The Quest of the Golden Fleece

 The Quest of the Golden Fleece

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Athamas, a king, gets tired of his first wife, Nephele, and marries a second, Ino. Ino wants Nephele’s son, Phrixus, out of the way so her own son can inherit the throne. Hermes sends a flying golden ram to rescue Phrixus and his sister, Helle, who falls off the ram and dies. Phrixus safely reaches the land of Colchis, where he sacrifices the ram to Zeus and gives its skin—the Golden Fleece—to Colchis’s king, Aetes.

Meanwhile, a man named Pelias has usurped the throne of Phrixus’s uncle, a Greek king. Jason, the deposed king’s son, grows up and returns to reclaim the throne. En route to Pelias’s kingdom, Jason loses a sandal. Pelias is afraid when he sees Jason approach, as an oracle has told him that he will be overthrown by a stranger wearing only one sandal. The wicked Pelias pretends to acquiesce but says that the gods have told him that the Golden Fleece must be retrieved for the kingdom first. This is a lie—Pelias assumes that anyone sent on that dangerous journey will never come back. Jason, intrigued by the challenge, assembles a remarkable group of heroes to help him, including Hercules, Theseus, Peleus, and Orpheus. Their ship is named the Argo, so the group is called the Argonauts.

The Argonauts face many challenges on the way to Colchis. They first meet the fierce women of Lemnos, who have killed their men, but find them atypically kind. Hercules leaves the crew, and the Argonauts meet an oracle, Phineus. The sons of Boreas, the North Wind, help Phineus by driving off some terrible Harpies who foul his food whenever he tries to eat. Phineus gives the Argonauts information that helps them pass safely through their next challenge—the Symplegades, gigantic rocks that smash together when a ship sail through them. After narrowly avoiding conflict with the Amazons, bloody women warriors, and passing by the chained Prometheus, the Argonauts finally arrive at Colchis.

Though more trials await here, Hera and Aphrodite help Jason. Like Pelias, Aetes pretends to want to give Jason the Fleece but first demands that he complete two tasks that are designed to kill him. Aphrodite sends Cupid to make Aetes’s daughter, a witch named Medea, fall in love with Jason and help him through the tasks. The first challenge is to yoke two fierce magical bulls with hooves of bronze and breath of fire, and Medea gives Jason an ointment that makes him invincible. The second task is to use the bulls to plow a field and sow it with dragon’s teeth, which causes armed men to spring up from the earth and attack Jason. Medea tells him that if he throws a rock in the middle of the armed men, they will attack each other, not him. After Jason’s success, Aetes plots to kill the Argonauts at night, but Medea again intercedes, warning Jason and enabling him to steal the Fleece by putting its guardian serpent to sleep. Medea joins the Argonauts and flees back to Greece. On the way home, she commits the ultimate act of love for Jason: to help evade the ship’s pursuers, she kills her own brother, Apsyrtus.

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William Shakespeare : As You Like It: Handbook:Drama: ICSE English

As you Like It : Shakespeare

As you Like it is a Romantic Comedy based on the conventions and practices of the Elizabethan Comedy.
Comedy is light and humorous drama with a happy ending.
The classical comedy follows the Three Unities of Time, Action, and Place.
The unity of action: a play should have one main action that it follows, with no or few subplots.
The unity of place: a play should cover a single physical space and should not attempt to compress geography, nor should the stage represent more than one place.
The unity of time: the action in a play should take place over no more than a single day.
Comedy, in its Elizabethan usage, had a very different meaning from modern comedy. is one that has a happy ending, usually involving marriages between the unmarried characters, and a tone and style that is more light-hearted than Shakespeare’s other plays. Patterns in the comedies include movement to a “green world”, both internal and external conflicts, and a tension between mind and heart.
A Shakespearean comedy
Shakespearean comedies tend to also include: A struggle of young lovers to overcome difficulty, often presented by elders; separation and re-unification.; mistaken identities;  a clever servant; heightened tensions, often within a family; multiple, interlacing plots and frequent  humorous play on words.

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As You Like It William Shakespeare
Question Quest

Question 1

Rosalind: Shall we go, coz?

Celia: Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.

Orlando: Can I not say, I thank you? My better parts

Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up

Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.

Rosalind: He calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunesI’ll ask him what he would. Did you call, sir?

Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown

More than your enemies.

Celia: Will you go, coz?

Rosalind: Have with you. Fare you well.

[Exeunt Rosalind and Celia]

Orlando: What passion hangs this weight upon my tongue?

I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.

O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!

Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.

(a) What is the relevance of “a thousand crowns”? Why should have Orlando got more than a thousand crowns?

One thousand crowns is the amount that Orlando’s father Sir Rowland de Boys, has left in his will to Orlando. Sir Rowland bequeathed all his estates to the elder son Oliver and had directed to bring up Orlando to be laudable noble man.

