Summative Entry

While people in the English Renaissance wore different clothes and had no access to digital technology, their artistic expressions and the experiences these embody still have an impact on human beings living in the 21st Century.

The world as we know it today seemingly has nothing in common with the world during the English Renaissance however, upon further investigation it is clear that there are many core aspects of life that have not changed. Humanity has largely remained the same despite the fact that we have computers and they did not even have lightbulbs and the fact that we wear completely different clothing. Whether it be the Renaissance, the present or the future, people still love, fight, cry, mourn, scheme, manipulate, laugh and live. It is these actions and emotions which make us human and therefore, the expressions of these in art and literature are just as relevent to us today as the day they were written.

My very first blog for the semester was about the distinctivness of a feminine voice compared to a masculine one as demonstrated through Lady Anne. The mourning of Lady Anne continues to be emotional today as we have all felt loss of loved ones (although it is unlikely that it was due to murder!) The differences between men and women, while somewhat lessened by feminism, are still evident as we are different by nature. The continuing emotional impact of  art from the Renaissance can also be seen through my creative piece based upon the plate painted by Xanto. I wrote a story about the wife of the leader of the Swiss Guard at the time of the sack of Rome by thinking about how I would feel if I were in the situation and applying these feelings to my piece. Once again, it is through emotions that the strong link between us and the people of the Renaissance becomes clear. Due to the pathos of Lady Anne’s speech as well as within historical events, it is clear that the art from the English Renaissance is still highly relevent today.

Poetry is a universal method of communication as it is based upon emotions which are the core of our being. Due to this, the poetry of the English Renaissance has a resounding impact upon today’s readers. The value of poetry is investigated in my post “Poetry: the Language of Life” which discusses the idea that history tells a story but poetry brings it to life. Due to a poet’s ability to manipulate language and emotions, their works become timeless as it is this emotion which connects us to people of the past. This is shown through the ideas presented by Sir Walter Ralegh in his poem, The Lie. This poem explores honesty and hypocrisy as he sees it in the world. Despite completely different political cultures, it is so profound that many of his complaints are so relatable to 2017. He points out hypocrisy within organisations such as the church- an issue still present today especially in relation to controversial investigations into some priests. The manipulation of emotions is also discussed within this poem through the comparison of love to lust. Again, this is still highly relevent to the present as people have always abused the emotions of others for ulterior motives. The continuing impact of literature concerning love is also demonstrated by the poetry at the beginning of Twelfth Night as explored in my post, “In Love an Agony”. The text investigates the different ways love can make us feel, in this case, pain. Love is, in many ways, the core of human existence hence, the experiences and values of people in the English Renaissance are not so different from our own.

Through the investigation of a variety of texts this semester, it has become very clear to me that despite the outward differences between us today and the people of the English Renaissance, we are, at our core very similar due to the emotions that connect us and make us human. The fact that the emotions of poets, authors and artists of the English Renaissance still relate to us today make it an indisputable fact that their work is still highly relevent to us in the 21st century and has had a continuing impact upon us.

Peer Review 6

Posted to:

Hi Jack!
I love how much effort you put into your post this week; your extensive research into the World in a Fool’s Cap image is really interesting- especially the translation of the writing. It would be interesting to investigate further into the idea that “know thyself” is related to the fool. Perhaps this could mean that by recognising that you are a fool yourself gives you a certain kind of wisdom. After all it was Shakespeare who said “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
Keep up the great work!

Peer Review 5

Posted to:

Hey there Sara!
I love your interpretation of the first scene of 12th Night particularly the way you describe the pun on the word heart/hart and the metaphor of the deer. It would be really interesting if you further investigated the purpose of the techniques Shakespeare used- maybe the effect they had on the audience. I think one more interesting feature of this scene is the use of poetry. Poetry as well as the great techniques you picked up on make this a fantastic opening for a play- good one Shakespeare!

In Love and Agony

What picture of love/lurve is presented in the opening scene of 12th Night. How is this picture reflected in the language choices Shakespeare makes.

From the very first line of the play, an interesting and alternative opinion about love is presented by Orsino. The first line, “If music be the food of love, play on,” gives the reader the idea that Orsino is a romantic and is often misquoted for this reason. In the second line, the idea about love is subverted when he continues with, “give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken and die!” This paints a very different picture of love, portraying it as something that Orsino does not want to feel. Instead of asking the musicians to play on for the beauty of the sound, Orsino wants them to play so much that he is sick of the music which is a metaphor for love and the quest to find it. Shakespeare uses an easy to understand metaphor allowing the audience to get a very clear picture of the way Orsino feels about love as it is vital knowledge for the events to come. The instant subversion of love from the positive to the negative provokes thought from the audience about the subject of love as well as capturing their attention and curiosity.

