Charlie's Reviews > The Tempest

The Tempest by William Shakespeare
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Oct 15, 14

bookshelves: theatre, to-reread, desert-island, my-actual-bookshelf
Read from July 26, 2011 to October 15, 2014

It wasn't as good as I remembered, but there's still a lot to explore and delve into, and a lot I'm sure I still don't understand. This time around I was most fascinated by the character of Ariel, whose quiet seething resentment I had never picked up on before. Unfortunately I had also never noticed the reference to Caliban attempting sexual violence before the events of the play, and that's a detail that I find unforgivable in Caliban, whose eloquence and rage had intrigued me in the past. Super creeped out by Ferdinand's courtship of Miranda, too. I think there's a significant age difference there.

Those are two huge points against the play, but there are still some interesting aspects to "The Tempest". One of the first things that caught my attention during this reading was the language - it was a lot more difficult to understand than many of Shakespeare's plays. At first I worried I was losing my grasp on Elizabethan, but then it occurred to me that in the same way physical evolution occurs on islands, linguistic evolution also occurs. Miranda and Prospero have been on this unnamed island for something like twelve years, with only each other and Caliban and the spirits for company. It makes sense that the way they speak would diverge from the linguistic patterns of the place they came from, since they're so out of touch with that previous world. The slightly whimsical way in which the islanders speak is very different from the more prosaic language of the sailors at the beginning of the book, so it does seem intentional; and it gives more of an air of fantasy to the inhabitants of the island.

I saw a play adaptation of The Tempest when I was very young, and I remember liking it then, but I haven't seen it since. I think I'd get a lot more out of this script if I had some theatrical interpretation to go along with the lines, especially Ariel's lines. I would like to portray Ariel sometime for a play, but I want to make sure I do as good a job as I can.

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Reading Progress

10/15/2014 marked as: currently-reading
10/15/2014 marked as: read

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