Notes Reflection

For play-texts, I would read a few lines then stop and reflect on what I read.   First, I would look for footnotes because there are words that I don’t understand and some words may have a different definition in the context.  Once I have a better definition of most of the words, I would paraphrase the lines into modern English; at the same time, taking into account which character said it and what position that character is at in the play.  I would take it a few lines at a time, but the amount of times I stop and reflect lessen once I get into the flow of the play-text.  I still continue looking for footnotes and writing side notes, but it would be time consuming if I were to stop every few lines.

In the flow of the play, sometimes I notice words that are ‘related;’ in a way that they aid in the imagery or the message being said by the character.  For example in King Henry V act 3, scene 1, lines 6-8 Shakespeare creates the image of a ferocious tiger with the words: “sinews”, “blood”, and “rage.’  In Romeo & Juliet act 1, scene 1 where the prince breaks up the first fight between Capulet and Montague, the words: “beasts”, “rage”, “bloody”, and “disturbed” (was used twice) provide an image of how vicious and monstrous the feud between the two families are.

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Coming from a science background, I have little experience in English literature.  But as I ‘pick apart’ Shakespeare’s words, I have gained a greater appreciation for his work.  I may miss a lot of things, but once I get into the flow I was able to make mental connections with what Shakespeare is trying to say.  I would not know what is the standard measure of success when it comes to annotations, but I feel I have done a good job when I am able to follow the plot and take in the ‘emotions’ of the character speaking.

When Shakespeare movies, I put on the subtitles as I tend to miss some words.  I would reply scenes because sometimes I am reading the words and miss the visual representations of those words and/or character.  I write notes on scenes on what I believe the director has interpreted differently than me.    Some directors paraphrase Shakespeare’s words and some combine Shakespeare’s words and modern English in a few lines.  Music, in context of the situation, is noted or the lack there of because this creates the mood and represents how the director is interpreting the scene or a few lines.  The opening scene of Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet had a very dramatic musical entrance.  This was to show the intensity of the feud between the two families.  Costumes play a role in movies; so we can get a sense of the era the movie is in.  For example, the 1996 and 2016 Romeo & Juliet are in two completely different times.  The former being more modern, where we see polo shirts, dresses, suits, and the latter being in the Elizabethan era.  Character facial expressions have an effect on the intensity of the situation and reinforce the emotions from the words being spoken.


Overall, due to the nature of the film, my annotations for the film are mostly from the visual interpretations of the director of Shakespeare’s lines.  Films require multiple replays because pictures are truly worth a thousand words.  It is best to take note of one thing at a time because directors have a purpose; and they have a message to say in every detail of film.  Likewise, play-texts require to be re-read to capture Shakespeare’s message.  In films we look at music, costumes and facial expressions, in play-texts we look for specific literature techniques and words to discover the message of the author.  I am not adept at spotting literature techniques (as I mentioned earlier of my science background).  However, I do know a specific word or words create the mood or intensity.  Metaphors and similes help in imagery and is one of the aspects of Shakespeare I enjoy.

Again, I am not sure what is a successful annotation strategy when it comes to films.  Previously, I would only take note of the plot in movies.  This course has taught me to look deeper and discover the little details director provide in screen.  If I can answer the question why, why the author included this line and left the rest, I have understood the importance of that line in the play or the mood those specific lines have produced.

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