March 01, 2005

The Articles

Thus in The Tempest, written some fifty years after England's open participation in the slave trade, the island's native is made the embodiment of lust, disobedience, and irremediable evil, while his enslaver is presented as a God-figure. It makes an enormous difference in the expectations raised, whether one speaks of the moral obligatons of Prospero-the-slave-owner toward Caliban-his-slave, or speaks of the moral obligations of Prospero-the-God-figure toward Caliban-the-lustful-Vice-figure.... This kind of symbolism is damaging because it deflects our attention away from the fact that real counterparts to Caliban, Prospero, and Miranda exit -- that real slaves, real slave owners, and real daughters existed in 1613 for Shakespeare's countemporaries and have continued to exist since then. (290-92)""

What Mrs. Lenininger says is true. Shakespeare wrote from true life existance. England had been trading slaves from the Caribbean (I know I spelled that wrong, I'm too lazy to look it up) for years as well as native americans. Which brings me to a point, Dr. Jerz said that Caliban has been played by black men for years, why not an Indian, or someone of Indian (American not Asian) descent? To me, it would be more sense.

"Caliban, a poignant but cowardly (and murderous) half-human creature (his father a sea devil, whether fish or amphibian) has become an African-Carribean heroic Freedom Fighter. This is not even a weak misreading; anyone who arrives at that view is simply not interested in reading the play at all. Marxists, multiculturalists, feminists, nouveau historicists -- the usual suspects -- know their causes but not Shakespeare's plays. (662)"

I highly doubt what Mr. Bloom says. To each person, Shakespeare's plays mean different things. I'll use Romeo and Juliet and MacBeth as personal examples. Romeo and Juliet, to me, represented a type of love that exists without blame. Romeo may not have been a "stud" even for his tme. Juliet may not have been a blonde blombshell with big breasts, tiny waist, and wide "birthing" hips that all of man's fantasy's want, but she loved Romeo and he loved her. That is love. I think personally, that is what Shakespeare ment it to be, but to each his own. MacBeth on the other, ment simply that absolute power corrupts absolutely and that no one can stop fate. So, Mr. Bloom, you are the one that doesnt know Shakespeares plays. Shakespeare (if he wrote his own plays) didn't intend for them to have any one meaning, he ment for each person to grasp something from them and keep that as their own personal meaning.

I don't like reading article's like Mr. Bloom's because they stifle creative theory and practice.

Posted by lougagliardi at March 1, 2005 10:05 AM | TrackBack

Lou, what specifically about Bloom's article do you dislike? While it's part of the function of the literary critic to explain why certain works continue to speak to readers and audiences centuries or milennia after they were first created, I don't think it's defensible to charge that Bloom doesn't know his Shakespeare.

Isn't Lenninger, in her insistence that the only thing worth talking about is the real counterparts to the fictional characters, cutting off just as much creativity?

I'm not so sure that your use of MacBeth and Romeo & Juliet helped me to understand the points that you wanted to make about these works.

(Were you able to replace the copies that you lost?)

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 2, 2005 10:46 AM
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