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February 17, 2007

Old McDonald's Thoughts of Shakespere

Reading The Tempest, McDonald

Literary Criticism--EL312

I liked the McDonald article, due to the fact that it takes you through certain parts of The Tempest point by point. I will make a feeble attempt making it point by point as he did.

I. Ways People Looked At The Tempest Recently

I think Tiffany was right last time when she said that this generation is pretty much pessimistic. Recent criticism of the play has been "single-minded and reductive" , according to McDonald. The Tempest was seen a in a lot more positive light as Yachnin wrote about the strong sense of obedience in the play. In the recent decade, we see this play been demonized in a lot of ways. One of those ways has been the demonization of Prospero because he was drunk with power.

II. Repetition...Best Way To Remember Something

Here, McDonald basically describe in how history repeats itself. Usurpation and assassination has been a theme of some of Shakespeare's plays. Just look at Macbeth and Hamlet. Shakespeare also plays on the technical repitition as well. As far as words and phrases are concerned, he "strives for the power of expression not only by contract words and skipping over nonessential syllable.." He plays with the structures of the play to highlight certain points that he thinks we should remember.

III. See The Pattern?

Shakespeare uses of "minor theatrical strategies" is visible in all of his plays. That is why a lot of stage directors like to direct a Shakespeare play, because it is open to interpretation. This was probably his way to allow people to apprieciate his plays, even though it was never meant to be printed. It is the minute details that makes his plays great, and like McDonald stated "reality is (re)presented on the stage."

IV. Just a Figure of Speech

The uses of irony, metaphors, and similes is essential to The Tempest. For example, McDonald pointed out that Caliban declaring he was free from Prospero, but he became the slave of Stephano.

V. Such a tease.
Shakespeare's play rely on the art of tantilization. Just when you think you know what is going on... a new twist emerge. It is also a tease for the characters, as Thomas Foster (writer of How to Read Literature like a Professor) would say, "the intended goal is never fufilled"." The tease that Shakespeare would always use would be romance (love or lust). McDonald said that "romance depends suspense, secrets, surprises, discoveries, peripetes, awakening, revelations."

VI. Again...Dirty Politics

Unlike other Shakespeare works that show anger and rebellion, The Tempest seem to glorify servitude and obedience. That is an extremely big shift. Also, politics are run by soverignty, that fact that you are not subordinate to anyone. The problem is this play is that the is not enough of soverignty. For example, Caliban and Ariel is Prospero's slaves and Prospero is the slave to his desires for revenge.

Posted by KevinHinton at February 17, 2007 7:21 PM


Great breakdown Kevin! I love it!

As you have already said I think that the play really has been dominated by too much pessimistic criticism. I mean give the guy a break! He has been stuck on an island with two slaves and a daughter for 12 years and wasn't really able to befriend any of them.

Also, I like how you ended. I never thought of Prospero as a slave to himself. Then again, aren't we all slaves to ourselves in some way, shape, or form?

Posted by: Tiffany at February 21, 2007 6:38 PM

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