Revisiting your written work is often times revealing, and I found a few consistencies and inconsistencies across the scope of my posts this semester. I tend to write about characterization; two of my three blogs have focused on the relative ill-nature of a character (Sir Toby in Twelfth Night and Desdemona’s father in Othello). The second blog, on Othello, incorporated some good-willed characters, comparing the two types and evaluating difference in the two “fathers” of the play. I believe that this post marked a slight turn in the subject of my blogs, because the third blog focused on Emilia as a character who is neither the most innocent nor inherently bad. I began to look past those who are deceitful and lack good character, which allowed me to acknowledge Shakespeare’s broad use of characterization. I wasn’t being as narrowed-minded to only notice and look into a single type of character. I believe that I have learned more about Shakespeare’s expansive writing capacity and the depth of his works by expanding my focus on characters.
I also realized that I didn’t really acknowledge the themes of the play (like the critical questions Shakespeare posed in Twelfth Night, Othello, and Much Ado About Nothing). Even though the blogs were focused on characterization, I don’t recall noticing the themes when reading the plays. A few of the comments I made, however, did touch upon the themes, mainly in response to what another member of the class had blogged about. For instance, my response to the blog about Puck as a Rude Mechanical, lead me to evaluate some instances of class associations in the play. Perhaps Shakespeare was really trying to convey this idea to his audience at the time, which is really a timeless issue. I might like to explore the representation of class further, especially since Shakespeare defines the classes so clearly in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. A similar instance also occurred while commenting on another post – about love in Much Ado About Nothing. By comparing the formation of the relationships between Benedick/Beatrice and Claudio/Hero, and by exploring the measures people take to form a relationship (even if they are not involved in it) is intriguing. Love and marriage in Shakespeare’s time was quite different from today, so despite our modern interpretation of the Claudio/Hero relationship, this could very easily have been a sought after relationship. Additional research would be helpful in a more complete understanding of Shakespeare’s motives behind the various representations of love in the play. Commenting made me see the aspects of the plays that I was oblivious to, and also to see an alternative view on the play.
I think the ability to comment is one of the best aspects of the blogging assignment. Class discussions are usually very helpful in my understanding of the plays, and the commenting section allows a bit of discussion to infiltrate the print medium. It is useful, typically causing me to see someone else’s perspective, or to even fuel my train of thought in another direction entirely. I may understand someone’s point differently than how it was meant, but that speaks to the multiplicity of Shakespeare’s plays. It also is a great prompt for thinking about and exploring the layers to the plays. This exercise was also helpful for a few reasons. Evaluating my own writing a while after it is written allows me to be removed enough from it that I can analyze it. It also made me revisit the plays and form new ideas about what Shakespeare was trying to convey to his audience.