Sunday, March 13, 2011

Write an Essay

Read this speech given by Troilus to Ulysses (Odysseus) during the Trojan War, in Shakespeare’s play Troilus and Cressida.  It expresses the importance of order in the Elizabethan World.  Now write an essay in which you relate this to King Lear. (I’ve shortened the speech.  If you wish to read the whole speech, just go online.)
Read the definitions at the bottom of this posting, before reading this.

The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre,
Observe degree, priority, and place,
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
Office, and custom, in all line of order:
And therefore is the glorious planet, Sol,
In noble eminence, enthron'd and spher'd
Amidst the other, whose med'cinable eye
Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
And posts, like the commandment of a king,
Sans* check, to good and bad. But, when the planets,
In evil mixture to disorder wander,
What plagues and what portents**? what mutinies?
What raging of the sea? shaking of earth?
Commotion in the winds? frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate***
The unity and married calm of states
Quite from their fixture! O, when degree is shaken,
(Which is the ladder to all high designs)
The enterprise is sick! How could communities,
Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,
Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
The primogenitive**** and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
(But by degree) stand in authentic place?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And hark what discord follows! each thing meets
In mere oppugnancy.*****. The bounded waters
Would lift their bosoms higher than the shores,
And make a sop of all this solid globe:
Strength would be lord of imbecility,
And the rude son would strike his father dead.
This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
Follows the choking . . .

*sans = without (it's French)
**portents = omens, prophetic foreshadowings of something evil
***deracinate = uproot, remove, pull out
****primogenitive = willing to the first born, ancestoral,  of forefathers, descendant (adj. for primogeniture)  
***** oppugnancy = opposition, resistance, antagonism, contention


    Also, to ask what Yenifer asked... when is this essay due?

    I posted this in February, before we read KING LEAR. I reposted it by mistake, but now that you've read KING LEAR, I would like to see you write an essay on how this relates to the play we have just finished.