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03-03-2016 06:56:00 +0000
Vanity by Birago Diop
If we tell, gently, gently
All that we shall one day have to tell,
Who then will hear our voices without laughter,
Sad complaining voices of beggars
Who indeed will hear them without laughter?
If we cry roughly of our torments
Ever increasing from the start of things
What eyes will watch our large mouths
Shaped by the laughter of big children
What eyes will watch our large mouth?
What hearts will listen to our clamoring?
What ear to our pitiful anger
Which grows in us like a tumor
In the black depth of our plaintive throats?
When our Dead comes with their Dead
When they have spoken to us in their clumsy
Just as our ears were deaf
To their cries, to their wild appeals
Just as our ears were deaf
They have left on the earth their cries,
In the air, on the water,
where they have traced their signs for us blind
deaf and unworthy Sons
Who see nothing of what they have made
In the air, on the water, where they have traced
And since we did not understand the dead
Since we have never listened to their cries
If we weep, gently, gently
If we cry roughly to our torments
What heart will listen to our clamoring,
What ear to our sobbing hearts?
With all seriousness of purpose, Birago Diop
expresses concern over the living’s lack of
regard for dead ancestors which he holds in
very high esteem.
Like the popular myth in many African societies
about dead ancestors, Diop believes that they
are immortal and at death, they take up
another important role of watching over the
living and saving them from unseen forces.
The title “vanity” portrays the folly of the living
who in spite of having been bequeathed with
many legacies have arrogantly and ignorantly
failed to honour their dead ancestors. He
laments as follows: “ They have left on the
earth their cries. In the air, on the water,
where they have traced their signs for us,
blind, deaf and unworthy sons, who see
nothing of what they have made in the air, in
the water where they have traced their
signs”. In the poet’s view, much of the
problems bedeviling the African society stem
from our disregard for African tradition and
over-dependence on the Western culture. He
laments further: “ If we cry roughly of our
torments ever increasing from the start of
things” . Birago Diop argues that the solution to
Africa’s many problems lie within us.
He further expresses the African belief that
dead ancestors have the ability to punish erring
individuals and warns that if they are not
respected or honoured, they would also not
help the living in time of trouble- “ And since
we did not understand our dead, since we
have never listened to their cries, if we weep
gently, gently, if we cry roughly of our
torments, what heart will listen to our
clamouring, what ear to our sobbing
Vanity is a poem of lamentation.
The poem has as its theme the celebration of
dead ancestors as well as African cultural
values and tradition.
Mood and Tone
The mood is that of worry with a corresponding
tone of concern, condemnation, sarcasm and
ridicule. He expresses his worry through a
number of rhetorical questions.
Though written in stanzas and with some
rhythm, the poem Vanity is a free verse poem
as it does not have a consistent meter pattern.
The poem contains powerful imagery. For
instance, the title “ Vanity” refers to the living’s
folly over their disregard for the good works of
dead ancestors which according to the poet are
seen on land, in the water and in the air. Words
like “voices of beggars” , “our large mouths”,
“our ears were deaf” and “our plaintive throat”
are employed as a form of rebuke or ridicule.
The poet also repeats some phrases and
images to show how serious he is about the
subject-matter of the poem. Examples- “Just
as our ears were deaf”, “What eyes”, What
ears” “What heart”.
Poetic Devices/Figures of Speech
Rhetorical Question : This runs throughout
the poem. It expresses the poet’s worry and
emphasises his seriousness over the subject
matter of the poem. Examples: “Who then will
hear our voices without laughter?” “Who then
will hear us without laughter?” “What eyes will
watch our large mouth?” “What heart will listen
to our clamouring?” “What ear to our sobbing
Sarcasm : This is mocking humour.
Examples: sad complaining voices of beggars;
large mouth; plaintive throats
Repetition : This is seen throughout the
poem. Example: What eyes will watch our
large mouth? is repeated in the second stanza.
Simile : This is direct comparison using the
words “like” or “as”. Example: “What ear to our
pitiful anger which grows in us like a tumor”.
Synedoche : A figure of speech that entails
using a part to represent a whole or a whole
for a part. Example: “What hearts will listen to
Personification : This figure of speech
involves the attribution of human nature or
character to animals, inanimate objects, or
abstract notions. In Vanity, the poet gives life
to dead ancestors through the use of
personification. Examples: “When our Dead
comes with their Dead, when they have spoken
to us in their clumsy voices”.
What's this one about..like a brief summary
03-03-2016 06:58:00 +0000
tnx,what about Othello
03-03-2016 07:00:00 +0000
I will give you Othello and d rest in bout 30 mints
03-03-2016 07:26:00 +0000
@ Ampofo Joshua, that Summary and Analysis of Vanity. Vanity is one of the literature books u have to read under Poem, I just simplified it for you all.
