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Group Readings > The Tempest, Act 4

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message 1: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Discussion of Act 4 can happen here


message 2: by Tom (last edited Jul 18, 2018 08:37AM) (new)

Tom Lane | 84 comments Felicitations, fellow castaways on Prospero's Island of Illusions,

"Carry me on the waves to the lands I've never been, carry me on the waves to the lands I've never seen." (Thanks, Enya.) Here is an island of wonder and wyrd'ness, with a witch (deceased - Sycorax), wights (Ariel and friends), and a warlock (he who need not be named). An island like the seaside Village, itself apparently on an island, in the 1960s Brit spy drama "The Prisoner," where what you see is not necessarily what you get, and a Number One manipulates happenings.

A hearty welcome ashore to Lucinda, finally receiving the book. "The Tempest," that is; not a book of magic such as Prospero is using. Though wouldn't that be awesome. Good summaries of your impressions.

Gabriel made a fine observation about the paucity of dramatic creativity in the play. There is too much backstory not depicted. Everything important happens by, or is triggered by, magic. That is a too-convenient device, like, for me, the holodecks on the later "Star Trek" series. The writers couldn't come up with a storyline about the Federation or alien cultures or the mysteries of the cosmos, so let's have some private eye thing or Sherlock Holmes happen on the holodeck. Also, all the business with drunken Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban; inebriation is an easy and cheap way to try to get laughs. Not that Shakespeare didn't always do a fair bit of that. One of his recurring characters even had a now-defunct brand of beer named after him. As I went along reading the play, I, too, felt some disappointment. (The 2010 film, thanks to its special effects and solid performances by the cast, revitalized it somewhat for me, though.) Soon we will wrap up with the Postlude, which some commentators see as Shakespeare's adieu to his work as his Company's in-house playwright. Did Mr. Bill himself sense a decline coming?

The shortest Act in the play, number 4 has only one scene. I find the action readily divides into two parts, demarcated by Prospero's sudden recollection, during a "spirit-ed" play-within-a-play for Ferdinand and Miranda, that Caliban and companions are coming to do him in, and that he has to turn his attention to that little matter. I would therefore outline the Act this way:

Act 4: THE STUFF OF DREAMS (but no Maltese Falcon, only Prospero's bird - that's Ariel, line 184)

My Scene 1: A BETROTHAL CONFIRMED

Prospero: You have passed my test. I am giving you a very rich gift. You earned her. But don't screw it up (so to speak) by "breaking her virgin knot" before you tie the knot.
Ferdinand: No problemo. I'm honorable. I want a long and quiet life with my love, and some kids ["fair issue"].
Prospero: Well said. Hey, Ariel! Round up a bunch of your buddies to put on a show for the happy couple. ASAP.
Ariel: I'm on it.
Prospero: Remember, Ferdie, keep it under control.
Ferdinand: I'm taking a cold shower, metaphorically.
Spirit impersonating Iris: Here comes Ceres. Flattery, praise.
Spirit in the guise of Ceres: Look, there's Juno, wife of the king of the gods. Flowery praise. What's the deal that you called me here?
"Iris": "A contract of true love to celebrate." And to give wedding presents.
"Ceres": Are Venus and Cupid invited?
"Iris": Nah, they're too sexy, and the happy couple promised not to get it on until after the ceremony. [Prospero shoehorns in a third reminder about the sex thing that he is focused on. When and where the wedding rite will be, no one has said. Probably Naples, one suspects at this point, though the readers and viewers of the play don't know yet that the characters will be leaving the island the next day. Spoiler; except I am sure you have all skimmed ahead or seen the play on stage or screen.]
Spirit pretending to be Juno: Come, Ceres, let's bless the lovers. May you have honor, riches, and long life.
"Ceres": Your cupboard will never be bare.
Ferdinand: Whoa! Who are these folks?
Prospero: I summoned (well, had Ariel do it) spirits to strike my, and your, fancy.
Ferdinand: You're such a cool father-in-law, I want to live here forever.
Nymphs and miscellaneous spirits: (Miming harvesters.)
Prospero: Stop the show! I just remembered Caliban and cohort are on their way.
Ariel: I was going to remind you, but thought you'd be ticked if I interrupted.
Ferdinand: Miranda, your dad's really upset.
Prospero: The show you just saw has "melted into air - into thin air," just like life itself, which is a dream that comes out of an eternal sleep before and after. Now Caliban comes to try to take away my life-dream [my interpolation]. Ruminations like this make my head hurt. Anyway, don't worry. In fact, you two go hang out for a bit while I compose myself.

