Old Versions of Othello

One cool thing I noticed between the First and Second Folio is the reflection of the drawing at the top, it probably has no significant reason behind this but they appear to be identical otherwise. It is also fascinating to notice the changes in the written language in only years. For example, “ie” changed to “y”, “do” changed to “doe”, and there became a difference between “u” and “v”. Observing the changes in the language before my eyes begs the question: Did Shakespeare initiate the shift or did he just happen to be around when it occurred? At first I had no idea what the text directly underneath “Othello, the Moore of Venice” meant, but then I realized the odd looking words meant act one, scene 1, yet another change in the language!

As far as the word at the very bottom, I have a theory as to why it is such. Perhaps in reading aloud the manuscript during rehearsal of the enactment, the actors would have an easier time transitioning to the next page with little to no break in their speech. This would result in a much smoother reading of the text.

My favorite part about the Fourth Folio is that it lists who each character is, clarifying any confusion as to the relations between any of the characters. The Quarto 1 looks much closer to modern books, in that it has a title page for the story and that cool British seal.

Pun and Sarcasm

Charles Dickens, famous writer has used literary devices quite often in his work. Pip says: “They seemed to think the opportunity lost, if they failed to point the conversation to me, every now and then, and stick the point into me” (Great Expectations). This play on words uses both meaning of the word point in a literal and metaphorical sense. Shakespeare as well has used puns in his work. Romeo says: “You have dancing shoes with nimble soles; I have a soul of lead” using the homonym in a humorous fashion.

Brutus’s sarcastic use of “honorable” flips the meaning of his speech because the action of the people he is addressing was certainly not honorable (Julius Caesar). Yossarian states that he is “not even sick” despite being in a hospital formulating suspense in the story line (Catch-22).

Oxymoron and Paradox

Shakespeare has written a wondrous piece called Othello we are currently reading in class. Another one of his plays I’ve read is Romeo and Juliet. I read the famous star-crossed lovers story for English III last year. In his renowned mastery of the language, Shakespeare foreshadow’s the intense love Romeo has for Juliet by use of oxymoron:

Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,
O anything of nothing first created!
O heavy lightness, serious vanity,
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?

(Romeo and Juliet)

In another example, Shakespeare uses an oxymoron to coin one of his many commonplace phrases in Hamlet:

I do repent; but heaven hath pleas’d it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again good night.
I must be cruel only to be kind.
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.

(Hamlet)

He talks of being mean to his mother in order to help her. While counter-intuitive, the oxymoron provides a means to stress Hamlet’s care for his mother.

In Animal Farm, Orwell uses a paradox to introduce a major concept of his book:

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others

(Orwell)

While nearly all the animals began working together, the pigs eventually became greedy and forced the others into servitude.

Again in Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses a literary device to portray an idea:

The earth that’s nature’s mother is her tomb;

What is her burying grave, that is Rainbow in her womb

(Romeo and Juliet)

The Friar talks of the Earth being the birthplace while being the tomb of all. Commenting on the cyclic nature of life, returning back to one’s birthplace.

Serenity

This movie is yet another piece of art crafted by Joss Whedon, creator of Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the past few Avengers movies. While a science fiction novel, this film questions the bounds of society and human behavior, even further than the beloved Star Trek franchise has offered. While highly reviewed by IMDb: 8/10 and Rotten Tomatoes: 82%, Serenity was not popular with the mainstream audience, Serenity has captured the hearts of the cult following of Firefly, the show Serenity sequels, that pushed for its making.

Starring the main cast of Firefly and some favorite extras, Serenity ties up the story in a hasty abridged cancellation of Firefly by the demon that is Fox Entertainment. Not only did it destine the show to failure by absurdly airing the show out of order, the president of Fox coldly claimed the cancellation of the cult classic was a shame. Baloney!

In a riveting story unveiling the history of the creation of the reavers, the main, evil, cannibalistic group in Firefly, Joss Whedon gives his die-hard fans a satisfactory ending to yet another successful franchise.