@Darkhor$e Ojims, Othello will be my next post
03-03-2016 07:29:00 +0000
03-03-2016 07:30:00 +0000
Thanks.... Didn't even have time to read all the texts
03-03-2016 07:32:00 +0000
Othello begins on a street in Venice, in the midst of an argument between Roderigo, a rich man,
and Iago. Roderigo has been paying Iago to help him in his suit to Desdemona. But Roderigo has
just learned that Desdemona has married Othello, a general whom Iago begrudgingly serves as
ensign. Iago says he hates Othello, who recently passed him over for the position of lieutenant in
favor of the inexperienced soldier Michael Cassio.
Unseen, Iago and Roderigo cry out to Brabanzio that his daughter Desdemona has been stolen by
and married to Othello, the Moor. Brabanzio finds that his daughter is indeed missing, and he
gathers some officers to find Othello. Not wanting his hatred of Othello to be known, Iago leaves
Roderigo and hurries back to Othello before Brabanzio sees him. At Othello’s lodgings, Cassio
arrives with an urgent message from the duke: Othello’s help is needed in the matter of the
imminent Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Not long afterward, Brabanzio arrives with Roderigo and
others, and accuses Othello of stealing his daughter by witchcraft. When he finds out that Othello
is on his way to speak with the duke, -Brabanzio decides to go along and accuse Othello before
the assembled senate.
Brabanzio’s plan backfires. The duke and senate are very sympathetic toward Othello. Given a
chance to speak for himself, Othello explains that he wooed and won Desdemona not by
witchcraft but with the stories of his adventures in travel and war. The duke finds Othello’s
explanation convincing, and Desdemona herself enters at this point to defend her choice in
marriage and to announce to her father that her allegiance is now to her husband. Brabanzio is
frustrated, but acquiesces and allows the senate meeting to resume. The duke says that Othello
must go to Cyprus to aid in the defense against the Turks, who are headed for the island.
Desdemona insists that she accompany her husband on his trip, and preparations are made for
them to depart that night.
In Cyprus the following day, two gentlemen stand on the shore with Montano, the governor of
Cyprus. A third gentleman arrives and reports that the Turkish fleet has been wrecked in a storm
at sea. Cassio, whose ship did not suffer the same fate, arrives soon after, followed by a second
ship carrying Iago, Roderigo, Desdemona, and Emilia, Iago’s wife. Once they have landed,
Othello’s ship is sighted, and the group goes to the harbor. As they wait for Othello, Cassio
greets Desdemona by clasping her hand. Watching them, Iago tells the audience that he will use
“as little a web as this” hand-holding to ensnare Cassio (II.i.169).
Othello arrives, greets his wife, and announces that there will be reveling that evening to
celebrate Cyprus’s safety from the Turks. Once everyone has left, Roderigo complains to Iago
that he has no chance of breaking up Othello’s marriage. Iago assures Roderigo that as soon as
Desdemona’s “blood is made dull with the act of sport,” she will lose interest in Othello and seek
sexual satisfaction elsewhere (II.i.222). However, Iago warns that “elsewhere” will likely be with
Cassio. Iago counsels Roderigo that he should cast Cassio into disgrace by starting a fight with
Cassio at the evening’s revels. In a soliloquy, Iago explains to the audience that eliminating
Cassio is the first crucial step in his plan to ruin Othello. That night, Iago gets Cassio drunk and
then sends Roderigo to start a fight with him. Apparently provoked by Roderigo, Cassio chases
Roderigo across the stage. Governor Montano attempts to hold Cassio down, and Cassio stabs
him. Iago sends Roderigo to raise alarm in the town.
The alarm is rung, and Othello, who had left earlier with plans to consummate his marriage, soon
arrives to still the commotion. When Othello demands to know who began the fight, Iago feigns
reluctance to implicate his “friend” Cassio, but he ultimately tells the whole story. Othello then
strips Cassio of his rank of lieutenant. Cassio is extremely upset, and he laments to Iago, once
everyone else has gone, that his reputation has been ruined forever. Iago assures Cassio that he
can get back into Othello’s good graces by using Desdemona as an intermediary. In a soliloquy,
Iago tells us that he will frame Cassio and Desdemona as lovers to make -Othello jealous.
In an attempt at reconciliation, Cassio sends some musicians to play beneath Othello’s window.
Othello, however, sends his clown to tell the musicians to go away. Hoping to arrange a meeting
with Desdemona, Cassio asks the clown, a peasant who serves Othello, to send Emilia to him.
After the clown departs, Iago passes by and tells Cassio that he will get Othello out of the way so
that Cassio can speak privately with Desdemona. Othello, Iago, and a gentleman go to examine
some of the town’s fortifications.
