Bram Stoker: ‘Cuaderno de bitácora de la Deméter’ (‘Drácula’, 1897)

Uno de los pasajes más logrados y recordados (y que parece que va a tener su película) de la magnífica novela de Stoker es el que recoge el diario del capitán de la Demeter, el barco que Drácula utiliza para viajar a Inglaterra desde Rumanía.

3 de agosto. A medianoche fui a relevar al hombre en el timón y cuando llegué no encontré a nadie ahí. El viento era firme, y como navegamos hacia donde nos lleve, no había ningún movimiento. No me atreví a dejar solo el timón, por lo que le grité al oficial. Después de unos segundos subió corriendo a cubierta en sus franelas. Traía los ojos desorbitados y el rostro macilento, por lo que temo mucho que haya perdido la razón. Se acercó a mí y me susurró con voz ronca, colocando su boca cerca de mi oído, como si temiese que el mismo aire escuchara: “Está aquí; ahora lo sé. Al hacer guardia anoche lo vi, un hombre alto y delgado y sepulcralmente pálido. Estaba cerca de la proa, mirando hacia afuera. Me acerqué a él a rastras y le hundí mi cuchillo; pero éste lo atravesó, vacío como el aire.”

Los alumnos deben leer el pasaje completo (pdf aquí) y contestar a las siguientes cuestiones: ¿Qué elementos, tanto de la historia (‘lo que se cuenta’) como de la narración (‘como se cuenta’) son determinantes para hacer de este fragmento algo terrorífico? ¿Pueden poner ejemplos del texto? ¿ Pueden citar otros relatos -literarios o no- donde aparezca la misma situación de la Deméter?

El vídeo que sigue es una escena de Nosferatu (1922) de F.W. Murnau, película que, por cierto, puede verse on line aquí.


Webtask. Literature through the movies. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Answer the folowing questions on Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Beforehand, watch the film, read this page and learn about the play.


1. Why is Egeus angry with his daughter?

2. Why is Helena envious of Hermia?

3. How would you describe Bottom’s acting ability? What is Bottom’s own opinion of his acting ability?

4. Why are Oberon and Titania fighting?

5. How would you describe the character of Puck? What kind of mood does he create?

6. How does Bottom become an ass? What is the reason for this strange event?

7. How do most of the dreamers respond to the dream experience upon waking? Which character is changed permanently by the dream experience?

8. In your opinion, would the tragedy ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’  be suitable for a wedding celebration? Explain your answer.

9. Describe the relationships between the main couples in the play.


Now do this quizz:


1. Which of the young Athenians is first affected by the love potion?


a. Lysander

b. Helena

c. Demetrius

d. Hermia


2. Which man does Hemia’s father want her to marry?


a. Demetrius

b. Lysander

c. Theseus

d. Philostrate


3. What does Oberon want that Titania refuses to give him?


a. Her attendant, an Indian prince.

b. Her magic wand.

c. Her Maid-in-waiting.

d. Her love.


4. Why does Pyramus, in the craftsmen’s play, kill himself?


a. Thisbe does not love him

b. Thisbe has been killed by a lion

c. Thisbe has been killed by her father

d. Pyramus believes Thisbe has been killed by a lion because he finds her tattered garnment at their meeting place


5. What prank does Puck play on Bottom?


a. He transforms him into a bear.

b. He steals his clothes.

c. He changes his voice.

d. He changes his head into that of an ass.


6. Why is the flower whose juice Oberon seeks special?


a. Titania has kissed it

b. One of Cupid’s arrows struck him.

c. It was a traditional symbol of love in English folklore.

d. Fairies sleep in it.


7. Which of the craftsmen is in charge of the rehearsals?


a. Quince

b. Snout

c. Bottom

d. Starveling


8. How many weddings take place before the play-within-a-play?


a. 4

b. 3

c. 2

d. 1


9. Who blesses Theseus and Hyppolita with a magical charm at the end of the play?


a. Oberon

b. Puck

c. Titania

d. Oberon and Titania


10. Who suggests that the audience consider whether the entire play has been a dream?


a. Snout

b. Puck

c. Titania

d. Peaseblossom

(Activities adapted from and from sparknotes)


Webtask. The Canterbury Tales 2

Like in previous years, we are going to study The Canterbury Tales, and, more specifically, The Miller’s Tale. In order to make contact with this masterpiece, you have to do research on it before we watch the cinema adaptation (in this case, TV adaptation). So, please visit this site   and then answer the questions that follow:

image the knight

1. Where do the pilgrims meet?

a. At the Tower of London

b. At the Tabard Inn, in Southwark.

c. In Canterbury.




