The Tempest – Critics and context

Nuttall “Although the forgiveness [of Antonio] certainly takes place, it seems “merely technical”, as if inwardly weakened… the forgiveness of Antonio in ‘The Tempest’ seems deliberately contrived to kill any smile that might be starting in the audience.”
Orgel “Repentance remains, at the play’s end, a largely unachieved goal. Forgiveness is ambitious at best, the clear ideal of reconciliation grows cloudy as the play concludes.”
Orgel (2) (2) “Alonso is penitent, but the chief villain, the usurping younger brother Antonio, remains obdurate.”
Brunner “Like comedies, these plays [romances] are unrealistic, demanding our imaginative projection into a world free from the constraints of reality.”
Wilson “Prospero’s discovery comes through dialogue, not private meditation, through a vital sequence of brief, potent statements.”
Simpson “Two fathers in the play… both have virtuous children who will redeem them and dissolve enmity between them with marriage. Shakespeare, in his last plays, seems to inscribe hope for the younger generation.”
Clark “In his earlier comedies Shakespeare had always shown a preference for the unlikely or impossible over the realistic, and had never hesitated to make use of coincidence in his plots.”
Simpson (2) (2) “Prospero renounces magic and trades his role and staff for a sword and hat, the symbols of temporal power.”
Brunner (probs) The Tempest is a “self-conscious” romance, acknowledging [its] artificiality even whilst challenging [its artificiality].”
Mitchell Prospero “imitates God”
Hall Prospero is “allowed to play God”
Sharpe “Every character is driven by an internal cry for freedom”
Harbage “all romances contain elements of the supernatural and mystical, and something resembling a resurrection”
Green “Prospero can be seen as the composer of the play whilst Ariel is the main performer”
Thompson “Miranda has completely internalised the patriarchal order of things, thinking herself subordinate to her father”
Lindley “Ariel is the swiftness of thought personified, the embodiment of imaginary power”
Hamartia A tragic flaw: “the government I cast upon my brother” “mine own library… that I prize above my dukedom”
Peripateia “plot reversal” – a crucial or pivotal action on the part of the protagonist that changes his situation from seemingly secure to vulnerable.
Aristotle’s definition of comedy 1) The characters are average people2) The conditions of the protagonist’s life go from bad to good
Aristotle’s definition of tragedy 1) The characters are not average people – they are kings, queens, gods2) The conditions of a protagonist’s life go from good to bad
O’Toole “Whereas Montaigne’s cannibals are portrayed as “wild fruits”, produced by nature in her ordinary way and without any artificiality, Shakespeare’s cannibal appears to be as pathetic, crass, and vulgar as any individual could possibly be portrayed”
O’Toole “Both Ariel and Caliban are natives of the island, and hence can be thought of in terms of Montaigne’s cannibals”
Montaigne “The very words that import lying, treason, dissimulation, covetousness, envy… were never heard among them”
Brunner “The early scenes of these late plays are disruptive and tragic in action”
Brunner “In the romances… the unhappy events mark only the beginning rather than the beginning of the end”
Brunner “An event with tragic potential leads not to the revenge and destruction of tragedy but instead to reconciliation, redemption and restoration”
Brunner “Whereas in tragedy, governed by fate and fortune, the Hero’s Hamartia leads to his fatal end, the Romances, presided over by divine providence, given their mistaken protagonists a second chance”
Brunner “The central character’s faults are not tragic flaws, but human error and sin, and the acceptance and subsequent repentance of this error concludes with an experience of providential restoration of order”
Brunner “… portrayal of time as regenerative as well as destructive is vital to the romances’ progression beyond tragedy” (compare with Macbeth – “what’s done cannot be undone”)
Clark Caliban is even less fitted to rule than she (Sycorax), lacking her supernatural power and being serventile by nature”
Macfarland Machiavellian aspiration is here incapable of evil fruition”
Hall “The mouth that recites the works most poignant verses has fanged canines”
CONTEXT “Viewers bemoaned the lack of magic in millers production. To signal the arrival of the banquet all six took out a white dinner napkin”
Barton Caliban at least gets further than Stephano and Trinculo in the direction of knowledge and understanding
Wilson Masque is the “indulgence of his art”
Frye there is “a touch of the busybody” about Prospero