My Scene 2: A MURDER THWARTED

Prospero: Ariel, let's get ready to confront Caliban. Where did you last leave these varlets? ("Come on, Mister Dillon, let's go get them varmints...")
Ariel: I did the Pied Piper bit and lured them through a swamp, which contributes nothing, really, to the plot except for gratuitous slapstick value and to provide Trinculo the opportunity to say "I smell like horse urine," to entertain the groundlings and maybe the upper-crust theater-goers, too, who have probably no less crass a sense of humor in this day.
Prospero: That Caliban, I tried to teach him right, but it was wasted effort. His devilish nature is too strong. So I'll hang him and his gang out to dry.
Trinculo: Look! Swag!
Caliban: Stay on mission. First things first.
Stephano and Trinculo: (Puns about clotheslines and jerkins that make no sense to the modern reader without the annotations.) [S. starts the sequence in fact by having Prospero talk about hanging the murderous comic trio on a line.]
Prospero and Ariel: Sic 'em! Hi-yo, Silver, away!
Spirits in the shapes of hunting dogs: (Presumably) Grrr, woof!
Prospero: "At this hour lies at my mercy all mine enemies." My work is almost done. Then, Ariel, you will "have the 'air' [a pun intended by Mr. Bill? or just seems like a pun the way it may be read today?] at freedom."

There is that power-hunger of Prospero again. Yet later Prospero avers he is not reveling in revenge, but only wants his adversaries to be repentant (Act 5 Scene 1 lines 28-30). Although he effects that with Alonso, in the cases of Antonio and Sebastian, he never really succeeds.

Which brings us again to the topic of Prospero's character and the possible complexity thereof. When Prospero affects harshness toward Ferdinand, Miranda suggests it is an aberration or a put-on, that he is not really like that (Act 1 Scene 2 lines 496-498). In this Act, she says she has never seen her father so angry (lines 144-145). Not even when Caliban would have had her? Miranda the dutiful daughter tries to put the best face on things.

Prospero is concerned that Ferdinand be sexually proper with Miranda. The matter comes up three times, twice as direct warning and once noted by the "goddesses." Prospero is probably thinking about what happened with Caliban.

In Act 2 Scene 1, Gonzalo lays out his idea of a perfect world. Among its parameters is that men and women are in a state of innocence such that, perhaps, at least as Sebastian and Antonio suggest with snarky mirth, marriage is unnecessary. In the performance by the spirits mimicking Roman goddesses, Prospero's view of blameless love and marriage comes through. It is one in which sex is confined to marriage. Ferdinand watches and hears the spirits, and sees this as his vision, too, of paradise, even using that freighted word.

"The Tempest" has three subplots, involving Miranda and Ferdinand, Caliban and his friends (exploiters), and the court of Naples and Antonio. The first two of these threads are developed further in Act 4. The third has gone into suspended animation. Indeed, Alonso, Gonzalo, Antonio, Sebastian, and their attendants are in some kind of magical suspension. Did Mr. Bill just not know what more to do with them after the banquet scene? Antonio the usurper remains without any change in his outlook as happened with Alonso. I would have done something about that in this Act, perhaps have him react to the banquet indictment by Ariel with some kind of reflection or introspection. And something similar with fratricide-inclined Sebastian. What about you? Are you content with the state of affairs with Antonio and Sebastian at this point? Would you have had the third subplot appear in Act 4, and how would you have handled it?


message 3: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Excellent message Tom.


