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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0588  Thursday, 28 February 2002

[1]     From:   Todd Lidh <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 10:52:48 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.0573 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest

[2]     From:   Seija Sinikki <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 17:21:15 -0900
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0534 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Lidh <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 10:52:48 -0500
Subject: 13.0573 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.0573 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest

Karen Peterson writes,

> Would a spirit -- could a spirit -- have the
> same (usually sexually driven) masochistic/submissive
> psychological trends that would seem to underlie a situation
> in which Ariel conspires in his own bondage?
>
> Yours in puzzlement,

First, I must say that I certainly do not wish to puzzle anyone (cause
anyone puzzlement? be a puzzling agent?).

Second, I think the argument has been made by a number of critics that
there is the suggestion of some form of sexual attraction/relationship
between Ariel and Prospero. Myself, I've not taken that road, but it
would be one solution to your puzzle.

As for motivation, I can't help but believe that you posit yourself out
of asking that question. You say that Ariel -- as a spirit -- can't have
the same kinds of reasons for staying in a relationship that appears
abusive that a human might, but doesn't that then argue that Ariel -- as
a spirit -- has motivations we can't reason out? If so, why can I not
believe that Ariel (for whatever reasons) chooses to do Prospero's
wishes rather than serving out of fear and/or being dominated?

Granted, that answer has quite a bit of cheek in it, but I am cautious
about entering into debate when the ground appears to be shifted under
my feet but not those who are asking the questions. So, if we agree that
Ariel is bound by the same "laws" as humans are (so that we can fathom
and perhaps even understand such motivation), I think a number of
possibilities emerge: loyalty, friendship, duty, sexual, etc. If we
agree that Ariel is a spirit and, thus, would *not* have the same
motivations as a human, it seems perfectly reasonable to argue that
Ariel stays by choice because we cannot really know, so that argument is
as valid as any other.

I don't want to make a living out of convincing people of this belief;
rather, I think that a strong case can be made for the *possibility* of
reading these characters in this different way and that it is worth
investigating that possibility, both textually and theatrically...uh,
that's within the theatre, not via hysterics. ;o)

Todd M Lidh
Flagler College

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Seija Sinikki <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 17:21:15 -0900
Subject: 13.0534 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0534 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest

If I may, I would like to recommend an illuminating essay on Renaissance
perceptions of magic. It is called 

 

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