Presentations Day One. 2 Nov.



Presentation Workshop

Last Tuesday you worked in your “groups” to determine what topics and/or approaches to take for your individual presentations. It seems as though some of you plan to build off of one another’s presentations, while other groups just made sure you would not overlap. Either strategy works! We asked and answered some of the following questions:

  • Should I limit my presentation to the text page range listed on the calendar? No, you are welcome to present on any portion of the play. Use the reading due for that day to gage how much your classmates were required to read.
  • Does my presentation have to explicitly engage with the course theme, i.e environmental crisis, sustainability, nature? No. That said if you are looking for a good discussion question, you might want to ask your audience to make connections between your presentation and eco/environmental themes.
  • Can I read from a prepared script? Yes. Just don’t put your script on your slides and then read from the slides
  • How much text should I include on the slides? None to not much. That said, if the alphanumeric text renders the idea you are trying to get across that’s OK. For example, I used a family tree as one of my slides in the sample presentation. While its all text, its more of a visual aid than copy.

Richard II, Act I

  • Divine Right of kings: while divine right secures the King’s right to rule & subjects all but him to the law he is enshrined to enforce, yet by the same token “heaven” can undo the rights it grants. On this irony see the first line of Bolingbroke’s appeal “First, heaven be the record to my speech” (1.1.30), and the several instances in which God comes before the King during the tournament sequence. Ex: “To God, my King, and my succeeding issue” (1.3.19). Appeal to divine right, or “trial by combat,” which “was based on the idea that divine justice would assure that the victor was indeed in the right” (nt. 203 p.144)  
  • The roles of women: the Duchess is literally subordinate in her interlude between the two highly stylized and formal court sequences. Her affective rhetoric contrasts sharply with the very rule bound language in the scenes that surround her. Though her pathos may suggest she is worthless than the logos of other scenes, the ways in which she figures familial relationships (11-21) and grief (63-75) is finely wrought and echoes through the whole play. She’s a challenging figure & example of ways women characters in the Histories contest expectations. 
  • History as a genre, which I tried (and failed to connected to the extreme popularity of the genre in the last few years). In the introduction, Yachnin and Dawson explain that some standard purpose of History as genre are, educating audience about “exemplary actions and fates of the nation’s past leaders” (35). They argue “Shakespeare made several special contributions to the genre:..”a sense of belonging to a nation consecrated by the shedding of royal blood; development of character as agents of historical change; history is as much a matter of human imagining as it is an effect of forces” (35). How do the characters in the play perform or relate their own histories? And to what purpose is history used by the characters? 
  • Pay attention to the highly stylized physical rhetoric in the play: the way that Gaunt tries to leave only for the Duchess to pull him back again (1.2) will echo in the deposition scene (3.3); when things are thrown down, someone has to stoop to pick them up (Gaunlets in 1.1); and Richard is usually above the action till he “descends” (1.3.54). Richard’s descent in 1.3 prefigures the series of descents, ex: “Down, down I come like glistering Phaeton/Wanting the manage of unruly jades./In the base court? Base court where kings grow base/To come at traitor’s calls and do them grace” (3.3.176-9)

Patrick, Hannah M., Beau, Jeffrey, will present one after another. The presentations will be followed by a Q & A.

So that we may have a rich discussion after the presentations, please keep the following in mind while your colleagues present:
  • Make a note of any key terms. How does the speaker define the terms? How do you define them? How do the terms relate to or describe the text being considered in the presentation
  • Make note of any key imagery in the slides. What is the relationship between the visual and aural elements of the presentation?  
  • Make note of any points of overlap in the presentations. How do the presenters deal with the same source material differently? What does the overlap say about Richard II, English history, Shakespeare’s stage, etc. more generally?
  • Are there details from any of the presentations you would like clarified? Pay attention to any gaps or points in the presentation where the aural did not synch with the verbal. These may seem like mistakes, but more often than not lapses signal moments of complexity the speaker has yet to figure out. Ask questions or offer suggestions about those moments.
  • Draft questions.
During the Q&A, may want to refer to the template below:
  • Key terms: Jim, I like that you drew our attention to ________ in scene _________ of Richard II. I wonder if you could say more about how __________ works in scene ___________?
  • Imagery: You do a really nice job illustrating the ___________ in scene___________. I wonder, though if the image also means_________ & if so, how does that effect your reading of __________?
  • Overlap: Barbara you talked about __________ and Elaine you talked about __________. While your presentations were really different you both seem to be saying ___________. Can you say more about that? 
  • Putting pressure on the weak spots: Karen, ___________’s speech is really confusing. I like how you did __________ and I wonder if that might help us all to better understand the difficult passage.
  • Scaling up: Dillon, I love that you relate __________ to __________, but I wonder how _________ relates to __________? Can you say more about that? 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *