A Fall Does Not Make for a Hopeful “Brave New World”

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From Northrop Frye’s “Shakespeare’s The Tempest”:

“The vision, however, is one of a renewed power and energy of nature rather than simply a return to a lost Paradise: a sense of a ‘brave new world’ appropriate as a wedding offering to a young and attractive couple” (302). 

I found this quote to be particularly interesting in light of an earlier blog entry I wrote on The Tempest.  I stated my belief that the ending of The Tempest was not so much of a happily ever after because along with leaving the island comes a destruction of Miranda’s innocence.  Therefore, Frye’s comments on this being not a return to a lost Paradise, but the finding of a new one, definitely caught my attention.  However, I don’t quite agree with him in one way.  I don’t think that this “brave new world” is  positive or hopeful  at all.  In fact, I think their abandoning of the secluded island (which could be seen in a sense as the garden) is yet another fall into deeper sin.  As Frye observes there is no repentance on Antonio’s part.  The cycle of depositions and greed is set up to continue again and again, just as there will be more and more people like Caliban.  For as I pointed out, the hope we had in Miranda and Ferdinand is quickly dashed by Ferdinand’s cheating, Miranda’s compliance with Ferdinand’s behavior, and their removal from the relatively innocent life of the island.  (Need I mention that Aldous Huxley’s take on Shakespeare’s line in his novel, Brave New World, is none to positive?)    

Read more on Frye’s article. 

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