How do you see art?

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"For the next audiences, Prospero and then us, the shows flirt, even through their allusions, with the idea that art itself is to some important degree arbitrary" (Miko).

The title of this sub-section in Miko's text is called "Art, Magic, and Illusion." This was a very interesting post-structural essay that showed how specific audiences refer to specific scenes or characters. Could Prospero, being the Duke, represent the art of the country he is ruling? If an audience from a poverty stricken class viewed this text, then they would have a different appreciation of art and Prospero.

When we read The Tempest last month, Eric posted a blog that linked the BBC production of this play. The characters looked like cartoon figures, but they did a great job in relaying the play. Is it the art of how the characters are presented that make them so important or is it how we see them?

If someone did a formalist reading of The Tempest, then how could we see such "entertainment" qualities? In other words, a critic should use several forms of criticism in order to capture the different aspects of the play. Every audience that views it will have a different opinion and understanding, but what they see is what makes the play so great. This moves directly in the quote that I chose because art is only as good as how we see it. If we don't see anything, then how can we criticize it or even find "entertainment?"

Miko titled this sub-section for a specific reason and used the word "illusion." This term makes an audience think of one thing when the author is trying to portray another thing. Is there always an illusion in a text before we understand what the author was trying to tell us?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Miko.

1 Comment

You pose an interesting question about the interpretations of art and for that matter literature. In my anthropology class last semester we read an article called "Shakespeare in the Bush" an anthropologist tried to explain the story of Hamlet to the African tribe that she was staying with. She thought she could prove that certain concepts were universal only to discover that the tribal leaders saw a completely different meaning in Hamlet than our own American and European cultures do. Their view of each character was in total opposition to how we would view them.

How interesting would it be to get another cultures ideas about the forms of criticism we are learning and see what different directions they would take the text using these forms. I believe it would open our eyes to ideas we would never have thought of before.

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This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on April 11, 2009 6:24 PM.

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