Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Class XII, ENGLISH, Poems, "Samson Agonistes"

The lines given for explanation are an extract from Samson Agonistes written by John Milton.
About the Poet
John Milton is regarded as one of the most famous poets of English Literature. His masterpiece Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes earned him fame and honour. His individual style has a touch of sublimity and majesty which is quite appropriate to his noble and powerful ideas.
About the Poem
Samson Agonistes is an adaptation of the Greek drama form in blank verse, which recounts the tragedy of Samson in his blindness beset by enemies. This hero performed the decisive role in crushing the philistines who were the deadly enemies of his race. Samson, too got killed in that disaster but his heroic act saved his tribesman from the deadly enemy. By virtue of his glorious deed, his named earned eternity. It is rightly said:
“Those who die for their nation live for ever.”
He patient, but undaunted, where they led him———None daring to appear antagonist.
The poet tells us in these lines how Samson was brought in the assembly hall as the enemy had blinded him. A guide led him to the hall. He walked patiently but heartlessly to the place where the guide led him. Then he was called upon to show the feats of skill. He performed could be done by a blind man. He heaved, pulled, drew and broke things with great strength and none have the courage to find faults with him. He performed everything in such a wonderful way that every body praised him for his unbelievable strength. His demonstrations were simply unbelievable. Nobody dared to appear as his challenger in similar feats of strength.
At length for intermission sake they led him ———-That to the arched roof gave main support
Here we are told how Samson reached near the big pillars. At last the show was over and the interval was announced. Samson was led by his guide to the pillars in order to give him some recess. Now as the people who stood near him heard Samson requested his guide to let him stand against the strong pillars with the both his hands on them. He told his guide that he wanted to do so simply because he wanted to have some rest. These pillars give a support to the arched roof where the nobility of Philistine was sitting.
He unsuspicious led him; which when Samson———–Or some great matter in his mind revolved
In these lines we are told that the guide did not feel that there was anything wrong in. So, the guide accepted his request and let him rest against the pillars. Now Samson felt the pillars in his arms for Philistines had blinded him. Then he stood silent for some time, with his head bowed and his eyes fixed on the ground. He behaved as if he was going to offer his prayer, or wanted to reach a final decision on some matter on some matter of great importance. It appeared as if some important matter was revolving in his mind for he is standing seriously with his head bowed and eyes on the ground.
At last, with head erect thus cried aloud——–As with amaze shall strike all who behold.’
The poet tells us in these lines how Samson, addressed the people gathered there. He raised his head and in a loud voice he told them that till now he had obeyed them most obediently, showed some feats of strength and had never disobeyed their commands. Now he said, he wanted to show them some feats of strength of his own accord. These things would amaze all the holder and every body would be amazed who saw it. Actually Samson wanted to take them unawares. Therefore, he told them in a friendly way that he was going to show them some more wonderful feats of strength.
This uttered, straining all his nerves, he bowed ——– Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
In these lines we are told how Samson pulled down the pillars upon the heads of his enemies. Samson applied his force to the pillars, which trembled just as mountains do against the fury of winds and water. He shook them in opposite directions, till the roof came down with a thundering noise. Thus, all those lords and captains who sat under the roof were crushed to death. Of course Samson too died, but in this way he took a revenge on his enemies. The two heavy pillars who gave support to the whole building were shaken with great force by Samson and after their motion of to and fro they came down. Samson succeeded in achieving his goal i.e to crush his enemies for it he use his full strength to pull the pillars down on the heads of his enemies. He shook the pillars again and again till they came down.
Lords, ladies, captains, councellors or priests ——— Pulled down the same destruction on himself.
The poet tells us in these lines that among the people who were crushed to death under the roof were lords, ladies, councellors and priests of the country. The people had assembled there from far and near to celebrate the feast. As Samson too was among them, he also met the same fate and was crushed to death. But, by sacrificing his own life, he killed the best people of the enemy nation. The people who killed were choicest nobility not only of this one city but also of all the Philistinian cities.

Class XII, ENGLISH, Poems, "Music When Soft Voices Die"

This stanza has been extracted from the poem entitled Music when Soft Voices Die, written by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
About the Poet
P.B Shelley is one of the most famous poets of English Literature. He is an idealist and a dreamer. He exists in the world of ideas and visions which seem to him more practicable and real than the so called realities of this world.
About the Poem
In this short lyric, Shelley expresses his views about beauty, love and separation. He says that beauty is immortal and love is unchangeable. It does not change with the passage of time and with the change of circumstances. It does not die. Separation does not kill true love.
Music, when soft voices die————-Live within the sense they quicken.
The poet says that when sweet voices fade away, they echo in our memory. Beautiful and mellifluous songs are unforgettable and immortal. Similarly when the sweet-smelling lovely flowers of violets wither away, their pleasant smell can still be enjoyed in the memory. Our minds are refreshed when we remember the sweet fragrance of violets.
In other words, the poet wants to say that if a thing loses its physical beauty, it can be revived in the imagination. Thus this short lyric reflects the fundamental importance of imagination in human life.

