Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare’

►Greek Mythology: “The Harpies, Winged Bird Monsters”:

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"Aeneas and his Companions Fighting the Harpies" by François Perrier (17th century).

“Aeneas and his Companions Fighting the Harpies” by François Perrier (17th century).

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In Greek Mythology, a harpy was a female monster in the form of a bird with a human face.

They were  the spirits of sudden, sharp gusts of wind.

They were known as the hounds of Zeus and were sent by him to snatch away people and things from the earth.

The harpies were also they were agents of punishment who abducted people and tortured them on their way to Hades’ domains. Like the Erinyes, the harpies were employed by the gods as instruments for the punishment of the guilty.

They seem originally to have been wind spirits. Their name means “snatchers”.

Aeschylus in The “Eumenides” (Third part of “The Oresteia”) referred to them as ugly winged bird-women. 

Odysseus-SirensLater Greeks transformed Harpies into Sirens, which can be seen in depictions of Odysseus on his long trip home from Troy.

But before that, Hesiod in “Theogony” called them “two lovely-haired” creatures. He said that the harpies were winged maidens, who surpassed winds and birds in the rapidity of their flight. He also mentioned that they were the daughters of Thaumas by the Oceanid ElectraHesiod‘s two Harpies were named Aello (storm swift) and Ocypete (The swift wing).

Virgil in (“The Aeneid” 3.209) added a third one, Celaeno (the dark).

According to Virgil, Aeneas encountered harpies, as they repeatedly made off with the feast the Trojans were setting. The harpies also cursed them, saying the Trojans will be so hungry they will have eaten their own tables before reaching the end of their journey to Italy.

On the other hand, Homer (“The Iliad” 16.148) made reference to  only to one harpy, named Podarge (“fleet-foot”). She was married to wind Zephyrus, and gave birth to the two horses of Achilles.

According to roman poet Ovid, (“Metamorphoses”. Book XIII), Zeus punished King Phineus of Trace because he had the gift of prophecy and once gave away the gods’ secret plan. The King of the Gods blinded King Phineus and put him on an island, and whenever a meal was placed before him, they darted down from the air and carried it off; later writers added, that they either devoured the food themselves, or that they dirtied it by dropping upon it some stinking substance, so as to render it unfit to be eaten.

According to Virgil (“Argonautica”. Book II) when Jason and the Argonauts came to visit, the winged Boreads gave chase, and pursued the Harpies to the Strophades Islands, where the goddess Iris, the personfication of the rainbow and messenger of the gods, commanded them to turn back and leave the storm-spirits unharmed.

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"Landscape with the Expulsion of the Harpies" by  Paolo Fiammingo (1590).

“Landscape with the Expulsion of the Harpies” by Paolo Fiammingo (1590).

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►Further Features:

•In Dante‘s “Divina Commedia” (Inferno XIII) the harpies tortured the sinners, who had their punishment in the seventh ring of Hell. 

•Later on, William Blake found inspired in Dante’s description in his pencil, ink and watercolour “The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides” (1824 /1827. Tate Gallery, London).

•In Shakespeare‘s “Much Ado about nothing”, Benedick spots the sharp-tongued Beatrice approaching and exclaims to the Prince Don Pedro that  he would do an assortment of arduous tasks for him “rather than hold three words conference with this harpy”. Here, the term “harpy” is used metaphorically to refer to a nasty or annoying woman.

•During the Middle Ages, the harpy, often called the Jungfrauenadler or “virgin eagle”, became a popular charge in Heraldy, particulalrly in Nuremberg, Rietburg and Liechtenstein.

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►William Blake’s painting “The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides”, inspired by Dante’s “Divina Commedia”:

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"The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides" by William Blake (1824/1827).

“The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides” by William Blake (1824/1827).

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•Description: Dante encounters the souls of those who have committed suicide and been transformed into trees as punishment for having relinquished their bodies. According to Lavater the tree has no physiognomy, so the figures are also stripped of any individuality. Harpies, mythological birds with the heads of women, feed upon them.

