Forensic Friday (#08) Edward II: iv, 223-229

‘We’ve had this date from the beginning’ …

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Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh
Sometimes the air crackles as soon as two characters lock eyes … Brando and Leigh had it in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, and I think Marlowe achieves it towards the beginning of Edward II

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Forensic Friday (#07): Edward II, (iv.15-21)

‘Know your place’, the world of literature seems to scream. ‘Or else …’

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Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678):  ‘Phaeton Falling’ … careful he doesn’t land on you!

If there’s anything I enjoy as much as anti-heroes, it’s tales of Promethean over-reachers.

Christopher Marlowe belongs in that category, I believe …

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Forensic Friday (#06): Edward II, i.4-8

Piers Gaveston believes he’s hooked a rich man …

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Andrew Tiernan as Piers Gaveston:  an unsettlingly naked, chittering demon, occupying Edward’s throne (Jarman, 1991)

Episode 6 of Forensic Friday – the rules are here for first-timers – effectively kicks off this summer’s likely obsession with Marlowe.

My OCR A Level students are not obliged to analyse Edward II in this way; perhaps they’ll wonder at the point of today’s exercise.  The point is that you ought to be able to do this – and enjoy the process – for any text, people.  We are, after all, archaeologists of the written word – this is what we do …

Anyway, here’s a tiny extract that speaks volumes about Edward II’s lover and their relationship …

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Forensic Friday (#05): RIII – V.v.61-65

Richard III is fooling very few of us with his inclusive pronouns …

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I’ve had to take a week out, basically, through pressures of work.  It could easily have extended into a fortnight, but to paraphrase Lord Foul – the Sauron-style character in Stephen Donaldon‘s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant – I am ‘stubborn yet’.

So, where were we?

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Forensic Friday (#4): RIII III.ii.39-42

 

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A nice positive GIF for my Y12 class … you CAN score, people!

‘SQUEAKY BUM TIME’:  the point towards the end of a football game, or season, when you hold a slender lead but are almost shitting yourself, in case something goes horribly wrong …

– – –

I’m publishing this with a exactly a week to go before my Y12s face their end of year exam –  a full exam on everything we’ve done this year: Tennyson‘s ‘Maud’; Marlowe‘s Edward II; and of course, Richard III.  Evidence suggests my students are in full ‘squeaky bum’ mode, despite my best efforts to reassure them.  And, hey, it’s the World Cup:  if Mexico (one of ‘my teams’ can hang on to a 1-0 lead for an hour against Germany, I think you can hang on to what I have taught you this year for another seven days?

You know what to do: especially (for the first question) if you have been reading these …

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Forensic Friday (#03): RIII I.iv.180-183

It’s dawning on Clarence that he won’t talk his way out of this one …

“Do you do ‘PEEFE’* on Saturday nights, Sir?” one wag asked me, to general titters of amusement in C5.

‘Why not?  It’s fun.’ I replied.  And it is.  So why not?

Why not, actually, spend some time thinking again about RIII, I.iv?  Thinking about a grown man who has such a terrifying nightmare that he asks another to sit with him whilst he tries to get some sleep.  About a man desparately pleading for his life in every way he possibly can (see the Blues Brothers, above), when faced with two murderous executioners.  Much more fun than Love Island, surely?

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Forensic Friday (#02): RIII I.ii.107-109

Don’t just talk the talk – walk the walk, Sir!

Subtitled: This Charming Man

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What kind of teacher asks their students to do something they wouldn’t do themselves?

My latest Y12 Homework task was titled, yes, This Charming Man – students were asked to analyse the exchange between Richard and Anne in Act I scene ii of Richard III.  Those who were feeling a bit flash were challenged to get in as many song titles as they could from The Smiths discography.

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