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Group Readings > The Tempest, Act 2, June 20-26

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message 1: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Discussion of Act 2 in The Tempest can commence here....looking forward to this...


message 2: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments Three names are taken from Magellan's expedition in the stage direction of Act 1. There is one more in Act 2.
Enter Alonso, Sebastian, Anthonio, Gonzalo, Adrian, Francisco, and others.
The name Francisco appears only in stage directions. He speaks twice, but no one calls his name in the play, so audiences won't hear this name. Francisco is an unnecessary name (and role) in The Tempest.

Francisco Albo was a pilot who kept a logbook of Magellan’s expedition besides Antonio Pigafetta.

His logbook can be found in Magellan's Voyage Around the World translated by Lord Stanley of Alderley. Pigafetta's book spells his name as Francisco Albo, not Francisco Calvo or Alvaro.

Unnecessary names seal secret messages in Shakespeare.


message 3: by Christine (last edited Jun 23, 2018 06:04PM) (new)

Christine | 434 comments Hope everyone is enjoying Act 2!

I had not previously considered the fact that the whole storm was possibly a figment of their imagination -- as JamesD mentioned in a previous post. Yet Gonzalo seems to clarify this in Act 2 Scene 1:

GONZALO
That our garments, being, as they were, drenched in
the sea, hold notwithstanding their freshness and
glosses, being rather new-dyed than stained with
salt water.

ANTONIO
If but one of his pockets could speak, would it not
say he lies?

SEBASTIAN
Ay, or very falsely pocket up his report

GONZALO
Methinks our garments are now as fresh as when we
put them on first in Afric, at the marriage of
the king's fair daughter Claribel to the King of Tunis.

So, they came from a storm with no water on their clothes? Or perhaps this is Gonzalo's over-optimism, as Antonio disagrees.


message 4: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I am greatly convinced by your posts Jim.

But what I wonder is...what is Shakespeare aiming for with the covert allusions to Megellan? I suspect they were part of a group, of unique intelligent, perhaps some kind of special society....so that might be a connection...what what is the goal for Shakespeare?


message 5: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments Candy wrote: "...what is Shakespeare aiming for with the covert allusions to Megellan? ..."

My comments: Shakespeare compared his venture in literature with Magellan's expedition.

Shakespeare is a tempest in the drama world. (A tempest today?)

Allusion to Magellan via five names in The Tempest affirms that Shakespeare played with names; we should examine carefully all names.


message 6: by Candy (last edited Jun 28, 2018 10:18PM) (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Oh...thank you Jim. I see the metaphor now...how clever! I did not understand that earlier.

Yes, I do believe you are on to something...here I was thinking they were equals...and so in a society together...you are saying we are exploring Shakespeare's worlds and words and he left clues to show us to scramble or de-scramble names.

I was thinking that Shakespeare was referencing Magellan because he had an association with navigation. And that is the connection between the two innovators.

Does everyone do this? Is this a form of academic study of the plays? Does the RSC actors look at the plays like this? Is there a precedence or society that does this study....or did you notice it yourself!?


message 7: by Christine (new)

Christine | 434 comments Regarding names, it is interesting that in Twelfth Night (another play which involves a shipwreck) there are also characters named Antonio and Sebastian.


message 8: by Candy (last edited Jun 30, 2018 06:18AM) (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
That's a good point Christine. I wonder why he used those names twice?

I found the words "urchin-shows_ caught my eye....and I tried to find out if it was a pause or supposed to be hyphenated. I thought...how interesting the urchin and then hedgehog images in same verse. Both are tiny....and I wold never have thought of those two different animals together....but then, it makes some weird sense and fr a strong motif. All I could first find online was that there was some superstition about hedgehogs being malignant spirits. Perhaps because they can curl up and "disappear"?


"SCENE II. Another part of the island.

