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Childbirth (Before, During, After) May 31, 2012

Filed under: semester 2 final project blog — gloriaayoon @ 1:49 am

Round belly

Sleep deprived

Aching back

Haywire hormones

Feeling fat

Excited heartbeat

Soft kicking

Impatient waiting

 

Stabbing pain

Cracking spine

Incomprehensible pain

Stretched skin

Unbearable pain

Strained limbs

Endless pain

Still waiting

 

Instant love

Soft skin

Sweet wailing

New heartbeat

Forgotten pain

Done waiting

Finally here

My baby

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Literary Essay: The Merchant of Venice

Filed under: semester 2 final project blog — gloriaayoon @ 1:40 am

     A happy ending, love coming true, and light-hearted jokes are all elements that go in to concocting a comedy, and are present in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. However, if we look at this play from several different points of views, many unseen elements of a tragedy are revealed. These elements of tragedy overpower the comedy factor of this play. Comic relief in between scenes, Shylock the Jew’s tragic ending, and the overarching theme of human greed and corruption are several of the components that make The Merchant of Venice a tragedy.

     The several comical scenes that make this play seem like a comedy actually serves a very special purpose in the making this play a tragedy. A common element of tragedy in Shakespeare’s plays is comic relief. He enters little scenes of humor and somewhat light-hearted jokes to lift up the dreary atmosphere of tragedies, so that the audience don’t start to suffer from depression. There are examples of this in many of Shakespeare’s tragedies. In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet’s nurse provides comic relief by making inappropriate remarks and speeches. In Hamlet, a scene with gravediggers and their logic and conversation with Hamlet brought lots of laughter to the audience. In King Lear, and several other Shakespeare tragedies, the fool plays a crucial role in setting the appropriate mood and making certain inappropriate comments that no other character could say. Just like these other tragedies, The Merchant of Venice also has these scenes of comic relief. Here, the clown named Launcelot Gobbo plays this role of lightening up the mood. A prime example would be a scene from Act II, Scene II: Launcelot runs into his father who is nearly blind. Being the clown, he decides to play a trick. He pretends to be a stranger giving ridiculously difficult directions to a blind man. Later, after the father finds out the real identity of this stranger, he decides to give him a blessing. Launcelot crouches down, but facing away from his father, that when his father reaches out to touch his face, it seems like Launcelot has grown a forest of facial hair. Little intervals of humor like this helped make a dismal plot more bearable and interesting for the audience.

     Many people seeing The Merchant of Venice for the first time would view the so-called protagonists’, Antonio and Bassanio’s ending as a well-deserved triumph and the fate of Shylock the Jew, as a justified end. What some people don’t see at first is that Antonio and Bassanio’s happy ending came at the expense of Shylock’s life. Shylock could very much be the protagonist of this play as well. He was a hard working man who was mistreated and mocked for his faith by the Christians. All he could do was hold in the anger and pain of being treated like an animal. Finally, he gets a chance to show those who hurt him what he had to go through, but this plan gets thwarted and his enemies get away without a scratch while he loses everything. His wealth, property, and faith are taken away from him and he is forced to take up the beliefs of the Christians that ruined his life. Not only that, but his daughter and only family left, chooses a Christian man over Shylock. The Merchant of Venice is a story of a hero that tried to demonstrate equality, who was brought to ruins as a consequence of discrimination and prejudice in the society.

    There is an underlying theme of human corruption and evil all throughout the play. This representation of what people have become can strike as a tragedy of the downfall of people. The Merchant of Venice is made up of deeds of greed, discrimination, and deception. For example, the reason for Bassanio wanting to get married to Portia was because of the money. He deceives Portia by appearing to her as a man of riches, with wealth that wasn’t even his. Portia deceives everyone at court by appearing as a man, and gets away with it. Shylock wanted equality by paying the Christians back with the same pain that he suffered, but the Christians ridicule him and take away even more from him, leaving him with nothing, and themselves with more. Many of the main events of this play is triggered by the acts done out greed. The Merchant of Venice clearly reflects how low humans have fallen on the ladder of morality, and this is certainly a tragedy.

     The Merchant of Venice does indeed have comical scenes and a seemingly straightforward resolution of conflict, but by having delved deeper into the plot, we discover that there are more elements like comic relief, the ruin the Shylock, and the corruption of humans that certainly make this play a tragedy. These elements of tragedy leave a more dramatic, lasting impact in the audience that overpower the light elements of comedy, allowing this play to remain in our memories as a tragedy.

