Assignments For Study
These assignments must of course be freely modified in accordance with actual needs. The discussions of the authors' works should sometimes, at least, be made by the student in writing, sometimes after a day or two of preliminary oral discussion in class. In addition to the special questions here included, the treatment of the various authors in the text often suggests topics for further consideration; and of course the material of the preliminary chapter is assumed. Any discussion submitted, either orally or in writing, may consist of a rather general treatment, dealing briefly with several topics; or it may be a fuller treatment of a single topic. Students should always express their own actual opinions, using the judgments of others, recorded in this book or elsewhere, as helps, not as final statements. Students should also aim always to be definite, terse, and clear. Do not make such vague general statements as 'He has good choice of words,' but cite a list of characteristic words or skilful expressions. As often as possible support your conclusions by quotations from, the author or by page-number references to relevant passages.
1. Above, Chapter I. One day.
2. 'BEOWULF.' Two days. For the first day review the discussion of the poem above, pp. 33-36; study the additional introductory statement which here follows; and read in the poem as much as time allows. For the second day continue the reading, at least through the story of Beowulf's exploits in Hrothgar's country (in Hall's translation through page 75, in Child's through page 60), and write your discussion. Better read one day in a prose translation, the other in a metrical translation, which will give some idea of the effect of the original.
The historical element in the poem above referred to is this: In several places mention is made of the fact that Hygelac, Beowulf's king, was killed in an expedition in Frisia (Holland), and medieval Latin chronicles make mention of the death of a king 'Chocilaicus' (evidently the same person) in a piratical raid in 512 A. D. The poem states that Beowulf escaped from this defeat by swimming, and it is quite possible that he was a real warrior who thus distinguished himself.
The other facts at the basis of the poem are equally uncertain. In spite of much investigation we can say of the tribes and localities which appear in it only that they are those of the region of Scandinavia and Northern Germany. As to date, poems about a historical Beowulf, a follower of Hygelac, could not have existed before his lifetime in the sixth century, but there is no telling how far back the possibly mythical elements may go. The final working over of the poem into its present shape, as has been said, probably took place in England in the seventh or eighth century; in earlier form, perhaps in the original brief ballads, it may have been brought to the country either by the Anglo-Saxons or by stray 'Danes.' It is fundamentally a heathen work, and certain Christian ideas which have been inserted here and there, such as the mention of Cain as the ancestor of Grendel, and the disparagement of heathen gods, merely show that one of the later poets who had it in hand was a Christian.
The genealogical introduction of something over fifty lines (down to the first mention of Hrothgar) has nothing to do with the poem proper; the Beowulf there mentioned is another person than the hero of the poem. In the epic itself we can easily recognize as originally separate stories: 1. Beowulf's fight with Grendel. 2. His fight with Grendel's mother. 3. His fight with the fire-drake. And of course, 4, the various stories referred to or incidentally related in brief.
Subjects for discussion: 1. Narrative qualities, such as Movement, Proportion, Variety, Suspense. Do the style (terse and suggestive rather than explicit) and the tendency to digressions seriously interfere with narrative progress and with the reader's (or listener's) understanding? 2. Dramatic vividness of scenes and incidents. 3. Descriptive qualities. 4. Do you recognize any specifically epic characteristics? 5. Characterization, both in general and of individuals. 6. How much of the finer elements of feeling does the poet show? What things in Nature does he appreciate? His sense of pathos and humor? 7. Personal and social ideals and customs. 8. The style; its main traits; the effect of the figures of speech; are the things used for comparisons in metaphors and similes drawn altogether from the outer world, or partly from the world of thought? 9. The main merits and defects of the poem and its absolute poetic value?
Written discussions may well begin with a very brief outline of the story
(not over a single page).
3. Above, chapter II. One day.
4. 'SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT' (in translation). One day. Preliminary, pages 57-58 above. The romance combines two stories which belong to the great body of wide-spread popular narrative and at first had no connection with each other: 1. The beheading story. 2. The temptation. They may have been united either by the present author or by some predecessor of his. Subjects for discussion: 1. Narrative qualities--Unity, Movement, Proportion, Variety, Suspense. Is the repetition of the hunts and of Gawain's experience in the castle skilful or the reverse, in plan and in execution? 2. Dramatic power--how vivid are the scenes and experiences? How fully do we sympathize with the characters? 3. Power of characterization and of psychological analysis? Are the characters types or individuals? 4. Power of description of scenes, persons, and Nature? 5. Character of the author? Sense of humor? How much fineness of feeling? 6. Theme of the story? 7. Do we get an impression of actual life, or of pure romance? Note specific details of feudal life. 8. Traits of style, such as alliteration and figures of speech, so far as they can be judged from the translation.