Enter CALIBAN with a burden of wood. A noise of thunder heard

CALIBAN
All the infections that the sun sucks up
From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall and make him
By inch-meal a disease! His spirits hear me
And yet I needs must curse. But they'll nor pinch,
Fright me with urchin--shows, pitch me i' the mire,
Nor lead me, like a firebrand, in the dark
Out of my way, unless he bid 'em; but
For every trifle are they set upon me;
Sometime like apes that mow and chatter at me
And after bite me, then like hedgehogs which
Lie tumbling in my barefoot way and mount
Their pricks at my footfall; sometime am I
All wound with adders who with cloven tongues
Do hiss me into madness.
Enter TRINCULO

Lo, now, lo!
Here comes a spirit of his, and to torment me
For bringing wood in slowly. I'll fall flat;
Perchance he will not mind me."

And then...Caliban "falls flat" as if he has learned camouflage from the animals he has listed in his thoughts we hear. I read once that Stephen Dobbin said the first reading we did was tracking animals. I believe humans only learn how to live by watching other animals...we are the animal that doesn't know how to behave, or live....and we have to watch and observe to have any common sense....where animals always know what to do...


message 9: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Then...as Caliban is disguised and hiding...Truncolo says he will hide!

"Alas, the storm is come again! my best way is to
creep under his gaberdine; there is no other
shelter hereabouts: misery acquaints a man with
strange bed-fellows. I will here shroud till the
dregs of the storm be past."

Of course....this hiding...and the disguises in Shakespeare is another good hint in the approach Jim is taking to this reading....of looking for hidden things in names.


message 10: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
And here are some song versions of "the master the swagger" or "i shall no more to sea"

https://rmichaelevans.bandcamp.com/tr...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL2Jn...

and I love the music in this one....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6B1J...


message 11: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Candy wrote: "That's a good point Christine. I wonder why he used those names twice?

I found the words "urchin-shows_ caught my eye....and I tried to find out if it was a pause or supposed to be hyphenated. I t..."


I delved a little farther Candy. I can see a connection with hedgehogs and urchins (sea urchins that is) because they are both spiney globular creatures (whose spikey spines can get stuck painfully in human skin).
So, in Middle English, urchin or urcheon was the actual name for hedgehog. You could extrapolate then that sea urchin means sea hedgehog.
Caliban in his soliloquy about being oppressed by Prospero describes how a barefoot person can be injured by stepping on a frightened hedgehog rolled up in fear on the path. I can see why poor country folk could imagine malignant spirits appearing in the form of hedgehogs to torment people - an urchin-show.
Hedgehogs are gentle slow moving nocturnal creatures that curl up into a ball when frightened; and these days are much loved in this (21st century England) well heeled country.
Caliban clumps urchin-shows in with whatever painful curses and spells Prospero might dole out to him.


message 12: by Christine (new)

Christine | 434 comments And Alice in Wonderland of course played croquet with hedgehogs as the balls and flamingos as the sticks :-)

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/c7/1c/78/c7...


message 13: by Tom (new)

Tom Lane | 84 comments Act 2 gives us our first in-depth encounter with characters who appear in cameo as the good ship U.S.* Goodreads is assailed by the tempest in Act 1. (*United Shakespearians. Betcha didn't know that is the ship's name. Registry: Port of Naples.) Here is how it goes down - the plot of Act 2, not the ship, the ship has already gone down, except, of course, that is an illusion and the ship hasn't gone down at all, but nobody except Prospero and Ariel know that yet.

Act 2: CONSPIRACIES HATCH

Scene 1: WOULD-BE REGICIDES

Gonzalo [addressing Alonso, who is looking disconsolate because he believes his son Ferdinand has drowned]:
Wow, we escaped the sea. Doesn't happen often. Be happy that at least some of us did.
Sebastian and Antonia: (pun-fest) [It is in their personalities to be flippant; but perhaps their giddiness can be excused as a reaction to surviving peril at sea.]
Francisco: I think I saw Ferdinand make it to shore.
Sebastian [to Alonso]: If Milan and Naples have suffered losses, including your son, "The fault's your own," bitch. [He doesn't actually say the "bitch" part, but you sure sense it's there.]
Gonzalo: This is a nice-looking island. (Paraphrases French proto-Enlightenment essayist Michel de Montaigne's analysis of the noble savages.) We have everything we need here to build a new, pure, Golden Age society.
Sebastian and Antonio: Love live Gonzalo the Great! LOL