Sorry I was awol...on an island with no wifi.\

But I am caught up...and will be posting and catching up over the next 24 hours...


message 4: by Tim (new)

Tim Horwood | 17 comments Act IV Scene 1 Prospero has a masque performed for Miranda and
Ferdinand.

The masque A fabulously extravagant, early 17th century court entertainment
https://www.hrp.org.uk/banqueting-hou...


message 5: by Tom (new)

Tom Lane | 84 comments Welcome back, Candy, from your island to ours. Prospero's island, anyway; or it would have been Caliban's again, had his scheme succeeded.

Let's look more at Act 4.

In lines 38-41, Prospero says he's obliged to fete Miranda and Ferdinand with a display of magic, that they expect it, although I don't get where they may have gotten the notion, or where he promised it. Indeed, Ferdinand seems surprised at the display of deities, and asks Prospero who they are.

With Ariel's lesser spirits (who he seems to command, or at least is able to sway) as the actors, we have the obligatory Shakespeare element of a play-within-the-play. Shakespeare wonks call it, in this instance, a "masque," citing a popular genre of the time, a court entertainment involving music, dance, and clever effects. "The Tempest" overall has a lot of music and spectacle (the storm, the vanishing banquet, costumed spirits).

Thank you for the helpful link, Tim. I didn't know Ben Jonson, dramatist, and Inigo Jones, who I think of first as an architect rather than a theatrical designer, were involved in staging masques. I notice in the linked material that the masques had a motive of propaganda for the monarchs, depicting the ideal world under their rule. I opined that the performance ordered up by Prospero presents his view of what a wonderful world, at least of married life, would be like. And the wonder of it all moves Ferdinand to remark that he is in paradise.

A masquerade ball is what is going on in the abbey of - get this - Prince Prospero, when the plague shows up in Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" (1842). Indeed, the staging of royal masques, as well as plays, in Shakespeare's time, was interrupted by disease outbreaks.

The masque or mini-play in Act 4 is, typical of masques, rich with Classical allusions. Iris is a messenger for the deities (though Mercury more often fills the role). A rainbow is her pathway between heaven and earth. Rainbows come after storms, i.e., tempests, here literal (so it appears to those experiencing it, although it is an illusion manufactured by Prospero/Ariel) and figurative (the testing and trying of characters' hearts). Ceres is goddess of the fertile earth, i.e., of agriculture, and especially of grain crops (hence, we eat "cereal") [1]. By extension, she is goddess of abundance. She also represents motherhood. Juno is queen of heaven. Her month of June is considered auspicious for weddings. Even in modern times, being a "June bride" is regarded as a good thing. We all know Venus as goddess of love and beauty, and Cupid, son of Venus and Mars, as god of attraction, affection, desire, and even lust.

At the start of Act 4, when Prospero affirms that Ferdinand may wed Miranda, Prospero says, "I have given you here a third of mine own life, or that for which I live." "I live for Miranda" is a pretty powerful statement. But what does it mean that Miranda is a third of Prospero's life? Here are some possibilities.
1) Prospero has had in his lifetime three treasures (remember how at the outset of Act 4 he refers to Miranda as a "rich gift"): his career (as duke or scholar), his wife (RIP), and his daughter.
2) Prospero has spent a third of his life-span so far with Miranda. Miranda, we know from Act 1 Scene 2 lines 40-41 and 48-54, was three years old when Prospero was deposed and the two were set adrift in exile, and that they have been on the island for 12 years. That would make Miranda 15 years old [2]. If Miranda's lifetime constitutes one-third of Prospero's life so far, he would be 45 years old. A seasoned man for his period in history [3]; but he has sometimes been portrayed on the stage as more elderly.
3) Prospero's life has had three phases: his previous time in Milan, his time on the island with Miranda, and, to come, his anticipated time back in Milan, which he alludes to in Act 5 Scene 1 lines 311-312, "retire me to my Milan, where every third thought shall be my grave," i.e., his destiny, the final period of his life. Life's illusory character seems to be on the mind of this master of illusion. Note his reflection on life in the "melted into air, into thin air"/"We are such stuff as dreams are made on" speech in Act 4.
4) Other(s)?
Since Prospero speaks of this third of his life in the context of giving Miranda to Ferdinand, he must have in mind something to do with Miranda.
Since it includes Prospero's reflections on life and death, I am going with option 3.
What do you think Prospero means, and why?

