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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Plot and Character Parallels
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0710  Friday, 8 March 2002

From:           W.L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 07 Mar 2002 16:01:32 -0500
Subject: 13.0693 Plot and Character Parallels
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0693 Plot and Character Parallels

Ed Taft calls our attention to Richard Levin (the elder, scourge of
postmodernists, Marxists, and others) who wrote Multiple Plot in English
Renaissance Drama (Chicago UP, 1971), a very good survey (I think) of
the different forms of multiple plot, and, yes, Levin's detail analyses
are more convincing than his theorizing.

Almost 90 years ago, Allan Gilbert, "The Tempest: Parallelism in
Character and Situations," JEGP 14 (1915) 63-74, noticed that Ferdinand
and Caliban are parallel characters: both are enslaved by Prospero; both
have the hots for Miranda; both are "woodmen" (see Gordon Williams's
Glossary) -- or wish they were. In any case, they both carry wood for
Prospero, and both are led around by Ariel at some point. Caliban is an
orphan, and Ferdinand thinks he is -- and so on.

But why this rather than something else? What are the possible
interpretations of this parallel? Is Ferdinand merely an upper class
Caliban, one acceptable to Prospero because he will inherit a kingdom
and make Miranda a queen?

Yours, Bill Godshalk

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