The Tempest–Act I

You may be aware that I didn’t make a post for the final act of Julius Caesar. I basically didn’t feel like repeating myself, so I didn’t find it necessary to post.

waterhouse_miranda_the_tempest

 

Now, I must admit something. Whenever I read a storm in a Shakespeare play, I instinctively categorize it as one of the following–My criticism sometimes is from habit. So, when the act opened, I thought one of the three things:

  1. The storm is the external manifestation of a disposition of one of the most important characters
  2. It is symbolic of the indomitable forces of nature, that pass and continue despite human life and death that takes place within it’s workings.
  3. It symbolizes Divine nature.

The act that follows, however, reveals that this tempest doesn’t fit my usual criteria. It’s all three of the aforementioned, and it’s also none of the above. I don’t know what I’d do if I were given a multiple choice exam question in regard to the tempest.

The storm sets up the revenge of Prospero. And, let’s take a minute to look at that name. Prospero means fortunate, from the Latin “Prosper” which takes a modern English meaning as prosperous. Now, given that his dukedom was usurped and he wound up on an island, Prospero doesn’t seem that fortunate. However, he was usurped because he took no interest in affairs of the state, but rather devoted himself to study, and even cast away onto an island, he continues learning. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Oh, and he’s constantly speaking of how fortune has fallen upon him in regards to the storm–for which he is responsible–and he’s also a magician? I’m looking forward to this unfolding. I love when Shakespeare gives me a great name and an interesting character. It’s like a little gift for people who like words.

Prospero Caliban and Miranda

 

I have a rant at hand, and I’m debating whether or not to go on for a long time, or making a bullet point of things that I’ve notices in the second scene. Hmm. Decisions.

Let’s just make a list for the sake of easy reading and easy writing.

  • The pity of Caliban is manifested in teaching his words, to name things, and to know things. He’s far from something human, we could say he bares the mark of Cain, but we may be stretching it, but he’s given the gift and duty of man–words and naming.
  • It is through words and language that Ferdinand recognizes Prospero and Miranda as human.
  • Music brings Ferdinand to seeing the lovely Miranda
  • Ariel–actually, I have nothing to say to this, other than I really like him. Looking forward to seeing him free. And why he wants freedom and what he plans to do with his freedom.

It’s probably apparent I was going to go on a long-winded tangent concerning words. But, the points are made, and I am exhausted on thoughts.

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King Henry IV, Part II–Act III

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And we witness the declining health of King Henry at the opening of this scene Unable to sleep with the weight of the country on his shoulders, he’s making himself worse. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the amount of things that a king must have to do, all the while keeping a composure worthy of royalty. He still wants to go on the Crusade–the unifying war that he wanted in the beginning of part one. But, we can see that Henry here is starting to lose it, seeing that Richard had foretold all his misfortunes. I love Warwick’s response (I’m not even quite sure completely why) so much so, that I’m going to block quote it!

There is a history in all men’s lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased;
The which observed, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak beginnings lie intreasured.
Such things become the hatch and brood of time;
And by the necessary form of this
King Richard might create a perfect guess
That great Northumberland, then false to him,
Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness;
Which should not find a ground to root upon,
Unless on you. (III.i.)

I guess I’m interested in the necessity that actions take from other actions, playing themselves out from the root and core of the character. Northumberland was going to rebel from Henry, because he acted against Richard. Actions are like seeds that take root.

I don’t have much to say about this short act, and I honestly have no idea what an earth to do with the second scene of this act. I enjoyed the really in depth conversation about the certainty of death being smack dab in the middle of a load of gossip which I couldn’t make heads or tails.

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As far as I can tell, Falstaff is being Falstaff, and I still don’t know what to do with his character, and I refuse to see him as solely comic relief, because fools are the heart of every Shakespeare play I’ve ever read. So, someone help. What do I do with this man?