5. THE PERIOD OF CHAUCER. Above, pages 59-73. One day.
6. CHAUCER'S POEMS. Two or three days. The best poems for study are: The Prolog to the Canterbury Tales. The Nuns' Priest's Tale. The Knight's Tale. The Squire's Tale. The Prolog to the Legend of Good Women. The text, above, pp. 65 ff., suggests topics for consideration, if general discussion is desired in addition to reading of the poems.
7. THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY AND THE POPULAR BALLADS. One day. Study above, pages 74-77, and read as many ballads as possible. A full discussion of the questions of ballad origins and the like is to be found in the 'Cambridge' edition (Houghton Mifflin) of the ballads, edited by Sargent and Kittredge. In addition to matters treated in the text, consider how much feeling the authors show for Nature, and their power of description.
8. MALORY AND CAXTON. Two or three days. Study above, pages 77-81, and read in Le Morte Darthur as much as time permits. Among the best books are: VII, XXI, I, Xlll-XVII. Subjects for discussion: 1. Narrative qualities. 2. Characterization, including variety of characters. 3. Amount and quality of description. 4. How far is the book purely romantic, how far does reality enter into it? Consider how much notice is given to other classes than the nobility. 5. The style.
9. THE EARLIER MEDIEVAL DRAMA, INCLUDING THE MYSTERY PLAYS. Two days. Above, Chapter IV, through page 88. Among the best plays for study are: Abraham and Isaac (Riverside L. S. vol., p. 7); The Deluge or others in the Everyman Library vol., pp. 29-135 (but the play 'Everyman' is not a Mystery play and belongs to the next assignment); or any in Manly's 'Specimens of the Pre-Shakespearean Drama,' vol. I, pp. 1-211. The Towneley Second Shepherds' Play (so called because it is the second of two treatments of the Nativity theme in the Towneley manuscript) is one of the most notable plays, but is very coarse. Subjects for discussion: 1. Narrative structure and qualities. 2. Characterization and motivation. 3. How much illusion of reality? 4. Quality of the religious and human feeling? 5. The humor and its relation to religious feeling. 6. Literary excellence of both substance and expression (including the verse form).
10. THE MORALITIES AND INTERLUDES. One day. Above, pp. 89-91. Students not familiar with 'Everyman' should read it (E. L. S. vol., p. 66; Everyman Library vol., p. 1). Further may be read 'Mundus et Infans' (The World and the Child. Manly's 'Specimens,' I, 353). Consider the same questions as in the last assignment and compare the Morality Plays with the Mysteries in general excellence and in particular qualities.
11. THE RENAISSANCE, with special study of The Faerie Queene. Four days. Above, Chapter V, through page 116. Read a few poems of Wyatt and Surrey, especially Wyatt's 'My lute, awake' and 'Forget not yet,' and Surrey's
'Give place, ye lovers, heretofore.' In 'The Faerie Queene' read the Prefatory Letter and as many cantos of Book I (or, if you are familiar with that, of some other Books) as you can assimilate--certainly not less than three or four cantos. Subjects for discussion: 1. The allegory; its success; how minutely should it be applied? 2. Narrative qualities. 3. The descriptions. 4. General beauty. 5. The romantic quality. 6. The language.
7. The stanza, e. g., the variety of poetical uses and of treatment in such matters as pauses. The teacher may well read to the class the more important portions of Lowell's essay on Spenser, which occur in the latter half.
12. THE ELIZABETHAN LYRIC POEMS. Two days. Above, pages 117-121. Read as widely as possible in the poems of the authors named. Consider such topics as: subjects and moods; general quality and its contrast with that of later lyric poetry; emotion, fancy, and imagination; imagery; melody and rhythm; contrasts among the poems; the sonnets. Do not merely make general statements, but give definite references and quotations. For the second day make special study of such particularly 'conceited' poems as the following and try to explain the conceits in detail and to form some opinion of their poetic quality: Lyly's 'Apelles' Song'; Southwell's 'Burning Babe'; Ralegh's 'His Pilgrimage'; and two or three of Donne's.
