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Lecture on the Tempest

Alice Joubin

Alexa Alice Joubin

on 17 April 2018

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Transcript of Lecture on the Tempest

The Tempest:
Redemption, Colonialism,
art and creation
Alexa Alice Joubin
Yes, the play is all about reconciliation
Does Prospero genuinely pardons his foes?
Can he serve as a model of true forgiveness?
The Tempest
fable of art and creation (Prospero vs Shakespeare)
colonialist allegory (seafaring, exploration, imperialism)
question of redemption and reconciliation
important perspectives
Time Line
1598 Much Ado About Nothing

1598-99 Julius Caesar

1603-04 Othello

1606 Macbeth

1611 The Tempest
1562 English mariners enter into the slave trade
On a voyage to West Africa, Captain John Hawkins, a trader and naval commander, became the first English slave trader. Hawkins captured or purchased a number of people in Africa and sold them on as slaves in the Caribbean. It would be nearly 250 years before an act of parliament banned the trade.

1584 Queen Elizabeth I of England granted a charter to Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618) to search and discover 'remote and heathen lands'

1585 Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618) led expeditions to both North America and South America in order to found new settlements and find gold. Raleigh sends several shiploads of colonists to the east coast of North America and names Virginia in honour of Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen.

1600 British East India Company receives its charter from Elizabeth I
The purpose of the British East India Company was to form trade links with southern and eastern Asia, and challenge Dutch and Portuguese dominance in the spice trade. The company was to become the major force in British imperial expansion in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its influence was particularly important in establishing British control of the Indian sub-continent.

1602 Sir Walter Raleigh sends Samuel Mace of Weymouth on a voyage to Virginia (North Carolina) to explore and search for survivors of the Lost Colony

1603 Elizabeth I dies and James VI of Scotland accedes to the English throne
Elizabeth I died childless so was succeeded by her cousin, James VI of Scotland, who henceforth assumed the title of James I of England as well. James's accession meant that the three separate kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were now united, for the first time, under a single monarch. James was the first Stuart ruler of England.

1604 James I ends the war with Spain
One of James I's first acts of foreign policy was to end the long war with Spain, which had continued intermittently for 20 years. The end of the war greatly eased the English government's near bankrupt financial state. England and Spain were at peace for the next 50 years.

1606 English investors form the London Virginia Company are backed by a royal charter to finance permanent English settlements in the New World

1607 Virginia Colony established by colonists dispatched by the London Company found the first permanent settlement at Jamestown

'King James Bible' is published
By the end of the 16th century, there were several different English bibles in circulation and the church authorities felt a definitive version was needed. The 'Authorised Version of the Bible' (also known as the 'King James Bible') was commissioned in 1604. It became the most famous English translation of the scriptures and had a profound impact on the English language.

23 April 1616 William Shakespeare dies

August 1620 'Pilgrim Fathers' sail for America in the 'Mayflower'
A group attempting to escape religious persecution in England sailed for the New World and landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. They became known as the 'Pilgrim Fathers', and are often portrayed as the founders of modern America. In reality, the first permanent British colony in North America was Jamestown in Virginia, founded by Captain John Smith in 1607. Jamestown was established on behalf of the London Company, which hoped to make a profit from the new colony for its shareholders.
Prospero stages a masque
Featuring figures from Greek and Roman myth -- Iris, Ceres, Juno, Mars, Dis (or Pluto)
With the help of Ariel, Prospero shows off his art
Conjures spirits
Celebrates the coming marriage of Miranda and Ferdinand
References to fertility and plenty: Venus and the blind Cupid
You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismay'd: be cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

J.M.W. Turner, "The Shipwreck," 1805
Tate, London
J.M.W. Turner, "Snow Storm - Steam Boat off a Harbor’s Mouth Making Signals in Shallow Water, and Going by the Lead. The Author was in this Storm on the Night the Ariel Left Harwich," 1842
Tate, London

The title evokes Shakespeare’s spirit Ariel from The Tempest. The name of the ship is uncertain; perhaps Turner remembered the name as Ariel because he had Shakespeare’s play in mind.
DEBATE on The Tempest

6 pm, Nov 10 (Thursday) in Funger 210

Topic: Resolved that Prospero genuinely pardons his foes and is a model of true forgiveness and reconciliation.

Negative TEAM: Graham, Babette, Meredith, Rebekah

Affirmative TEAM: from Dr. Holly Dugan's Shakespeare course
Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
and what strength I have's mine own,
which is most faint: now, 'tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
or sent to Naples. Let me not,
since I have my dukedom got
and pardoned the deceiver, dwell
in this bare island by your spell:
but release me from my bands
with the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails
must fill, or else my project fails,
which was to please. Now I want
spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
and my ending is despair,
unless I be relieved by prayer,
which pierces so that it assaults
mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardoned be,
let your indulgence set me free.

You taught me language; and my profit on't
Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language!.

I pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour
One thing or other. When thou didst not, savage,
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes
With words that made them known.

Paul Vincent Woodroffe. The Tempest. Caliban. II, 2.
Watercolor and ink drawing, ca. 1908
Henry Fuseli. Ariel. Oil on canvas,
ca. 1800-1810
DEBATE: a dialogic process
dialogic = relating your own ideas to those of others (your opponents and/or other critics)

Listen closely to others; be as responsive as you can to their arguments

Develop critical arguments -- THREE APPROACHES
1. Strongly disagreeing with another critic's argument. Strategies:
arguing for an opposing interpretation of the critic's main evidence
arguing that there's significant relevant evidence in The Tempest that the critic's argument neglects (evidence that would support a different interpretation)
arguing that the context within which the critic reeads the evidence is not appropriate

2. You can say "Yes, but ..." -- partially agreeing with another critic and partially disagree.
pointing to convincing aspects of the critic's argument
applying the critic's argument to some part of the text that the critic has not addressed

3. You can say "Yes, and ..."
building on the critic's case
but pointing out something that the critic has failed to explore sufficiently
show how if we pursue the critic's argument we end up in a dead end. That is, while it may seem convincing on the surface, such an argument simply won't work.
Leading playwright, director, and acting teacher in Korea. He began playwriting in 1968 and his over 60 original plays are rooted in Korea’s cultural past and present. He has established a unique theatre methodology based on traditional Korean aesthetics, language, and expressions. Recently, Oh’s adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays have garnered international acclaim including The Herald Angel’s Award at the 2011 Edinburgh International Arts Festival for his production of the Tempest.

Oh Tae-suk, born in 1940, had a traumatic start to his life.

When I was 11, the Korean War broke out. One day a car stopped in front of our house and my father was forced to get into it and he was abducted. After that, everything changed. (Oh Tae-suk, from Romeo & Juliet programme notes)

Since then he has emerged as Korea’s leading director / playwright, with 60 plays to his credit.

Oh Tae-suk emerged as an avant-garde theatre artist in the 1960s, opposing the then dominant shinguk, a generic term referring to modern Korean theatre modelled after realistic European and American drama. While “Western” in its framework, Oh’s theatre is decidedly Korean in sentiment and spirit and the result of forty years of relentless experimentation in search of a new theatre aesthetic that merges Western dramaturgy with Korean traditions. Oh’s original plays and his unique directing methods have made his name virtually synonymous with post-shinguk in Korea.

(Kim Ah-jeong, from Romeo & Juliet programme notes)
OH Tae-suk (1940 -- )

Founder and artistic director of Mokhwa Repertory Theatre Company (f. 1984) in Seoul, South Korea
Does he genuinely pardon his foes? Can he serve as a model of true forgiveness and reconciliation?

The Tempest is generally regarded as Shakespeare's last play, first performed in 1611 for King James I and again for the marriage festivities of Elizabeth, the King's daughter, to Frederick, the Elector Palatine.

Immediate source of the play: 1609 shipwreck of an English ship in Bermuda and travelers' reports about the island and the ordeal of the mariners

The period in which it was written = the seventeenth century age of exploration

THEME of Utopianism
MIRANDA: I do not know
One of my sex; no woman's face remember,
Save, from my glass, mine own; nor have I seen
More that I may call men than you, good friend,
And my dear father: how features are abroad,
I am skilless of; but, by my modesty,
The jewel in my dower, I would not wish
Any companion in the world but you,
Nor can imagination form a shape,
Besides yourself, to like of. But I prattle
Something too wildly and my father's precepts
I therein do forget.

CSI: The Tempest
Utopia / dystopia
shipwreck / New World
"Miranda and Caliban"
James Ward (1769-1859)
Joseph Noel Paton (1864)
"Caliban, Prospero, Miranda"
C.W. Sharpe, 1875
who is Caliban?
1. Son of “Sycorax”
2. native of the island
3. Slave to Prospero and Miranda
4. Possible deviant

"Caliban upon Setebos," (1864)
Robert Browning
['Will sprawl, now that the heat of day is best,
Flat on his belly in the pit's much mire,
With elbows wide, fists clenched to prop his chin.
And, while he kicks both feet in the cool slush,
And feels about his spine small eft-things course,
Run in and out each arm, and make him laugh:
And while above his head a pompion-plant,
Coating the cave-top as a brow its eye,
Creeps down to touch and tickle hair and beard,
And now a flower drops with a bee inside,
And now a fruit to snap at, catch and crunch,—
He looks out o'er yon sea which sunbeams cross
And recross till they weave a spider-web
(Meshes of fire, some great fish breaks at times)
And talks to his own self, howe'er he please,
Touching that other, whom his dam called God.
Because to talk about Him, vexes—ha,
Could He but know! and time to vex is now,
When talk is safer than in winter-time.
Moreover Prosper and Miranda sleep
In confidence he drudges at their task,
And it is good to cheat the pair, and gibe,
Letting the rank tongue blossom into speech.]

“'Thinketh, such shows nor right nor wrong in Him,Nor kind, nor cruel: He is strong and Lord.'Am strong myself compared to yonder crabsThat march now from the mountain to the sea;'Let twenty pass, and stone the twenty-first,Loving not, hating not, just choosing so.'Say, the first straggler that boasts purple spotsShall join the file, one pincer twisted off;'Say, this bruised fellow shall receive a worm,And two worms he whose nippers end in red;As it likes me each time, I do:"
WHat are we to make of a Caliban figure who is pondering philosophy?
COlonizer v. Colonized: Caliban's origins
"Afro-Caribbean" or “Hispanic”?
Explored in literary works of great importance
Ngugi Wa Thiongo of Kenya, Ndabaninai Sithole of Zimbabwe, Nkem Nwanko of Nigeria
Jose Enrique Rodo of Uruguay and Ruben Dario of Nicaragua
Writers from "othered" background as addressing ideas of language and no longer feeling land as "native" that pervade

Post-colonial Criticism and methods
a method of analysis that --
investigates how Shakespeare's plays relate to the social conventions by which early modern Europeans defined non-European and non-Christian people they encountered

explores the more recent history of the reception of Shakespearean drama within non-Western societies (in Africa, India, the Caribbean, Asia, and Latin America

Shakespeare plays two roles --

an export to the colonies as part of cultural domination

a tool that enabled the colonized groups to revise and remake Shakespeare's plays to "talk back"
Shakespeare drew on William Strachey's account (1610) of the shipwreck and redemption of Sir Thomas Gates' expedition in the Bermudas in 1609

Gates was on his way to Jamestown in the Virginia colony

He was wrecked in a tempest on an island that turned out to be so habitable that his men were reluctant to leave

Caliban <-- --> the cannibal / savage
"Discovery" Narratives
Prospero considers Caliban's mother a terrible being --

"The damned witch Sycorax" who "for mischiefs manifold, and sorceries terrible / To enter human hearing, from Algiers, ... was banished" to this island (1.2.265-8).
Prospero's account to Ariel --

emphasis on the distinction between Sycorax's evil magic and Prospero's own supposedly benevolent arts

Caliban is labeled as less than human --

"freckled whelp, hag-born--not honored with / A human shape" (1.2.285-6)

But Prospero also claims to have treated Caliban with kindness --

I have used thee, / Filth as thou art, with human care, and lodged thee / In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate / The honor of my child (1.2.348-51)
Miranda justifies their enslavement of Caliban
They claim that they have tried to civilize Caliban but to no avail
Caliban's version of history:

Prospero is the intruder
Prospero betrays the initial welcome given to him by Caliban
Questions the normative ideas of "common humanity"
Une Tempete, Amie Cesaire (1969)
Incidental Music to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Op. 109, by the French composer Jean Sibelius (composed in 1925-26)
Caliban (in relation to...)
Stephano and Trinculo

Caliban and Prospero, RSC South African production (2010)
Debate: Is Caliban a victim or deserving of disdain?
DEBATE on The Tempest

Topic: Resolved that Prospero genuinely pardons his foes and is a model of true forgiveness and reconciliation.

Negative TEAM

Affirmative TEAM
Thomas Cartelli, "Prospero in Africa: The Tempest as Colonialist Text and Pretext"
Alice Joubin, “What Country, Friends, Is This?”: Touring Shakespeares, Agency, and Efficacy in Theatre Historiography
Shakespeare's The Tempest takes place on Caliban’s “isle ... full of noises," with strange sounds and exotic sights and creatures. We have studied a number of adaptations that offer tempestuous visual feasts. What roles do noise and music play in the Tempest? How do stage and film directors bring the play to life? Shakespeare used the very limited resources of his bare stage to create a sense of realism, but realism is a non issue for modern directors who are more interested in the fantastic.

Consider some passages in the play that mention noises, sound, music, or exotic sights. Discuss how these passages are rendered in the adaptation of your choice. How does the visualization portray the larger themes of the play (man versus monster, the colonizer and the colonized)?
Performing the Tempest
Miranda's name = a classic object of the gaze
Miranda also exercises the privilege of gazing (Ferdinand)
How does the director's camera dwell on Miranda?
What should be done with Prospero's long account to Miranda of the "backstory"?
Setting: Mediterranean or the Carribean?
Propspero <-- --> Caliban

1. Sense of dispossession

Prospero robbed of his dukedom

Caliban usurped as his "own king"
(of the island)

2. Desire for retribution

Prospero symbolically punishes his enemies

Caliban wants bloody retribution


Prospero hesitates to acknowledge the parallels between himself and Caliban (situations, attitudes, etc)

"This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine."
Full transcript