“A thing of beauty is joy for ever.”
Shelley emphasizes the same idea in these lines containing the depth of meaning and philosophical approach to love, beauty, separation and imagination. The poet by giving the example of enchanting music an fragrant violets expresses this idea that a beautifule thing never dies. It has everlasting effect on the mind of a man.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead————Love itself shall slumber on.
Shelley believes in the Platonic love, which shuns fulfillment. It is a desire that always remains unsatisfied. In love Shelley must find something ideal, something ever to aspire after, something ever to look forward to. It is in the expectation of fulfillment that his happiness lies. H has expressed the Platonic conception of love in this beautiful stanza.
The poet says that when rose petals wither away, they do not become useless. They retain their sweet smell even after withering away. That is why they are used for decorating the beloved’s bed. The poets’s beloved has been separated from him. She is not with him, but her thoughts are with him and his love will sleep on her thoughts.
In other words the poet wants to say that it does not matter if the sweet heart is physically away from him because spiritually she is with him. He is not alone as in his imagination he finds his beloved very close to him. Separation has sharpened love but he is free from mental agony as her sweet thoughts always comfort and soothes him. His love is passionate and profound and it will not change with the passage of time. He cannot forget his beloved and will continue to love her in his imagination as true love does not die and transcends all barriers and surmount all obstacles. Absence sharpens love; distances intensifies love but imagination brings the beloved so close to the lover that distances come to end and the two separated souls are united.

Class XII, ENGLISH, Poems, "The Man of Life Upright"

The lines given for explanation are an extract from the poem entitled The Man of Life Upright, written by Thomas Campion.
About the poet
Thomas Campion was a poet who led English poetry and music to supreme heights. He used the normal forms of simultaneous verses with spectacular skill and modesty. The most admirable pieces of his poetry are those sonnets, which he set to his own music.
About the Poem
The Man of Life Upright is a sermonic piece of writing that sheds lights on the prominent visages of the character of a person who leads a life of honour, nobility and righteousness. He possesses a pure heart clear from sinful thoughts and wicked ideas. He never deviates from the path of honesty and never falls prey to the false pride. He is self-sufficient and does not fall into the trap of deceptive hopes. He is courageous and confident enough to encounter all the miseries.
The man of life upright ——— Or thought of vanity
In this stanza the poet says that an upright man leads an honourable and honest life. His mind is free from evil thoughts and his heart is free from ill-feelings and false hopes. He is an humble person and has no thought of vanity. He has peace of mind and peace of heart. He is not a discontented person because
“Discontent is the want of self-reliance; it is infirmity of will.”
– Emerson
An upright man never lacks in self-reliance. Therefore, he leads a bappy and contented life. His life is simple because he is not an ambitious person. That is why he leads a pious life and never thinks of committing crimes and sins.
In other words the poet wants to convince us that honesty is the best policy and if we want to lead a pleasant and contented life, we must not deviate from the path of honesty. No doubt honesty gives us real and spiritual pleasure.
The man whose silent days ——— Nor sorrow discontent:
An honest man leads a peaceful and contented life and does not harm anyone. He is not an ambitious person. Therefore, he does not cherish false hopes and that is why false hopes can’t deceive him. As he has got no high expectation in life, so sorrow and grief cannot discontent or dishearten him. He does not give pain to others; he does not torture and agonize others. He remains happy because of the fact that he leads a life free from dishonest deeds and free from sins.
In other words, the poet wants to convince us that we must not cherish false hopes and must not torture others if we want to spend a peaceful, contented and care-free life.
The man needs neither towers——–From thunder’s violence
An upright man leads a pious life. So, he is not afraid of anyone. Honesty makes a person bold and courageous. That is why he neither needs any fortress or any armour to defend him. He does not feel the need of secret vaults to protect himself from any kind of danger. Thus an honest man leads a carefree and peaceful life.
In other words, the poet wants to say that if we follow the path of honesty, we need not to be afraid of any one because of honesty is the best weapon which can provide us protection against all kinds of evils.
He only can behold ————– And terrors of skies
In these lines, the poet says that only an upright man can face the difficulties and hardships of life, boldly and courageously. It is rightly said:
“An honest man possesses a stout heart.”
He is not afraid of anyone and is prepared to face all kinds of dangers. He can face the horrors and terrors of the skies fearlessly because of the fact that such a person is not afraid of death. Fear of death makes a person coward and he cannot face any one and he cannot tackle any difficult situation with confidence.
In this thought-provoking stanza the poet wants to say that honesty makes a person brave and bold. He has peace of mind and peace of heart. Therefore, he can deliberate and plan to tackle any difficult situation. He does not tremble and shiver in the face of hardships and clematis. No doubt honesty gives spiritual confidence and strength to an honest and upright man. So, for the attainment of spiritual confidence and strength it is imperative that we must follow the path of honesty.
Thus, scorning all the cares —————– His wisdom heavenly things,
An honest man is spiritually happy. So, he hates all those cares and worries which the fate or fortune brings. Difficulties and hardships there in the life of an honest man but he does not care as he believes that these difficulties and hardships will come to an end with the passage of time. He bears the troubles and misfortunes patiently. He looks upon the heaven for guidance help. He makes the heaven his book and learns the lesson of wisdom from heavenly things. Thus an honest man spend his time in useful activities.
In other words the poet wants to convince us that only an hones man can adopt a positive and optimistic attitude towards life. As he possesses spiritual confidence and strength. He knows that cares and worries are the parts of life and one must not be disappointed and disheartened by them. Beyond any shadow of doubt the life of an honest man is enviable and we must endeavour to lead an honest life.
Good thoughts his only friends ——– And quite pilgrimage.
An honest man looks upon the world as an inn where he has come into the world for a brief sojourn and to spend a life free from sins. His pious and sinless life is his wealth. He strongly believes that he has come into this world for the adoration of God Almighty and to lead a sinless life. He believes that this world is a Vanity Fair. Therefore, he is never deceived by the glamour of the world and he never deviates from the path of honesty, integrity, and righteousness.
In this stanza the poet stresses moral values and has drawn the attention of the people to the realities of the world. By the describing the qualities of an honest man he wants to convince the people that honesty is the best policy and those who are honest and upright have peace of mind and peace of heart. There is no vacuum in the life an honest man. He has spiritual pleasure, which is the asset of life.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Class XII, ENGLISH, Character, "Antoinette-de- Mauban"