13. THE EARLIER ELIZABETHAN DRAMA, with study of Marlowe's Tamburlaine, Part I. Two days. Above, Chapter VI, through page 129. Historically, Tamerlane was a Mongol (Scythian) leader who in the fourteenth century overran most of Western Asia and part of Eastern Europe in much the way indicated in the play, which is based on sixteenth century Latin lives of him. Of course the love element is not historical but added by Marlowe. Written discussions should begin with a very brief outline of the story
(perhaps half a page). Other matters to consider: 1. Is there an abstract dramatic theme? 2. Can regular dramatic structure be traced, with a clear central climax? 3. Variety of scenes? 4. Qualities of style, e. g., relative prominence of bombast, proper dramatic eloquence, and sheer poetry. 5. Qualities, merits, and faults of the blank verse, in detail. E.g.: How largely are the lines end-stopped (with a break in the sense at the end of each line, generally indicated by a mark of punctuation), how largely run-on (without such pause)? Is the rhythm pleasing, varied, or monotonous? 6. Characterization and motivation.
14. THE ELIZABETHAN STAGE; SHAKSPERE; AND 'RICHARD II' AS A REPRESENTATIVE CHRONICLE-HISTORY PLAY. Three days. Above, pages 129-140. The historical facts on which Richard II is based may be found in any short English history, years 1382-1399, though it must be remembered that Shakspere knew them only in the 'Chronicle' of Holinshed. In brief outline they are as follows: King Richard and Bolingbroke (pronounced by the Elizabethans
Bullenbroke) are cousins, grandsons of Edward III. Richard was a mere child when he came to the throne and after a while five lords, among whom were his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester (also called in the play Woodstock), and Bolingbroke, took control of the government. Later, Richard succeeded in recovering it and' imprisoned Gloucester at Calais in the keeping of Mowbray. There Gloucester was murdered, probably by Richard's orders. According to Holinshed, whom Shakspere follows, Bolingbroke accuses Mowbray of the murder. (This is historically wrong; Bolingbroke's charge was another, trumped up, one; but that does not concern us.) Bolingbroke's purpose is to fix the crime on Mowbray and then prove that Mowbray acted at Richard's orders.
The story of the play is somewhat similar to that of Marlowe's 'Edward II,' from which Shakspere doubtless took his suggestion. Main matters to consider throughout are: The characters, especially Richard and Bolingbroke; the reasons for their actions; do they change or develop? How far are the style and spirit like Marlowe; how far is there improvement? Is the verse more poetic or rhetorical? In what sorts of passages or what parts of scenes is rime chiefly used? Just what is the value of each scene in furthering the action, or for the other artistic purposes of the play? As you read, note any difficulties, and bring them up in the class.
For the second day, read through Act III. Act I: Why did Richard at first try to prevent the combat, then yield, and at the last moment forbid it? Are these changes significant, or important in results? (The 'long flourish' at I, iii, 122, is a bit of stage symbolism, representing an interval of two hours in which Richard deliberated with his council.)
For the third day, finish the play and write your discussion, which should consist of a very brief outline of the story and consideration of the questions that seem to you most important. Some, in addition to those above stated, are: How far is it a mere Chronicle-history play, how far a regular tragedy? Has it an abstract theme, like a tragedy? Are there any scenes which violate unity? Is there a regular dramatic line of action, with central climax? Does Shakspere indicate any moral judgment on Bolingbroke's actions? General dramatic power--rapidity in getting started, in movement, variety, etc.? Note how large a part women have in the play, and how large a purely poetic element there is, as compared with the dramatic. The actual historical time is about two years. Does it appear so long?
15. 'TWELFTH NIGHT' AS A REPRESENTATIVE ROMANTIC COMEDY. Three days, with written discussion. In the Elizabethan period the holiday revelry continued for twelve days after Christmas; the name of the play means that it is such a one as might be used to complete the festivities. Helpful interpretation of the play is to be found in such books as: F. S. Boas, 'Shakspere and his Predecessors,' pp. 313 ff; Edward Dowden, 'Shakspere's Mind and Art,' page
328; and Barrett Wendell, 'William Shakspere,' pp. 205 ff. Shakspere took the outline of the plot from a current story, which appears, especially, in one of the Elizabethan 'novels.' Much of the jesting of the clown and others of the characters is mere light trifling, which loses most of its force in print to-day. The position of steward (manager of the estate) which Malvolio holds with Olivia was one of dignity and importance, though the steward was nevertheless only the chief servant. The unsympathetic presentation of Malvolio is of the same sort which Puritans regularly received in the Elizabethan drama, because of their opposition to the theater. Where is Illyria, and why does Shakspere locate the play there?
