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Transcript of Obedience
God and Faustus.
It is important, when addressing the topic of obedience that the nature of the term is addressed fully
'Compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority
children were taught to show their parents obedience
obedience to moral standards'
the term 'another's authority' defines the term obedience. On paper it seems to be a straight forward concept but in reality it is not as simple. This is displayed in both Shakespeare The Tempest and Marlowe's Dr Faustus.
I will look at the ideas of character relationships, religion (Faustus) different reading of obedience in both texts, magic and authority
Miranda and Prospero
In Act 1, Scene 3, as Faustus considered making a deal with the devil, he remarks, "Had I as many souls as there be stars, / I'd give them all for Mephistopheles' little does Faustus know, despite Mephistopheles having some impressive supernatural powers,( which he uses to keep Faustus obedient) he plans to use these powers to merely entertain him wile he thinks he is gaining godly knowledge. He manipulates Dr Faustus out of repenting by threatening him whenever he thinks about God or heaven, he calls upon on his devil friends to distract Faustus and win him back to the Dark Side. He manages to make Faustus feel guilty for thinking good thoughts about God. his clear power over Faustus however id not seen by Faustus himself. he believes he has Mephistopheles at his disposal but in actuality he has all the power over him.this ins an interesting angle of obedience becuase it is not conducive to the hierarchy. Mephistopheles makes his allegiance to the devil abundantly clear the moment he first appears, telling Faustus, "I am a servant to great Lucifer / And may not follow thee without his leave. / No more than he commands may we perform" (1.3.38-40).
he is presented through out the play as the savage from the island who was taken in by Prospero and taught to speak. 'you taught me language and my profit on't was I learn to curse'. this would show a feeling of disobedience toward Porspero and shows that the obedience within this relationship is brought by some other favor, inn this case, teaching him how to speak.
Calibans obedience is again brought into question when he teams up with Staphano and Trinculo to remove Propsero from a position of power. by the end of his short revolt has returned to his master and the order of obedience is restored.
Miranda shows a loving, warm nature towards her father which consists of great respect as well. This is depicted in Act 1 Scene 2 as she addresses her father, ‘My dearest Father, you have the put the wild waters in this roar... and now I pray, you sir.’ Miranda lacks trust in her father this is clear to the reader as she simply assumes that he is the result of ‘The Tempest.’ this displayed a trait of disobedience toward her father. this the contradicts the depiction of a patriarchal fantasy that she is refereed to by Trevor Nuun. she has no other interaction with women so only know what her father has taught her. she seems to be the ideal Elizabethan women except in matters of morality in which her obedience seems to vanish. even then she does not rival her father strongly.The superlative ‘dearest’ shows her affection toward her father in addition this she addresses him as Sir which shows her immense respect toward him. Miranda is often referred to her as ‘wench’ a colloquial term for a lower class woman. This portrays her as the ideal Elizabethan woman.
Ariel is Prospero's "tricksy" spirit servant and attends to Prospero's every need. Unlike Caliban, Ariel has a (mostly) warm and loving relationship with Prospero, who saved Ariel when he arrived on the island. The evil witch Sycorax imprisoned Ariel in a tree because the "delicate" spirit disobeyed her . this again brings to mind the idea of buying obedience and again links back to Mirandas strong morality.Even though Ariel is affectionate toward Prospero, we learn early on that Ariel isn't a servant by nature; he primarily wants his liberty, but, knowing that it will come, serves Prospero wholeheartedly and happily. Propsero perhaps abuses the authority he has over Ariel by repeatedly changing the amount of time he must still work for him. Ariel pleads 'I prithee remember I have done thee worth service, thou dist promise to bade me a full year'
Faustus seeked to go beyond his mortal limits. He was tempted to know and do things with "Godlike abilities". Mephistopheles tempts Faustus with acquiring, what Faust believes to be, these abilities. god, who uur represented by the 'good angel' is trying, thought the entire play to regain Faustus obedience but the lack of such is what ultimately leads to his downfall.
Caliban in The Tempest is one of the most interesting and sympathetic characters. He is described using very derogatory terms, such as a ‘tortoise’ a ‘fish’ and a ‘beast’. The only information we receive about Caliban’s parentage and background is that from Prospero. ‘Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself Upon thy wicked dam.’ Prospero, here, is very prejudiced. He shows no respect for Caliban, despite the fact Caliban shows great intelligence when he tells Prospero ‘You taught me language; and my profit on’t Is, I know how to curse.’Caliban is made unwillingly Prospero’s slave, even though he claims the island is really his – ‘This island’s mine by Sycorax my mother, Which though tak’st from me.’ This shows that the way we think and the way we experience the world around us are either wholly or largely conditioned by the way the economy is organised. Here, social class is important – Prospero’s supremacy means that Caliban is powerless to stop or refuse him displaying a marxist reading of their realtionship.
Shakespeare's Tempest lends itself to many different levels of meaning and interpretation. The play can be seen on a realistic plane as a tale of political power and social responsibility. It can be seen as allegory examining the growth of the human spirit. The Tempest investigates marriage, love, culture. It is symbolic of man's rational higher instincts verses his animal natural tendencies. This is a play of repentance, power, revenge and fate that can also be seen as fantasy, dream, imagination, metaphor or magic.
The Tempest should be allowed to represent many points of view, even those that the author was not consciously or unconsciously aware when he wrote it. One outlook does not invalidate the others. I propose to illustrate The Tempest as a play about what is occurring in the protagonist's mind. To be more specific, it is the growth, maturing and individuation of Prospero. Shakespeare, in a sense of which he could not be conscious, was anticipating Freud and Jung. His servants, Ariel and Caliban, are the agents of synchronicity. By synchronicity, I mean meaningful coincidence; an acausal principle relating inner mind to the external world; a vehicle whereby the ego, if it is open, can glimpse the Self. In Jung's terms, it is strongest when an emotional attachment exists and when there is an element of risk or death. When the subject is ready to learn, the unconscious mind can affect physical reality. By individuation, I mean, "becoming a single homogenous being …. Becoming one's own self …. Coming into selfhood."