Antoinette-de- Mauban

Antoinette-de- Mauban is the character of the novel entitled Prisoner of Zenda written by Anthony Hope. Mme-de- Mauban was a widow, rich, beautiful and clever lady. She deeply loved Black Michael, the Duke of Stralsau.
Personal Motives
She was sincerely devoted to the Duke and by this genuine attachment. She followed him at his request from Paris to Ruritania but she was not aware that the Duke whom she thought to be a man of strong passions was actually a cruel, cunning and selfish man who was content to take all but give nothing.
Peace Acceptance
She was a quite person who had decided to spend a quite and peaceful time in Ruritania with the Duke. With this intention she accepted the Duke’s request. Only to discover at her arrival that things were contradictory to what she had though. It did not take her long to find out that the Duke wanted to kill the King and seize the th5one for himself but Mme-de- Mauban did not desire his triumph for she detested his crime and mainly because she knew that if Michael was made the king he would marry Princess Flavia.
Possessive Woman
She was a possessive woman and found her rival and would not bear to see the Duke abandoning her by marrying the Pricess so she betrayed Black Michael to Rassendyll by warning him of his plan to kill him in the Summer House. For she knew that in case of Rassendyll’s Death the Duke would become the king and would eventually marry Flavia.
She wrote a letter to Flavia as king and warned her not to accept the Duke’s invitation in case, she would come in the power of the Duke. She was a pretty lady and at the Zenda, Rupert, one of the king’s six men was caught by her beauty. But Mauban hated him for she was sincerely devoted to the Duke. Being aware of Rupert’s intentions she had warned Michael of him. Mauban was a compassionate woman and when she learnt of the full measure of his cruelty, she was touched with compassion for the King and from that day she became a well-wisher of Rassendyll and his party.
Duke’s Intriguer
Gradually she found herself entangled into the Duke’s plan, but she was not a weak woman, tired of quarrels and ills between the Duke and Michael and disappointed by Black Michael’s cruel plans and selfish motives. She begs Rassendyll to rescue her from the Duke and rupert but she still loved Black Michael and hoped to gain his life if not his pardon from the king.
Emotional Woman
She was a woman ruled by her emotions and when Michael was killed by Rupert, she heaving taunts came froth to avenge him.
End to the Drama
This conduct proved that no knowledge of the man’s real character was enough to root her regard, for him out of her heart. After these tragic events she withdraws herself entirely from society. She recognized the king’s generosity and kindness and so she did not betray the king’s trust by letting out the secret.

