Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Deeper Than Plummet Did Ever Plummet Sound
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1316  Tuesday, 14 May 2002

[1]     From:   David Brailow <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 13 May 2002 11:32:32 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.1284 Deeper Than Plummet Did Ever Plummet Sound

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 13 May 2002 19:34:26 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1294 Re: Deeper Than Plummet Did Ever Plummet Sound


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Brailow <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 13 May 2002 11:32:32 -0500
Subject: 13.1284 Deeper Than Plummet Did Ever Plummet Sound
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1284 Deeper Than Plummet Did Ever Plummet Sound

I'm fairly sure that both D.G. James, in "Prospero's Dream," and
Northrop Frye, in "A Natural Perspective" comment on the likeness of the
two lines, looking at them as examples of linked sea imagery, among
other things (this is really grasping for old threads of memory).  The
old "image-theme" critics thought of the sea as the source of
transformation in the play.  Every positive change seems to require
first the plunge into the depths, then the re-emergence "fresher than
before."  For me, one connection has to do with awareness of mortality
and renunciation of power (including the power to do evil).  For Alonso,
the loss of Sebastian is the direct consequence of his immoral and
inhumane treatment of Prospero.  His apparent resolve is to renounce not
only his power but his life.  For Prospero, the movement towards
"virtue" and away from "vengeance" involves a renunciation of his
supernatural powers (including an apparent power over life and death--he
says in the "plummet" speech that his potent art includes the power to
open graves and let the sleepers forth).  It also involves his
acknowledgement that his power, whether natural or not, does not extend
to reforming human nature--indications are that Caliban and Antonio
remain pretty much as they were. There's a lot more one could say, but
I'll be interested to hear what others think.

David Brailow

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 13 May 2002 19:34:26 -0400
Subject: 13.1294 Re: Deeper Than Plummet Did Ever Plummet Sound
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1294 Re: Deeper Than Plummet Did Ever Plummet Sound

> 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).

> Paul Swanson

I don't know if there is a single answer to the question of connotation.
Who other than a close reader could notice such a delayed echo (Vick
also points to the adjoining echo of "full fathom five thy father lies"
and "certain fathoms in the earth" where the staff is buried), and there
is no evidence that Shakespeare ever intended his scripts to be read? If
I were permitted to speculate, however, I would suggest that the
repetition emphasizes the idea that a trade-off has taken place. Both
Alonso and Prospero's dynastic hopes are apparently irretrievably lost
at the beginning of the play. The magic necessary to recover them is so
great that the effort spends the entire store, so the book of magic is
buried in the empty grave of the recovered son. To speculate further,
Alonso represents the play's intended audience: one whose aspirations
for the future have been dashed and whose ear is given to cynics who
ridicule truly wise (though apparently naive) counsel to faith, hope and
optimism. Prospero's book (the Tempest itself, or rather its deeply
buried subtext) is offered to turn Alonso's despair fed by A and S's
cynicism to hope through faith that good will triumph in the future even
if all seems black for the time being. Alonso is driven (like Gloucester
blindly seeking the cliffs of Dover) to plumb the depths of despair. It
is there that Prospero's book now lies like a Gonzalo offering hope to
all Alonso's through faith that good will triumph in the end.

Clifford

ps: Speaking of faith and hope, according to Gloryland's New Christian
Series Lesson 4 http://www.valiantfortruth.com/html/ncs4.html: "The term
'Mark twain,' meant six fathoms of water- enough depth for clear passage
of the boat," not two as Vick contends. Apparently Samuel Clemens delved
one fathom below Shakespeare's mines.

> Is it not just a piece of lead (plumb) attached to a (very long) string?
> I would say you just let it go and keep the end of the string in your
> hand.  But then, Mark Twain would know better, perhaps.
>
> Markus Marti

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.