Blake gives his Harpies beaks rather than noses, thereby emphasising their bestiality. The squat shape of the Harpies and their large feet are reminiscent of owls, birds described by Lavater as particularly ‘stupid’ (contrary to modern associations of the bird with wisdom).

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“Here the repellent harpies make their nests,
Who drove the Trojans from the Strophades
With dire announcements of the coming woe.
They have broad wings, with razor sharp talons and a human neck and face,
Clawed feet and swollen, feathered bellies; they caw
Their lamentations in the eerie trees” 
(Dante’s “Divina Commedia”
(Inferno XIII, Seventh ring of Hell).-

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►Gallery: “The Harpies”:

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Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Harpyiai.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpy
http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Iris.html
http://patagoniamonsters.blogspot.ca/2010/04/chilean-harpy.html
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terme_di_Diocleziano
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/aeneid/section3.rhtml
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/blake-the-wood-of-the-self-murderers-the-harpies-and-the-suicides-n03356

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♠Poetry / Poesía:

William Shakespeare: “Sonnet  CXVI” / “Soneto CXVI”:

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♠Poesía: William Shakespeare: “Soneto CXVI”:

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Soneto 116 en castellano.-

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♠William Shakespeare: “Sonnet 116”:

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♠William Shakespeare: “Sonnet 116”:  “Let me not to the marriage of true minds”:

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♠William Shakespeare´s Sonnet 116:

“Summary & Analysis”:

Shakespeare´s Sonnet 116  was first published in 1609. Its structure and form are a typical example of the Shakespearean Sonnet

The poet begins by stating he should not stand in the way of true love. Love cannot be true if it changes for any reason. Love is supposed to be constant, through any difficulties. In the sixth line, a nautical reference is made, alluding that love is much like the north star to sailors. Love should also not fade with time; instead, true love lasts forever.

This sonnet attempts to define love, by telling both what it is and is not. In the first quatrain, the speaker says that love—”the marriage of true minds”—is perfect and unchanging; it does not “admit impediments,” and it does not change when it find changes in the loved one. In the second quatrain, the speaker tells what love is through a metaphor: a guiding star to lost ships (“wand’ring barks”) that is not susceptible to storms (it “looks on tempests and is never shaken”). In the third quatrain, the speaker again describes what love is not: it is not susceptible to time. Though beauty fades in time as rosy lips and cheeks come within “his bending sickle’s compass,” love does not change with hours and weeks: instead, it “bears it out ev’n to the edge of doom.” In the couplet, the speaker attests to his certainty that love is as he says: if his statements can be proved to be error, he declares, he must never have written a word, and no man can ever have been in love.

The poet makes his point clear from line 1: true love always perseveres, despite any obstacles that may arise. He goes on to define love by what it doesn’t do, claiming that it stays constant, even though people and circumstances may change. Love never dies, even when someone tries to destroy it. Rather than being something that comes and goes, love is eternal and unchanging – so much so that the poet compares it to the North Star, which never moves in the sky and guides lost ships home. This metaphorical star is mysterious and perhaps incomprehensible, even though we can chart its location.

Moving on to a new image, love isn’t at the beck and call of time (or time’s consequences, age and death); mortality isn’t an issue for true love, which doesn’t fade even when youth and beauty disappear. Love doesn’t change as the days go by; rather, it remains strong until the lover’s dying day (or beyond…chew on that for a while).

Finally, the poet stakes his own reputation on this definition, boldly claiming that if anyone can prove him wrong, he’ll eat his words. That is to say, if this idea of love turns out to be wrong, then he’ll take back everything he wrote and it’ll be as though it never existed. Furthermore, if this specific portrayal of love is somehow proved to be the wrong one, then nobody, as far as the poet is concerned, has ever loved at all.

 

Along with Sonnets 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) and 130 (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”), Sonnet 116 is one of the most famous poems in the entire sequence. The definition of love that it provides is among the most often quoted and anthologized in the poetic canon. Essentially, this sonnet presents the extreme ideal of romantic love: it never changes, it never fades, it outlasts death and admits no flaw. What is more, it insists that this ideal is the only love that can be called “true”—if love is mortal, changing, or impermanent, the speaker writes, then no man ever loved. 

