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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Prospero, Miranda, and *The Tempest*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0538.  Friday, 17 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Stephen Orgel <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 1994 08:37:27 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
 
(2)     From:   John Cox <COX@HOPE.BITNET>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 1994 12:49:10 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
 
(3)     From:   Piers Lewis <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Jun 1994 07:19:02 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Prospero & Miranda
 
(4)     From:   Phyllis Rackin <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Jun 1994 08:10:47 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
 
(5)     From:   William Russell Mayes <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Jun 1994 09:28:27 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Orgel <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 1994 08:37:27 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
 
Never mind about Richard Levin; I think Lonnie Durham's speculations on The
Tempest are terrific. Thanks!
 
S. Orgel
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Cox <COX@HOPE.BITNET>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 1994 12:49:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
 
Lonnie Durham ought to have a look at Mark Taylor's *Shakespeare's Darker
Purpose:  A Question of Incest* as well as Stephen Orgel's introduction to the
Oxford *Tempest*.  This question goes back to recent network discussion about
character.  To what extent can Prospero be considered to have incestuous
desires, if he has no character?  Particularly, how can be considered to
change, if he has no character?  Is he, in fact, a he, i.e., a person of any
kind, rather than a stage configuration?  Are undogmatic answers to these
questions possible?  I ask them seeking undogmatic answers, in any case.
 
John Cox
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Piers Lewis <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Jun 1994 07:19:02 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Prospero & Miranda
 
I have to admit it never occurred to me that Prospero really lusts after
Miranda but has sublimated his lust into something higher and finer.  May I ask
for supporting evidence in the text?  Or is this a purely theoretical insight?
 
Piers Lewis
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Rackin <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Jun 1994 08:10:47 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
 
> . . . the return to Eden is a return to a world outside of, or
> previous to, all notions of law.  Here, strictly speaking, there can be no
> such thing as rape or incest or insubordination.  In other words, without
> P.'s dragging in precepts from the old corrupt society, there is no reason
> whatsoever that Caliban should not be the New Adam to Miranda's Eve.
 
I wonder how "Edenic" a world without prohibitions against rape would be for
the rape victims.
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Russell Mayes <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Jun 1994 09:28:27 -0400
Subject: 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0537  Qs: Prospero and Miranda
 
Without tackling the subject of "allegorical play" as a general interpretive
move, I would like to point out one possible problem with Lonnie Durham's
proposed reading of _The Tempest_.  He writes that it is Prospero's goal to
turn "the edenic (thus lawless) Caliban into the rule following, chess playing
Ferdinand" (I think I garbled that quotation a bit, but I believe it's close to
Durham's original).  As I see it, the problem with this neat construction is
that when we discover Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess in Act V, he appears
to be cheating!  So much for following the rules.
 
W. Russell Mayes Jr
Dept. of English
University of Virginia

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