I like the blogging component of Shakespeare II. It allows us to compose our own mini theses and offer evidence to support our topics of interest. I like that there are so many ways we can go with it. I noticed that my first two blog posts were centered around people: intrapersonal and interpersonal conflict, while my third began focused on King Richard but then expanded to encompass the nation as a whole. This reoccurring focus on inner turmoil and interaction between characters may be me utilizing aspects from my psychology major. No outward action is independent of internal affect. I am interested in digging beneath characters’ actions to what’s going on in that character’s mind.
In my first blog post on The Merchant of Venice, I struggled to pick one topic to hone in on. It went from Antionio’s sadness and possible reasons for it, to husband and wife roles, to Antonio’s relationship with Shylock. It did not come together like it should have at the end. If I could go back I’d explore gender roles more, such as the different approaches men and women take to gain and exert power (Portia’s power was unique and interested me).
I would also explore gender roles in The Taming of the Shrew (my 2nd blog post). My post focused on Youth vs. Old age, which was an interesting topic, but the role of women is what truly stood out to me by the end of the play. I brought up the topic of domestic violence in class because Petruchio exhibited so many characteristics of an abuser (isolating her from her home, claiming ownership over her, and twisting her words/telling her she’s wrong no matter what). In addition, I would have liked to explore Baptista’s role in the play. He was somewhat passive and never involved in conflict unless it was triggered by his daughters. Everyone wanted to please him. The name “Baptista” reminded me of “baptism” as if all the suitors were looking to be baptized into the family by him. His character did not seem like a typical competitive male. A person performing a baptism, such as a priest, is usually calm and a side character in the actual family gathering at a Baptism.
Lastly, my most recent blog post on Richard II was the most effective so far. I think it’s beneficial to use an individual as a starting point, but more so if I factor him/her into the larger scenario. My post about King Richard related the personal disorder inside Richard to the disorder of the land itself, and it utilized evidence that the disorder was spreading to other, less significant families. This is the approach I will take for future blog posts because it keeps the specificity while expanding to encompass evidence under that specific umbrella, rather than widening the umbrella to encompass a variety of topics that can become confusing.