Upon reading my three blog posts I have noticed a central theme – I have made my focus for each blog so far on Shakespeare’s characters by examining their behaviors throughout the plays. In my very first blog post, “Quibbling over Shakespeare’s Characters – Portia & Shylock,” I wrote about my personal feelings regarding these two characters in The Merchant of Venice, Portia especially. I questioned Portia’s strength as a female character because of her submission to her deceased father’s will regarding her marriage, despite her unhappiness with the conditions he set in place to choose a husband for her. At this point in the play, nothing about Portia suggested independence or cleverness, and I expressed my disappointment in her, and also my hope in seeing her redeem herself. I then progressed to discussing Shylock, and commented on how Shakespeare depicted him within the play to fit the stereotypes of Jewish people. I questioned whether or not Shakespeare was trying to portray Shylock in a negative light because of personal prejudice, or if he was merely depicting Shylock in as much of a realistic manner as possible to try to authenticate his work. I’ll admit this blog isn’t as tightly focused as it should have been, and looking at it now I see what I would do differently. I would focus on either Portia or Shylock, not both, which would have made my post more concrete. Also, by setting up my blog this way, I would have been able to do a more thorough analysis of either Portia or Shylock. I noticed also that this blog was very subjective and focused mostly on my feelings on the characters, and not so much of a deep analysis of them.
In my second blog post, “Conflicting Thoughts on Katherine,” I reveal my contradictory feelings toward this character in The Taming of the Shrew. Through analyzing Katherine, I began to generate the causes for her shrewish behavior, namely her jealousy toward her sister. After deducing the reason for her provocative behavior, I found myself at an impasse at attempting to reach a conclusion about her as a character. Katherine is initially portrayed to be a woman who actively engages others in power plays through her use of language, and it doesn’t seem like any man can pierce her stubborn, confrontational, ill-temperament. Through the process of Petruccio courting her Katherine’s strong-willed self seems to disintegrate. After the wedding, Katherine seems like a completely different character, resembling her original self very little, if at all. Petruccio becomes the domineering one as his fiery temperament and his method of “taming” her by denying her food and sleep leads her to submit to his will. I feel this blog was a bit more focused than my first one, despite the fact it was subjective like the first blog. Nonetheless, it is evident that I had began to steer away from subjectivity, if only slightly. Even though I had focused on the same topic (Shakespeare’s characters) I approached the theme from a slightly different angle. There were moments in which I strayed a bit seemed repetitious with my deductions, especially regarding the causes for Katherine’s aggression and ill-temper, but all in all it was a better post than my first one.
The third and final blog I submitted also focuses on one of Shakespeare’s characters – King Richard in the play Richard II. In this blog entry I analyzed King Richard’s behavior during his resignation and Bolingbroke’s coronation. Richard’s persona was unbecoming to me – he was so downtrodden and dwelled on the fleeting nature of his kingship. This continued throughout the entirety of the scene, and instead of making me feel remorseful I mentioned how it made me dislike him more than I already did to begin with. I commented on his unwillingness to resign, despite his obvious failures as a king, and how ridiculous his behavior was. This post was by far the most focused and reflected my deep analysis of Richard’s character throughout the scene. While I incorporated my personal feelings toward the deposed king (especially evident in the title of my post), I conducted a thorough analysis of King Richard’s character through exploring the text.
After reflecting on all my work thus far I can see that, while all my posts have focused on Shakespeare’s characters, there is a noticeable progression in terms of how focused and thoughtful each post is. Each post reveals a deeper thought process on my part. Also, each blog addresses the characters in a different way, so it doesn’t seem repetitive. The first blog is very subjective, whereas the final blog reveals some subjectivity, but also a decent amount of objectivity. Next, I noticed that my titles gradually seemed more original with each blog I wrote. The first blog announces my topic in a very straight-forward way, not revealing any creativity. My final post, however, is much more imaginative and fresh – it announces my topic without stating in a matter-of-fact way. This reveals how I have become more comfortable writing these blog entries since the beginning of the semester. I really have enjoyed this blogging experience because it has allowed me to express my thoughts and feelings on the plays we have read and also has enabled me to pose questions and see other classmates’ interpretations. By receiving feedback on my blog posts, and having the opportunity to comment on others’ entries, I truly believe I have developed an open-mindedness regarding Shakespeare’s works. By being open to others’ insights and ideas, I have enjoyed exploring his plays. I think that any of the topics I blogged about would be worth revisiting because I have gained an appreciation of the many angles I can take in examining Shakespeare’s works.