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Shakespears Surprises Essay, Research Paper

The very first thing that surprised me in Shakespeare was the fact that I came across an unfamiliar in Romeo and Juliet. This surprised me since I had read it so many times. The part that caught my eye was the fact that I never stopped to think about why Romeo kills Tybalt. It has always seemed to be that Romeo was revenging Mercutio to me, but this play I didn’t notice evidence to that. It seemed more that Mercutio’s big mouth was the only instigator in his death. The only inkling of animosity I could find between the two families came from the very beginning of the play. There is a scene set up that allows us to see that there is hatred between the two families. This occurrence is most pronounced in act I.1 ln.58 when Tybalt proclaims his hatred of Montagues to Benvolio, but they never really get the chance to duel. Throughout the play there is increasing growth on the conflict between the two houses. But in act III.1 Tybalt is slain. This sets up the remainder of fate for Romeo. After all, these two houses are supposed to keep their distance. But doesn’t it seem strange that a man would kill just out of dislike of a certain group. And out of that certain group Romeo kills the first Capulet he comes across. Yes, he is upset about Mercutio, but geesh! Talk about flying off The handle. The thing I guess I can most closely equate this to is the idea of Road Rage we see today. Still when some one is in a hurry And I change lanes unexpectedly and they flip me off, cursing at me all the way down the street I am surprised at the intensity of their outburst. It is a very surprising behavior, even for today, not to mention the small amount of reasoning behind it. Romeo, don’t forget your chill pill next time.

What I found most out of the ordinary in Twelfth Night was the fact that Shakespeare wrote comedies. I think of old time humor to be sarcasm or other such trivial writing, but this play was rather clever in the predicament that Viola gets herself into and how that is resolved in the end. To begin with I felt a bit of pity for this Duke’s servant, as she has to dress as a man to woo a woman for him. I didn’t feel sorry because she had to wear a disguise, but rather because I guessed that she would fall for hi, as he was seeking this other, unattainable goal. One of the most funniest and surprising acts to me is when Sir Andrew comes to the court toward the end of the play and cries wolf at Viola in disguise, and then punches her and she then, pummels the daylight out of him. This is so funny to me because it is so unexpected. However what makes this surprising is the fact that it is so out of character for her. In all the instances of confrontation, Viola has been wary if not fleeting from these circumstances. Scene like the sword fight, however, she has to do it or else she’ll be found out. In other cases, like being confronted with Olivia’s devotion, Viola can brush her off and quickly try to flee. This gives us the idea of Viola as timid, intimidated, or shy/scared. In the surprising act Viola does a complete 180 degrees and doesn’t even hesitate for a second. She is not persuaded or told or caring about letting herself be known. She just punches him, and instead of maybe catching her self out of fear, (like I supposed she would) she keeps right on hitting him. It is like an emotion of built up frustration from all the disguise and the forced sword fight and the pressures of not just Olivia but her whole court, that allow Viola to do this. Not only that but in the movie version we watched, Viola even seemed to gloat a bit, like an overly proud man. A great, captivating moment.

I was also surprised by another aspect of Twelfth Night. How does Olivia get her own house? She doesn’t seem to have any parents, yet is at the marring age. This would suggest to me that she is still quite young, so her patents should live there. However, in the story she seems like an older woman, which would suggest that perhaps she is flawed in some way and hasn’t been fortunate enough to get a husband. This doesn’t seem to make sense either since there are supposedly three men who are going after her. The first and most obvious character is the Duke who has seen her once and claims she is the most beautiful girl in the land. Well, if this were true then surely you would think she’d be married. Then we have an instance where she is dreaming about another “man” who makes it obvious that he wants nothing to do with her. He is Viola in disguise. Then we find out as the Malvolio jumps out of the closet to cheer her when she is sad that he believes that Olivia loves him. This silly man seems more than ready to accept that love. Also Malvolio has been in her house as steward to her, so he would be familiar and perhaps loveable as well. Olivia has nothing to do with him either. Another reason Olivia’s position seems weird is because she is a countess. How would a lady get that title with out first having a count as her husband. The title also suggests money, which Olivia certainly had with her house and servants and nurse and jester, etc. So where did his come from? I did not think it common for a lady to live like this, with her own place, to be regarded as the head of the household and treated as such. Besides that she’s an adult, she still is quite young as well, yet she is a self-supporting independent woman. This not only seems out of times to me, but it was also quite surprising. I don’t think it took too much from my experience of the play. It was easy to suspend the idea of her having her own place, but something of the story seemed to be missing. Doesn’t quite fit, make sense, to me.

As You Like It had a few interesting moments as well. One that sticks out most in my mind was the foolishness of the shepherd girl. When Celia and Rosalind come across the shepherd who is pleading with Phebe to love him she begins to swoon over Rosalind. (Act III.3) There is really no reason for it, for Rosalind begins to scold her from the get go, that Phebe could at least be kind or pity this man, after all Phebe is that great herself, yet a man love her. Suddenly Phebe is in love. Boy that was quick! How is it we can believe this, merely because we are to dismiss Phebe, like Rosalind says, because these two country folk seem to know little about love? (Act III.3 ln 66-70) After all, if this play is about the idea of naturalism and a natural person falls for a put on disguise, completely unnatural person, how are we to even by in to whole concept the play is trying to set up? Not only that but as Rosalind tries to further dissuade Phebe, Phebe adores her more. Then after Silvius’ pleading Phebe describes all the ways which she now loves Rosalind. She talks about how well Rosalind speaks another unnatural since that type of education comes from the court, yet Phebe is okay with that. Then Phebe goes on to describe how aesthetically pleasing Rosalind is. In this very description she makes Rosalind sound like a woman. Yet Phebe doesn’t catch this? It doesn’t make her stop and think a moment, fair complexion vs., manly rugged shepherd man. I mean if I were a country girl I know whom I’d favor. It certainly wouldn’t be the effeminate male who just insulted me harshly that I’ve only met once. This character is not only surprising in her justifications and actions of love, but she also seems auxiliary. I think with only Silvius helping the two girls as they came into the forest and that was it would have been enough. The play would proceed on with not much content difference. Just a silly moment that is surprising because of its out-of-the-blueness, and its non-sensical justification.

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