In the first quatrain Shakespeare uses repetition of the words “love” and “love” (line 2), “alters” and “alteration” (line 3) and “remover” and “remove” (line 4) to create a feeling of constancy and strength.  This complements his allusion to the marriage ceremony in line one. (Grimes, 2007)

The second quatrain uses two metaphors to describe love, both concerned with light, navigation and the sea. 

The first metaphor compares love to “an ever-fixed mark” such as a lighthouse, used by sailors during bad weather to avoid peril. 

The second compares love to a star, a light in the heavens which can be used to navigate by, but “whose worth’s unknown”.  This second image is the most interesting for how many decisions are made on a daily basis in the name of an emotion that is not really understood.

The second quatrain explains how love is unchanging. According to  Neely, “Love is a star, remote, immovable, self-contained, and perhaps, like the ‘lords and owners of their faces,’ improbably and even somewhat unpleasantly cold and distant.”  The second quatrain continues Shakespeare’s attempt to define love, but in a more direct way

Shakespeare mentions “it” in the second quatrain according to Douglas Trevor, “The constancy of love in sonnet 116, the “it” of line five of the poem, is also – for the poet – the poetry, the object of love itself.” Not only is there a direct address to love itself, the style Shakespeare’s contemplation becomes more direct. Erne states, “Lines five to eight stand in contrast to their adjacent quatrains, and they have their special importance by saying what love is rather than what it is not.” This represents a change in Shakespeare’s view that love is completely undefinable. This concept of unchanging love is focused in the statement, “love is an ever-fixed mark’. 

The first two lines of quatrain three (lines 9 – 10) tell us that although physical beauty, “rosy lips and cheeks”, may fade and die, love is not affected by time. This sentence is interesting for a few reasons. Firstly Time is personified by referring to it as “him” but it is also compared to Death, always a close relative anyway, by giving “him” a “bending sickle”, the Grim Reapers scythe.

The last two lines of quatrain three (11-12) sum up the point of the whole poem: love doesn’t change over time. It endures the passing of time, which is depicted as fleeting and “brief,” and lasts until “the edge of doom,” otherwise known as Judgment Day, the end of time, or whatever you want to call it.

The final two lines of the sonnet (couplet) provide a dramatic and quite bold closing statement.

Line 13 uses rather legalistic language to basically say, “If these ideas are wrong and anyone can prove that I’m incorrect…”

The final line resolves this challenge through a somewhat complicated twist; by saying that the poet has never written anything and that nobody has ever really been in love before if love actually turns out to be less than eternal, the poem’s truth immediately becomes impossible to dispute.

As Linda Gregerson highlights in her article on Shakespeare´s “Sonnet 116”:

“The couplet represents a last, desperate attempt to regain control. It rests upon a sort of buried syllogism: I am obviously a writer (witness this poem); I assert that love is constant; therefore love must be constant. As any logician could testify, however, these premises have no necessary relationship to their conclusion. The couplet is designed to shut down all opposition, to secure the thing (unchanging love) the poem has staked its heart on. It is sheer bravado, and of course it fails. What fails as logical proof, however, succeeds quite brilliantly as poetry”.

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“Shakespeare´s Sonnet 116”: “Slideshare”:

Click above to watch the video.

“Which is the Central Idea in Sonnet 116?”. Click above to watch the video.

 Click above to search for topics regarding Sonnet 116.-

Click above to search for more topics regarding Sonnet 116.-

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William Shakespeare (1564-1616).-

William Shakespeare (1564-1616).-

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Links Post:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonnet_116
http://www.shmoop.com/sonnet-116/summary.html 
http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/sonnet/116
http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/shakesonnets/section7.rhtml
http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/poetry/soundings/shakespeare.htm
http://barraoc.hubpages.com/hub/Sonnet-116-by-William-Shakespeare-An-Analysis
https://aquileana.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/poetry-william-shakespeare-soneto-xviii-sonnet-xviii/
http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/sonnet/130

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