry claims that his spending time with these men is actually part of a scheme on his part to impress the public when he eventually changes his ways and adopts a more noble personality.

Falstaff’s friend Poins arrives at the inn and announces that he has plotted the robbery of a group of wealthy travelers. Although Harry initially refuses to participate, Poins explains to him in private that he is actually playing a practical joke on Falstaff. Poins’s plan is to hide before the robbery occurs, pretending to ditch Falstaff. After the robbery, Poins and Harry will rob Falstaff and then make fun of him when he tells the story of being robbed, which he will almost certainly fabricate.

Hotspur arrives at King Henry’s court and details the reasons that his family is frustrated with the king: the Percys were instrumental in helping Henry overthrow his predecessor, but Henry has failed to repay the favor. After King Henry leaves, Hotspur’s family members explain to Hotspur their plan to build an alliance to overthrow the king.

Harry and Poins, meanwhile, successfully carry out their plan to dupe Falstaff and have a great deal of fun at his expense. As they are all drinking back at the tavern, however, a messenger arrives for Harry. Harry’s father has received news of the civil war that is brewing and has sent for his son; Harry is to return to the royal court the next day.

Although the Percys have gathered a formidable group of allies around them—leaders of large rebel armies from Scotland and Wales as well as powerful English nobles and clergymen who have grievances against King Henry—the alliance has begun to falter. Several key figures announce that they will not join in the effort to overthrow the king, and the danger that these defectors might alert King Henry of the rebellion necessitates going to war at once.

Heeding his father’s request, Harry returns to the palace. King Henry expresses his deep sorrow and anger at his son’s behavior and implies that Hotspur’s valor might actually give him more right to the throne than Prince Harry’s royal birth. Harry decides that it is time to reform, and he vows that he will abandon his wild ways and vanquish Hotspur in battle in order to reclaim his good name. Drafting his tavern friends to fight in King Henry’s army, Harry accompanies his father to the battlefront.

The civil war is decided in a great battle at Shrewsbury. Harry boldly saves his father’s life in battle and finally wins back his father’s approval and affection. Harry also challenges and defeats Hotspur in single combat. King Henry’s forces win, and most of the leaders of the Percy family are put to death. Falstaff manages to survive the battle by avoiding any actual fighting.

Powerful rebel forces remain in Britain, however, so King Henry must send his sons and his forces to the far reaches of his kingdom to deal with them. When the play ends, the ultimate outcome of the war has not yet been determined; one battle has been won, but another remains to be fought (Shakespeare’s sequel to this play, 2 Henry IV, begins where 1 Henry IV leaves off).

The Passionate Shepherd, To His Love, 1599
– Christopher Marlowe
– “Come live with me, and be my love, and we will all the pleasures prove.”
– pastoral imagery given as gifts to her
As You Like It, 1600
– Shakespeare
Sir Rowland de Bois has recently died, and, according to the custom of primogeniture, the vast majority of his estate has passed into the possession of his eldest son, Oliver. Although Sir Rowland has instructed Oliver to take good care of his brother, Orlando, Oliver refuses to do so. Out of pure spite, he denies Orlando the education, training, and property befitting a gentleman. Charles, a wrestler from the court of Duke Frederick, arrives to warn Oliver of a rumor that Orlando will challenge Charles to a fight on the following day. Fearing censure if he should beat a nobleman, Charles begs Oliver to intervene, but Oliver convinces the wrestler that Orlando is a dishonorable sportsman who will take whatever dastardly means necessary to win. Charles vows to pummel Orlando, which delights Oliver.

Duke Senior has been usurped of his throne by his brother, Duke Frederick, and has fled to the Forest of Ardenne, where he lives like Robin Hood with a band of loyal followers. Duke Frederick allows Senior’s daughter, Rosalind, to remain at court because of her inseparable friendship with his own daughter, Celia. The day arrives when Orlando is scheduled to fight Charles, and the women witness Orlando’s defeat of the court wrestler. Orlando and Rosalind instantly fall in love with one another, though Rosalind keeps this fact a secret from everyone but Celia. Orlando returns home from the wrestling match, only to have his faithful servant Adam warn him about Oliver’s plot against Orlando’s life. Orlando decides to leave for the safety of Ardenne. Without warning, Duke Frederick has a change of heart regarding Rosalind and banishes her from court. She, too, decides to flee to the Forest of Ardenne and leaves with Celia, who cannot bear to be without Rosalind, and Touchstone, the court jester. To ensure the safety of their journey, Rosalind assumes the dress of a young man and takes the name Ganymede, while Celia dresses as a common shepherdess and calls herself Aliena.