Desdemona is quite sympathetic to Cassio’s request and promises that she will do everything she
can to make Othello forgive his former lieutenant. As Cassio is about to leave, Othello and Iago
return. Feeling uneasy, Cassio leaves without talking to Othello. Othello inquires whether it was
Cassio who just parted from his wife, and Iago, beginning to kindle Othello’s fire of jealousy,
replies, “No, sure, I cannot think it, / That he would steal away so guilty-like, / Seeing your
Othello becomes upset and moody, and Iago furthers his goal of removing both Cassio and
Othello by suggesting that Cassio and Desdemona are involved in an affair. Desdemona’s
entreaties to Othello to reinstate Cassio as lieutenant add to Othello’s almost immediate
conviction that his wife is unfaithful. After Othello’s conversation with Iago, Desdemona comes to
call Othello to supper and finds him feeling unwell. She offers him her handkerchief to wrap
around his head, but he finds it to be “[t]oo little” and lets it drop to the floor (III.iii.291).
Desdemona and Othello go to dinner, and Emilia picks up the handkerchief, mentioning to the
audience that Iago has always wanted her to steal it for him.
Iago is ecstatic when Emilia gives him the handkerchief, which he plants in Cassio’s room as
“evidence” of his affair with Desdemona. When Othello demands “ocular proof” (III.iii.365) that
his wife is unfaithful, Iago says that he has seen Cassio “wipe his beard” (III.iii.444) with
Desdemona’s handkerchief—the first gift Othello ever gave her. Othello vows to take vengeance
on his wife and on Cassio, and Iago vows that he will help him. When Othello sees Desdemona
later that evening, he demands the handkerchief of her, but she tells him that she does not have
it with her and attempts to change the subject by continuing her suit on Cassio’s behalf. This
drives Othello into a further rage, and he storms out. Later, Cassio comes onstage, wondering
about the handkerchief he has just found in his chamber. He is greeted by Bianca, a prostitute,
whom he asks to take the handkerchief and copy its embroidery for him.
Through Iago’s machinations, Othello becomes so consumed by jealousy that he falls into a
trance and has a fit of epilepsy. As he writhes on the ground, Cassio comes by, and Iago tells
him to come back in a few minutes to talk. Once Othello recovers, Iago tells him of the meeting
he has planned with Cassio. He instructs Othello to hide nearby and watch as Iago extracts from
Cassio the story of his affair with Desdemona. While Othello stands out of earshot, Iago pumps
Cassio for information about Bianca, causing Cassio to laugh and confirm Othello’s suspicions.
Bianca herself then enters with Desdemona’s handkerchief, reprimanding Cassio for making her
copy out the embroidery of a love token given to him by another woman. When Desdemona
enters with Lodovico and Lodovico subsequently gives Othello a letter from Venice calling him
home and instating Cassio as his replacement, Othello goes over the edge, striking Desdemona
and then storming out.
That night, Othello accuses Desdemona of being a whore. He ignores her protestations, seconded
by Emilia, that she is innocent. Iago assures Desdemona that Othello is simply upset about
matters of state. Later that night, however, Othello ominously tells Desdemona to wait for him in
bed and to send Emilia away. Meanwhile, Iago assures the still-complaining Roderigo that
everything is going as planned: in order to prevent Desdemona and Othello from leaving,
Roderigo must kill Cassio. Then he will have a clear avenue to his love.
Iago instructs Roderigo to ambush Cassio, but Roderigo misses his mark and Cassio wounds him
instead. Iago wounds Cassio and runs away. When Othello hears Cassio’s cry, he assumes that
Iago has killed Cassio as he said he would. Lodovico and Graziano enter to see what the
commotion is about. Iago enters shortly thereafter and flies into a pretend rage as he “discovers”
Cassio’s assailant Roderigo, whom he murders. Cassio is taken to have his wound dressed.
Meanwhile, Othello stands over his sleeping wife in their bedchamber, preparing to kill her.
Desdemona wakes and attempts to plead with Othello. She asserts her innocence, but Othello
smothers her. Emilia enters with the news that Roderigo is dead. Othello asks if Cassio is dead
too and is mortified when Emilia says he is not. After crying out that she has been murdered,
Desdemona changes her story before she dies, claiming that she has committed suicide. Emilia
asks Othello what happened, and Othello tells her that he has killed Desdemona for her infidelity,
which Iago brought to his attention.
Montano, Graziano, and Iago come into the room. Iago attempts to silence Emilia, who realizes
what Iago has done. At first, Othello insists that Iago has told the truth, citing the handkerchief as
evidence. Once Emilia tells him how she found the handkerchief and gave it to Iago, Othello is
crushed and begins to weep. He tries to kill Iago but is disarmed. Iago kills Emilia and flees, but
he is caught by Lodovico and Montano, who return holding Iago captive. They also bring Cassio,
who is now in a chair because of his wound. Othello wounds Iago and is disarmed. Lodovico tells
Othello that he must come with them back to Venice to be tried. Othello makes a speech about
how he would like to be remembered, then kills himself with a sword he had hidden on his
person. The play closes with a speech by Lodovico. He gives Othello’s house and goods to
Graziano and orders that Iago be executed.
03-03-2016 07:33:00 +0000
Same as what I read. Gracias
03-03-2016 07:38:00 +0000
I'll read this later... Summarize most of the texts please.
03-03-2016 07:40:00 +0000