This Act includes what I find the most pleasing piece of poesy in the play, Ariel's ditty-like lines,

"Before you can say 'come' and 'go,'
And breathe twice and cry 'so, so' [which Prospero is wont to do; Ariel knows his master well],
Each one [the fellow spirits Ariel is bringing] tripping on his toe,
Will be here with mop and mow [grimace and determination],
Do you love me master? No?"

To Ariel's little question - or not so little question - slipped in at the end of his "Aye, aye, Sir," Prospero replies, "Dearly." Then he goes into more detail of his latest command. Is Prospero blowing Ariel off, at least for the moment? In performances I have watched, the director or actor chooses to make Prospero's affirmation sound considered and sincere.

A story need not necessarily have a "hero," but if "The Tempest" has one, I would nominate Ariel for the honor. Though obeying orders, he/she/ze does so with panache, going the extra mile and giving all. Most of the action involves Ariel doing things. Without Ariel, the play would be tame.

Janice makes a good point that Ariel's association with Prospero may be a symbiotic one. It is clear that Ariel was doing tasks for Prospero before the Neapolitan flagship approached the island, and so Prospero knew Ariel's capabilities. I wonder what Ariel did. Maybe we can write the prequel.

Ariel seems attached to Prospero by a sense of duty and honor, concepts that have disappeared from modern American culture, rather than by force or constraint, though Prospero does threaten to re-imprison him. Does Prospero really have the power to do that? In Act 5 Scene 1 lines 33-50, Prospero boasts that his power is great, though he appears to need Ariel to do work for him. So perhaps Prospero's soliloquy here exaggerates. Or is Prospero just giving Ariel things to do so that Ariel may fulfill the debt he has for Prospero's freeing him from Sycorax's curse?

Ariel has an impressive array of personal abilities, and can muster minions as well. He could probably warp out of there if he cared to. Perhaps serving Prospero provides Ariel with purpose, a way to make use of - to "actualize," as Abraham Maslow would have said - his/her powers. Ariel does seem to have fun in carrying out Prospero's wishes, even adding embellishments. Still, Ariel wants to be free. To go on to what further adventures? Maybe we can write the sequel.

NOTES

[1] A three-story aluminum Art Deco statue of Ceres sits atop the Chicago Board of Trade Building, as Great Plains grains were one of the foundations of Chicago's economic growth. The statue is minimally sculpted, without a detailed face, because when the skyscraper was constructed in 1930 it was the tallest in town, and no one outside could see the face that high up. Now, of course, other buildings overawe it. "Ceres" is also the name of the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, planets that are themselves named for Roman divinities. As astronomers tinker with nomenclature, Ceres is now denominated a "minor planet" or "dwarf planet."

[2] Miranda, now in her teens (the actual word is used in Act 1 Scene 2 lines 64-65, so the term is not of as modern origin as I thought), is, for Shakespeare's time, as for that of most of human history, of marriageable age.

[3] It was infant and child mortality, from diseases and accidents, that lead statistically to the short life-spans calculated for humans in the past. If a person survived those pitfalls, he or she was likely to live what we today consider a full life-span. "Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures," Psalm 90:10 New International Version.


message 6: by Lucinda (last edited Jul 19, 2018 02:02PM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Welcome back, Candy, indeed. I hope you had a lovely trip.