 

The Count of Monte Cristo (essay)

Filed under: semester 2 final project blog — gloriaayoon @ 1:22 am

     An important element in every good plot is the Christ-figure, or the character that has qualities or experiences like that of Jesus. In The Count of Monte Cristo, there are several characters that are good matches for this role, and among those is Edmond Dantes, the protagonist and hero of the film. There are a number of obvious differences between Dantes and Jesus, but Dantes does possess many traits that justify his ‘nomination’ for this part. Edmond Dantes’ transformation, betrayal, and judgment on those who wronged him, allows him to play the Christ-like figure in The Count of Monte Cristo.

     Edmond Dantes went through drastic and majestic transformations since the beginning of the film to the end, as did Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus was born in a shabby barn and was raised as a plain, boring carpenter. However, as his ministry started, he gained large numbers of followers and good reputations. He started to get known as the healer, teacher, prophet, and God, and no longer a carpenter. After his death and resurrection, he ascended up to heaven in glory as Lord, Jesus Christ. In a similar away, Edmond Dantes started out as a kind man working a humble job on a ship. He was loving towards everyone he knew—even towards those who disliked him. This naïve and innocent characteristic got the best of him, leading him to walk right into a trap that left him in jail for 13 years. However, this was the turning point of his transformation. In prison, he realized how he got betrayed and played, and how God wasn’t giving him justice at all. He became bitter and vengeful toward all those who had acted against him. When he returned to Marseilles, he heard about how his fiancé had married his best friend who was one of the men who plotted against Dantes, and about how his father had died from grief. By this time, the only thing he felt was pure loathing and a burning desire for vengeance. All his love and trust for others had vanished, along with his naïve old self. The Edmond Dantes that emerged from his cocoon was a commanding, powerful count out for revenge. This process of transformation is a quality of Edmond Dantes that makes him Christ-like.

     As mentioned earlier, Edmond Dantes was betrayed and framed for a crime that he did not commit. Both Jesus and Edmond Dantes were betrayed by those close to them and were sent off to their ‘deaths’. Judas Iscariot, the disciple well-known as the traitor, betrayed Jesus by selling him off to the Sanhedrin priests for a ransom of 30 silver pieces. This betrayal led to the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Judas was one of Jesus’ most trusted twelve, but he threw all that away to satisfy his greed. Like so, Fernand Mondego, Dantes’ best friend betrayed Dantes and took part in framing him for treason, all because his jealousy and greed overpowered their friendship. Mondego had Dantes sent to prison and supposedly executed, and then married Dantes’ fiancé. In this way, Edmond experienced a betrayal by a close friend just like Christ did by a disciple.

     Dantes responded to the betrayal by seeking justice and making sure that those who wronged him got what they deserved. In a similar way, but with different motives, Jesus also punished those who sinned and disobeyed. Edmond Dantes, like Jesus, showed judgment and justice accordingly at appropriate times. Jesus once told a parable about the sheep and the goats. Jesus said that he will set the sheep on his right side and the goats on the left. Then, God would bless and welcome those on the right side for the kindness and mercy they showed to others, and indirectly to God himself. To the left side, he would curse and cast out for their selfish, ignorant actions. Like how Jesus talked about making appropriate judgment, Dantes also made decisions about judgment on certain people. For Fernand Mondego, the very man who had betrayed him, Dantes carefully planned and crafted a way to have revenge. Dantes appeared before Mondego as the Count of Monte Cristo and exposed Mondego’s unethical, illegal methods used to make money and later kills him. For Villeford, who was a character that also took park in framing Dantes, he exposed to the authorities all the wrongdoings he took part in, which included the murder of his own father. However, for Mercedes, his fiancé, he shows kindness. After he saw that she had remained loyal to him after all those years, he responds with love. These examples reflect how Edmond Dantes is like Christ in showing judgment accordingly at appropriate times.

     All these elements play a part in making up Edmond Dantes as the Christ-figure in The Count of Monte Cristo. Just like Christ had the qualities and experiences of transformation, betrayal, and judgment, Edmond Dantes expressed them as well. Although there are numerous differences between the two, these characteristics tie them together and make Edmond Dantes the Christ-figure of The Count of Monte Cristo.