Monday, March 28, 2016

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Comment on The witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

The witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth are key characters that serve as the impetus for Macbeth's ambition and his eventual decision to commit murder. The witches, who appear at the very opening scene, give Macbeth five prophecies that spark his ambition and set into motion the key events of the tragedy.
These witches are present at the very outset of the play where they are waiting for Macbeth to meet. The weather is very foul and rough. But all of them say,
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair"
The above line sets the nature and mood of these weird sisters. It also expresses their unhuman trait. Unlike any human they feel it much favorable when it is foul for others and uncomfortable when it is comfortable for others.
The first time Macbeth and his companion, Banquo, encounter the witches, we see a glimpse of the witches' overall look and impression through the words of Banquo. He says,
"How far is't call'd to Forres? What are these
So wither'd and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,"
The witches are the supernatural being in the play; they have the appearance like women, and yet they don't look like inhabitants of the earth. Banquo also realizes that it is difficult to identify their gender because of their beards.

The witches are notable in this play mostly because of the prophecies they made. These prophecies awakened the evil in Macbeth. Though the ambition to become the king is already harbored in Macbeth's mind prior to this but it is strongly uncertain whether he would proceed to his ambition if the witches do not make prophecy regarding this. To Macbeth, it is like the divine signal and approval to his concealed plan.
First  Witch says "All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!"
Second  Witch says," All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!"
Third Witch says, "All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!..."
At the time, Macbeth is Thane of Glamis (a Thane is a titled landholder), but the witches prophesy that he will not only be the Thane of Cawdor but also king of Scotland which stuns his senses.
Upon hearing this, Macbeth is not convinced that it will come true, but his wife, Lady Macbeth, has no doubt of its truth. It is her ambition that first ignites him to take drastic action in order to secure the titles the witches allude to.

In fine, the witches play a vital role, as the catalyst of the final tragedy of Macbeth. Without the notorious presence of these witches, the evil plan of Macbeth might have been kept buried inside. They are quite instrumental in Shakespeare's tragic play 'Macbeth'.
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The logics presented by the speaker in favor of canonization of their love in the poem ''The Canonization''

Canonization is the act by which the Roman Catholic Church officially declares a dead man as a saint. In John Donne's famous love-lyric ''The Canonization'', the poet expresses his desire to be canonized or to be announced as the saint of love through excellent conceits and imageries. The love of the poet and his beloved is supreme and noble, they are models of love. So they will be immortalized and honoured as the saints of love after their death. Though no one will officially declare them to be canonized, he expects that they will be canonized through their love lyrics and sonnets. The lovers are devoted to each other as a saint is devoted to God. Thus, they are canonized by their holy passion of love. The significance of the title of the poem is exceptionally high. John Donne, who is considered to be the founder and leader of the metaphysical school of poetry, has revealed his desire to become legendary and immortal, through his love poems and lyrics. We find his utmost intension has become fruitful. Even in this modern age, Donne's poems are immensely popular among the readers. People study them, analyse them, think over them and above all, follow them in real life. And in this way, the poet's dream to be canonized or to be immortalized has become successful. Now let us discuss the logics that Donne sets up to canonize their love.

In ''The Canonization'', Donne sets up a five-stanza argument to demonstrate the power and purity of love between him and his beloved. Each stanza begins and ends with the word ''love''. The very beginning of the poem shocks the reader with a blow of astonishment-
For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love
The poet here rebukes his friend who tries to discourage him from making love. He asks his friend to shut his mouth and not to disturb him at his romantic moment. He can attack the poet's gout or paralysis or baldness or his misfortune, but it will be totally useless. Just in the same way it is equally futile for him to try to dissuade the poet from love-making. The poet advises to the complainer that he should turn his attention elsewhere. He suggests various ways in which his friend might occupy himself. He should try to gain wealth and improve his condition; or should try to concentrate his mind in acquiring knowledge and develop a taste for art. He may try to occupy a position at the royal court and thereby get a chance of observing the king in his true colours or he may try to make money and thus see the king's image stamped on coins. He may do whatever he likes but he should not interfere with the poet's love-making with his beloved.