I love that take on it, Tom. You must collect those skits together.
On Aerial and duty and honour, that's interesting. Spirits are rarely credited with having a sense of honour. I tend to think such notions have largely disappeared from the modern UK too - but I hope not entirely.

Everyone, on masques, what intrigues me is how sophisticated their use of mechanisms to create illusions were.

Well, I'm finding the introduction to the Penguin 2005 edition by Martin Butler really helpful in pointing out aspects I'd noticed, and combining them into a coherent whole.

All the fantasy aspects of this play, for instance, so that some modern stagings make it in a distant galaxy.

There is the vagueness of the location - though we know that they were on their way back from Carthage and modern day Tunisia, and the interesting fact that an expedition to Virginia led by Sir Thomas Gates, which survived terrible storms with 'St Elmo's Fire' , and which then went on to put down a rebelllion in Virginia. This was much talked of at about the time that Shakespeare was writing 'The Tempest'.

There is the importance of illusion. The storm, the editor says, should wholly convince the audience that this is a lethal tempest, but after that, when they discover that it was all an illusion,then they are sceptical about all the things that are experienced by the
characters in the play.

For instance, to give a very earthy example - how could the pond which Stephano and the low plotters fall into really smell of 'horse piss' unless there really are horse like creatures on the island?

But what is nice, is that the love of Miranda and Ferdinand is real.

Then, the editor points out how to modern taste, Prospero 's authoritarian ways, both as a ruler and as a parent, is unappealling. But in Shakespeare's time, the role of the patriarch and the king were seen as essentially the same, and James thought of himself that way. So, of course, did Charles I,but by then that ideology was out of touch with the times, and we all know how that ended for him...

There is also the whole issue of Caliban and how modern black writers have written about him as an example of a formerly free person (people) subjected to colonialism.


Then, the importance of music in the play.

Then the fact that this is Shakespeare's only play in 'real time' and apparently, only three hours pass (of the glass) in the action, as they do in staging it.


message 7: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
About horse urine. Urine, human or some animals including the horse was used as a tonic or medicine to protect oneself from witches.


message 8: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
h it's good to be back at my desk and able to read more comfortably. I had a great trip but it also feels good to be home!

Can we make a list of the music in the play?

I believe the music is to reinforce the importance of time in this play. Music and dance was believed o reflect the movement of the stars and planets which is related to Toms observations of Ceres, and watching seasons for foraging food. The play is real time so how does that play into the time for musical performances? Music helps us memorize words and so does verse so the lilting may have helped performers with memory.


message 9: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I found the music and quality outstanding on this website...here are some recordings...

https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/explor...


message 10: by Lucinda (last edited Jul 21, 2018 12:52PM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Of course, Candy: I had forgotten that: 'the music of the spheres'!
The play contains Shakespeare's most haunting song, Aerial's one when he is set free.
I have only read 'O come upon these yellow sands' as a poem, but there is something very evocative about that.


message 12: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Thank you for the great links, Candy.
You know, I was reading Act V of this, out in the garden today in the sunshine. There were butterflies moving about the budliah bushes, and a bird of play swept overhead; it might have been a red kite; I couldn't identify it.
But a feeling that went beyond contentment came over me. I remember a writer - it could have been Tillyard - who said that for Shakespeare, everything was accepted as part of life. He didn't say anything shouldn't be there: he took a vivid interest in it all: icy weather, herbs in the fields, saffron on the cliffs by Dover; the heroism of Cordelia, the treachery of Edmund, the idiocy of Parolles...
In a way, that is connected to your Buddhist concept, I suppose?


message 13: by Tom (new)

Tom Lane | 84 comments Hi, Lucinda, good observations about the authoritarian ethos being commonplace in Shakespeare's time. I have felt uncomfortable with the sense that Prospero is "giving" Miranda in marriage, even though she is a willing, indeed, eager, partner; and Ferdinand saying, "Sorry I didn't ask you first, Dad, before this happened, but I thought you were dead" (Act 5 Scene 1 lines 190-191). Also the importance of music. Bows of gratitude, Candy, for the music links.