2. Where are the pilgrims going?


a. To Canterbury.

b. To London.

c. To Southwark.


images 3. Why are they going there?


a. To visit the city.

b. To visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket.

c. To pray at Saint Paul’s cathedral.


4. How many tales are there in ‘The Canterbury Tales’?


a. 120

b. 24

c. 57


5. Which of these combinations of characters is correct?


a. The knight, the Summoner, the Lady of the fan.

b. The Miller, the Parson, the Squire.

c. The clerk, the Man of Law, the Prince.


6. What are the names of the main characters in The Miller’s Tale?


a. Alisoun, John, Alayn and Theseus.

b. John, Alisoun, Nicholas and Absolon.

c. Arcite, Emelye and Palamon.


7. Who is branded by a red-hot poker in the Miller’s Tale?


a. Nicholas.

b. John.

c. Absolon.


8. Who breaks his arm in The Miller’s Tale?


a. Absolon.

b. John.

c. Nicholas.


9. When were The Canterbury Tales written?


a. In the late fourteenth century.

b. In the dark Ages.

c. In the romantic period.


10. Who wrote ”The Canterbury Tales’?


a. William Shakespeare.

b. Nathaniel Hawthorne.

c. Geoffrey Chaucer.

WEBTASK Legends through the movies. Robin Hood

Search the web. You can read the  entry on Robin Hood further down on this blog  (19th May 2009). Then do the following activities on Robin Hood, the story and the history.



Answer the following true or false questions.

1. Robin Hood was a real person.

2. There’s only one version of the Robin Hood story.

3. Robin started life as a rich person.

4. The weapon he is famous for using is the sword.

5. He was a criminal.

6. He only took money from the rich and used it to build himself a castle.

7. His group of helpers were called the ‘Fellow Outlaws’.


Answer the following short questions.

1. When did the story of Robin Hood take place?

2. Who was the king at that time, where was he and what was he doing?

3. Who tried to take over England while the king was away?

4. Was Richard a good king in real life?



Go to this site, and then fill in the table below with with the following notes. If the character was different in real life please write how they were different in the ‘real life’ box.

Villain who tries to steal the throne.

Arch-enemy of Robin Hood.

The good king of England who Robin Hood fights for.

Love interest.

Fat churchman who joins Robin Hood’s band.

A huge man who is in Robin’s band.








Character name Role in Story Real life
Maid Marian
Sheriff of Nottingham
Little John
Friar Tuck
Prince John
KIng Richard

Revisit this page and state at least two caracteristics of each character.

Literature through the movies. Robin Hood.

Robin Hood. The myth.Robin_hood

The basic story

Robin Hood is one of the most famous and enduring of British legends. Robin Hood is an archetypal English hero – an incorruptible hero, with his own moral code, fighting against injustice and tyranny. There are many different versions of his story. In most, he is a dispossessed nobleman (the king has taken his lands and money) – the Earl of Huntingdon. He is generally portrayed as being unusually good with a bow and arrow. With a band of fellow outlaws – his Merry Men – he hides in Sherwood forest robbing the corrupt and corpulent rich to give to the poor. His arch enemy is the Sheriff of Nottingham, an evil, greedy and dishonest lawmen who abuses his position.

There are many characters which appear in many of the Robin Hood legends. There is Maid Marian, an independent and kind noblewoman who Robin falls in love with. There’s Friar Tuck, a fat churchman who joins the Merry Men and stands against the corrupt, greedy church of the time. There are also the famous Merry Men, such as the ironically named Little John who is a huge giant of a man.

The history

The story of Robin Hood plays out in the 12th century during the time of the third crusade. The crusades were journeys into the Holy Land (Israel) made by European Christians who were trying to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims. The third crusade (1189 – 1192) was an attempt to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslim king Saladin. It was one of the more succesful crusades although it did not end with Jerusalem in Christian hands (the ultimate aim).

The third crusade was lead by Richard I, the Lionheart, of England and Phillip of France. While Richard was away, fighting in the crusades, his younger brother John tried to take control of England by overthrowing Richard’s representative, the bishop of Ely. In Robin Hood stories, John often appears as the villain; a treacherous coward who attempts to steal power from his brother. Robin Hood often fights against John’s schemes and defends the right of the ‘rightful king’, Richard. In reality Richard was not the hero he appears in the Robin Hood stories. He was hardly ever in England, spoke very little English and saw England as a source of money (in taxes) for his crusades and wars.