The choice to use poetry rather than prose is highly important to note when examining the opening of Twelfth Night. By starting the play with a poetic speech, Shakespeare is able to immediately gain the audience’s attention as well as depict to them an idea of the tone of the play. More importantly, poetry is known as the language of lurve which is what the play, at its core, is about. The association between poetry and romance is always prevelant within Shakespeare’s plays but the way it is used in this scene is particularly interesting. The use of poetry against love rather than encouraging it is, once again, a subversion of it’s usual role. The subversion of roles continues throughout the play so the fact that it is introduced through the opening poetry is highly effective.

Shakespeare also uses contrast to demonstrate the enormous extent of Orsino’s disinterest in love. He describes his encounter with love stating that “it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound/ that breaths upoin a bank of violets,” using imagery associated with beauty as well as enjambment to create a romantic flow. To contrast this, the following lines, “Enough; no more./ ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before,” are sharp and abruptly end this flow, similar to the sudden change of mind about love and the feeling becoming negative rather than positive.

Love in Twelfth Night, as portrayed in the opening scene, is an overall agonising experience. Love is depicted as tempermental as it can change from beauty to pain in an instant and suddenly; what was once desirable is wanted no longer. In fact, Orsino wants nothing to do with love at all. The unique use of subversion, poetry and imagery construct this painful depiction of love which is a highly fitting opening for the play.

Poetry: the Language of Life

Take Sir Philip Sidney’s lines (above) in which he values poetry over history and philosophy and develop his argument in your own words, based on your own experience of the value of poetry to you.

History can teach us what is done and philosophy can tell us what is though; poetry tells us what is felt, what is shared and what is lived. Poetry communicates what it is to be human and what it means to love, laugh, smile, cry and form relationships with each other, the world, and even people we have never even met like the poet. History and philosophy merely concern the mind but poetry is all encompassing of the mind, heart and spirit which are all important aspects of life and crucial to our development as people.

History tells us that Shakespeare’s plays were performed in the globe theatre- an interesting and important historical fact. But what history cannot describe is the excited murmur of the crowd as they file in to watch, breathe and live the wonder to be performed. It cannot tell us of the actor backstage more nervous than a pig in a bacon factory, sweating like a horse and shaking from nervous excitement. It cannot tell us about the hearts of all the audience beating as one like a steady rhythm of applause as their soul is nourished by the love, action and emotions playing out before them. History leaves out what it means to be human and poetry picks up it’s slack.

History tells tales of heroes but not of their insecurities; we know many historical figures but we cannot know their emotions without the expert interpretation of the poet. History deals with numbers- a historian may tell you of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, but what about the experience of the 1,the individual. History often does not give individuals a story but groups them in which disconnects us with the fact that each of the 6 million, is an individual. Poetry has the power to reconnect us. To give a voice to the mute. What of the forgotten ones of history who did no great deed other than to love with all their heart? What if the women, the poor, the slaves? History does not give them a chance to speak for it does not consider loving to be a heroic deed, it does not consider living to be a heroic deed. Poetry does and therefore gives a pedestal to anyone who wants it. To anyone who feels and knows what it means to be human, what it means to live. History gives us an outline of the world in facts and figures, poetry fills in the gaps with life.

Peer Review 4

Posted to:

Hi Beatrice,
I really enjoyed the way you used language in your entry this week, it seemed almost mystical due to all the imagery used which is very fitting considering it is from the moon’s perspective. I completed the same question as you this week and it was so interesting to see the vast differences between our entries; yours was incredibly dire while I spoke about a world of wonder. Our pieces could almost work as a before and after sequence! The only tip I have is to double check for typos, they interupt your flow (eg: “Man is the craziest specie”).
Keep up the great work!

Everything and Nothing

From the perspective of the moon, in a paragraph, describe the current situation on earth as you see it.

When I look down at the ever turning blue and green sphere of earth, I see nothing and everything all at once. A tiny one bedroom house; nothing compared to the ocean, pointless in the scheme of the universe. And yet, there are two happy specks, a young couple. They are overjoyed with their acheivment of buying their first home together; overwhelmed with excitment about spending a life together inside.