First day: Acts I and II. 1. Make sure you can tell the story clearly. 2. How many distinct actions? 3. Which one is chief? 4. Why does Shakspere combine them in one play? 5. Which predominates, romance or realism? 6. Note specifically the improbable incidents. 7. For what sorts of scenes are verse and prose respectively used? Poetic quality of the verse? 8. Characterize the main persons and state their relations to the others, or purposes in regard to them. Which set of persons is most distinctly characterized?
Second day: The rest. (The treatment given to Malvolio was the regular one for madmen; it was thought that madness was due to an evil spirit, which must be driven out by cruelty.) Make sure of the story and characters as before. 9. How skilful are the interweaving and development of the actions? 10. How skilful the 'resolution' (straightening out) of the suspense and complications at the end? 11. Is the outcome, in its various details, probable or conventional? 12. Is there ever any approach to tragic effect?
Third day: Write your discussion, consisting of: I, a rather full outline of the story (in condensing you will do better not always to follow Shakspere's order), and II, your main impressions, including some of the above points or of the following: 13. How does the excellence of the characterization compare with that in 'Richard II'? 14. Work out the time-scheme of the play--the amount of time which it covers, the end of each day represented, and the length of the gaps to be assumed between these days. Is there entire consistency in the treatment of time? 15. Note in four parallel columns, two for the romantic action and two for the others together, the events in the story which respectively are and are not presented on the stage.
16. 'HAMLET' AS A REPRESENTATIVE TRAGEDY. Four days, with written discussion. Students can get much help from good interpretative commentaries, such as: C. M. Lewis, 'The Genesis of Hamlet,' on which the theories here stated are partly based; A. C. Bradley, 'Shakspearean Tragedy,' pp. 89-174; Edward Dowden, 'Shakspere Primer,' 119 ff.; Barrett Wendell, 'William Shakspere,' 250 ff.; Georg Brandes, 'William Shakespeare,' one vol. ed., book II, chaps. xiii-xviii; F. S. Boas,
'Shakespeare and his Predecessors,' 384 ff.; S. T. Coleridge, 'Lectures on Shakspere,' including the last two or three pages of the twelfth lecture.
The original version of the Hamlet story is a brief narrative in the legendary so-called 'Danish History,' written in Latin by the Dane Saxo the Grammarian about the year 1200. About 1570 this was put into a much expanded French form, still very different from Shakspere's, by the
'novelist' Belleforest, in his 'Histoires Tragiques.' (There is a translation of Belleforest in the second volume of the 'Variorum' edition of 'Hamlet'; also in Hazlitt's 'Shakespeare Library,' I, ii, 217 ff.) Probably on this was based an English play, perhaps written by Thomas Kyd, which is now lost but which seems to be represented, in miserably garbled form, in an existing text of a German play acted by English players in Germany in the seventeenth century. (This German play is printed in the
'Variorum' edition of 'Hamlet,' vol. II.) This English play was probably Shakspere's source. Shakspere's play was entered in the 'Stationers' Register' (corresponding to present-day copyrighting) in 1602, and his play was first published (the first quarto) in 1603. This is evidently only Shakspere's early tentative form, issued, moreover, by a piratical publisher from the wretchedly imperfect notes of a reporter sent to the theater for the purpose. (This first quarto is also printed in the
'Variorum' edition.) The second quarto, virtually Shakspere's finished form, was published in 1604. Shakspere, therefore, was evidently working on the play for at least two or three years, during which he transformed it from a crude and sensational melodrama of murder and revenge into a spiritual study of character and human problems. But this transformation could not be complete--the play remains bloody--and its gradual progress, as Shakspere's conception of the possibilities broadened, has left inconsistencies in the characters and action.
