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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Deeper Than Plummet Did Ever Plummet Sound
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1284  Friday, 10 May 2002

From:           Paul Swanson <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 May 2002 10:48:07 -0500
Subject:        Deeper Than Plummet Did Ever Plummet Sound

This may be a silly or insignificant question, but I have wondered for a
while about the possible significance of two virtually identical lines
in The Tempest.

Burdened with guilt and sadness, Alonso reacts to Ariel-as-Harpy's
repudiation in 3.3 that "Therefore my son i' th' ooze is bedded; and /
I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded..." (3.3.100-101). Two
scenes later, Prospero, in renouncing his magic, virtually repeats the
line, stating that "...deeper than did ever plummet sound / I'll drown
my book" (5.1.56-57).

A few questions: Can someone explain how a plummet works? Secondly, why
does Shakespeare have Alonso and Prospero say virtually the same words?
I understand the basic parallel that each of them "loses" a child, as
they discuss in 5.1. But what other point(s) are behind line's
repetition?

Let me thank you in advance for any responses.

Paul Swanson

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