Wednesday, May 01, 2019

The Tempest

The Tempest. William Shakespeare. 1623. 127 pages. [Source: Bought]
Master: Boatswain!
Boatswain: Here, master: what cheer?
Master: Good, speak to the mariners: fall to't, yarely, or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir.
Premise/plot: Miranda has grown up on an island only knowing her father, Prospero, and Caliban, an unpleasant fellow, the son of a witch. She's in for quite a surprise when a shipwreck brings more people to the island. The shipwreck is no accident; it is the work of her sorcerer father, Prospero, aided by ARIEL. Prospero has a complex, master plan.

Miranda falls MADLY, DEEPLY in love with the first man she sees, Ferdinand. Fortunately, I suppose, he likewise falls in love with her. This union might be phase two of her father's master plan...

My thoughts: I really enjoyed reading William Shakespeare's The Tempest. It was a new-to-me Shakespeare play. (There are still a good many in this category). I found the play to be compelling and easy to follow--relatively. Yes, it has POLITICS and SCHEMING. But this is all handled in a back-story or info dump. (This info dump actually puts Miranda to sleep.)

There are a few characters in The Tempest that seem like they are unnecessary or superfluous--Caliban and the two drunkards--but perhaps these are solely for comedic effect which doesn't translate well when it is just read and not performed.

MIRANDA If by your art, my dearest father, you have Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.
[Enter ARIEL.] ARIEL All hail, great Master! grave sir, hail! 
I come To answer thy best pleasure; be’t to fly, To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride On the curl’d clouds; to thy strong bidding task Ariel and all his quality.
MIRANDA I might call him A thing divine; for nothing natural I ever saw so noble.
MIRANDA Why speaks my father so ungently?
This Is the third man that e’er I saw; the first
That e’er I sigh’d for; pity move my father
To be inclined my way!
PROSPERO Soft, sir! one word more.
[Aside.] They are both in either’s powers: but this swift business
I must uneasy make, lest too light winning
Make the prize light.
MIRANDA There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple: 
If the ill spirit have so fair a house,
Good things will strive to dwell with’t.
SEBASTIAN He receives comfort like cold porridge.
GONZALO It is foul weather in us all, good sir,
When you are cloudy. 
SEBASTIAN I do: and surely
It is a sleepy language, and thou speak’st
Out of thy sleep.
What is it thou didst say?
This is a strange repose, to be asleep
With eyes wide open; standing, speaking, moving,
And yet so fast asleep.
SEBASTIAN Do so: to ebb, Hereditary sloth instructs me.
MIRANDA I am a fool
To weep at what I am glad of.
 PROSPERO Our revels now are ended.
These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, 
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself, 
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve 
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, 
Leave not a rack behind.
We are such stuff 
As dreams are made on, and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep.  

MIRANDA O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world
That has such people in’t!

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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