It is important to understand the situation and events at the Danish court just before the opening of the play. In Saxo the time was represented as being the tenth century; in Shakspere, as usual, the manners and the whole atmosphere are largely those of his own age. The king was the elder Hamlet, father of Prince Hamlet, whose love and admiration for him were extreme. Prince Hamlet was studying at the University of Wittenberg in Germany; in Shakspere's first quarto it is made clear that he had been there for some years; whether this is the assumption in the final version is one of the minor questions to consider. Hamlet's age should also be considered. The wife of the king and mother of Prince Hamlet was Gertrude, a weak but attractive woman of whom they were both very fond. The king had a brother, Claudius, whom Prince Hamlet had always intensely disliked. Claudius had seduced Gertrude, and a few weeks before the play opens murdered King Hamlet in the way revealed in Act I. Of the former crime no one but the principals were aware; of the latter at most no one but Claudius and Gertrude; in the first quarto it is made clear that she was ignorant of it; whether that is Shakspere's meaning in the final version is another question to consider. After the murder Claudius got himself elected king by the Danish nobles. There was nothing illegal in this; the story assumes that as often in medieval Europe a new king might be chosen from among all the men of the royal family; but Prince Hamlet had reason to feel that Claudius had taken advantage of his absence to forestall his natural candidacy. The respect shown throughout the play by Claudius to Polonius, the Lord Chamberlain, now in his dotage, suggests that possibly Polonius was instrumental in securing Claudius' election. A very few weeks after the death of King Hamlet, Claudius married Gertrude. Prince Hamlet, recalled to Denmark by the news of his father's death, was plunged into a state of wretched despondency by the shock of that terrible grief and by his mother's indecently hasty marriage to a man whom he detested.
There has been much discussion as to whether or not Shakspere means to represent Hamlet as mad, but very few competent critics now believe that Hamlet is mad at any time. The student should discover proof of this conclusion in the play; but it should be added that all the earlier versions of the story explicitly state that the madness is feigned. Hamlet's temperament, however, should receive careful consideration. The actual central questions of the play are: 1. Why does Hamlet delay in killing King Claudius after the revelation by his father's Ghost in I iv?
2. Why does he feign madness? As to the delay: It must be premised that the primitive law of blood-revenge is still binding in Denmark, so that after the revelation by the Ghost it is Hamlet's duty to kill Claudius. Of course it is dramatically necessary that he shall delay, otherwise there would be no play; but that is irrelevant to the question of the human motivation. The following are the chief explanations suggested, and students should carefully consider how far each of them may be true. 1. There are external difficulties, a. In the earlier versions of the story Claudius was surrounded by guards, so that Hamlet could not get at him. Is this true in Shakspere's play? b. Hamlet must wait until he can justify his deed to the court; otherwise his act would be misunderstood and he might himself be put to death, and so fail of real revenge. Do you find indications that Shakspere takes this view? 2. Hamlet is a sentimental weakling, incapable by nature of decisive action. This was the view of Goethe. Is it consistent with Hamlet's words and deeds? 3. Hamlet's scholar's habit of study and analysis has largely paralyzed his natural power of action. He must stop and weigh every action beforehand, until he bewilders himself in the maze of incentives and dissuasives. 4. This acquired tendency is greatly increased by his present state of extreme grief and despondency.
(Especially argued by Professor Bradley.) 5. His moral nature revolts at the idea of assassination; in him the barbarous standard of a primitive time and the finer feelings of a highly civilized and sensitive man are in conflict. 6. He distrusts the authenticity of the Ghost and wishes to make sure that it is not (literally) a device of the devil before obeying it. Supposing that this is so, does it suffice for the complete explanation, and is Hamlet altogether sincere in falling back on it?
In a hasty study like the present the reasons for Hamlet's pretense of madness can be arrived at only by starting not only with some knowledge of the details of the earlier versions but with some definite theory. The one which follows is substantially that of Professor Lewis. The pretense of madness was a natural part of the earlier versions, since in them Hamlet's uncle killed his father openly and knew that Hamlet would naturally wish to avenge the murder; in those versions Hamlet feigns madness in order that he may seem harmless. In Shakspere's play (and probably in the older play from which he drew), Claudius does not know that Hamlet is aware of his guilt; hence Hamlet's pretense of madness is not only useless but foolish, for it attracts unnecessary attention to him and if discovered to be a pretense must suggest that he has some secret plan, that is, must suggest to Claudius that Hamlet may know the truth. Shakspere, therefore, retains the pretense of madness mainly because it had become too popular a part of the story (which was known beforehand to most theater-goers) to be omitted. Shakspere suggests as explanations (motivation) for it, first that it serves as a safety-valve for Hamlet's emotions (is this an adequate reason?); and second that he resolves on it in the first heat of his excitement at the Ghost's revelation (I, iv). The student should consider whether this second explanation is sound, whether at that moment Hamlet could weigh the whole situation and the future probabilities, could realize that he would delay in obeying the Ghost and so would need the shield of pretended madness. Whether or not Shakspere's treatment seems rational on analysis the student should consider whether it is satisfactory as the play is presented on the stage, which is what a dramatist primarily aims at. It should be remembered also that Shakspere's personal interest is in the struggle in Hamlet's inner nature.