Oliver has violated the instructions and treated Orlando as if he was a mere manual labourer in his household. Orlando should have gained a cultured upbringing and a superior grooming from Oliver, as per the terms in his father’s will.

He ought to have been educated to be an acceptable gentleman and he must have been provided with all the advantages of a man of noble birth. On the contrary, Orlando was denied a homely life and was abused dismally by Oliver.

Oliver made him eat with the servants and was deprived of the status of a brother. This saddens and infuriates Orlando. Orlando desires and values a worthy education appropriate of a noble man and a respectful position in his home more than a thousand crowns left to him by his father.

(b) Who is Charles? Why does he visit Oliver?

Charles had been confidentially informed that Orlando planned to enter the wrestling contest to be held in the court the next day. Charles tells Oliver that he was determined to wrestle for his fame and name and would not spare any one. Hence, Charles had come to entreat with Oliver to deter Orlando from participating in the wrestling competition. If Orlando persisted in rivalling with Charles, he felt that Orlando might come to severe harm. Orlando’s defeat might indirectly affront Oliver which Oliver wanted to avert.

(c) What does Oliver learn from Charles about the recent happenings in the court?

Charles informs Oliver that the old duke (Duke Senior), was banished by his younger brother (Duke Frederick). He also tells that a few lords loyal to the Duke Senior had accompanied the banished Duke to the Forest of Arden where they live as if they were in the Golden world. Duke Frederick was happy at this because the lords’ land and revenues add to his wealth. Moreover, as Celia, the daughter of Duke Frederick was very close and intimate with her cousin Rosalind (the daughter of Duke Senior), was not exiled. They were brought up together from their childhood and if Duke Frederick were to banish Rosalind, Celia would either follow her to exile or died of grief at the separation. Both Celia and Rosalind were at the court and were equally loved by Duke Frederick. He also opined that he had never seen two women love each other as intimately Celia and Rosalind.

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Question 2

Rosalind: Shall we go, coz?

Celia: Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.

Orlando: Can I not say, I thank you? My better parts

Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up

Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.

Rosalind: He calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunes

I’ll ask him what he would. Did you call, sir?

Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown

More than your enemies.

Celia: Will you go, coz?

Rosalind: Have with you. Fare you well.

[Exeunt Rosalind and Celia]

Orlando: What passion hangs this weight upon my tongue?

I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.

O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!

Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.

(a) Why does Orlando wish to thanks Rosalind and Celia?

To everyone’s surprise, in the wrestling match between Charles and Orlando, Orlando effortlessly defeats Charles. The duke is infuriated to discover that Orlando is the son of his enemy, Sir Rolando de Boys. He leaves hurriedly without bestowing the prize to Orlando. Celia, hurt by her father’s conduct, compensates for his brusqueness. She cheers Orlando and affirms him that he has splendidly merited his win over Charles the wrestler.

Rosalind, whose father was a very much friendly with Sir Roland, is highly compassionate towards Orlando. She applauds Orlando and she gives him her necklace chain asking him to wear it in memory of her. She says to him that she desires to give him more, but cannot do so because of her present situation. Celia and Rosalind once again wish him well and both depart.

Orlando is disconcerted and inarticulate when they leave him. Before long, he utters the above words that he is powerless to thank them for their kind-heartedness. Hence, though he wishes to thank them he so dumbfounded that he cannot express his words of gratitude for their concern and kindness.

(b) Rosalind says that Orlando has overthrown more than his enemies. Why does she say so?

Elucidate: my pride fell with my fortunes

Rosalind has fallen in love with Orlando almost at first sight. Moreover, her adversity and her father’s affinity towards Orlando’s father lure her towards Orlando. She feels that Orlando has not only overthrown Charles the wrestler but also vanquished her heart.

my pride fell with my fortunes:

The banishment of her father has affected her life’s fortune and she feels depressed and crestfallen. Moreover, she is unashamed to make advancements towards Orlando as she is completely overcome by him. Hence, not only her prospects have fallen down but also her womanly self-respect too had declined.

(c) Explain:

My better parts

Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up

Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.

Love struck by Rosalind, Orlando is thrown off balance and speechless when they after his meeting with Rosalind and Celia. He feels that all his good qualities and self-confidence (better parts) are shattered. He feels as numb and still as a lifeless wooden block. He compares his dumbstruck condition to that of quintain.

Quintain is the wooden figure of a man set for novice riders for practising the tilting of their spear.

Question 3

Le Beau

Good Sir, I do in friendship counsel you

To leave this place. Albeit you have deserved

High commendation, true applause and love

Yet such is now the duke’s condition,

That he misconstrues all that you have done.

The duke is humorous: what he is, indeed,

More suits you to conceive than I to speak of.

What advice does Le Beau go on give Orlando?

