“Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” Considered

In Act V, scene 5 of Shakespeare's Macbeth we encounter Macbeth's famous nihilistic soliloquy: "tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow." The speech comes at a critical juncture for Macbeth in the play. All his Thanes have left him, and a united army of English and Scottish forces are advancing on his castle at Dunsinane. The English … Continue reading “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” Considered

The Haunting Waters of A River Runs Through It

"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing" (opening lines). Anyone who has ever gone fly fishing knows it to be a complex art -almost spiritual in nature. Fly fishing forces a man to slow down, find rhythm, and discover patience and harmony with nature. In Norman Maclean's A River … Continue reading The Haunting Waters of A River Runs Through It

Love and War In For Whom The Bell Tolls

For Whom The Bell Tolls is the novel that was supposed to win Ernest Hemingway his first Pulitzer Prize in 1941. However, like Sinclair Lewis before him, Hemingway was denied the prize by the President of Columbia University. As the story goes, the 1941 Novel Jury recommended several books for the Pulitzer Prize including, but … Continue reading Love and War In For Whom The Bell Tolls

Trickery and Alchemy in the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale

"But al thyng which that shineth as the goldNis nat gold, as that I have herd it told;" (962-963) Neither the Canon (a priestly administrator of a cathedral) nor his Yeoman are mentioned in Chaucer's "General Prologue." Instead, they ride quickly from the previous town and meet up with the traveling group of storytellers at Boughton … Continue reading Trickery and Alchemy in the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale

Deprivation and Excess in The Tale of Sir Thopas and The Tale of Melibee

Chaucer, the pilgrim, is the only member of the group who is allowed to present a second tale on the way to Canterbury. He delivers his second tale following the failure of his minstrel song, "The Tale of Sir Thopas." The second tale is told in prose form. It is about a rich man named … Continue reading Deprivation and Excess in The Tale of Sir Thopas and The Tale of Melibee

On Chaucerian Irony in the Tale of Sir Thopas

Chaucer describes the whole group as "sobre" after the previous tale, a story of martyrdom told by the Prioress. Then the Host starts joking and for the first time he looks down at the narrator -the fictional character of Chaucer, who is an unusually quiet and observant person. He is an intellectual: maladroit, moody, somber, … Continue reading On Chaucerian Irony in the Tale of Sir Thopas