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February 18, 2007

EL312: The Tempest, tempest, tempest

Perhaps a more appropriate title would be "E I E I O," but I'm sure this McDonald guy gets that all the time... especially since the focus of his essay on Shakespeare's "The Tempest" is repetition.

The hieratic style suggested by Prospero's repetitions is clearly appropriate to his vatic persona and elegiac frame of mind, it is a commonplace that some of his poetically knotted reiterations attest to his agitation at narratively re-creating his disposition, and Caliban's exultant "Freedom, high-day! High-day, freedom! Freedom, high day, freedom!" ironically established his personal entrapment, his exchange of one master for another (105).

Well, that's one hell of a sentence. Unpacking...

What I think McDonald is trying to say, in so many words, is that the characters could not speak any other way than that which Shakespeare has set forth for them. Otherwise, they would not be the same characters that we see time and time again. Helping an audience to read or view the characters' particularities through their speech is the playwright's job.

This whole essay was a little over my head the first read, but I was still able to take something away from it. I hope to at least revisit some of it before class on Thursday.

McDonald, ''Reading The Tempest'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by KarissaKilgore at February 18, 2007 4:32 PM


At first, I thought the essay was a bit of a stretch, more than "over my head". I mean, do you have to look at the text quite that closely? Is the rythmn just that important? Now I realize that yes, it is. It can add to the overall meaning and interpretations of the text and shed insight into Shakespeare's intentions when writing. Of course, some historical background can be done for his purposes, treading on that oh-so-dangereous historical criticism perspective in which we often recoil from in fear...haha.

Posted by: Nessa at February 19, 2007 3:15 PM

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