Ariel: Sleep, my pretties. Except for Sebastian and Antonio, so you cads can reveal your true intentions.
Antonio: If we kill the others, you can seize the kingship of Naples. Then I will be duke of Milan. (Well, yes, there's niece Claribel - the new Queen of Tunis, not the clown on the "Howdy Doody" show - but she will be too far away to know about it.)
Sebastian: Cool. Then we will be allies, and you won't have to pay tribute anymore. Let's do this thing.
Ariel: "If of life you keep a care, Shake off slumber and beware. Awake, awake!"
Gonzalo and Alonso: WTF?!

Scene 2: CALIBAN "HAS A NEW MASTER"

Caliban: It sucks being me.
Trinculo, Stephano, and Caliban: (slapstick for the hoi polloi)
Caliban: That's good hooch. You must be a god. I will serve you, and show you the in's and out's of the island instead of Prospero.

As per the convention of the day, this play of Mr. Bill has five acts. (Japanese Noh plays also have five acts.) But unlike some of his work, which ranges widely across space and time ("The Winter's Tale" is a case in point), "The Tempest" conforms more to Aristotle's "Poetics"' canons of unity of time, place, and action, whether this is by intent or serendipity. Basically everything happens between 2 pm and 6 pm on a single day (Act 1 Scene 2 lines 240-241; Act 3 Scene 1 line 21; Act 5 Scene 1 lines 4-5). The Milan coup and 12 years on the island are told about, we do not see those happen; "what's past is prologue" (Act 2 Scene 1 line 253). We never make it to Milan or Naples. Things will move along fairly fast on the island, as in the reprehensible TV series "24"; or in one of those excruciatingly badly-written Dan Brown novels, in which all the action is also encompassed within 24 hours.

Prospero is assaying Ferdinand's sincerity, but is four hours sufficient to do so? Even less time than that, really, since later on we see Ferdinand and Miranda playing a round of Candy Land.

In Stephano's song, is "Kate," the shrew who "had a tongue with a tang," indeed THAT "Shrew," in a shrewdly parodic self-reference?

You all, gentle readers, are very good at ferreting out anagrams and possible connotations of names.

Good exchange of comments on Caliban as being perceived by Miranda as a man rather than a monstrosity. But then Miranda seems to possess an innate class-rank sensibility, in assessing Ferdinand - and, later, all the nobles on the island (though they may be "noble" by ancestry, they are less so of character) - as better-looking: "How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world that has such people in't" (Acts 5 Scene 1 lines 181-183).


message 14: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments urchin: a hedgehog; applied allusively to persons.
hedgehog: applied to a person who is regardless of others' feelings.
porcupine: applied allusively to a person. All from OED.

Porcupine is always spelt as "Porpentine" (8 times) in the First Folio. If the naming of Miranda is inspired by Mary, then Prospero can be by Porpentine.

Porcupine is the Sidney family crest. It's on the top of the cover of The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia (http://i.imgur.com/mh6yhNW.jpg), which is also a graphic riddle.

The man and woman here are Musidorus and Pyrocles, or Philip and Mary Sidney. The bear is killed by Musidorus (Dorus the shepherd), lion by Pyrocles (Zelmane the Amazon).

The boar in the lower circle alludes to the wild boar that kills Adonis. Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis (Adonis can spell Sidney with e from Venus) talks about Philip Sidney's death. He was wounded (by the Catholic Spanish) for 25 days, as the "painful warrior" in sonnet 25, and died on the 26th day.

SPIRO NON TIBI means "I breathe out, not for thee." The bush against the boar is sprung up from Adonis' blood.—The Sidneys' and Protestant poets' beautiful words (flowers) are not for the Catholic (boar).
0884 But the blunt boar, rough bear, or lion proud,
. . .
1167 And in his blood that on the ground lay spilled,
1168 A purple flower sprung up, chekered with white,
1169 Resembling well his pale cheeks, and the blood,
Venus and Adonis

Some say it's a marjoram bush; it should be anemone according to the myth.

Both Venus and Adonis and the new Arcadia were published in 1593. The cover of Arcadia appeared later in other books, including Spenser's The Faerie Queene.

