The 18th of Shakespeare plays, reading them in chronological order. Much Ado was entertaining with a sinister twist involving Don John's malcontent jeThe 18th of Shakespeare plays, reading them in chronological order. Much Ado was entertaining with a sinister twist involving Don John's malcontent jealousy of his brother Don Pedro and the naive and easily fooled Claudio. Beatrice and Benedick make quite a pair.
Trying to regain my interest in Shakespeare – now at about the half way point of reading all the plays in chronological order, so will try to make a fresh start at the beginning of 2013 and keep up with the group read on the blog The Play's the Thing. We started in October 2011. Best are yet to come!...more
After 10 months of reading Shakespeare along with The Play's The Thing Blog, I finally feel like I've crossed the line as to greater appreciation andAfter 10 months of reading Shakespeare along with The Play's The Thing Blog, I finally feel like I've crossed the line as to greater appreciation and understanding. Hurray!
Merchant of Venice is my 14th play, reading them in roughly chronological order that Shakespeare wrote them. There were three distinct parts of Merchant of Venice: the fairytale-like way Portia was to determine her husband; the loan and the bond, "a pound of flesh" required by the Jewish moneylender, Shylock; and the part where Portia becomes the judge. There was also the last act, which was filled with symbolism and sweetness, the latter quite a contrast to the previous acts.
From Marjorie B. Garber: "Gold, silver, lead. The choice of the three caskets is also a choice offered to the audience of Shakespeare’s play. The gold of happy endings, of golden stars and the golden rule and the Golden Fleece, but also of inheritance and rivalry, Belmont with all its idealizing quality and all its undercurrents of disquieting cost. The silver of commerce, of the pale and common drudge ‘tween man and man, of the use of usury that makes Bassanio’s quest possible, makes possible the commercial world of Venice (and of London). And lead. The lead of the third casket, the choice we all have to learn that we all have to choose. The lead of mortality, the choice of death. Notice that the play opens all three of these caskets, not just the last one, and that it once again discloses similarities, as well as differences, between and among them. ‘I am locked in one of them,’ says Portia, but she – and the play – is really locked in all three. In this play of difference the casket choice offered to the audience and the reader is a choice not between but of. We cannot proceed directly to the leaden casket: choosing it first would not be the right choice. We must open the caskets in turn – Belmont, Venice, poetry, death – in order to assess the value of their contents, choosing their meanings (‘who chooses his meaning chooses you’). The ambivalence that an audience feels about this play is something built into the play and emerging from it. If we alternatively sympathize with Shylock and criticize him; admire Bassanio’s energy and deplore his mercantile motives and his use of other people; bask in the glory of Portia’s wit and wisdom, her ‘godlike amity,’ and critique her as a woman who will always get her way, regardless of the wishes and the feelings of others – if we feel this ambivalence – it is not because the play fails but because it succeeds."
From Harold Clarke Goddard: "At a time like our own when economic problems sometimes threaten to eclipse all others, their relation to moral and spiritual problems gets forgotten. But to divorce the two is to leave both insoluble. The Merchant of Venice not only does not make this error itself, it corrects it for us. It offers precisely the wisdom we need, a wisdom that goes deeper than the doctrine of any economic school or sect. Shylock made his money by usury, Antonio, his by trade, Portia got hers by inheritance, Bassanio by borrowing and then by marriage, Jessica by theft and later by judicial decree. The interplay of their lives makes enthralling drama. But to those not content to stop with the story it propounds questions that have a strangely contemporary ring: How are these various modes of acquiring and holding property related? Are they as unlike as they seem? And, coming closer home: Am I myself possibly, thanks to one or more of them, living in a golden world?"...more
I found this to be entertaining and dramatic, despite the ridiculous amount of violence. The subtitle could be "Everybody Dies – Violently". Because iI found this to be entertaining and dramatic, despite the ridiculous amount of violence. The subtitle could be "Everybody Dies – Violently". Because it's so overboard and because it's a play somehow it doesn't seem as gruesome as it could be. This is #3 of his plays I have read as part of the The Play's the Thing blog discussion of the complete works of Shakespeare.
From the background material I read I learned that the events described in the play are not based on any particular time in Roman history, in fact elements could date the story from several different centuries. ...more
More of a religious read than I had bargained for, and way too much description too keep it moving with any speed at all. I read this in short doses,More of a religious read than I had bargained for, and way too much description too keep it moving with any speed at all. I read this in short doses, and like the movie (which I saw WAY long ago), the chariot scene was the most exciting part. I had forgotten about all the connections with Christ and the emotional impact of the crucifixion part. I found this, like the Bible, mostly boring, with some exciting and emotionally powerful parts.
I read this as part of the Cafe Libri Discussion Group. Interesting to read that the author was the governor of the New Mexico Territory in the 1800s and wondered if the camels in the NM/AZ desert might have prompted his interest in writing this book....more
Action starts immediately in this mystery in which a man dressed as a transvestite is found murdered in a field near a slaughter house in an industriaAction starts immediately in this mystery in which a man dressed as a transvestite is found murdered in a field near a slaughter house in an industrial area near Venice. Besides scandals this mystery also involves political favors, a corrupt charity and banking.
The fastest moving of the first three in the series, but not as much personal information about Guido. Interesting sub-plot about Guido's superior, Vice-Questore Giuseppe Patta, whose wife has just left him for a man high-up in the pornographic film world.
In #2 of the Commissario Brunetti series, police procedures run afoul of politics and the US Military when a dead body of an American soldier is foundIn #2 of the Commissario Brunetti series, police procedures run afoul of politics and the US Military when a dead body of an American soldier is found in a Venice canal. Although this book got off to a slow start, it became more complex and interesting as the story developed. Leon includes a map of Venice but in the paperback version it is so small it requires a magnifying glass to be of any use. Brunetti does do a fair amount of walking so the map is useful in following his trail. He also travels by boat while on duty and by train when he visits the military base in Vicenza. ...more
After losing his memory, antique book dealer Yambo delves into the past through re-visiting the cultural history of the 1930-40s – from comic books toAfter losing his memory, antique book dealer Yambo delves into the past through re-visiting the cultural history of the 1930-40s – from comic books to classics of Italian literature, music and films. Although I loved the concept of this book, the Proustian search for lost memories, the introspection, and the heavy dose of literature with which I was unfamiliar made it slow going. The parts about World War Two were fascinating and went much more quickly. 5* for concept and being well written, 2* for sluggishness and unfamiliarity of subject matter which were all on my part, not the author's, therefore I'll give this 4*.