A Self- Analysis

After re-reading my past blog entries I notice that I often focus my analysis of Shakespeare’s characters based upon what I see to be their negative qualities, rather than by recognizing their multi-dimensionality. If anything, it seems that my cynical interpretations of the plays as a whole have escalated and intensified in their vilification of individual characters in each subsequent blog post. While my first post titled, “Contradictions” discusses the the theme of Christian hypocrisy in Merchant Of Venice, a view that I continue to agree as being a valid , I think that I perhaps carry this reading out too far by allowing it to characterize Antonio in a wholly negative light. In this post, I focus on Antonio’s lack of mercy, his seeming preoccupation with his business and his discriminatory, almost hateful attitude towards Shylock, but I fail to recognize any moments of tenderness that he may display, even though I write that, ” both Antonio and Shylock reveal their discriminatory view of the other while displaying a complexity of behavior contradicting the other’s narrow view of their group”. In reference to the rest of my post, this sentence seems misplaced as a concluding thought that otherwise contradicts my beginning argument.
Also displaying this aspersive quality, my second post titled, “The Deviance of Restraint” uses stronger language to characterize not only the characters, but the main themes of the play that I see to be “deception, the striving for power, and sexuality as it is viewed in the personal and public realm”. While the latter theme that I mention could be viewed as a neutral one, as I continue in my post, I make it clear that this sexuality is not one of chaste amorousness, but of a deviant almost sadistic kind. While I quickly mention Claudio as the one example of a virtuous character, I then focus my whole attention on Angelo’s corruption. By noticing this quality in Angelo I also assume that corruption is the main theme of the play, where I again, do not notice the complexity of the characters and the play as a whole.
Lastly, my most recent blog post on Richard II, continues this habit of pessimism, where in the beginning line I already characterize Richard as Machiavellian. As the post continues, I seem to become carried away by this characterization, eventually referring to Richard’s ” gluttony” and “greed”, which in reading this now, seems to be a ridiculous and exaggerated portrayal.
Ironically, I realize that in commenting on the pessimism and cynical nature of my post, I have now managed to characterize myself in the same manner that I do the other characters in Shakespeare’s plays. Perhaps instead of being so hard on myself, I should appreciate the basic purpose of the blog posts, that allows me to direct my analysis and attempt to solidify an opinion about the plays by using examples from the text, which, whether I agree with these opinions later, is still a valuable tool in exploring the complexity of the plays’ themes and greater messages.


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