Porcupine appears also on the top of Sylvester's text pyramid (http://i.imgur.com/sXMbQBI.jpg).


message 15: by Tom (new)

Tom Lane | 84 comments Miscellaneous musings from Act 2.

In re: unity of time, space, and action, Caliban's backstory, the whole business with mom Sycorax, as well as his discovery and training by Prospero, and his advances toward Miranda, take place offstage. So does Ariel's imprisonment in the tree by Sycorax, and his release by and "I am in your debt" vow of service (which was maybe taken out of obligation and duty rather than heartfelt gratitude) to Prospero. (Or else Prospero took advantage of Ariel by over-using him, as I infer Prospero did with Caliban, even before Caliban's romantic indiscretion.) Nor do we see Claribel and the wedding at Tunis. That seems an unnecessary plot item anyway. It could simply be said Sebastian is next in line for the kingship of Naples.

Speaking of Ariel - in re: Act 1 Scene 1, Tim noted that Prospero assures Miranda the people on the ship on safe, though he only really knows the outcome when Ariel reports in. I account for this in two ways: first, that Prospero has faith in Ariel, who is conscientious even if chafing at the harness in his obligation toward Prospero, awaiting release from it; and, second, Prospero himself may have had some direct hand in casting the illusion.

Good work, Candy, for the links to musical renditions of Stephano's "scurvy tune" in Act 2, "I shall no more to sea," or, "The master, the swabber, the boatswain* and I." Three interpretations, each a delight.

*It would be fun to be a boatswain just to hear people try to pronounce the job title. https://www.howtopronounce.com/boatsw...

I second Christine's thanks to Candy for good follow-up info on John Dee.

I asked our fellow readers what character from "The Tempest" you might like to play, and why. I really enjoyed Christine's answer: "I think it would be great fun to play Ariel! He gets to fly around, be invisible and do all kinds of cool stuff! Besides that, it would be interesting to bring to stage a being that is not quite human." Indeed, later in the play (spoiler alert) there will be byplay between Prospero and Ariel in which Ariel muses on human emotions which he/she/it as another order of being, cannot quite grok - though seems to manage rather successfully in giving nuance to his execution of Prospero's commands. As for flying, I remember years ago during one of his noontime ABC radio news and commentary broadcasts, Paul Harvey remarked he had heard someone ask: "If you could either live to be two hundred years old, or be able to fly, which would you chose?" Harvey's response: no question - I would chose to fly! Oh yeah.

Yesterday, I watched, on DVD from the library (while reading along in the text), a 2013 production of "The Tempest" done at the reconstruction of the Globe. (Let's plan a field trip to a performance there.) You can read a concise review of it at https://www.londontheatre.co.uk/revie.... Here is an angry, but controlled, Prospero, by comparison with Christopher Plummer's more laid-back one. The characters' exaggerated emotions give the play humor. Caliban's suggestion that the comic trio murder Prospero is almost matter-of-fact low-key, however. Good songs. A nimble yet dignified Ariel. But overall I felt it conventional, good, but standard fare, which is perhaps, though, most fitting to the setting. Even so, compared to more daring explorations of the play, no great shakes[peare].

I find it worth pondering that at the close of Scene 2, Caliban cries "freedom," but the freedom consists in transferring his fealty to a new master. Has Caliban, once a feral independent creature on the island he "owned," now, having been semi-"civilized," become dependent within a mini-feudal order on the island? It does seem Caliban believes Stephano will be a less heavy-handed taskmaster than Prospero. Is it that he has gotten to CHOSE a master, rather than have servitude imposed? In any case, Caliban's cry of "freedom" rings hollow in contrast to that of William Wallace in "Braveheart." I do not think this passage is a statement about colonialism in Shakespeare's day (or in his mindset), as some critical theory might opine, since Gonzalo is made to practically quote de Montaigne's manifesto for a free and equal social order inspired by that of uncorrupted American aborigines. What do you make of Caliban's seemingly contradictory exultation? Why is Caliban's change of masters to him a form of freedom?

