Workshop on Analyzing Quotations
Tomorrow, you’ll be asked to write one well-focused, well-developed paragraph. This paragraph requires a topic sentence (in which you state your main argument) and, of course, quotations from the text to support and develop your idea. A good quotation is a meaty one, one which simultaneously illustrates and nuances/complicates/enriches your argument. Often, after quoting a line of text, you’ll take one or two words from the quotation and show how they, in particular, develop your main idea. The following is an exercise designed to help you learn to paraphrase and analyze quotations from Shakespeare.
Example of a paraphrase:
“the malignancy of my fate might perhaps distemper yours” (II.1.4-5)
Sebastian is saying to Antonio that his bad luck might affect Antonio’s luck.
“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
Paraphrase: Count Orsino wants music to “play on” if it is “the food of love.” He wants it so much that it makes his appetite “die.”
An okay analysis that borders a bit on paraphrase: Employing a metaphor that compares love to food, Orsino requests an “excess” of music not for pleasure but so that he may glut himself (“surfeit”) on love and thus kill his “appetite” for more love.
A better analysis: Orsino seems to believe that by glutting himself (“surfeiting”) on love, he might thus cause his “appetite” for it to “sicken, and so die.” However, by comparing love to hunger, he, in fact, suggests that while it is possible to kill one’s appetite for love temporarily, love—like hunger—is a need that will only return later, requiring an endless supply of external nourishment.
Please pick one of the following quotations and write both a paraphrase and an analysis of it.
Note: All the quotations except one are very rich and worthy of analysis. Which one is rather less so?
Note also proper citation format above and below for quoting Shakespeare. When do you need to use slashes (“/”) and when not? When does the period (“.”) go inside the quotation and when does it go outside of it?
1) “Have you any commission from your lord to negotiate with my face? You are now out of your text. But we will draw the curtain and show you the picture” (I.5.230-233).
2) “I do I know not what, and fear to find/ Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind./ Fate, show thy force. Ourselves we do not owe” (I.5.315-317).
3) “But come what may, I do adore thee so/ That danger shall seem sport, and I will go” (II.2.46-47).
4) O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted! I will give out divers schedules of my beauty. It shall be inventoried and every particle and utensil labeled to my will: as, item, two lips indifferent red; item, two gray eyes, with lids to them; item, one neck, one chin and so forth. Were you sent hither to praise me?”
5) “If I cannot recover your niece, I am a foul way out.”