Duke Frederick is furious at his daughter’s disappearance. When he learns that the flight of his daughter and niece coincides with the disappearance of Orlando, the duke orders Oliver to lead the manhunt, threatening to confiscate Oliver’s lands and property should he fail. Frederick also decides it is time to destroy his brother once and for all and begins to raise an army.

Duke Senior lives in the Forest of Ardenne with a band of lords who have gone into voluntary exile. He praises the simple life among the trees, happy to be absent from the machinations of court life. Orlando, exhausted by travel and desperate to find food for his starving companion, Adam, barges in on the duke’s camp and rudely demands that they not eat until he is given food. Duke Senior calms Orlando and, when he learns that the young man is the son of his dear former friend, accepts him into his company. Meanwhile, Rosalind and Celia, disguised as Ganymede and Aliena, arrive in the forest and meet a lovesick young shepherd named Silvius who pines away for the disdainful Phoebe. The two women purchase a modest cottage, and soon enough Rosalind runs into the equally lovesick Orlando. Taking her to be a young man, Orlando confides in Rosalind that his affections are overpowering him. Rosalind, as Ganymede, claims to be an expert in exorcising such emotions and promises to cure Orlando of lovesickness if he agrees to pretend that Ganymede is Rosalind and promises to come woo her every day. Orlando agrees, and the love lessons begin.

Meanwhile, Phoebe becomes increasingly cruel in her rejection of Silvius. When Rosalind intervenes, disguised as Ganymede, Phoebe falls hopelessly in love with Ganymede. One day, Orlando fails to show up for his tutorial with Ganymede. Rosalind, reacting to her infatuation with Orlando, is distraught until Oliver appears. Oliver describes how Orlando stumbled upon him in the forest and saved him from being devoured by a hungry lioness. Oliver and Celia, still disguised as the shepherdess Aliena, fall instantly in love and agree to marry. As time passes, Phoebe becomes increasingly insistent in her pursuit of Ganymede, and Orlando grows tired of pretending that a boy is his dear Rosalind. Rosalind decides to end the charade. She promises that Ganymede will wed Phoebe, if Ganymede will ever marry a woman, and she makes everyone pledge to meet the next day at the wedding. They all agree.

The day of the wedding arrives, and Rosalind gathers the various couples: Phoebe and Silvius; Celia and Oliver; Touchstone and Audrey, a goatherd he intends to marry; and Orlando. The group congregates before Duke Senior and his men. Rosalind, still disguised as Ganymede, reminds the lovers of their various vows, then secures a promise from Phoebe that if for some reason she refuses to marry Ganymede she will marry Silvius, and a promise from the duke that he would allow his daughter to marry Orlando if she were available. Rosalind leaves with the disguised Celia, and the two soon return as themselves, accompanied by Hymen, the god of marriage. Hymen officiates at the ceremony and marries Rosalind and Orlando, Celia and Oliver, Phoebe and Silvius, and Audrey and Touchstone. The festive wedding celebration is interrupted by even more festive news: while marching with his army to attack Duke Senior, Duke Frederick came upon a holy man who convinced him to put aside his worldly concerns and assume a monastic life. -Frederick changes his ways and returns the throne to Duke Senior. The guests continue dancing, happy in the knowledge that they will soon return to the royal court.

King Lear
– Shakespeare
Lear, the aging king of Britain, decides to step down from the throne and divide his kingdom evenly among his three daughters. First, however, he puts his daughters through a test, asking each to tell him how much she loves him. Goneril and Regan, Lear’s older daughters, give their father flattering answers. But Cordelia, Lear’s youngest and favorite daughter, remains silent, saying that she has no words to describe how much she loves her father. Lear flies into a rage and disowns Cordelia. The king of France, who has courted Cordelia, says that he still wants to marry her even without her land, and she accompanies him to France without her father’s blessing.