Caliban's change of allegiance takes a sinister twist in Act 3. Ferdinand replaces Caliban as Prospero's lumberjack. And Ariel is definitely what he is called near the end of the play, a "tricksy spirit." There is fright and fun to come.


message 16: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments Candy wrote: "Does everyone do this? Is this a form of academic study of the plays? Does the RSC actors look at the plays like this? Is there a precedence or society that does this study....or did you notice it yourself!?"

I'm alone. The fun is to solve riddles. Here is another one.

The name Sycorax appears 7 times in the First Folio. Its meaning is still a mystery today.

Sphinx has the usage of a person having the nature of the Sphinx, a hybrid monster with a woman's head and lion's body. It'll kill (axe) those who can't answer its riddles (i.e., can't read its mind).

A Hybrid of Phoenix and Sphinx—Sycorax

Sycorax needs letter p, h, e, n to spell phoenix; p, h, n to spell sphinx. This explains why Prospero says Sycorax "was grown into a hoop."
PROSPERO.
The fowle Witch Sycorax, who with Age and Enuy
Was growne into a hoope? hast thou forgot her?
In the original spelling, “into a hoope” provides all the needed letters. Sycorax was grown into a hybrid of phoenix (Age) and sphinx (Envy). Envy has the definition of ill-will, malice, enmity (OED 1).

Why Argier?

The name Setebos is needed to link The Tempest with Magellan's circumnavigation, but saying Sycorax was born in Argier (some mend it to Algiers) is unnecessary.

Elizabeth Tudor was born in Greenwich (Palace of Placentia). The name appears once in Henry VIII. Greenwich can be spelt by Ariel's answer, "in Argier" and witch. Argier can spell garbage with b(orn).

Blue-eyed Hag
PROSPERO.
This blew ey'd hag [Sycorax], was hither brought with child . . .

"This blew ey'd hag" can spell Elisabeth;
"brought with child" can spell Tudor; and
"hither brought with child" can spell Robert Dudley.

First line of Shakespeare's Phoenix and Turtle, "Let the bird of loudest lay," can spell Elisabeth Tudor and Robert Dudley; it suggests that the poem talks loud and open about their love, and Amy Robsart's death to break them (Leicester's Commonwealth).

Sycorax is a perfect anagram of sic-or-ax and scary-ox; ox has the definition of a fool (OED 4a). The name says, if you're not such persons with the Queen (i.e., you can't read her mind well), you could be axed by that scary foolish cow.


message 17: by Christine (new)

Christine | 434 comments JimF wrote: ""This blew ey'd hag" can spell Elisabeth;
"brought with child" can spell Tudor; and
"hither brought with child" can spell Robert Dudley. ..."


Interesting! There has always been much speculation about this. Like this fictional story The Queen's Bastard

Elizabethans had a great love of word games and hidden messages. Although there must have been a lot of illiteracy, for those that could read, I wonder if this was part of the entertainment.


message 18: by Christine (new)

Christine | 434 comments Tom wrote: "Paul Harvey remarked he had heard someone ask: "If you could either live to be two hundred years old, or be able to fly, which would you chose?" Harvey's response: no question - I would chose to fly! Oh yeah...."

Hey, for that 200 years, they do not mention if you'd be aging, but alive! Not a very fun prospect, hehe! I'd take flying too.


message 19: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) Tom wrote: "Miscellaneous musings from Act 2.

I find it worth pondering that at the close of Scene 2, Caliban cries "freedom," but the freedom consists in transferring his fealty to a new master. ..."


It could be Shakespeare being ironic. Of course Caliban's not free, he's just given himself over to another. And also, if he is free to do that, then he is not so bound to Prospero as he says (or thinks). The underlying message might be that none of us are free, but it's up to us who/what we choose to serve... but serve we do.


message 20: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) JimF wrote: "Candy wrote: "Does everyone do this? Is this a form of academic study of the plays? Does the RSC actors look at the plays like this? Is there a precedence or society that does this study....or did ..

I'm alone. The fun is to solve riddles. Here is another one..."


