Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Tempest: The Ideal Father

One thing that was interesting for me to note while reading The Tempest was the similarity between Prospero and Stephano; both were viewed as fatherly figures by Caliban despite weakening his  position as a savage being. Compared to slaving for Prospero, Caliban was more eager to serve Stephano for Stephano not only tempted Caliban with an illusionary opportunity to free himself from the hands of a cruel master, but he also enabled Caliban to feel valuable. Once Prospero condemned Caliban to servitude, Prospero removed himself from the position as a fatherly figure in Caliban’s life, hence fully depriving Caliban from feeling affection or kindness. As for Stephano, even though his kind behavior towards Caliban was entirely faked, the attention and attitude he portrayed quenched Caliban’s emotional isolation. Much to what Prospero did, Stephano severed Caliban’s tie to his animalistic nature: he fed false information to Caliban such as indicating himself to be a heavenly being (2.2. 132—33), and humanized Caliban even more by ordering him to consume his liquor (2.2. 136). Stephano’s actions can be parallelized to Prospero’s attempt to civilize the child of Sycorax. Despite the injustice of Stephano’s actions, Caliban viewed him more as fatherly figure than Prospero. Similarly to Prospero, Stephano introduced new things into Caliban’s life. Just like what Prospero did, the new things Stephano introduced to Caliban made him appear more removed from his animalistic nature. Although Stephano’s behavior towards him was all an act, his act was enough to convince Caliban that there is someone capable of truly caring for him. Acceptance was something Caliban craved for as he had been denied of it since the death of his mother and since his rejection from the inhabitants of the island.

Kliest: Why to the Holy Mother of God?

While I was reading the Earthquake in Chile, I noticed that Jeronimo has given more glorification to the “Holy Mother of God” (11) than to the “Being that rules above the clouds” (9). If this was read from a religious perspective, the “Holy Mother” and the “Being” are separate beings: one is a human female, while the latter is an God (or an entity). What I don’t understand is why Jeronimo praises and prays more to the “Holy Mother” instead of God. To briefly clarify my confusion, first imagine yourself as a child; suppose you really want invite your friends for a sleepover, but you have to ask your parents for their permission to allow you to perform the task. If you were to ask for something you really want to happen, wouldn’t you inquire the person who most likely has it in his or her power to enable you to achieve your objective? Since it has been revealed throughout religious texts that a god has entire control over everything, wouldn’t it make sense for Jeronimo to glorify and beg his God for help rather than inquiring the “Holy Mother”? Compared to a God, the “Holy Mother” was a human being rather than an entity that possessed unlimited power and control over the entire universe, if viewed through the lenses of Christianity. Another thing to note, would Jeronimo’s preference towards the Holy Mother indicate that he held a respect for women?  Furthermore, would his preference towards the “Holy Mother” hint anything about Kleist being supportive of feminism?

Mengzi: Exploring the Negative Impact of Vision

In my presentation, I believe I have asked about what Mengzi would say about a sociopath’s nature. I believe Mengzi would have said that they are born with an innate goodness, but are incapable of developing it for they have a difficulty of differentiating between right and wrong. In my opinion (and Mengzi would probably agree), I believe a sociopath’s difficulty to cultivate his or her innate goodness may be due the environment he or she is situated in and witnesses in his or her everyday life. Hence, in the case of a sociopath, Mengzi’s idea of vision being a useful tool for cultivating our innate goodness and extending it to others would be refuted; the case proves that vision can also play as an obstacle to one’s development in their benevolent nature. Although I feel like I’m making it start to appear that Mengzi only indicated vision as useful instrument that would support our benevolent nature, I believe that there were certain areas in the book in which he negatively characterized vision. In Mengzi’s kitchen example, I’m certain that Mengzi illustrated vision as a tool that can stump the growth of one’s benevolent nature. In Book 1A, Mengzi compared the king’s growth in benevolence to “gentlemen [that] keep their distance from the kitchen” (1A7.8). Metaphorically speaking, the act of avoiding “the kitchen” can be seen as an action of distancing yourself from an environment that negatively impacts your innate goodness by slowing its expansion. Thus, by “staying away from the kitchen”, a person would be able to cultivate the growth of his or her benevolent nature or extend it to others. Hence, this example may have likely portrayed sight as a tool that would not only propel the development of one’s innate goodness, but that it can also delay its progress or stunt its growth by evoking a non-benevolent nature. If we were to associate the word “kitchen” with images of animal corpses, and dead plants, it would become easier for us to relate a kitchen to Mengzi’s unidealistic environment for the association of the word kitchen with dead organisms generate negative connotations such as death or destruction. Unlike the sight of the ox stimulating the growth of King Xuan’s benevolent nature, the sight of the kitchen (or witnessing an environment Mengzi would regard as a danger to the growth of our innate goodness) would be the obstacle to a person’s journey of leading a virtuous life. Hence, I believe that Mengzi demonstrated sight carrying another ability other than generating compassion: that it can be used to disintegrate the development one’s benevolent nature.