Le Beau and Orlando are at the lawn in front of Duke Frederick’s castle, where Orlando had overthrown Charles the wrestler in the wrestling bout just took place.

Le Beau counsels Orlando to leave the place immediately. Although his accomplishment has brought Orlando enormous appreciation and adore, Duke Frederick is in extremely offensive humour that he misunderstands Orlando’s feat. The duke is temperamental and hence, Le Beau advises Orlando to judge by himself the vile temperament of the Duke and the offensive action the duke might take against Orlando.

2) Why does Orlando deserve high praise? Why has the Duke previously kept back his praise?

The novice Orlando in the wrestling match against Charles, the seasoned court wrestler had effortlessly defeated Charles, to everyone’s amazement. Orlando merited extraordinary commendation for his unexpected deed.

The Duke approve of Orlando when he upsets Charles. Yet when he comes to know that Orlando is the son of Sir Roland de Boys, he instantly changes his approach towards him.

Sir Rolando was a friend of the old banished Duke, he regards him his enemy. Hence, the Duke withholds his commendation and refrains from awarding the prize to Orlando..

3) What is meant by “humorous” in the extract?

The word “humorous” means “unpredictable and whimsical”. In the medieval times, the human body was believed to be constituted of four elements, viz., fire, air, earth and water. A man’s nature was thought to be regulated by the ratio in which these elements were blended. When Le Beau says that the Duke is humorous, he means that the Duke is he is unpredictable and whimsical.

An instance of the Duke’s humour can be witnessed in the whimsical banishment of Rosalind. When Celia and Rosalind are chitchatting in their in the palace, Duke Frederick and his lords enter their room. He decrees Rosalind to leave his court at once. If she violates his edict and she is found within ten days inside twenty miles of the court, she will penalised with death. Rosalind demands to know the reason for such a callous action against her. Duke Frederick says that he does not trust her and regards her traitor as she is the daughter of the banished Duke .Celia appeals for Rosalind but the Duke is adamant in his decree of banishment.

Question 4

Duke Senior:

……… I smile , and say,

“This is no flattery; these are counselors;

That feelingly persuade me what I am.”

Sweet are the uses of adversity.

Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous.

Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;

(a) How does Duke Senior compare his life in the forest with his life in the court?

Duke Senior observes the intemperate life in the Forest of Arden more satisfactory than the show of court life. He has become habituated with the life in the forest after living in exile there a substantial period. He compliments the trouble-free and carefree forest life and says that this calm and simple life is sweeter than the false and empty life of the court. The woods are devoid of danger as it is free from envious and ruthless rivals that can be found in the court life. Moreover, the court is full of intrigue and there is the possible danger of physical harm, conspiracy and assassination.

The sole foes in the woods are the changing seasons: the winter’s winds with its rude buffeting makes the Duke shiver with chill and ache as it blasts against his body. He faces the wintry winds smilingly since as they are more honest than the fake fawners of the court. The Duke calls them counselors as they truly and harshly illuminate what he really and admonishes his fragilities. Apart from its discomfiture, Nature provides priceless schooling in life. He and his fellow mates discover joy in each other company and the shared experience of the vagaries of Nature. The idyllic life makes them neglect their concerns and cares. The life in the Forest of Arden assists them to improve their faculties of fortitude. Nature engenders in the mind of the duke a philosophical and positive outlook on life.

(b) Elucidate: Sweet are the uses of adversity.

Sweet are the uses of adversity is an oft quoted sentence from Shakespeare. It means that, in spite of the hardship of an adverse situation in life, it has its own benefit in making us realise the reality of life. Suffering begets not only agony but also awareness.

Here, in spite of harshness and discomfiture of the life in the Forest of Arden, the Duke and his followers find the life pleasant and peaceful, free from care and concerns.

Duke compares adversity to a venomous toad with a precious jewel on its head. The toad is ugly and harmful yet carries on its head the jewel which can cure the perils of its poison.

It was a common belief in the old times that the poisonous toad carried on its crown a stone called toadstone that had the power to heal the effects of various poisons including that of the toad. The toadstone was medically priceless because of its healing property. The toad brings harm as well as the palliative for its harm. Hence, adversity is like the toad because it brings misery as well as the strength to withstand the misery.

Moreover, the adverse conditions the Duke and his loyal lords face provide them relief from the maddening crowd of the court. The life in the forest is instructive as it teaches to find a positive quality in everything in life. Even the stones, brooks and trees teach them invaluable lessons in humanity. The reclusive life provides them with ample time to contemplate on the intricacies of life and improve their understanding of the world.

Question 5

Describe the meeting of Rosalind, Celia, Touchstone with Corin.

When they arrive at the Forest of Arden, Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone are extremely tired. Fortunately they meet an old shepherd Corin who offer them help.