Lear quickly learns that he made a bad decision. Goneril and Regan swiftly begin to undermine the little authority that Lear still holds. Unable to believe that his beloved daughters are betraying him, Lear slowly goes insane. He flees his daughters’ houses to wander on a heath during a great thunderstorm, accompanied by his Fool and by Kent, a loyal nobleman in disguise.

Meanwhile, an elderly nobleman named Gloucester also experiences family problems. His illegitimate son, Edmund, tricks him into believing that his legitimate son, Edgar, is trying to kill him. Fleeing the manhunt that his father has set for him, Edgar disguises himself as a crazy beggar and calls himself “Poor Tom.” Like Lear, he heads out onto the heath.

When the loyal Gloucester realizes that Lear’s daughters have turned against their father, he decides to help Lear in spite of the danger. Regan and her husband, Cornwall, discover him helping Lear, accuse him of treason, blind him, and turn him out to wander the countryside. He ends up being led by his disguised son, Edgar, toward the city of Dover, where Lear has also been brought.

In Dover, a French army lands as part of an invasion led by Cordelia in an effort to save her father. Edmund apparently becomes romantically entangled with both Regan and Goneril, whose husband, Albany, is increasingly sympathetic to Lear’s cause. Goneril and Edmund conspire to kill Albany.

The despairing Gloucester tries to commit suicide, but Edgar saves him by pulling the strange trick of leading him off an imaginary cliff. Meanwhile, the English troops reach Dover, and the English, led by Edmund, defeat the Cordelia-led French. Lear and Cordelia are captured. In the climactic scene, Edgar duels with and kills Edmund; we learn of the death of Gloucester; Goneril poisons Regan out of jealousy over Edmund and then kills herself when her treachery is revealed to Albany; Edmund’s betrayal of Cordelia leads to her needless execution in prison; and Lear finally dies out of grief at Cordelia’s passing. Albany, Edgar, and the elderly Kent are left to take care of the country under a cloud of sorrow and regret.