Class XII, ENGLISH, Character, "Black Michael"

Black Michael

Black Michael is the villain of the novel entitled The Prisoner of Zenda created by Anthony Hope. He is stepbrother of King Elphberg. He is not the legal heir to the throne because he is the son of the king’s second and morganatic marriage.
Black Michael is the owner of castle of Zenda and the surrounding estate. Being the favourite of the late king of Ruritania, he was appointed as the Duke of Strelsau. He is schemer and evil by nature.
Selfish and Hypocrite
Black Michael is a selfish man. He loves Princess Flavia just to get the throne. He is a hypocrite and makes a false show of love towards Madam Mauban. He has become popular among a small number of people of the country by his hypocrisy. He is over ambitious and greedy.
A Wicked Person
Black Michael is a sinful man. He makes plot to get the throne with the help of his companions, but always tries to delude them. That is why his followers betray him, when he is expecting complete victory. He invites Rassendyll to the Summer House through a conspiracy, but fortunately Rassendyll survives. This sharp and evil act shows his wickedness.
A Cruel Man
Black Michael is indeed a cruel person. When the king has been in his noose, he treats him in a very harsh and inhuman manner. He does not feel pity for his brother even. Black Michael is a coward man. He wants to save his life at any cost. He does not come out to handle the situation at any time.
A Cool-Minded Criminal
Black Michael is a wicked but a cool minded and genius criminal. When he sees that Rassendyll has impersonated the king of Ruritania he does not make it known to the people to keep his villainy secret. We see that even Rupert’s interest and love for Mauban do not irritate him. It shows that he is a controlled emotion criminal.
A Slave of Lust for Power
Black Michael becomes utterly blind for power. At any rate he wants to usurp the sovereignty form his brother. His lust for power corrupts him and brings his decline.
The Tragic End
Black Michael always deceives his close companions. That is why he is killed by one of his own followers. Thus, the villain of the novel receives a tragic end.

Class XII, ENGLISH, Character, "Rudolf Elphberg"

Rudolf Elphberg

Rudolf Elphberg is one of the central character of the novel entitled The Prisoner of Zenda created by Anthony Hope. He is the prisoner in the castle of Zenda. He is son of late king of Ruritania and heir to throne.
Rudolf Elphberg is a young, tall and handsome man. He is an educated man. He has red hair, straight nose, blue eyes and a beard. His physical appearance bears striking resemblance to that of Rudolf Rassendyll, though there were some points of differences, which are pointed by Rudolf Rassendyll:
“The king’s face was slightly more fleshy than mine, the oval of its contour the least trifle more pronounced and his mouth lacking something of the firmness which was to be gathered from my close-shutting lips.”
However, in spite of these differences, Colonel Sapt could not help mentioning to Rassendyll:
“You’re an Elphberg, every inch of you.”
Lack of Responsibility and Common Sense
Rudolf Elphberg, the king is a happy-go-lucky type of young man. He is a pleasure loving man and wishes to pass a happy and care free life. He is devoid of a sense of responsibility and lacks even common sense. He is indiscreet and trusts even his half brother, Black Michael. He does not care even the coronation and drinks excessively. He also drinks the wine sent by his wicked brother. He does not even think or suspect about it. It is well known to the people of Ruritania that Black Michael intends to get through the access to the throne and wants to marry Flavia, but Elphberg is not aware of this fact.
A Weak Man
He has not the quality to face the dangers and odds boldly. His behaviour in prison throws a shadow upon his person. He becomes completely demoralized and losses all gril. His health suffers and he becomes partially insane. He requests Detchard to persuade his brother, Black Michael to kill him. He becomes hopeless and sobs on his fate.
Not a Bad Man
Rudolf Elphberg cannot, however, be called a bad man. He may be a weak king, but as a man, he has some very good qualities. He is a pleasant tempered man, a sincere and good friend. He stands by his friends and has a great trust and faith in them. There is in him a peculiar charm of personality, which inspires confidence in the heart of those who come into contact with him. He loves and admires Flavia. He is sincere, kind and open-hearted.
Although he remains captive throughout the novel and we cannot see him in action, but the whole story revolves round him. He attracts our attention in the forest as a charming and gay person. He reigns in the readers mind although remains behind the scene.