They say dust turns to dust which is true, I see it all the time; a life is created and a life fades; a lifetime is not as long as it sounds. As the light fades from a person’s eyes, the rivers do not stop flowing, the earth does not stop turning, time does not pause. A life has no influence on the ways of the universe. And yet, there are hundreds of mourners gathered to celebrate the life of a child who’s time on earth was “cut short” by a terminal illness; he has had an influence on all the people he had met.

The happenings on earth are both miniscule and significant. The oceans roll and on dry land there is a man eating himself to sickness and a man dying from hunger. Winds rush through the sky but on the ground there are politicians cutting back education funding and a child giving up on reading because her parents cannot afford books. The cosmos is unending and on earth a baby is born and an elderly man passes away.

The vastness of the universe is all consuming and the earth is a speck of dust, it’s inhabitants even smaller. But joy, love, despair, sadness, life and death; they are powerful and extend beyond that tiny house, beyond the church filled with mourners, beyond the ocean, beyond the sky, beyond myself. They stretch to the edges of the universe- and I could not say myself that I know if that exists.

Peer Review 3

Posted to:

Hi Jesse!

I really enjoyed your analysis of Ralegh’s thoughts about death and the knowing of oneself. I loved the way that you paralleled this to receiving a credit card bill for all the extravagent materials you’ve been buying and then reflecting upon whether they were necessary at all- a situation many people know all too well.

It would be interesting to consider whether Ralegh’s statement is true for everyone- would an unrepentant criminal still experience the same realisation? Strangely enough, I think that more often than not, those who have led positive lives are more critical about themselves than the people who the realisation should effect most in their final moments.

I liked the questions you posed at the end of the post too, it would be interesting to hear what you think the answers might be!

Keep up the good work!

Elisabeth Klingler Röist

Chose any one of the paintings that you fell in love with yesterday and write the back story behind the painting. In other words imagine the artist, the sitter, the event that produced this painting and describe the painting itself with as much rich detail as you possibly can. 

Francesco Xanto Avelli’S beautiful plate depicting an allegory for the sack of Rome inspired me to investigate the event in further detail and write a creative piece from the perspective of someone there at the event. I conducted further research into the sack to learn about the individuals involved. While reading, I came across Kaspar  Röist who was the commander of the Swiss Guard at the time who defended the entry of Saint Peter’s Basillica while the Pope escaped. All 147 of his men were killed and he was badly wounded and took refuge in his home where he was followed by the Spaniards and killed in front of his wife. This event inspired me to write in the perspective of his wife, Elisabeth Klingler Röist.


 My brave husband, my Kaspar. Defending our Pope from those evil wretches on the steps of the Basillica; defending our faith from those red-clad devils; defending our livelihood from those who theive all that is good. I know he will return. God is watching over this Holy fight and if by all misfortune he falls, Saint Peter will call him to those glorious gates where he will be rewarded for the protection of all that is good. But dear God if it be in your will, bring him back to me, Amen. Kaspar is all I have, I have no sons to protect me; no daughters to weep with me and my parents, well I do not know if they live. I must stay positive. He will be back in my arms soon after succeeding on those blessed steps of the Basillica. 

Those cursed steps of the Basillica! Woe to any man who dared to defend them- all of them dead! My Kaspar wounded and in surrender returned to me only to have been followed by all that is evil in the world into my house. Kaspar, my brave husband; Kaspar who provided for me; Kaspar who loved me- killed, neigh, slaughtered in front of mine own eyes. I cannot leave my hiding place in my chambers for fear of death or worse- to be confronted by the bloodied and beaten body lying on the kitchen floor. It is unbearable. There is supposed to be comfort in the fact that he died protecting the Pope but… all I find is despair and darkness and questioning- why Lord have you done this? Why was he cut down in front of his poor wife his poor… widow? That tragic thump plays over in my mind.

Will I ever find peace? Will I ever find sleep? Will I ever find hope? Will I ever find God?

Peer Review 2

Posted to:

Hi again Daniel!
I really enjoyed the way you spoke about the expressive language Spenser uses to entice the audience and the examination of the allegory to England at the time. Something that you could further investigate is the sense of mystery Spenser uses to get the reader to continue onto Canto 1 after the prologue. I think that by outlining the heroic nature of the coming story but withholding details makes the reader want to continue and find out more about the knights,  monsters and faeries. This sense of mystery surrounding the heroic deeds tell us as readers that it truly is a worthwhile read.
Keep up the great work! Excited to see your future posts 🙂