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April 7, 2007

Miko’s Breakdown of The Tempest

Tempest, Miko

Literary Criticism--EL312

Remember that McDonald article that had broken down theories of the Tempest into categories. Miko had done something similar in a poststructual point of view. Again, I will make a feeble attempt to breakdown The Tempest.

I.Do What I Say and Not What I Do
Miko made a claim that it is the language that the reader should look at closely. This is because that it is the language that made The Tempest a good play and a good work of literature. In this language is a series of ironies and metaphors. Miko called it the “language of miracle and wonder.” Shakespeare always had a cryptic language in his plays. Miko stated that we can’t just see the Tempest just a play, we should see it a form of poetry (maybe an epic like Paradise Lost).

II.Let’s Tie Up The Loose Ends
In other Shakespeare plays, the main character uses a marriage, a suicide, or a murder to solve problems that were stated in the beginning. In The Tempest, however, there are a lot of things out there still lingering in the play. A lot of things that were mentioned in the play, like revenge, were never fully used. Miko stated that “probably more than any of Shakespeare’s other plays; The Tempest leaves “reflection” a live metaphor”. The Tempest is meant to be explored That is the only thing that bothered me. Wasn’t it Chekov that said that “if you see a gun in Act One it has to be used by Act Five” (or something like that, I can’t remember)?

III.Prospero Runs The Show
As Miko stated, “this is Prospero’s play, with no very close parallel in Shakespeare.” Prospero is what I call a keystone character. Without him the whole story with collapse. There is no other main character in any other play that has such a command in the plot. Everything that happens, every time someone is influenced by magic, even his own misfortune is due to the one we call Prospero. Miko claimed that his exile is due to his brother and his “ducal responsibility into studies-magic and liberal arts”.

IV.…Or Maybe It’s Ariel
One of the things that Prospero does is control Ariel. He is the one that uses his power to influences most of the other characters in the play (but Miko said that they did not need it.) Maybe he is the keystone character and we didn’t know it.

V.Friends in Low Places
Like The Replicants, Caliban seems to reflect some human qualities good and bad. He wants the right to be a sovereign entity. It is a basic human right, the right to be free. Caliban lives in illusions in his present situation. He has the “everything’s-going-to-be-alright” mentality and strips himself away from that as the play concludes. Miko goes on to say that Caliban could be representing original sin, the first human fallibility.

Posted by KevinHinton at April 7, 2007 2:10 PM


Yeah, it was Chekhov. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chekhov's_gun) I can't count how many times Dr. Boyle used that one in our Euro lit class last semester, haha :)

Although I see where you were going with the Chekhov gun theory as a parallel to the Tempest, I'm not really sure that it works. It presents the "loose ends" that Miko discusses in the article, but I think that the Chekhov's gun technique actually creates -more- loose ends. In my opinion each time there is an attempt to clear up or conclude the characters' lives or the "meaning" of a work, it allows other loose ends to escape.

Did you mean the tempest (as in the storm itself) needs to be explored? Because in that case, if you're not talking about the Tempest, as in the whole play, I think you're right--the storm itself should be explored more as an element in the play, the driving force behind action, and as a metaphor for the world (which only something as chaotic as magic can put in order). I'm interested to know what you think. :)

Posted by: Karissa at April 7, 2007 10:52 PM

Look at the title itself...TEMPEST. A storm, a strong storm at that. Karissa, I believe that the "loose end" is that Prospero choose to forgive than to avenge. It's great, but why? Prospero never used the tempest's (the storm's) distructive force completely. All of the passengers lived! I have a question for you... Why do you believe that the play does not need to be explored (Assuming that I am reading your comment correctely.)?

Posted by: Kevin "Kelo The Great" Hinton at April 8, 2007 3:22 AM

Well, no. I mean, I'm glad to know what you think about the necessary exploration of the play itself, but I'm not implying that it doesn't need to be explored. I was simply asking what aspect of it you meant in your post.

Prospero didn't use the storm to its fullest destructive force, but did he have to (in order to accomplish what it is he set out to do)? Would the play have been improved with a death or injury? Are these the "loose ends" you speak of in your entry?

There's something in Shakespeare's plays that sets up the objective of the play as a whole called the Cosmic Image--it's usually a kind of reflection of what will occur later on, almost like a premonition or a set-up, but it's indirect. The audience would know it, though. If the Cosmic Image sets up Prospero's goal (even if he is unaware of what it is, which in my opinion he isn't), how do you feel about "loose ends" then? Are there really "loose ends" if Shakespeare accomplishes for his characters what he sets out to do? Or do we create our own "loose ends" by reading the play in different ways (as we've been learning to do this semester)?

I agree that the part about Prospero is intriguing but I'm perplexed to read that you think it is "the" loose end in the play. Are there more than this? Is it we who create it/them or does Shakespeare hand us the string(s)? Is this the only one you see when you analyze it or is this merely the one you'd like to see as a focus?

More curiousity awaits your reply!

Posted by: Karissa at April 8, 2007 10:55 PM

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