Even though he cannot directly help them as he is a simple shepherd to another man yet he tells them that his master’s estate with its cottage and flocks are up for sale. Silvius, the master, is love struck that he neglects everything but his love. Rosalind insists Corin to purchase it from Silvius for them and gives him money for the purchase. Celia persist that Corin should continue as their shepherd and offers enhanced wages to him. She is in love with place and wishes to spend her life comfortably in the forest. Corin agrees and takes them to the cottage.

Question 6

Elaborate Jaques’ Speech: The Seven Stages of man

Jaques equates the world to stage and the men and women as just actors or actresses on this wide stage of the world. Everyone has his entrance (birth) and his exit (death).

Men and women play many a part in the drama of life which can be segregated into seven acts. According to Jaques, the first stage of life is that of the infant who is wailing and retches milk in the nurse’s arms. It is helpless and has to be taken care of by someone. Jaques presents a cynical vignette of an infant in this speech.

The second stage is that of school boy with his intense – eyes and a gleaming morning fac. He reluctantly walks to school with school bag carping about his fate. He drags his feet and walks most unenthusiastically to school.

The third stage is the teenage years of a lover. He is fascinated by the opposite sex and goes through all the joys, fervour, frustration and disquiet that go with this complicated stage of life. He is so romantic that he compiles poems on such trivial aspects of his beloved, such as a eulogy of his mistress’ eyebrow, sighing deeply like the bellow of draught in furnace.

The fourth stage is that of the adult who is typified in the haughty soldier who wears a bushy beard that forms his face seem ferocious like that of a leopard. He swears and vows in a manly manner. He is courageous, valiant and go-getting and eager to create a niche in society. He is sudden in fight to guard his honour and fiercely guards his repute. He is all set to acquire honour even on the battleground at the peril of his own life.
The fifth stage is middle age represented in the character of the portly judge. In this the stage man is matured through his experiences and comprehends life fuller. He is mellow and solemn. His satisfaction in life gets expression in his appearance, demeanour and speech. The judge is austere and is full of wise saying He has flourished in life and has a well rounded stomach replete with the quality meat of the chicken. His beard is cut corresponding to the manner apt to his vocation.

In spite of the skill in which Jaques sums up the vignette of different stages we should always keep an eye for his satirical remarks in the speech.

The sixth stage of life is the onset of old age. He gets physically frail and his mental faculties degenerate. He becomes weak and thin. His wears ill-fitting trousers and flip-flops and has a wearied life. He looks comical with his bespectacled nose and the tobacco pouch hanging from the side-pocket. The breeches of his youth have been prudentially conserved and he wears them loosely now around his shrunken legs. His voice is feeble yet shrill and he mumbles and whispers incoherently.

The last stage is the senile old age, man’s second childhood. He forgetful and completely helpless akin to an infant child and relies on others to support him. He is so decrepit that he is sans teeth and sans everything and goes unnoticed by all.

The MelancholyJaques:

The Meeting of Jaques and Orlando is highly amusing as it is combat of words using intelligence to the core. Jaques’s self-assurance that he could win over Orlando in the contest of brains is derailed by Orlando’s sharp riposte. Hence he has to part with Orlando by spitefully addressing him Sir Love. Earlier Jacques announces to Orlando that the most awful flaw he has is to a lover to which Orlando retorts that it is a fault that he will not substitute for his finest virtue. Orlando calls Jaques Monsieur Melancholy.
In one of the early scenes, when the Duke Senior proposes that they hunt a deer for food, the duke himself is full of remorse at the need to slaughter a guiltless creature. Then, the first lord narrates to him of his meeting with the melancholy Jaques. Jaques was pointing out the miserable fate of an injured deer and sermonising on the sight of the tearful deer. He likened its situation to man’s life. The forsaken and wounded deer is just like a man forsaken by his dear and near when he has nothing. Jaques uses the spectacle of the wounded stag to express his severe censure of the ways of the world.

Question 6

What names do Rosalind and Celia adopt in the Forest of Arden here? Why?

In the Forest of Arden, Rosalind is known as Ganymede and Celia, is known as Aliena.

Celia’s father, Duke Frederick, had expelled Rosalind from the duchy. Celia, on account of her deep love for Rosalind, decides to go with her to the Forest of Arden. As beauty draws danger and being young, they opt to personate themselves as country people. Rosalind disguises herself as a man with a valiant and martial countenance and changes her name to Ganymede. Celia choose to go as her (his) sister and assumes the name Aliena.

Besides Duke Frederick will look for for them as soon as their running away is discovered. Hence, so as to conceal their identity they have changed their names.

Ganymede was the cup-bearer of Jupiter (otherwise known as Jove), the King of gods. He represents a delicate nature blended with beauty.
Aliena means a stranger or an exile which aptly denotes Celia’s present condition.