Reading Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 2

Scene 1 Summary: In the dark forest outside Athens the mischevious fairy Puck, aka Robin Goodfellow discusses the quarrel between the King and Queen of Fairyland over an Indian changeling with another fairy. Suddenly both parties, Oberon and Titania arrive in the forest with their retinues. They square off and jealously accuse each other of wanting to …

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Reading Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 1

I continue my reading through the Western Canon with Shakespeare's A Midsummers Night's Dream. A magical romantic comedy about two pairs of lovers lost in an enchanted fairy forest filled with strange characters that cross each others path. I've always had an attraction to stories that featured Fairies, of the old European variety. The mythological …

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Reading Shakespeare: Moving on from Macbeth

I finished The Tragedy of Macbeth about two weeks ago. I took a break from Shakespeare to indulge my current obsession with the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. But now it's time to move on and continue with my Shakespeare read. Because Macbeth was a dark tragedy and this month I'm feeling rather jovial …

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Reading Shakespeare: Macbeth Act 5

Scene 1 Summary:  Back at Inverness Castle a Doctor and a Lady attendant watch Lady Macbeth sleepwalk, an act she has been performing nightly since her husband has been out in the field. She walks around the castle with her eyes open but asleep, the whole time rubbing her hands and lamenting un-washable blood.  The Doctor exclaims …

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Reading Shakespeare: Macbeth Act 4

Scene 1 Summary: In a dark cave the Weird Sisters are chanting vile incantations around a bubbling cauldron. Macbeth enters and demands that they give him more prophecy. They agree and show him three visions. The first is a floating armored head that warns him about Macduff. The second is a bloody child that tells him no …

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Reading Shakespeare: Macbeth Act 3

We continue the play with Macbeth crowned King. Scene 1 Summary: Scene one starts with Banquo alone, contemplating his plans. He is strongly suspicious of Macbeth and at this time believes that he is the true murderer of Duncan, but he recalls the prophecy which stated that his own sons will become kings. His thoughts are …

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Reading Shakspeare: Macbeth Act 2

Act 1 was exciting. The scene was set, a gloomy war-torn Scotland. The principal actors were introduced, the good King Duncan, his son Prince Malcolm, victorious Macbeth and his ambitious ice cold wife Lady Macbeth. Her first name is Gruoch if you were wondering, I had to look it up. The main thrust of the …

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Reading Shakespeare: Macbeth Act 1

My adventure through the Western Canon begins with Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Macbeth. First performed around 1606 during the reign of James I traditionally believed to be cursed by the world of theater, its name not spoken aloud instead referred to as The Scottish Play. Macbeth is a bloodbath of murder and the descent into madness that …

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Reading Shakespeare: part II

Since I last posted I've received a bunch of messages and comments from people interested in my reading through Bloom's Western Canon, specifically my upcoming read of Shakespeare. A few interested in reading along. Originally I was going to update sporadically but due to the interest, I'm going to blog the entire thing. Hopefully putting …

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Reading Shakespeare: part I

Last week I outlined my goal to read through The Western Canon, focusing on the twenty-six writers Bloom considers key to understanding Western Literature. Shakespeare is the first, considered by many to be the greatest writer of all time, and propped up by Bloom as the pinnacle of The Western Canon. I decided to read …

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