As for the time element, I have fantasized, so to speak, about directing the play in an actual three-hour real-time duration, with the audience moving between sets in an outdoor location, representing the beach, Prospero's "cell," Caliban's "cave," and the lime grove. There would need to be refreshment sites (and porta potties) for the audience for such a lengthy presentation. But audiences for Wagner's Ring Cycle by Lyric Opera, Chicago, go that long.

As for "horse piss," it is interesting, as Candy noted, that the material was thought to have medicinal and witch-bane properties. But here it could just be a generic expression, as, for instance, when a (rude) modern American encounters a disagreeable odor and says, "That smells like sh*t," not meant to be literal.

I love your description of reading in the garden. I was doing the same a few days ago, in the yard at the old brownstone where I live, where there are many evergreens, with a little squirrel, must have been born this spring, on a branch I could have reached up and touched, watching me curiously, while three rabbits sported nearby. When you speak of the kite, you write "bird of play" instead of "prey." I think your unconscious gave the right word for the occasion! Once in China, where feeding doves in the parks is a common amenity (feeding pigeons in my Chicago earns you a fine if the police see it; the birds are considered disease-spreaders), my former grad assistant emailed me photos of him doing so, under the subject heading, "Bird of pray, flying high," making a similar appropriate malapropism.


message 14: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments Shakespeare has three targets the same time: audiences, readers, and decoders. Sonnet 105 describes this nature: “Fair, kind, and true” are “three themes in one.” Shakespeare is fair on the stage (audiences), kind in riddles (readers), and true for authorship (decoders).

Prospero’s “a third of mine own life” is perplexing. Various editions have different explanations. If it’s a good riddle, Shakespeare should kindly provide enough clues.
PROSPERO.
If I have too austerely punished you,
Your compensation makes amends, for I
Have given you here, a third of mine own life,
Or that for which I live: who, once again
I tender to thy hand:
Miranda’s mother is the origin of this dark riddle, similar to King Duncan who sleeps Macbeth’s wife.

Has Prospero a Wife?

No character specifically mentions any wife in this play. Only one line is related to Miranda’s mother, who isn’t necessary Prospero’s wife.
MIRANDA.
Sir, are not you my Father?

PROSPERO.
Thy Mother was a piece of virtue, and
She said thou wast my daughter;
Miranda’s mother is “a piece of virtue” to Prospero, but may not be a virtuous wife (infidelity), or virtuous maid (an unwed mother).

Miranda asks many things, but nothing of her mother, even after Prospero’s “thy mother was . . .”

Miranda remembers she had “four, or five women once, that tended” her, nothing else, no mother. Why would Shakespeare want us to know what’s in Miranda’s memory?

Gonzalo’s Daughter

The best solution for Miranda’s mother would be Gonzalo’s daughter (not someone’s wife). This assumption can reason some odd or tedious lines. It explains why Miranda has no memory of her unwed mother, who could be “to a nunnery” like Ophelia. It was a shame then that related peosons wanted to ignore.

