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University Degree: Old English
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This prose is the pattern of language in which 'one speaker appropriates and reapplies the word of another,'6which results in the dialogue reiterating the action of the historical narrative, as one character takes the verbal or political authority from the other. This is displayed in the opening scene when Richard is talking to Brakenbury: Rich: How say you, sir? Can you deny all this? Brak: With this, my lord, myself have nought to do. Rich: Naught with Mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow, He that doth naught with her (excepting one) Were best to do it secretly, alone.7 (I.i. 96-100)
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bring forth fruit, and to avoid fornication.'5 This meant that people in England were led to believe that marriage was the moral thing to do, as Queen Elizabeth reigned at the time the play was performed under Protestant rule, and the first step on the way to righteousness was to control the desires of the body; thus avoiding fornication. In his article, "Measure for Measure: The Flesh Made Word," Ronald Macdonald reveals that 'the men in Shakespeare's final comedies do tend to see women as an overmastering threat to their identities;'6 hence, men need a way of controlling women.
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How the first two scenes of Shakespeare's As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream foreshadow the major themes of both plays
As You Like It is about relationships between men and women, appearances and reality (and unreality); A Midsummer Night's Dream is about the relationships between those with power, and those without it. And it is to this latter play that we now turn. Just from its title, one should anticipate something supernatural about A Midsummer Night's Dream. It is set around the summer solstice, a very short time of profound astronomical irregularity. And in the confines of the play we have histrionic love, magic potions and, of course, the magical woodland.
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