Tutor profile: Jillian T.
Explain how and why the Porter's speech differs from that of the rest of Macbeth.
The Porter, while uncouth and somewhat prophetic, is an integral part of Macbeth's narrative. Well-timed, it directly follows the dramatic tension of Duncan's murder by host and subject Macbeth and precedes the tragic discovery of the king's body by the loyal Macduff. This departure from verse into prose provides much needed comic relief in the form of soliloquy, playfully touching upon the door being that of a portal to Hell. It's oddly prophetic, given the circumstances of the evening and carnal discovery to follow. Of course, this all transitions into eventual dialogue with Macduff upon his unexpected (and inconveniently timed) arrival. He expounds upon his drunkenness, playfully touching upon its physical effects, such as urination, desire, facial redness ("nose-painting"), and sexual performance (or lack thereof). This allows the reader/viewer to take a requisite breath, escalating the dramatic irony to come. We know what has happened there, yet the Porter and Macduff seemingly do not. This break furthers the storytelling, juxtaposing comedy with a dynamic moment of tragedy.
1. Explain the following quotation from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs. Exactly what does it tell the reader about her hardships at the hands of her master? “He peopled my young mind with unclean images, such as only a vile monster could think of. I turned from him with disgust and hatred. But he was my master. I was compelled to live under the same roof with him—where I saw a man forty years my senior daily violating the most sacred commandments of nature.” (30)
This passage illustrates the hardship that Brent had to endure while she worked for and lived with Dr. Flint. Her master made unwanted sexual advances on her on a daily basis, and Brent reacted to the treatment by developing an intense hatred for Dr. Flint. This quote also illustrates the strong moral upbringing of the narrator, for Brent clearly understands that Dr. Flint is a lecherous savage. Finally, this passage demonstrates one major way Brent defied the master narrative— by reserving her right to choose her sexual partner.
Subject: Film and Theater
Using the notes you have taken on the opening of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, what does the opening scene/exposition establish to its viewer?
The opening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho clues the viewer into many things including what kind of film it is going to be, establishment of setting and characters, and how the viewer interacts with the film. The title sequence is frenzied and sharp, with words being “slashed” on the screen, much like the murders in the film and how characters themselves get “slashed.” The music adds to this title sequence in that it is frantic, hurried, and screeching, foreshadowing the Marion’s frantic and hurried escape with $40,000, as well as the quick and brutal murders that will happen in the film. After the title sequence, the film opens with an establishing shot of the city we are in. A title appears reading “December 11 2:32 pm.” The viewer immediately gets the time and place, which will apply to understanding that Marion has given up her lunch hour to carry on her illicit affair with Sam (the camera later shows a close-up of her uneaten sandwich). The camera slowly pans across the city, and then dissolves from shot to shot, inching closer to the hotel room Sam and Marion are in. The camera acts as an extension of the audience, as if we were inching closer to the hotel room. The camera (the viewer) seems to randomly choose a particular window and cranes in, as if the audience is peeping in on a couple in a hotel room. This further enforces the idea that Hitchcock makes the audience a voyeur, creepily watching the action unfold, as we creep in to see a woman (Marion) and man (Sam) half-naked, informing us that they have just performed a sexual act.
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