Question for everyone: What is the thesis of the
excerpt from Book Four, and how does Castiglione go about proving it?
Individual/group questions: You or you and a
partner will prepare one of the following questions ahead of time for class
discussion. Note that all of them concern a connection to other works, some of
which we have read, some not. Please prepare a 1-page handout for all those in
the class; it should include key quotations from The Courtier and your
source(s). (The handout for #1 will need to be longer.) Our class format will
be as follows: we will begin with the question for everyone and will then work
our way through questions 1-6.
- Shakespeare's Hamlet: A third connection to Shakespeare is possible on page
119. See Hamlet 2.2.294-311; the key passage begins with the phrase
"What piece of work is a man!" What is the connection?
- Plato: Of course, this part of The Courtier is
Neo-Platonic, for a better understanding of which please consult Plato's Symposium and
Republic. You are looking for the ladder of love, the
myth of the cave, and the doctrine of Forms. Find echoes of these elements in
Book Four. Helpful hint: There is an article on "Platonism" in
- Shakespeare's Sonnets: Find passages in Book Four and Shakespeare sonnets that
discuss reason. How may The Courtier illuminate the psychology of
Shakespeare's sonnet sequence?
- Shakespeare's T&C: A further connection to Shakespeare is mentioned in the
note on page 123. Find the passage in Troilus and Cressida and explain
how it relates to The Courtier. A helpful reference is E.M.W.
Tillyard's The Elizabethan World Picture. Include something about page
123, line 24 in your answer.
- Shakespeare's MSND: What point does The Courtier make on pages 128-29
about the imagination? Do you see a connection to what Theseus says about the
poet in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream?
- Shakespeare's MSND: Do you see something higher than understanding in page
133's reference to St. Paul? See I Corinthians 15:40ff., II Corinthians 12:2ff.,
and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- Spenser's FQ: As readers of Spenserís Faerie Queene, how would
you respond to what The Courtier says about the unstable relationship
between beauty and virtue? You might look closely at Spenser's description of Duessa's true appearance at I.viii.46-49. Consider especially pages 123-26.
Also, does page 132 offer a gloss on the Redcrosse knight's journey
(I.i.10-11)? Consider also the mention of temperance on page 126, line 27.
- Spenser's Amoretti: Regarding Spenser, what connection can you make between
page 127 and the Amoretti, sonnet 64? You may also find a connection
in sonnet 79.
- Spenser's "Hymne": Make connections between The Courtier and
Spenser's "A Hymne in Honour of Beautie," which starts in GH on page
Connection to our future reading: How would
Anne Locke respond to Lord Gasparís statement that "'women be not as meet for
heavenly love as men'"?