With all the mentions of Mary Sydney, I think it could be a (not so) subtle campaign to convince us that Mary Sydney was in fact Shakespeare, or that Shakespeare was obsessed by her (lovers?).


message 21: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments Christine wrote: "There has always been much speculation about this. Like this fictional story The Queen's Bastard ..."

Indeed. Many comments there. The Queen's bastard, I don't know the truth of it, but it can explain many strange words and arrangement in Shakespeare. They all point to Francis Bacon, not Arthur Dudley or Edward de Vere.

The Forward-Backward Arrangement

Caliban falls flat on the ground for fear of Prospero's spirit. Trinculo hides under Caliban's gaberdine for fear of storm. This is to accuse a double-dealing, two-faced man.
STEPHANO.
Four legs and two voices; a most delicate Monster:
his forward voice now is to speak well of his friend;
his backward voice, is to utter foul speeches, and to detract:
This Arrangement, I believe, is to match Francis Bacon (F. B.) with Forward-Backward (F. B.). To spell Francis Bacon via Forward-Backward we need letter n, i, s, which are mended by "now is."

For Caliban to spell Francis Bacon, we need letter f, s, o, r (fsor);
"his forward" contains the needed letters.—His forward voice now is Francis Bacon to speak well of his friend.

Similary, for mother to spell Elisabeth, we need letter l, i, s, a, b. Caliban's mother can spell Elisabeth.

The Fish-Monster Caliban
TRINCULO.
wilt thou tell a monstrous lie, being but half a Fish, and half a Monster?
For Caliban to spell Francis Bacon, we need fsor. "Fish" has fs, the first half of fsor. "Monster" has or the other half.

Francis Bacon betrayed his master Robert Devereux (1565–1601), who married Frances Walsingham (1567–1633), daughter of Francis Walsingham (1532–90) and widow of Philip Sidney (1554–86).

Not enough still. Francis Bacon appears in other places of Shakespeare.


message 22: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments Janice (JG) wrote: "With all the mentions of Mary Sydney, I think it could be a (not so) subtle campaign to convince us that Mary Sydney was in fact Shakespeare, or that Shakespeare was obsessed by her (lovers?)"

In my study, Mary Sidney was faithful to her husband (he was not). After he died in 1601, she got comfort from her physician Dr. Matthew Lister, who appears also in Shakespeare's works (e.g., sonnet 140, 147, and King Lear).

Mary Sidney isn't equal to Shakespeare. Wilton House poets wrote under the code name Shakespeare. The man William Shakespeare was paid to be their front man, who must not be able to write anything, so that no evidence can link him out to others. The man existed as a firewall. The Herberts had the money and power and Walsingham's spies to control them.

Many lines are needed to prove the assumption, including all 154 riddled sonnets, and they should benefit the reading of Shakespeare.

Decoders are smarter than coders, usually. No one is smarter than Shakespeare (they were a band), including me. However, it'll be another story with today's computing power and Java, for Shakespeare followed word's logic strictly.


message 23: by Tim (new)

Tim Horwood | 17 comments Janice (JG) wrote: "Tom wrote: "Miscellaneous musings from Act 2.

I find it worth pondering that at the close of Scene 2, Caliban cries "freedom," but the freedom consists in transferring his fealty to a new master. ..."


Caliban is drunk. Stephano and Trinculo have a butt of sack which they have been sharing with Caliban.
Apparently a butt of sack is 600 bottles of sherry. No wonder Caliban is singing.


message 24: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Tim wrote: "Janice (JG) wrote: "Tom wrote: "Miscellaneous musings from Act 2.

I find it worth pondering that at the close of Scene 2, Caliban cries "freedom," but the freedom consists in transferring his feal..."