Hamlet, 1601
– Shakespeare
– characters: Hamlet, Gertrude (his mother), Claudius (his uncle), Ophelia, Polonius (her father), Laertes (her brother), Horatio, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Fortinbras
– Shakespeare
– summary: Othello, a war hero and Moor, marries Desdemona, daughter of the Duke of Venice; Othello has promoted Cassio to be his lieutenant which causes Iago to feel envious; Iago stages a drunken fight with Roderigo to get Cassio removed then deceives Othello into thinking Desdemona and Cassio are having sex; Othello strangles Desdemona then kills himself before Iago is carried off
– famous line: “She swore in faith ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange, / ‘Twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful”
– famous line: “I kissed thee ere I killed thee, no way but this, / Killing myself, to die upon a kiss”
Macbeth, 1606
– Shakespeare
– summary: Macbeth hears a prophesy of his fame from three witches and plots to kill King Duncan with his wife; Macbeth becomes king but feels increasingly guilty, as does his wife who kills herself; Macbeth is eventually undone by Macduff
– famous line: “Yet I do fear thy nature. / It is too full o’th’ milk of human kindness / To catch the nearest way”
– Macbeth’s famous speech: “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day / To the last syllable of recorded time, / And all our yesterdays have lighted fools / The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle. / Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, / And then is heard no more. It is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.
Volpone, 1606
– Ben Jonson
– “Sly Fox”
In Volpone, Ben Jonson celebrates the joy of a good trick. He emphasizes the fun and the humor of deceit, but he does not overlook its nastiness, and in the end he punishes the deceivers. The play centers around the wealthy Volpone, who, having no wife or children, pretends to be dying and, with the help of his wily servant Mosca, eggs on several greedy characters, each of whom hopes to be made Volpone’s sole heir. Jonson’s ardent love of language reveals itself throughout the play, but especially in the words of Mosca and Volpone, who relish the deceptive powers of language. Volpone himself pursues his schemes partly out of greed, but partly out of his passionate love of getting the best of people. He cannot resist the temptation to outsmart those around him, particularly when fate delivers him such perfect gulls as the lawyer Voltore, the merchant Corvino, the doddering old Corbaccio, and the foolish English travelers Sir Politic and Lady Would-Be. Mosca too revels in his ability to beguile others, remarking “I fear I shall begin to grow in love / With my dear self,” so thrilled is he with his own manipulations. His self-love, however, proves his undoing, as it does for Volpone. Both characters become so entranced by their own elaborate fictions that they cannot bring themselves to stop their scheming before they betray themselves.
The Tempest, 1611
– summary: Alonso, King of Naples, and his people are shipwrecked on an island; Prospero, former Duke of Milan, tells his daughter Miranda of how his brother Antonio usurped him and exiled him to this island; Prospero enslaves Caliban and spirit Ariel (who was put in a tree by Caliban’s mother and format head of the island Sycorax); Caliban attempts to overthrow Prospero but fails, Ferdinand falls in love with Miranda and marries her after serving Prospero, Ariel is set free, and Caliban is forgiven; everyone sails back to Italy
– characters: Prospero, Caliban, Ariel, Miranda, Ferdinand, Alonso, Sycorax
– famous line: “O wonder! / How many goodly creatures are there here! / How beauteous mankind is! / O brave new world / That such people isn’t!”
Duchess of Malfi, 1614
– John Webster
– play
– Published: Webster’s story of the Duchess of Malfi may be an Elizabethan tragedy, but it is also a psychological horror story as well told as any modern novel in the genre
The Duchess inherits her realm as a widow, and is urged by her broothers Ferdinand Duke of Calabria and the Cardinal to marry again. Although at first she vows never to remarry, she eventually falls for her steward, Antonio Bologna. Because he is her servant and not noble, they hide their marriage until she becomes obviously pregnant and is delivered of a son. When her brothers discover this, they assume that the child has been born out of wedlock. Ferdinand eventually discovers the truth, and the duchess realises that he and the cardinal will not be willing for her land to descend to her children by Antonio. They attack her lands and take her prisoner, then torture her by showing her signs as though Antonio and the children are dead.
It is the captivity of the duchess which is the greatest part of the play. The attempts by her brothers to drive her insane are treated in a way guaranteed to move even the most heartless; the proceedings themselves move her jailor, steeped in crime though he is. This justly ranks as one of the best known non-Shakespearean plays of the period.
Author’s Epitaph, Made by Himself, 1618?
– Sir Walter Ralegh
Even such is time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust,
Who in the dark and silent grave
When we have wandered all our ways
Shuts up the story of our days,
And from which earth, and grave, and dust
The Lord will raise me up, I trust.
To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare, and What He Hath Left Us, 1623
– Ben Jonson
– “He was not of an age, but for all time.”
– better than contemporaries, Greek playwrights, Greek gods.
– concluding with him living in the stars
Anatomy of the World, 1630s?
– Donne
by occasion of the untimely death of Mistress
Elizabeth Drury, the frailty and the decay
of this whole world is represented
Comus, 1634
– John Milton
– Written in heroic couplets.
– Comus is a pagan god invented by Milton, son of Bacchas and Circe, who waylays travelers and transforms their faces to those of magical beasts. Comus attempts to enchant a lady who has been separated from her brothers in the guise of a shepherd. The brothers are told by an attendant spirit Thyrsis (also disguised as a shepherd) and try and find the cottage where Comus has taken her. The spirit give the brothers a root, Comus tries to make the lady drink a magic potion but her Chastity is so strong it’s as though she’s possessed by some superior power. The brothers burst in, but they haven’t secured Comus’s wand, so Thyrsis invokes Sabrina, another minor goddess with a song ‘Sabrina fair/ Listen where thou art sitting. Sabrina arrives and everyone is set free.’
Lycidas, 1638
– John Milton
– In this Monody the author bewails a learned friend, unfortunately drowned in his passage from Chester on the Irish Seas, and by occasion foretells the ruin of our corrupted clergy, then in their height.
– pastoral elegy: The pastoral tradition in English literature, the tradition of dealing with characters under the guise of poetic shepherds in an idyllic environment, has its roots in classical literature; Vergil and Theocritus are two of the most notable poets who wrote in the pastoral vein. All nature helps out to mourn the loss.
YET once more, O ye Laurels, and once more

Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never-sear,

I com to pluck your Berries harsh and crude,

And with forc’d fingers rude,

Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.

Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear,

Compels me to disturb your season due:

For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime

Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer:

Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew

Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.

Elegy upon the Death of Doctor Donne, Dean of St. Paul’s, 1640
Thomas Carew
Areopagitica: A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicens’d Printing, 1644
– John Milton
– opposing licensing/censorship (passionate defense of freedom of speech and expression)
– in response to Parliament’s Licensing Order of 1643, which required all publications to be government approved.
– arguing for unrestricted printing, but punishment for those who abuse it (after the Greeks & Romans, whom he contrasts against Catholics/Spanish Inquisition)
– no authority can rightfully exist outside the conscience of the individual and his power of reason (any belief is heresy if you haven’t determined it for yourself)
– first expressions of the idea that an individual’s freedom to read and write is more important than the state’s right to limit the individual’s freedom to read and write.
– against licensing, not necessarily censorship. licensing happens before censorship. censorship is ok bc books need to be brought to justice. Books are a living extraction of the essence of the intellect/soul that created them
KEYWORD: cloistered virtue – Milton considered this ironic because of free choice.
– The Four Major Arguments
– Who are the inventors of licensing? The Catholic church.
– What is to be thought of reading? It is a necessary acquisition of knowledge of good and evil in a fallen world.
– This Order is ineffectual in suppressing “scandalous, seditious, and libelous books.”
– This Order will discourage learning and the pursuit of truth.
– They, who to states and governors of the Commonwealth direct their speech, High Court of Parliament, or, wanting such access in a private condition, write that which they foresee may advance the public good; I suppose them, as at the beginning of no mean endeavour, not a little altered and moved inwardly in their minds: some with doubt of what will be the success, others with fear of what will be the censure; some with hope, others with confidence of what they have to speak.
Il Penseroso, 1645
– John Milton.
– melancholy key to production of poetry; mirth is sign of idle mind
– invokes melancholy as goddess and invites her to bring peace, quiet, contemplation, fasting, silence, and the muses as key to poetry
– embracing her as sober, steadfast, demure
– places to contemplate
– innate asceticism
L’Allegro, 1645
– John Milton
– banishing melancholy and invoking Euphrosyne, goddess of mirth and one of the three graces (Aglaia: Brightness, and Thalia: Bloom). Mirth brings man to full potential
– set in springtime
– pastoral. first country, then urban setting
– lords/knights/ladies going to plays
– name drops Shakespeare and Jonson
Upon Julia’s Breast
Upon Julia’s Clothes
The Night Piece, to Julia (1648)
– Robert Herrick
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time, 1648
– Robert Herrick
– “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may”
– – youth is better; youth is fleeting (flower, sun, prime)
Restoration Comedy, 1660-1730
– comedies of language and manners, centered on the tension between accepted social behavior toward sex and marriage and more direct behavioral prerogatives of human lust and social ambition
– typically open with verse prologue to the audience, but the plays are not in verse
– notable examples: William Wycherley’s The Country Wife (1675), George Etherege’s The Man of Mode (1676), William Congreve’s The Way of the World (1700), Richard Sheridan’s The School for Scandal (1777)
Paradise Lost, 1667
– John Milton
– Satan & co. are banished to Tartarus in their defeat. To seek revenge, they want to mess with mankind. Satan (with his daughter Sin, and their son Death’s help) escapes hell and eventually finds Earth.
– God tells his Son about it and that Satan will corrupt earth. Jesus volunteers for Crucifixion.
– Satan cheats his way into earth by looking like a cherub and fooling Uriel the guardian angel. He is suitably impressed by creation and regrets his fall briefly (turns to hatred.)
– Uriel tells Gabriel, who outs Satan. God sends Raphael to Adam and Eve to tell them about Satan and his fall through pride, and those he took with him. It was a 3 day battle. Day 1 went to Michael and Gabriel and co. Day 2 went to Satan thru him creating cannons, and Day 3 the Son of God faced Satan and in their retreat, they fell through a hole in heaven to hell. Hence the reason for Creation.
– Next day, Eve decides to work alone. Satan, as a serpent, flatters her into eating forbidden fruit. Adam, bc he loves her and feels bound to her, eats it too. They experience lust, and after they sleep, wake up ashamed bc they know good from evil. Mutual recrimination, then judgment.
– Satan returns to hell presumptively victorious, w/Death and Sin builds a bridge to earth to conquer it. But the other fallen angels are hissing bc they are turning into snakes, and so eventually is Satan.
– A&E repent and ask forgiveness, and God tells them about Atonement and what’s gonna happen till then (OT). Book ends w/them being escorted by Michael out of the garden but them being grateful God’s gonna fix it.
Country Wife, 1675
– William Wycherly
– Restoration Comedy
– Mr. And Mrs. Pinchwife: Margery and Bud Pinchwife represent a hostile marriage between an old (or older man) and a young woman — a May/December marriage.
Mr. Horner: Horner runs around cuckolding all of the husbands (Mr. P included), while he pretends to be a eunuch.
Also: Sir Jasper Fidget, Mrs. Squeamish, Mrs. Dainty Fidget
Horn. [aside]. A quack is as fit for a pimp, as a midwife for a bawd; they are still but in their way, both helpers of nature. [Aloud.] Well, my dear doctor, hast thou done what I desired?

