Shakespeare: The Tempest

Characters: Alonso, Sebastian, Prospero, Antonio, Ferdinand, Gonzalo, Caliban, Miranda, Ariel, Stephano Alonso, king of NaplesSebastian, his brotherProspero, the right of Duke MilanAntonio, his brother, the usurping (illegal) Duke of MilanFerdinand, son to the king of NaplesGonzalo, old councilor Caliban, savage/deformed slaveMiranda, daughter of ProsperoAriel, an airy spiritStephano, drunk butler
Political Meaning of Play: What is The Tempest about? The Tempest is essentially a play about political rule and ruling, in general, and about the best regime and ruling, in particular; It is also a play about magic and wonder—and its role in creating “perfect” regimes—utopias
Setting: Where does the play take place? An Island — We don’t even know how to get there. It is totally isolated. It took a storm for the ship to be driven there. Arrival there was by chance or fate?
Who is Prospero? What was he more interested in? What did he ignore? Who did he delegate authority to? The implications of this? Prospero is the rightful Duke of Milan; but he was more interested in philosophy than ruling when he was there; ignored his responsibility to rule his subjects; He delegated authority to his brother, Antonio; who seized power and deposed Prospero. Antonio is a corrupt ruler, a tyrant ruling only for himself.
Prospero as Duke of Milan: While in Milan, was Prospero a good ruler? Why/why not? Prospero while in Milan was not a good ruler. After all, he turned the city over to a tyrant. He was not concerned with the polity. He did not care enough. He was more concerned with philosophy than ruling.
WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS REGIMES DEPICTED IN THE TEMPEST? Are they real or imagined? Prospero’s Milan (R)Antonio’s Milan (R)Alonso’s Naples (R)Sebastian’s Naples (I)Stephano’s Rule over Trinculo and Caliban (R)
List the other regimes. Are they real or imagined? Prospero’s Rule over the Island (R)Prospero’s (future) Naples (I)Gonzalo’s Imagined regime (I)The future rule of Ferdinand and Miranda (I)
What can we say about these forms of rule? Which ones are corrupt, according to _____? The first five would be corrupt under Aristotle’s framework. The first five: Prospero’s Milan (R)Antonio’s Milan (R)Alonso’s Naples (R)Sebastian’s Naples (I)Stephano’s Rule over Trinculo and Caliban (R);
What can we say about these forms of rule: What is Alonso and what does he do? What about Antonio? Sebastian? Alonso is corrupt, he extorts money from Milan’s Antonio; Antonio does likewise to Sebastian, who promises to institute a rule no better than the other two when he seizes power in Naples.
What can we say about these forms of rule: name some characteritics. Who do they rule for? deviant, unnantural. rule for themselves
Prospero’s Rule of Island: Why did Prospero leave Milan? Who aided him & what all did this person do? When Prospero left Milan to avoid problems with his usurping brother, he was aided by Gonzalo, who sheltered Prospero and Miranda and helped them to get to the Island. (We still don’t know where it is.) Also saved during the escape were Prospero’s beloved books.
Prospero’s Rule of Island: What kind of leader is Prospero on the island? How is he a good leader? On the Island Prospero becomes the good ruler — at least in part by learning form the books he brought with him. He rules by magic with the aid of the spirits.
Prospero’s Rule of the Island: What is Prospero’s rule largely concerned with? Who is the most educated & enlightened of all of Shakespeare’s heroines? What does this person’s name mean? Prospero’s rule is largely concerned with education and taking his subjects as far as they can go; The fifteen year-old Miranda is the most educated and enlightened of all of Shakespeare’s heroines; Her name in Greek means wonder, and she is a wonder and has a sense of wonder about her.
Prospero’s Rule of the Island: Who did Prospero also teach but remained uneducable? What are the implications of this? How does Prospero view this person? Despite the fact that… He also taught Caliban what he could at first, but, as it turned out; Caliban is uneducable, he is a natural slave, and fit for nothing more than manual labor. (He shares in reason only to the extent that he can perceive it others, as he tells us); However, Prospero did not prejudge him; Attempted to rape Miranda. In addition, he tells us that Prospero is a tyrant.