In the following stanza, the poet tells that nobody is hampered by their love-making. Here the poet has given some fantastic hyperboles. The poet parodies contemporary Petrarchan notions of love and continues to mock his addressee, making the point that his sighs have not drowned ships and his tears have not caused floods-
''Alas, alas, who's injured by my love?
What merchant's ships have my sighs drowned?
Who says my tears have overflowed his ground?

The coldness of his heart has not prolonged the winter season or slowed the arrival of spring. The warmth of his passion has not increased the number of persons who die of plague. His love will not keep soldiers from fighting wars or lawyers from finding court cases. In spite of his love, the normal life of the world continues as usual. By raising these arguments, the poet wants to say as no one is being affected by his love affairs, so anyone should not make any objection.

In the third stanza the speaker begins spinning off metaphors that will help explain the intensity and uniqueness of his love. The friend can call the poet and his beloved whatever he wishes, he can call them mad, but their madness is the result of their love. They are like moths drawn to lights, then they are like candles as they both burn themselves out in mutual love. They embody the elements of the eagle(strong and masculine) and the dove (peaceful and feminine). At the same time they are violent and gentle and prey on each other. The poet then shifts to image of the Phoenix, another death-by-fire symbol. Donne has used here the allusion of  phoenix riddle. Phoenix is a mythological bird in Greek  mythology which is monstrous and miraculous like dragon. This bird makes a pyre after every 500 years and jumps into it and burns itself into ashes. Then it takes rebirth from its ashes. So this bird is a symbol of immortality. It is a bird of neutral sex. It is neither a male nor a female. It is a combination of two sexes. Donne believes that his love with his beloved is immortal like phoenix. At the same time he believes that their united soul is the combination of two sexes. They form one being of unisex. It proves their inseparable bondage and purified union-
The phoenix riddle hath more wit
By us; we two being one, are it.
[...]
We die and rise the same, and prove
Mysterious by this love.

The poet here shows that even though their flames of passion will consume them, the poet and his beloved will be reborn from the ashes of their love.

The fourth stanza opens out to consider the legacy of the poet's love with his beloved. If they cannot live together by their love, they can at least die by it. Their love will endure in legend if they are considered unfit for grave and funeral, the language of verse and chronicles will describe it. The glory of their love would be remembered through lyrics and sonnets. When people will hear these songs, they would regard them as hymns. Their love is self-contained and perfect like a well-wrought urn. The ashes in this urn are meant to spread, the tale of perfect love will be spread throughout the world.

The final stanza voices the poet's sense of future vindication over the critic. The poet expects that the rest of the world will invoke himself and his beloved, as their love was supreme and holy. Love brought them peace of soul. The whole world was present as they looked into each other's eyes. They served as mirrors to each other, they could see their own reflection in each other. They are role models of love for the world, because-
Countries, towns, courts: beg from above
A pattern of your love!
The lover's legend has grown, and they have reached a kind of sainthod. Generations of future lovers from all around the world will appeal for help to them, and everyone will follow their pattern of love.


From the light of above discussion, we can form an opinion that ''The Canonization'' is one of Donne's most famous and most written-about poems.The poem shows the craftsmanship of Donne at his best. The analogies and the imageries used in the poem are the  finest examples of Donne's wits. The wish of the poet to be immortalized that he expresses through this poem, has been fulfilled. Although he is a poet of 17th century, we are studying and following his poems in our love affairs. So in this way, what Donne expected, is proven true. The love of him and his beloved can never be destroyed, it will be followed by people for generations, as they have been canonized by their supremacy of love.
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Who is the hero of Paradise Lost? Satan or Adam? Discuss with your logics.

Who is the hero of Paradise Lost? Satan or Adam? Discuss with your logics.
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Satan embodies all the qualities of an epic hero-justify your logics with reference from the book.
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Critically examine the character of Satan as presented by Milton in ''Paradise Lost''

Much controversy has clustered round the question as to who is the hero of Paradise Lost. The idea that Satan is the hero, or at least a type of hero is widespread, also John Milton never directly mentioned him as the hero. There are very sensible persons who advocate the claim of Satan, and others, that of Adam. Denis Saurat, a French critic puts forward the strange thesis that Milton himself is the hero of Paradise Lost. Several critics assure us that Milton has portrayed himself with his pride and solitary grandeur in the figure of Satan. Probably the most famous quote about Paradise Lost is William Blake's statement that Milton was ''of the Devil's party without knowing it.'' However, the progression, or, more precisely, regression of Satan's character gives a much clear picture of Milton's attitude toward Satan. Let us see some of the features of his character which definitely support the idea of Satan as a hero.

