The Tempest

Oh Shakespeare, so much controversy over a curious human being. I love some of his work, and roll my eyes at other pieces. “Romeo and Juliet”, “Macbeth”, and the “Taming of the Shrew” are all ones that make me want to hit my head on a desk repeatedly. However, “The Tempest” and “A Mid Summer Night Dream” are plays that I continue to enjoy a second time round. That being said though, I had some issues with the interpretation that we have read, and found some of Orgel’s change of wording silly. But I guess this goes along with the whole history of the play, and the various forms it has been presented in.

On another note, I’m glad that we read this after Columbus because it allowed me to view Caliban, and character’s reactions to Caliban, differently. When Trinculo first stumbles upon Caliban, he states that “this monster would make a man- any strange beast makes a man. When they will not give a doit to a lame beggar, they will will lay out 10 to see a dead indian.” (p.145) This made me realize that this, Caliban, is something completely strange, new and foreign, and is what Columbus was looking for.  And that, while he brought back indigenous people, they were not the savage beast that had been anticipated.

I find the themes of monsters in the Tempest intriguing because, Caliban can be perceived as having the physicality of a monster, while his goals and reasoning is actually very human. The difference between him and the other’s is that he succumbs to his natural instincts, such as greed, lust and anger in a way that is deemed unacceptable by the other characters, and our society. The only difference between him , Sebastian and Antonio, is that Sebastian and Antonio didn’t succeed in killing the Alonso and Gonzalo, and they didn’t get caught. This also goes along with how perception is used, because if we are judging Caliban by his greed, lust and anger, then wouldn’t Prospero be the most monstrous? He ignores his dukedom for his own benefit, is enraged when he is mutinied or whenever he does not have a person’s full attention/submission.

Along with Prospero and his need for people’s submission to him,comes another prominent theme of sleep. I was intrigued by Sebastian saying what “a strange repose, to be asleep with eyes wide open- standing, speaking, moving, and yet so fast asleep.” (p.138) I like this statement because it alludes to the waking of different characters throughout the play. It is almost as if Prospero is acting as fate, dictating what each character shall do to arrive to their destiny. k


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