Prospero’s Rule of the Island: Prospero also teaches ____ who is Alonso’s son when…. ; Who are the two exceptional rulers that Prospero educates? What is the future for these exceptional rulers? Prospero also teaches Ferdinand, Alonso’s son, when he washes up on the Island; In fact, Prospero seems to have educated two exceptional rulers by the play’s end (Ferdinand and Miranda); They are to be his successors (and they will ultimately be charged with maintaining good rule in Milan and Naples.)
Prospero’s Rule of the Island: What does Prospero spend the entire play doing? he spends virtually the entire play protecting all of those on the Island. This even includes the various plotters.
What is the punishment of Alonso, Sebastian, & Antonio? What happens to them? Ultimately, the punishment of Alonso, Sebastian, and Antonio is that they are taught that they did wrong and then are forgiven (Although they are not returned to their respective ruling positions; they have forfeited the right to rule by abusing their authority.).
How Does Prospero Treat Traitors: Who is also forgiven? What are they educated on? What do we know about each person? Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban are also forgiven; and apparently educated about their transgressions to the extent possible; We know that Caliban is a natural slave and incapable of reason. Trinculo is a jester (a.k.a. fool) and may be a natural slave. Stephano is ruled by his passions (drink), and his “kingdom” is a kingdom ruled by low desires.
How Does Prospero Treat Traitors: As did with Caliban, saw them as ____ who have a certain ____; however…. subjects; capacity; capacity to be virtous is limited or nonexistent because no capacity to reason
Comparing Just and Unjust Regimes: What are the options of ruling on? Which regimes are ruled by each option? Rule by passion or Intellect (Reason)?; Stephano’s regime as well as Alonso’s, Antonio’s, and Sebastian’s are all ruled by the lower parts of the human soul, rather than the highest — the intellect; Prospero’s regime is ruled by the intellect (even a mental control over the spirits – magic)
What About Future Rule? (Ferdinand & Miranda, Gonzalo) In the end, who does Prospero free? When Prosper is about to leave to ____, what does he realize? How does Prospero keep his promise to Ariel? The promised regimes of Ferdinand and Miranda also appear to be headed toward a rule of that nature; What about the imagined rule of Gonzalo? Does he unwittingly describe Prospero’s rule?In the end, Prospero frees Ariel and prepares to leave the Island to return to his rightful place as ruler of Milan. He realizes that he cannot take the magic with him back to “civilization.”; In the end, Ariel is the ruler of the island
Ancient VS Modern Utopias: What do they assume? Ancient Utopias assumed that chance or fortune had not been overcome, while modern ones are presumed to be the product of science rather than chance
What takes Prospero from Milan, finds him the enchanted island, and brings his enemies to him? In modern utopia, this repreasents? Which means? Chance; communism: This was a Utopia based on science. Chance plays no role in its creation.
Man Made VS Magic Made Utopia: The Tempest VS Marx: what is Marx view on utopian societies? when state withers away, utopian society can be socially constructed by man
-In The Tempest we see Shakespeare’s final effort to deal with the problem of…-Shakespeare, like the ancients, must try to demonstrate what?-Where does good rule (or perfect rule) actually exist? human rule and community. It is magical and mystical and arrived at only by fate or chance. Shakespeare, like the ancients, who guide him here, must try to demonstrate the way toward good rule while not being able to actually depict or describe it. After all, where does good (or perfect rule) actually exist? There are no concrete examples or models. If there were, we probably would not need political philosophy.
“There are more truths, Horatio, under heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” : What does this quote from Hamlet suggest? Perhaps we, too, must remind ourselves that there are more truths to be known in the universe than we can possibly imagine, much less actually know. The quest for truth, and justice is, therefore, never ending.