The Tempest - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


PPT – The Tempest PowerPoint presentation | free to view - id: 216133-ZDc1Z


The Adobe Flash plugin is needed to view this content

Get the plugin now

View by Category
About This Presentation

The Tempest


The Tempest feels like Shakespeare's last play. ... Does he know? How can he be sure that Ferdinand is not some spoiled aristocratic jerk? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:32
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 9
Provided by: michaelo56
Tags: jerk | tempest


Write a Comment
User Comments (0)
Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: The Tempest

The Tempest
  • First lecture

Performance of Act III, scene 1
  • This will happen at 3 p.m., so well finish the
    lecture at this point.
  • The student actors, from the BFA program are Josh
    Keeler and Samantha Stinger.
  • Their director is Professor Irwin Appel, from
    Dramatic Art.

Shakespeares most experimental play
  • The Tempest feels like Shakespeares last play.
  • (Though Henry VIII, written with John Fletcher,
    is his actual last play.)
  • Prospero isnt Shakespeare, but when P. bids
    farewell to his art at V.3.33ff, we feel it has
    something to do with Shs retirement from the
    theater and his return to Stratford that year.
  • And the metatheatricality of the play, the way
    it refers so often to theatrical processes, gives
    us a sense it has to do with playwrighting.
  • Its certainly his most experimental play.
  • Strange characters Ariel and Caliban.
  • A plot driven partly by magic.
  • Observing the unities of time and place a
    first for Shakespeare
  • A wedding masque enacted by spirits.
  • And Ben Jonson, Shakespeares colleague and
    friend (well, sort of), seems to have disliked

Bens critique
  • Jonsons own plays are mostly set in London, his
    characters, while comic exaggerations, are London
  • In the Induction to Bartholomew Fair (1614),
    Jonson has his spokesman, the Bookholder,
    indicate what the audience will not find in his
  • There is no servant-monster or a nest of
  • Jonson is loath to make nature afraid in his
    plays, like those that beget Tales, Tempests, and
    such like drolleries, to mix his head with other
    mens heels, let the concupiscence of jigs and
    dances reign as strong as it will amongst you.
  • The servant-monster must Caliban, and the
    nest of antics refers almost as obviously to
    the dancers of The Tempest or WT.
  • In both plays, Sh. mixes his head with other
    mens heels and includes country dances.
  • Ben disliked the reliance on fantasy, on the
    strange and outlandish.
  • Characters and events that can happen only in the
  • But more than subject matter he disliked
    theatricality that isnt afraid of dancing,
    music, exotic theatrical effects.
  • Even though The Tempest observes the unities.

Dating, sources, text
  • As we noted in discussion of WT, the play was
    performed at court on Nov. 1, 1611.
  • There is no narrative source for the play . . .
  • . . . a distinction it shares with Midsummer
    Nights Dream and Merry Wives of Windsor.
  • Two minor but interesting sources
  • In 1610 a document was circulating in manuscript
    (not printed until 1625) by William Strachey
    called A True Report of a Wrack.
  • Described the shipwreck of the Sea-Venture, the
    flagship of a flotilla going to Virginia, wrecked
    on Bermuda.
  • Contained descriptions of a storm and various
    elements of Bermuda.
  • And Michel de Montaignes essay Of Cannibals,
    which praises the inhabitants of the New World
    (Brazil) and imagines the possibility of an
    earthy paradise there.
  • Translated by John Florio and published in 1603.
  • It forms the basis of Gonzalos discourse on a
    utopian commonwealth.
  • The text of the play is the First Folio of 1623,
    where it appears as the first play.

  • Is Sh. having some fun with Ben Jonson?
  • In spite of all the bizarre romance material of
    the play and the fact that the plot stretches
    over 12 years
  • the play observes the unity of time and place.
  • P. asks Ariel (I.2.239) What is the time o th
  • And learns that its just after 2 p.m. (when
    plays began at the Globe). Lots to do before 6.
  • At beginning of Act V, Ariel says its 6.
  • Bosun says (V.1.223) that three glasses since
    three hours ago we gave the ship up for lost.
  • Hey, Ben, I can do the unities if I want.
  • The storm and shipwreck pulling out all the
    theatrical stops thunder, squibs for lightening,
    lots of noise.
  • And very realistic sailing commands to keep a
    ship off a lee shore bring her to try with the
    main course.
  • But all fake!
  • Miranda was terrified, but Prospero says there
    was no harm just his art.
  • Prosperos speech to Miranda, to Ariel, to
    Caliban a kind of jokey way of doing
    exposition? Teasing the audience too? And Ben?
  • Dost thou attend me? Thou attendst not!
    Dost thou hear?
  • The quarreling with Ariel and Caliban Ben
    Jonsons favorite way of doing exposition was to
    have two characters come on stage quarreling with
    each other.

More metatheatricality
  • What are we supposed to believe about the island?
  • How lush and lusty the grass looks, Gonzalo
  • The ground indeed is tawny, Antonio replies.
  • Theyre both pointing to the same bare stage of
    the Globe.
  • Which do we believe? A version of the Dover
    Cliff problem from Lear.
  • Prosperos wedding masque some vanity of mine
  • Spirits, which by mine art/ I have from their
    confines called to enact/ My present fantasies
  • Interrupted in a way that again reminds us were
    in a theater.
  • And Prosperos speech that points also! -- to
    the theater and to London (ll. 146ff).
  • And the epilogue spoken by Prospero that
    enlists the audience in the business of ending
    the story and the play.
  • And in the theme of forgiveness as well.
  • Which makes explicit the collaboration of the
    audience in the whole project of theater.
  • Shakespeares constant insistence on the role of
    the audience.
  • (Very different from Ben Jonsons attitude toward

  • Not an easy-going guy!
  • Does his experience explain that?
  • He had been a devoted scholar for the liberal
    arts/ Without a parallel (I.2.73-74).
  • Me (poor man) my library was dukedom large
  • In a way, he becomes a kind of fantasy of the
    Renaissance man, the magus who could, through
    mastery of arcane learning, control the elements.
  • And also of the artist who could body forth his
    imaginative life?
  • But the result was to neglect the real business
    of being a duke (and to neglect the real business
    of life?).
  • Which meant near death and 12 years of exile.
  • And the result of his indulgent treatment of
  • Will he allow himself to be inattentive in the
  • Or to control everything?
  • Finally, what does he intend in the round-up of
    his enemies?
  • How can they be properly punished?
  • Does he know?
  • How can he be sure that Ferdinand is not some
    spoiled aristocratic jerk?