Quack. I have undone you for ever with the women, and reported you throughout the whole town as bad as an eunuch, with as much trouble as if I had made you one in earnest.

The Man of Mode, or, Sir Fopling Flutter, 1676
– George Etherege
– Restoration Comedy
– Act i: rogue Dorimant complains about getting tired of his mistress, Mrs. Loveitt. An orange-woman tells D about a pretty young woman (whom his friend Medley figures out is witty wild Harriet, whose mother Lady Woodvil hates D bc of his licentious ways) talking of him in the marketplace. D is intrigued. D tells M about being bored, but Belinda, his newest lover, plans to go to Mrs. Loveitt to cause drama. Young Bellair joins, who has been much absent bc of his new love Emilia. The 3 discuss Sir Fopling Flutter, a dandy whom they decide to set on Mrs. Loveitt. Young Bellair is summoned away. Returning, he’s upset to share that his father, knowing nothing of Emilia, has made a match for him and will disinherit if he refuses. Medley suggests to call his bluff.
– Act II: Lady Townley, Young B’s aunt, talks w/her lodger Emilia, about Old B not knowing of the romance. Young B comes in not wanting to marry Harriet, his father’s proposed match. Old B enters, meets E, likes her. M comes after Old B leaves. Mrs. Loveitt talks w/Pert her maid about loving D. Belinda enters and drops hints of D’s infidelity. Mrs. L is distressed. Enter D; they argue; D suggests her infidelity w/a fop. B becomes wary of D after seeing his treatment of her.
– Act III: Busy, Harriet’s maid, teases her about liking D. H says no. Young B comes in and both discover they don’t want to marry. He loves E and she D, but they’ll pretend for his father’s sake. Lady Townley, M, E, and B talk; B thinks D isn’t a good man, though the others defend him. D comes in and B breaks it off, but he reminds her of a promise she made and to tell Mrs. L to go to the Mall bc FF there. Fopling joins the party and is ridiculous & amusing. At the mall, YB and H promenade. D catches up; H charms but pretends indifference. Witty banter till she gets bored. Her mother catches up and urges them to leave bc D, whom she’s never met, is around. After they leave, D confesses his interest to M.
– Act IV: D pretends to be “Mr. Courtage” to fool Lady Woodvil so he can be around H. She’s completely fooled and tells him how much he hates D. H&D are like Beatrice and Benedick. B tells D she doesn’t like the tricks he’s playing on Mrs. L; D’s coach when she leaves takes her to the mall w/out her permission and she’s worried Mrs. L will find out. Young B tells the gentlemen he’s going to marry E in secret and thwart his dad.
– Act V: Mrs. L finds out but is satisfied by the coachman’s lie at B’s request. D comes, accuses her, they part. E and YB are married at Lady Townley’s. E and Busy tease H about D. D joins; he and H verbally spar. Both obv love each other but are slow to admit. Old B comes in and the marriage is revealed, and he’s angry at being bamboozled by all. Mrs. L and B join the party, to D’s annoyance. D says he’s ready to marry, tries to make peace w/B, who wants nothing to do w/him. Old B softens; Fopling is confused at Mrs. L’s cold reception. Lady Woodvil comes; “Mr. Courtage” reveals he’s D. She softens. Mrs. L leaves after Harriet mocks her; they dine before D goes to H’s country home w/them.
All for Love, or, The World Well Lost, 1678
– John Dryden