Robin Hood. The film. (Kevin Reynolds)

Plot synopsis


Kevin Costner in Robin Hood

Kevin Costner in Robin Hood


Robin of Locksley, an English nobleman, joins King Richard the Lionheart and other Christians in the Third Crusade. While at war, Robin is captured and jailed in a dungeon in Jerusalem. With his execution inevitable, Robin engineers an escape, saving the life of a Moor, Azeem in the process. Robin makes the long journey back to England with Azeem, who claims he must accompany Robin until the debt of saving his life is repaid.

In England, with King Richard gone, the cruel Sheriff of Nottingham rules over the land with fear, aided by his brute cousin, Guy of Gisbourne along with the precognitive evil witch, Mortianna , and the corrupt Bishop of Hereford .

Upon Robin and Azeem’s arrival, they find Locksley Castle destroyed and his father, Lord Locksley , murdered by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Lord Locksley’s servant, Duncan, has survived, though his eyes were removed in torture. Duncan tells Robin that “Nottingham and his Witch” appeared with soldiers at the castle, claiming they captured Robin’s father, and he then confessed to devil worship.

With his lands and reputation gone Robin seeks out his childhood friend, Maid Marian —the cousin of the king. He is immediately attracted to Marian, although she does not return the feelings, which poses a problem because Nottingham also has his sights set on her. Robin visits the Bishop (whom he does not know is corrupt), and the Bishop claims that Robin’s father did indeed worship dark powers. Robin refuses to believe this and has a brief violent encounter with Nottingham, leading to the Sheriff’s public humiliation, before escaping. In order to create a negative public opinion of Robin, Nottingham conjures up the name “Robin of the Hood” and offers a large reward for his death or capture.

Robin, Azeem, and Duncan seek shelter in the Forest of Sherwood, where they come across Little John and a large group of outlaws. After proving his skill in single combat, Robin is accepted into their group and begins to train the men on defending themselves and building weapons with which to fight Nottingham. Robin and his now-trained cohorts begin to systematically rob English soldiers and convoys as they pass through the forest, then distributing said stolen wealth among the poor. Robin’s successes infuriate Nottingham, who, in turn, increases the maltreatment of his people, resulting in more respect and support for Robin Hood.

Mortianna suggests that he bribe savage Celt warriors into finding and attacking Robin’s woodland hideout. The plan works, as the Celtic warriors’ attack destroys the village and kills many Sherwood Forest men, including Duncan, although Azeem, Friar Tuck, Little John and Will Scarlet all survive the onslaught. Robin Hood is presumed dead following the devastating attack.

Nottingham proposes to Maid Marian, saying that, if she accepts, he will spare the lives of the woodsmen and their families captured in the Sherwood Forest attack. Faced with no choice, she accepts. Will, who has been captured, makes a deal with Nottingham to find out if Robin is alive. Will does this in front of Wulf and the other captured people. Meanwhile, Robin is revealed alive, and helps the surviving merry men regroup.

Will returns to the camp and is attacked by John. Robin allows him to speak and Will reveals Maid Marian’s wedding as well as the fate of captured woodsmen who will be hanged despite the Sheriff’s promise. When Robin finally confronts Will about his unexplainable detest towards Robin, Will reveals himself as Robin’s long-lost half-brother, the result of their father’s affair with a woman after the death of Robin’s mother.

On the day of the wedding, as Robin and the others are about to begin a coordinated attack, Wulf attacks Will which results in Will’s capture and impending execution. Robin is able to save the men, but Nottingham drags Marian into the castle. Nottingham hastily attempts to marry and impregnate Marian while the Bishop nervously performs the ceremony while the witch looks on. Robin and Azeem find them just as the ceremony is completed. Nottingham brandishes Robin’s dead father’s sword, and the men begin to duel. Elsewhere in the castle, Tuck finds the Bishop and compares him to the apostle Judas before defenestrating him.

Robin eventually wins the sword fight and kills Nottingham with a dagger (the dagger that the Sheriff had given to Marian who later gave it to Robin) through his heart. With his guard down, Robin is not prepared for a surprise attack from Mortianna, who charges with a spear. As she charges, Azeem breaks down the door and throws his sword, slaying Mortianna: a death she had foreseen earlier. His vow fulfilled, Azeem can now be at peace.

Robin and Marian marry in the forest amongst many supporters. Their matrimony is interrupted by the return of King Richard (Sean Connery), who blesses the marriage and wishes them well.  (Source: Wikipedia)