Another interesting question regards Hamlet's love for Ophelia. When did it begin? Is it very deep, so that, as some critics hold, when Ophelia fails him he suffers another incurable wound, or is it a very secondary thing as compared with his other interests? Is the evidence in the play sufficiently clear to decide these questions conclusively? Is it always consistent?
For the second day, study to the end of Act II. Suggestions on details (the line numbers are those adopted in the 'Globe' edition and followed in most others): I, ii: Notice particularly the difference in the attitude of Hamlet toward Claudius and Gertrude respectively and the attitude of Claudius toward him. At the end of the scene notice the qualities of Hamlet's temperament and intellect. Scenes iv and v: Again notice Hamlet's temperament, v, 107: The 'tables' are the waxen tablet which Hamlet as a student carries. It is of course absurd for him to write on them now; he merely does instinctively, in his excitement and uncertainty, what he is used to doing. 115-116: The falconer's cry to his bird; here used because of its penetrating quality. 149 ff.: The speaking of the Ghost under the floor is a sensational element which Shakspere keeps for effect from the older play, where it is better motivated--there Hamlet started to tell everything to his companions, and the Ghost's cries are meant to indicate displeasure. II, ii, 342; 'The city' is Wittenberg. What follows is a topical allusion to the rivalry at the time of writing between the regular men's theatrical companies and those of the boys.
Third day, Acts III and IV. III, i, 100-101: Professor Lewis points out that these lines, properly placed in the first quarto, are out of order here, since up to this point in the scene Ophelia has reason to tax herself with unkindness, but none to blame Hamlet. This is an oversight of Shakspere in revising. Scene ii, 1 ff.: A famous piece of professional histrionic criticism, springing from Shakspere's irritation at bad acting; of course it is irrelevant to the play. 95: Note 'I must be idle.' Scene iii: Does the device of the play of scene ii prove wise and successful, on the whole? 73 ff.: Is Hamlet sincere with himself here?
Fourth day: Finish the play and write your discussion. V, i: Why are the clowns brought into the play? ii, 283: A 'union' was a large pearl, here dissolved in the wine to make it more precious. In the old play instead of the pearl there was a diamond pounded fine, which constituted the poison. Why is Fortinbras included in the play?
Your discussion should include a much condensed outline of the play, a statement of its theme and main meanings as you see them, and a careful treatment of whatever question or questions most interest you. In addition to those above suggested, the character of Hamlet is an attractive topic.
17. The Rest of the Dramatists to 1642, and the Study of Jonson's
'Sejanus.' Three days, with written discussion of 'Sejanus.' Above, pp.
141-150. Preliminary information about 'Sejanus:' Of the characters in the play the following are patriots, opposed to Sejanus: Agrippina, Drusus, the three boys, Arruntius, Silius, Sabinus, Lepidus, Cordus, Gallus, Regulus. The rest, except Macro and Laco, are partisans of Sejanus. In his estimate of Tiberius' character Jonson follows the traditional view, which scholars now believe unjust. Sejanus' rule actually lasted from 23-31 A.D.; Jonson largely condenses. Livia Augusta, still alive at the time of the play, and there referred to as 'the great Augusta,' was mother of Tiberius and a Drusus (now dead) by a certain Tiberius Claudius Nero (not the Emperor Nero). After his death she married the Emperor Augustus, who adopted Tiberius and whom Tiberius has succeeded. The Drusus above-mentioned has been murdered by Tiberius and Sejanus. By the Agrippina of the play Drusus was mother of the three boys of the play, Nero (not the Emperor), Drusus Junior, and Caligula (later Emperor). The Drusus Senior of the play is son of Tiberius. In reading the play do not omit the various introductory prose addresses, etc. (The collaborator whose part Jonson has characteristically displaced in the final form of the play may have been Shakspere.)
For the second day, read through Act IV. Questions: 1. How far does Jonson follow the classical principles of art and the drama, general and special? 2. Try to formulate definitely the differences between Jonson's and Shakspere's method of presenting Roman life, and their respective power and effects. Does Jonson's knowledge interfere with his dramatic effectiveness? 3. The characters. Why so many? How many are distinctly individualized? Characterize these. What methods of characterization does Jonson use? 4. Compare Jonson's style and verse with Shakspere's. 5. Effectiveness of III, 1? Is Tiberius sincere in saying that he meant to spare Silius?Next