In Paradise Lost Milton plays with the tension that the character of Satan provokes, thereby forcing the readers, to consider the possibility that Satan may actually be a hero. When one applies Aristotle's notion of ''Hamartia'', it seems entirely reasonable to interpret that Satan, having been a good person who fell from grace, is indeed a hero. What makes the debate about Satan as a hero in Paradise Lost so charged for many readers is that the traditional image of a hero is a figure, generally a man, who is fundamentally good person confronting challenges and overcoming them successfully. In Paradise Lost, however, this hero archetype is challenged completely, especially by the character of Satan.

Milton has endowed Satan with all the qualities which make a hero. In fact, it is the grandeur of Satan's character that makes Paradise Lost an epic. Milton has imparted something of himself to Satan, and so Satan arouses our admiration by strength of his character and individuality. The spirit of self-reliance, of mental courage, which rises independent of environment, is a quality possessed only by Satan. There blazes a burst of strong, over-mastering ambition, when he declares-
To reign is worth ambition though in hell;
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.

It is no ordinary ambition which we see here; there is something colossal in this bold challenge to the Almighty for supreme power. It may be a wicked thing to defy God, but in this case, God is far-removed and unreal, and it is the greatness of the challenge rather than the wickedness, which is the prominent impression.

Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost starts out whole and  good, just as all human beings do, but he undergoes a transformation. The transformation, however, does not diminish him as a heroic figure as long as the reader is willing to reject the traditional archetype of the hero. Satan is ultimately a heroic figure because he is able to bear the weight of impossible pain and suffering while still moving forward and fighting for what he believes in. He does not detach from his aim, knowing exactly what can happen to him if he fails. He has gone a long way and does not want to turn back, whatever may happen. The reader of Milton's Paradise Lost need not agree with Satan's plan of revenge in order to consider him a hero. A hero is someone who persists against all odds. Satan completely recognizes the risks of his decisions and he acts anyway. A true hero is not the one who is wholly good. Instead, a true hero is an individual who is willing and able to acknowledge his human complexity and to continue facing the challenges of life, regardless of the obstacles placed in one's path. Satan is such a hero.

Though fallen, the nobility of his earlier nature does not desert him. He is still as courageous, strong, bold as he was before. Satan is not slightly afraid when he is caught by Ithuriel and Zephon who bring him in front of Gabriel. When Gabriel questions him why he has transgressed the limits fixed for his punishment in Hell, he gives a sarcastic reply-
''Gabriel, thou hast in Heav'n th' esteem of wise;
And such I held thee; but this question asked
Puts me in doubt.
He is not even afraid of fighting Gabriel and his fellow angels, although he is all alone against them. He says that he has more power of endurance and suffering than the other spirits. He does not hesitate to start a battle with the angels. Gabriel angrily rebukes Satan and threats him several times but his courage does not seem to decrease-
Then when I am thy captive, talk of chains,
Proud limitary Cherub! but ere then
Far heavier load thyself expect to feel
From my prevailing arm,

Satan remains as bold in spirit and as defiant as he was before his defeat; and the change of his surroundings cannot in any way dampen his spirit. He will make Heaven of Hell, and undertakes all kinds of risks and dangers in order to take revenge on God-
A mind not to be changed by place or time
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.

Under the light of above discussion, we can reach into an opinion that although Milton has never straightly entitled Satan as the hero of his epic Paradise Lost, there can be no doubt he can claim to the title of the hero better than anybody else. This figure is heroic in every way. He is a fearless leader, and all the fallen angels submit unquestioningly to his authority. As Abercrombie wrote
''It is surely the simple fact that Paradise Lost exists for one figure that is Satan, just as the Iliad exists for Achilles and Odyssey for Odysseus.''

Satan possesses all the qualities of an epic hero. In the end, Satan calls to mind the Macbeth of Shakespeare. Both characters are magnificent creations of evil. Both are heroic after a fashion, but both are doomed. And finally both create a kind of Hell: Macbeth's on earth, Satan's on universe.