Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Primer ensayo sobre Shakespeare (ya entregado)

"No hay esperanza para los que son como tú"

--Erika G.


The hidden character: implications and identity behind Caesar’s words in Julius Caesar

The World, before man’s interpretation, is full of meanings. We name, associate and infer things, situations and actions. We represent ‘something’ with something else: a sign. Words, gestures, silences and so on are interpreted according to the context in which they take place. When we listen to someone, we take into account not only what is said but also how, why, where and when it is said. In literature, semantic and syntactic relations are recognized by means of a paradigmatic and syntagmatic analysis. This reveals information that is not seen nor said but it is there. However, in the case of drama, we face a completely different situation.

Drama is action. Every word we read was written to be taken into action. Being drama an analogy of the world, we must think in terms of situation and space instead of words. ¿How do we know a character exists when we read a play? ¿How can we actually get to know a character when there is not a clear description of him? The existence of a character depends on his acts: he acts, therefore, he exists. His existence is expressed by means of language: when he speaks or when someone else indicates his presence. Each character defines his own space and hierarchy through his actions, where anecdote and language should serve to the thematic ends.

Caesar defines his space, identity and hierarchy from the very moment he appears on scene. The name of Caesar is a symbol built by our referents:

Caesar = emperor = power = arrogance => fear, hatred, respect, fanaticism, etc.

What can we expect from his speech? What we find in his first words when he says ‘Calphurnia’. The order ‘Calphurnia come here’ is implicit. His role allows him to give orders and make decisions which are decisive in the play. There are patrons in his speech such as orders, a constantly repetition of words, etc.

Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,

To touch Calphurnia; for our elders say,

The barren, touched in this holy chase,

Shake off their sterile curse. (I. ii. 6-9)

Thus, most of the times, characters are not describe with adjectives but they are revealed indirectly trough their speech and their relationships with other characters, as says Claudia Cecilia Alatorre: “en la base del diálogo se encuentra la relación de fuerza entre los personajes, entendiendo esta formula en su más amplio sentido; la relación amorosa puede construir también una relación de dominación (el que desea, el que implora y, en consecuencia, adopta una posición de ‘inferioridad’ respecto al poseedor del objeto del deseo.)[1] The speeches of the characters may be made up by units of deictic orientation. They change the point of reference of the speaker towards another character or absent addressee. For example, Caesar is also used as a tool to introduce new characters without using any annotation for such purpose...

Espero haber pasado la materia con una calificación aceptable.

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