Tempest Lecture: Book and Body

In lecture today, we were asked if Shakespeare is a master illusionist. The idea of Prospero and Shakespeare’s relationship was also questioned. Does Shakespeare use Prospero in Tempest as Plato uses Socrates in Republic? Through different lenses of interpretation one may argue either way. I do not believe Shakespeare speaks through Prospero as deliberately as Plato does through Socrates, but I do think that Shakespeare manipulates the character of Prospero to author Tempest.

Later in our lecture, Professor Mota, in reference to Greenaway’s art film, explained how Greenaway believes that “print and flesh are equally attractive” and that this directly relates to the relationship between book and body. He then proposed the idea that Prospero’s books give him life and that they give life to the story and life to the island.

I agree with this, because without Prospero’s books there would be no storyline and therefore no Tempest. I think that the play was in a way written by Prospero because he was responsible for everything. Because Tempest was in reality written by Shakespeare but it appears to be controlled and manipulatively written by Prospero, it is appropriate to assume Shakespeare speaks through Prospero to some degree. Here, Mota and Greenaway’s ideas offer an answer to previously asked questions and connect both the written play and film interpretation.


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2 Responses to Tempest Lecture: Book and Body

  1. Jovolynn Gragasin

    Interesting thought. I agree with you that Shakespeare does not explicitly speak through Prospero; however, I think that since this is believed to be Shakespeare’s final play, his final thoughts and emotions are hidden within the words of Prospero. That Prospero in some way is a mirror of the late Shakespeare.

  2. zoha janjua

    I agree with you that Shakespeare uses Prospero to create the storyline of Tempest; however, he is not actively speaking through Prospero like Plato was speaking through Socrates. I guess to some extent it can be said that Prospero is a reflection of Shakespeare.

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