Shakespeare's having a laugh. Not just the groundlings at the Globe would cheer at the thought of being marooned on a desert island with a butt of sherry (and a good companion or two of course).


message 25: by Lucinda (last edited Jul 12, 2018 10:15AM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments I've just read Act II. Just trying to catch up. I have nothing profound to add. It is interesting the way Trincalo and Stephano play towards the credulous Caliban the exploitative role in fact assumed by early colonialists towards indigenous people, whom they regarded as 'savages'. Meanwhile, the plotting of the courtiers Sebastian and Antonio is even worse by way of low motives. In contrast to them we have the love of Ferdinand and Miranda.
I had assumed that Caliban's previous attempt on 'the honour' of Miranda was meant to be rape, but maybe it is meant to have been a clumsy attempted seduction?
It seems ambigous wheher or not Caliban is even meant to be human, as Miranda counts him so in Act One, and decides he isn't in Act Two.


message 26: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I am uncomfortable with this aspect of the play too. It never makes sense to me.


message 27: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Lucinda...it is very difficult to understand what Caliban is to the play and to the universe of the Tempest. In some ways I'd like to believe that there is some life force in Caliban that Shakespeare wants to explore....and to hint at dignity...and how poorly we treat nature and other people and "the other"....I don't know is there evidence of compassion for Caliban in the play?

Prospero taught Caliban his own language and his own sense of time. Caliban describes the friendliness of Prospero who assimilates and trains Caliban...then rejects him and uses him. The play refers to time....and Prospero teaches Caliban the use of time according to the sun and moon....once Caliban uses the cultural references of Prospero....he might be weakened and caught off guard...? Prospero teaches him to tell the time how Prospero does only t force a punch time clock on Caliban.

I also think that we learn a lot about ethics and compassion....and strength when we review what Ullyses says in "Troiluss and Cressida"....which we read not too long ago...

What does Ullyses mean by "degrees" t's hard not to think he means the kind of vigilance given by the masons and engineers riffing on the this of Elizabethan Occult Philosophy, Alchemy (often viewed through the lens of Freemasons) here...

"ULYSSES


Troy, yet upon his basis, had been down,
And the great Hector's sword had lack'd a master,
But for these instances.
The specialty of rule hath been neglected:
And, look, how many Grecian tents do stand
Hollow upon this plain, so many hollow factions.
When that the general is not like the hive
To whom the foragers shall all repair,
What honey is expected? Degree being vizarded,
The unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask.
The heavens themselves, the planets and this centre
Observe degree, priority and place,
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
Office and custom, in all line of order;
And therefore is the glorious planet Sol
In noble eminence enthroned and sphered
Amidst the other; whose medicinable eye
Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
And posts, like the commandment of a king,
Sans cheque to good and bad: but when the planets
In evil mixture to disorder wander,
What plagues and what portents! what mutiny!
What raging of the sea! shaking of earth!
Commotion in the winds! frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate
The unity and married calm of states
Quite from their fixure! O, when degree is shaked,
Which is the ladder to all high designs,
Then enterprise is sick! How could communities,
Degrees in schools and brotherhoods in cities,
Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
The primogenitive and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
But by degree, stand in authentic place?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And, hark, what discord follows! each thing meets
In mere oppugnancy: the bounded waters
Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores
And make a sop of all this solid globe:
Strength should be lord of imbecility,
And the rude son should strike his father dead:
Force should be right; or rather, right and wrong,
Between whose endless jar justice resides,
Should lose their names, and so should justice too.
Then every thing includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite;
And appetite, an universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce an universal prey,
And last eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,
This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
Follows the choking.
And this neglection of degree it is
That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose
It hath to climb. The general's disdain'd
By him one step below, he by the next,
That next by him beneath; so every step,
Exampled by the first pace that is sick
Of his superior, grows to an envious fever
Of pale and bloodless emulation:
And 'tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,
Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length,
Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength."


message 28: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
And I want to emphasize how incredible the word play and puzzle solving posts are to read and think about. I love the engravings and picture puzzles. So lovely to read about the associations with porcupines, boars and family motifs thank you so much Jim!!!


message 29: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments Candy wrote: "And I want to emphasize how incredible the word play and puzzle ... thank you so much Jim!!!"

You’re welcome. They’re everywhere. For certain reason, the word Bible never appears in Shakespeare, and it’s everywhere.

This one is trigged by Stephano’s bottle. Why would Shakespeare tell us the bottle is “made of the bark of a Tree”?