– blank verse tragedy imitation of Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra, focusing on their last hours.
Absalom and Achitophel, 1681/1682
– pt. 1 by Dryden; pt. 2 probably by Nahum Tate except for a couple psgs that are definitely Dryden (Shadwell and Elkanah attacks)
– David’s advisor, Achitophel, defected to Absalom. David’s advisor Hushai plots w/David to give Absalom bad intel that would give David the upper hand in A’s rebellion. Absalom takes Hushai’s advice; Achitophel, realizing the rebellion is doomed, hangs himself. Absalom dies by oak.
– historically, Charles II only produced illegitimate heirs, and his brother James II was openly Roman Catholic. House of Commons took steps to ensure no RC, but the bills were defeated 2x in House of Lords. Shaftesbury then appealed to Charles II to legitimate his son Duke of Monmouth, who was charismatic and very Protestant. It was found that Monmouth was actually planning a coup, fostered by Shaftesbury, to seek the throne. Though Shaftesbury was absolved by Whig jury, Monmouth stuck with the plan bc he didn’t want his uncle on the throne, and got himself killed for his trouble when the Monmouth rebellion was put down.
– David-King Charles II
Michal-Katherine of Baragna–Charles’ wife, unable to have children
Absalom-Duke of Monmouth–Charles’ oldest son (illegitimate)
Architophel -Earl of Shaftesbury–a leader of the Whig party
Saul Cromwell
The Jews The English
To His Coy Mistress, 1681
– Andrew Marvell
– “Had we but world enough, and time”
– x years to praise each part of her anatomy
– reserve is fine if there is time, but death is coming:
“But at my back I always hear / Time’s winged chariot hurrying near; / And yonder all before us lie / Deserts of vast eternity.”
Mac Flecknoe, 1682
– Dryden
– mock heroic satire
– against Thomas Shadwell, Protestant poet, as inheritor to throne of dullness.
Oroonoko, 1688
– Aphra Behn
-Oroonoko, an African prince and later a slave to the English who called him “Caesar”; Imoinda, his lover, also enslaved and sometimes called “Clemene”; Jamoan, an opposing warrior chief who, conquered by Oroonoko, becomes his vassal; the King of Coramantien, whom Oroonoko serves and later betrays, and who betrays him; the slave-running English ship captain; and various English colonists, especially the supposedly sympathetic plantation overseer named Trefrey, the colony’s deputy governor named William Byam, the gallant Colonel Martin, and “Bannister, a wild Irishman
– O meets Behn while slaving in Guiana and tells her, a sympathetic listener, his story. Successful in battle, he falls in love with a young woman who also catches the eye of the king. Having pursued their love surreptitiously, the couple is discovered and Imoinda is sold into slavery. Oroonoko, a slave-owner himself, despairs and nearly is defeated in battle by Jamoan’s army, but he is roused to martial prowess by the pleas of his own troops. Lured upon an English ship by a captain with whom he previously had bought and sold slaves, Oroonoko and all his men are betrayed and taken as slaves to Guiana. There he is reunited with Imoinda, and his noble bearing attracts the praise of all who know him. However, circumstances force him to rebel against his masters and to lead an army of ex-slaves to seek their freedom. His capture, his murder of his own wife, and his torture and execution by the English slave-owners end Behn’s narrative.
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