The Tempest – POWER

“What cares these roarers for the name of king?” – Boatswain, ACT I SCENE I (16) AO1 – The king is powerless against the elements/natural world.AO2 – roarers (polysemic) = violent waves OR unruly people → suggesting the natural world is indifferent to the chain of being, bringing social hierarchy/power of the king into question. Perhaps suggestive of the Boatswain’s (and the general population’s) opinion of the court (courtly criticism).AO3 – chain of being, man vs natural worldAO5 – non-specific
“Hang cur! Hang, you whoreson, insolent noise-maker! We are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.” – Antonio, ACT I SCENE I (42) AO1 – Antonio curses at the Boatswain, insulting him, telling him to ‘just die’ etc… Antonio claims he less afraid of dying than he is.AO2 – Shows lack of respect for those beneath him in the the chain of being, using non-noble language (cur, whoreson) to insult → out of character, so it is representative of the chaos on board. ‘…less afraid to be drowned…’ suggests faith in chain of being to be saved by God before the likes of the Boatswain when faced with danger.AO3 – chain of beingAO5 – “The Machiavellians see nothing of reality”McFarland (on Machiavellians) → because of Antonio’s selfish/Machiavellian nature, he is unable to see the reality that the Boatswain is trying to help them and instead prizes his own mortality over the Boatswain’s as he may get in the way of his survival (‘insolent noise-maker’).
“The government I cast upon my brother and to my state grew stranger […] rapt in secret studies” – Prospero, ACT I SCENE II (75) AO1 – Prospero gave (and neglected) his duties of leadership to Antonio to free up his time and became obsessed with studies of magic.AO2 – ‘cast’ (polysemic) = Prospero as a director (casting roles)/Prospero as a magician (casting magic). Both interpretations suggest that Prospero has/had agency over his actions. ‘[…]rapt in secret studies’ implies that Prospero was aware that the activity was covert/mischievous/wrong & despite this continued to pursue his studies → presents Prospero as neglectful, providing Antonio with a motive for his Machiavellian behaviour.AO3 – ‘to my state grew stranger […] rapt in secret studies’ is reminiscent of both Macbeth and Dr Faustus (contemporary texts) → the main characters of the plays have secret/magic/covert studies to blame for their downfall.AO5 – It could be said that ‘[…]rapt in secret studies’ implies that Prospero was completely immersed by the studies and so had no control/agency over himself as he had become obsessive. Potentially presents Prospero as responsible as he understood he could not properly run a court without help.
“Set all hearts i’th’state to what tune pleased his ear, […] he was the ivy which had hid my princely trunk” – Prospero ACT I SCENE 2 (85) AO1 – Antonio chose his flatterers for his courtiers once he had usurped Prospero’s dukedom. AO2 – ivy = leech, trunk = strong. Implies Antonio’s dukedom is false and wouldn’t be there without Prospero. AO3 – King James to much disagreement dissolved parliament in favour of flattering advisors, painting Antonio in the same light.AO5 – Some people argue, as this is from P’s bias perspective and so it is unfair for him to tell this story without A’s POV because A may argue that P was ‘neglecting’ and not ‘princely’.
“Here cease more questions. Thou art inclined to sleep[…] [Miranda sleeps]” – Prospero, ACT I SCENE II (184) AO1 – No more questions, you need to sleep. Miranda falls asleep. AO2 – AO3 – AO5 –
“No name of magistrate; letters should not be known; riches, poverty, and use of service, none; … no occupation, all men idle, all, and women too, but innocent and pure; no sovereignty (line 145) AO1 – Gonzalo would rule a classless society where he believes all people would be innocent and pure. AO2 – Despite being a member of the court himself Gonzalo is presented as highly critical of the court. All of the aspects in which in he describes his ‘Golden state’ are suggestive of a prelapsarian era (prior to the fall of man – genesis).AO3 – Context of production – ‘Of the Caniballes’ De Montaigne informs this speech, Shakespeare uses Montaigne’s description of native society to portray an ideal society from Gonzalo’s POV.AO5 – Marxist reading – Gonzalo’s utopian society is close to what Marx describes in the Communist Manifesto with no riches nor poverty – no class conflicts.