Gonzalo’s charity for Prospero is emphasized (rich garments, linens, stuffs, necessaries, books). For a foolish old lord of Alonso (Prospero’s “inveterate” enemy), this is quite abnormal, but makes sense if Miranda is his granddaughter.


message 15: by Tom (last edited Jul 24, 2018 05:02PM) (new)

Tom Lane | 84 comments Very good catch that Prospero speaks of Miranda's mother but not specifically his wife. I, and I suppose most readers/play-goers, conflate mother and wife. If Miranda were three years old at the time of Prospero's exile, she would have been old enough to remember mom. Can we do a bit of eisegesis, that her mother, and Prospero's wife, died in an untimely way quite early in Miranda's life? The Gonzalo connection would well explain Gonzalo's charity toward Prospero and Miranda; though I do like to think it is just because Gonzalo is a really good guy who saw injustice and acted.


message 16: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments Tom wrote: "Can we do a bit of eisegesis, that her mother, and Prospero's wife, died in an untimely way quite early in Miranda's life?"

Of course we can, and we should. The best part of a Shakespeare riddle is that many answers can fit (objective), and we can discuss and judge which one is the best (subjective).

In my view, the benefit of assuming Miranda’s mother isn’t dead, is that we don’t have to guess how good is Miranda’s memory, and we can have a sequel of their reunion. I like happy ending.


message 17: by Tom (new)

Tom Lane | 84 comments Having more than one possible interpretation is often a mark of good literature or art.


message 18: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Ha, Ha, Tom, about Freudian slip: Aagh, Mrs Malprop! I think reading Shakespeare can lead us to a level of awareness that most other writers can't. I don't know what it is: a flash of enlightment, in a way, but an awareness of the oneness of everything, and of nature is part of it,and he is very aware of the natural world in his work. The squirrel and the rabbits sounds a lovely image.
I just noticed that Stephano repeats two of the experssions used by Parolles in my favourite comedy, 'All's Well that Ends Well'. He is, of course, anoher vainglorious fool. Now, flicking through, I can't find them. 'Coraggio!' is one. Shakespeare didn't often repeat himself, that I've noticed.It is interesting in this, his last play (I assume) it comes up again.


message 19: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments Lucinda wrote: "'Coraggio!' is one. Shakespeare didn't often repeat himself, that I've noticed. . . .

Coraggio (courage) is the only Italian word in The Tempest. Why Shakespeare used it on Stephano?
STEPHANO.
Every man shift for all the rest, and let
No man take care for himself; for all is
But fortune: Coragio Bully-Monster Corasio.
Stephano is courageless. His exclamation mocks the Italian courage (no offence). Parolles’ “Bravely, Coragio” supports this assumption, for Parolles is “a most notable Coward, an infinite and endless Liar” in All’s Well that Ends Well.

Gaberdine

Coraggio applies only to Stephano and Parolles in Shakespeare. Similarly, gaberdine applies only to Caliban and Shylock.
TRINCULO.
my best way is to creep under his Gaberdine:
there is no other shelter hereabout: . . .
I hid me under the dead Moon-Calf's Gaberdine,
for fear of the Storm:
In Merchant of Venice, Shylock the Jew (no offence) is being treated as a non-human like Caliban.
SHYLOCK.
I am a Jew: Hath not a Jew eyes?
hath not a Jew hands, organs, . . .

You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spat upon my Jewish gaberdine,
Why gaberdine? Gaberdine can be spelt as gaberdin, gabberdine, etc.; din as dinne, similar to sonnet and sonet in Shakespeare’s time.

Gabber is one who gabs, a deceiver; din (dinne in the First Folio) is a loud noise. Shylock deceives Anthonio and threatens his life; noisy Caliban does the same to his master.

Gaberdine plays for gabber-dinne in spelling and sound. This garment covers noisy deceivers who deserve not to be called humans.


message 20: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments That is a fascinating examination, Jim.


message 21: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments It's strange then that in Shakespeare's time a gabardine was a pilgrims cloak - meant for all weathers to protect a human on a spiritual journey. Caliban on a spiritual journey assailed by devils all around?
And I think Caliban is the most human of all the characters in the Tempest; and the most real. I can identify more with him than anyone else. Perhaps he and Ariel, who I think is the next most real individual in the story, can strike up a fine relationship when all the twats have left the island for their pseudo happy ending in Milan via Naples.


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