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Showing posts from November, 2007

G.B. Shaw’s 'Freedom'

G.B. Shaw’s Freedom actually belongs to one of the series of radio talks delivered by him in 1935 on the B.B.C. As it was intended for the larger circles in their capacity as listeners, the lecture seems to be free from theoretical jargons. But Shaw can be very much deceptive in what he says. For, behind his homour lies the satire of the contemporary social condition. Not only that, his simple talk was actually a denunciation of the conventional and capitalist view of freedom. Politically Shaw conformed to democratic socialism, a variant of Marxism, according to which the society should try to reach the socialist political condition gradually by the democratic means. The concept of freedom, which Shaw satirises, was the fundamental principle of Enlightenment, and he does so because in a capitalist society, according to the Marxian view, freedom of the individual can never be realised. Shaw begins the essay with the proposition that a person can be called completely free in such a cond…

Analysis of Sir Philip Sidney’s Loving in Truth (Sonnet No. 1 from Astrophil and Stella)

Sonnet No. 1Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show, That She, dear She, might take some pleasure of my pain, Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know, Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain, I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe; Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain, Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun-burn’d brain. But words came halting out, wanting Invention’s stay; Invention, Nature’s child, fled stepdame Study’s blows; And others’ feet still seem’d but strangers in my way. Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes, Biting my truand pen, beating myself for spite, ‘Fool’ said my Muse to me, ‘look in thy heart and write’. (from Astrophil and Stella)
Like other creative persons of the period, Sidney also came under the influence of sonneteering. Thus a series of sonnets addressed to a single lady, expressing and reflecting on the develop…

Significance of the Title of Congreve's Way of the World:

It was perhaps sheer pedantic myopia that, when Jeremy Collier published his essay A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage in 1698, he made Congreve a particular target of his criticism. That Collier had a case is undeniable, but he forgot that a true artist does have as sincere obligation to society as a churchman. Had he waited before publishing his essay till the production of The Way of the World (1770), he could have perhaps understood that truth; for, in the play The Way of the World Congreve seems to understand the “immorality and profaneness” of a society, upon the matrices of which Restoration plays were made. He was seriously thinking of an alternative pattern of behaviour and an alternative set of codes of conduct. The very title of the play, The Way of the World points to the ‘way’ the hero and heroine (and by implication the spectators) should adopt in order to come out of the grip of the fashionable society. The whole story is an illustration …

The Norman Conquest

On the second half of the 11th century William, the Duke of Normandy, built up an army with the help of the local warlords and invaded England and defeated the English king Harold II to become the king in the year 1066. This incident, known as the Norman Conquest, was destined to exercise a profound influence on the social, political and religious life of the English people; in fact, this incident changed the course English history and culture. The immediate consequence of the Conquest was the introduction of feudalism, a new kind of aristocracy. Along with this came French as the normal language of the aristocracy, which continued to be used at least for two hundred years. English, however, remained the language of the mass, of the uncultivated. Again, all the important positions in the church were given to the French clergy, who would use Latin as their vernacular and as the language for learning. This provided the much-needed stimulus to the intellectual life of the English people,…

Humour, Irony and Wit in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Mirabell and Millament in the Way of the World

In The Way of the World, his last comedy, Congreve seems to come to realise the importance for providing an ideal pair of man and woman, ideal in the sense that the pair could be taken for models in the life-style of the period. But this was almost impossible task, where the stage was occupied by men and women, sophisticated, immoral, regardless of the larger world around them, and preoccupied with the self-conceited rhetoric as an weapon to justify their immoral activities within a small and restricted area of social operation. Congreve could not avoid this, and for this, he had to pave his way through the society by presenting a plot which, though complicated enough for a resolution, aims at the ideal union between the hero and heroine—Mirabell and Millament. They emerge as the triumphant culmination of the representative characters of the whole period, of course not types, for they are real enough to be human. Congreve endowed his hero and heroine with all the qualities typical of …

Death Scene in Doctor Faustus (Last Scene)

Marlowe's Doctor Faustus: A Renaissance Tragedy