* * *

Butler Stephano has a Butt of sack, a Bottle made of the Bark of a tree, a Bush, a dog, and a Book (the bottle as his Bible).
STEPHANO.
Swear by this Bottle how thou came’st hither:
I escaped upon a Butt of Sack,
which the Sailors heaved overboard,
by this Bottle which I made of the bark of a Tree,
with mine own hands, since I was cast ashore.
. . .
CALIBAN.
I have seen thee in her: and I do adore thee:
My Mistress showed me thee, and thy Dog, and thy Bush.

STEPHANO.
Come, swear to that: kiss the Book:
I will furnish it anon with new Contents: Swear.
Bark has the definition of the sharp explosive cry uttered by a dog. Tree can be the cross on which Christ was crucified.

Stephano’s bottle equals to his Bible, to furnish it with new contents would be equal to furnish Bible. This explains why Prospero puts his “trumpery” outside his cave for Stephano and Trinculo to steal (an odd or needless arrangement).

Before the stealing, their “bottles” are lost in a pool.
TRINCULO.
Ay, but to loose our bottles in the Poole.

STEPHANO.
There is not only disgrace and dishonour in that
Monster, but an infinite loss.
To lose bottles can’t be an infinite loss, but to furnish Bible with new contents of trumpery.

Stephano’s dog is his backward god. Stephano-Trinculo can spell Catholic; “Poole” can spell Pope.


message 30: by Tom (new)

Tom Lane | 84 comments There sure is a lot going on in this suite of dialogue: wordplay, alliteration, juxtapositions of concepts. Thanks for bringing these out. I appreciate this scene more now.


message 31: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments JimF wrote: "Candy wrote: "And I want to emphasize how incredible the word play and puzzle ... thank you so much Jim!!!"

You’re welcome. They’re everywhere. For certain reason, the word Bible never appears in..."


In England 'to lose your bottle' is to lose your courage or lose your nerve. Might be a part of some double/triple meaning here?


message 32: by JamesD (last edited Jul 27, 2018 12:56AM) (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Candy wrote: "Lucinda...it is very difficult to understand what Caliban is to the play and to the universe of the Tempest. In some ways I'd like to believe that there is some life force in Caliban that Shakespea..."

These degrees of Ulysses might not they be about maintaining the class sytem/social order so that a society/community remains strong? In relation to 'Caliban's Isle' then Shakespeare is on about social order. The 'New World' of Elizabethan times provided a new class or lower rung to the Elizabethan (if not the whole of European) social order in the inhabitants (so called savages) of these foreign lands.
But with this comes to the potential for the upsetting of the 'degrees' as shown in The Tempest where a butler, a jester and savage conspire to take over a country and run the show themselves. Shakespeare's Ulysses would not have approved.
As for sympathy for Caliban - does he not represent all the poor, downtrodden and suppressed people in England at the time who felt mistreated by their rulers/bosses and who naively would jump at any chance to get rid of them, even if it meant being subject to an unproven someone else? The groundlings!
As an example, Cortes in conquering the Aztecs did so partly by persuading tribes subjected unhappily to the Aztecs to make themselves subject to him so that the Aztecs might be overthrown. Little did they know what was in store for them.


message 33: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments JamesD wrote: "In England 'to lose your bottle' is to lose your courage or lose your nerve. Might be a part of some double/triple meaning here?"

Bottle as courage (to lose one’s bottle) can fit the context here, but its first usage was in 1958 (OED). We may reconsider.

In Shakespeare, bottle can mean a narrow neck vessel (since 1375), or a bundle of hay or straw (since 1386). The later one could be derived from a narrow-neck bundle of hay that looks like a bottle. The interesting term is bottle-ale in Twelfth Night:
FESTE.
My Lady has a white hand,
and the Mermidons are no bottle-ale houses.
In Shakespeare, Mermidon is spelt Myrmidon always except here.

Also in Henry IV, Part 2
DOLL TEAR-SHEET.
Away you Bottle-Ale Rascal, you Basket-hilt stale Juggler, you.
I think both mean some bottle-shape men filled with ale, i.e., obese (shape), flabby (hay), fragile (glass), cheap (ale, hay) and troublesome (ail). Ale was spelt ail or aill sometimes in the 16th century (OED), and it sounds like ail.


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