Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 84. Monday, 13 Apr 1992.
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 1992 12:56:00 -0400
Subject: Tempest and Italian History
I'm pondering the Italian dimension of The Tempest.
The depicted politics of the city states of Naples and Milan belong to some
time in the 15th century. They certainly don't belong to the early 17th
century, the moment of performance, by which time Italy had been
partitioned for over a century. This is a striking but unremarked
archaism, is it not? Only the Venice plays, (Merchant and Othello) show
anything like a contemporary Italy city-state.
Has this historical uneven-ness been commented upon? Is this skewing
of Italian history characteristic of other dramatic texts of the period? Is
there some standard account of the subject of which I am ignorant?
Does anyone have any thoughts on the matter?
A second query. Does anyone know why the line designating the play's
location ("The Scene: an uninhabited island") is so oddly located, at the
end rather than the beginning of the Folio text?
A third query. Trinculo is *born* from out of Caliban's bum in Act two,
scene two. Does anyone have memories of performances which have
given this moment the staging it might deserve?
Thanks in anticipation.
University of York