AP English Literature Period 4
1 March 2013
Monologue: Refers to a speech by one person in a drama, a form of entertainment by a single speaker, or an extended part of the text of a play uttered by an actor.
Example: Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee!
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
(Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Act II, Scene I, Lines 42-48)
Function: This is a very popular soliloquy from Macbeth in which the main character’s sanity becomes questionable. His description of the dagger implies that he is questioning the very existence of the dagger in his hand, which may have made him feel less guilty about the actions he commits in the play; the murdering of Banquo, Lady Macduff and her children, and even the young Siward at the end of the play. The lack of absolute certainty of what is real and what isn’t is a common trait amongst psychiatric patients and Macbeth proves to fit the description of one. Whether this clouded vision of reality and imaginary excuses Macbeth from his actions is uncertain, as is the certainty of whether he is in fact insane. But the character may be aware of his convoluted vision as he even describes his own brain as “heat-oppressed.”
Myth: A legendary or traditional story, usually one concerning a superhuman being and dealing with events that have no natural explanation. It usually attempts to explain a phenomenon or strange occurrence without regard to fact or common sense and appeals to the emotions rather than reason.
Example: The fiery chariot raced low over Asia and lower yet over Africa. It was then that the fields and forests of northern Africa became the Sahara Desert. (The Tale of Eridaus, Cygnus and Libra, Greek Mythology)
Function: This tale of Apollo, a fairly popular character from Greek mythology, attempts to describe the rising and setting of the sun. To summarize Apollo’s actions, he was a Greek character who, according to the myth, would ride across the sky at incredibly high temperature and brightness that would present itself as the sun. Though the idea that a man in a chariot riding across the sky in a huge fireball seems to defy logic, it was, at one point, culturally accepted to believe in this; as it isn’t today with a much larger focus on pure logic in society. With a new complex understanding of our world and the solar system that surrounds it, this myth has been discredited as do all theories, scientific and cultural, that go out of date due to the advancement of technology and human curiosity.