Life is a Dream III

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In the Chuang Tzu, the author describes a dream of a butterfly. Upon awakening, he thinks, "Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming that I am now a man." This is exactly the position of Segismundo in Act III of Life is a Dream. What anchors him in this perpetual uncertainty? Free will.

 

Podcast Lecture: The Somniloquy

 

Reading:

Calderón, Life is a Dream: Act III

 

Questions:

1. What happens at the beginning of the act that makes Segismundo question again whether or not he is awake or dreaming?

2. How does Segismundo behave differently this time? What does he resolve to do?

3. How is Clotaldo torn between duty to his king and duty to his family?

4. How does Rosaura appear to Segismundo the third time and what are her reasons? Why does Segismundo turn away from her?

5. What connections do you see between Segismundo and Rosaura, other than their mutual attraction?

6. How is Clarin's death linked to the king's fate?

 

Activities:

Film Clip--"Waking Life"-- Chapter 6 "Free Will and Physics": Watch chapter 6 on the dvd of "Waking Life" or watch the last 2 minutes of this clip and the first 4 of this one. Do humans really have free will? Do we control our destinies? What are some of the problems in thinking through the ramifications of free will in a world governed by a deity or by physical law?