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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Deeper Than Plummet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1388  Tuesday, 21 May 2002

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 May 2002 15:01:37 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1375 Re: Deeper Than Plummet

[2]     From:   David Bishop <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:12:43 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1375 Re: Deeper Than Plummet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 May 2002 15:01:37 -0500
Subject: 13.1375 Re: Deeper Than Plummet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1375 Re: Deeper Than Plummet

Clifford Stetner writes,

> The exclusion of religion on Prospero's island might only be a
> rhetorical affirmation of the secular function of the popular stage.
> Renaissance Hermeticism from Pico and Ficino forward attempted to
> reconcile "magical" principles with Christian principles. The Tempest
> merely confirms the popular stage as the forum for the articulation of
> the humanist and secular aspect of the philosophy, leaving the
> scriptural aspect to the Church without thereby contradicting or
> excluding it.

I have no comment to offer directly on this as it lies outside my
concerns.  But isn't there possibly a simpler answer? I will defer to
the more knowledgeable but my impression is that Shakespeare et al. had
to be extremely careful in dealing with religion lest they be brought up
on charges of blasphemy or even heresy. Thus, the "Jove-game."

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bishop <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:12:43 -0400
Subject: 13.1375 Re: Deeper Than Plummet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1375 Re: Deeper Than Plummet

Clifford, I did not mean that religion was exactly "excluded" from
Prospero' s island. As I said, Christian imagery mingles with classical.
A world where there's a Duke of Milan and a King of Naples, an ideal of
getting knowledge from books, where people put dead Indians on display,
fall to prayers, worry about devils and say things like "O, forgive me
my sins!" is recognizably Renaissance, by comparison with a world where,
for example, one sends messengers to consult the Delphic oracle. But
other plays emphasize Christianity, or depend on it thematically, in a
way the Tempest, to my ear, does not. The question of damnation, for
example, plays an important role in Hamlet. Macbeth worries, though not
enough, about the life to come.  Christianity is generally a part of the
background in Shakespeare, and of course in many plays. Characters often
worry about revenge, sin and damnation in a context of assumed
Christianity. I do think, though, that Shakespeare is, if not quite
excluding, playing down Christianity as a basis for virtue in The
Tempest. I think this is a particular characteristic of The Tempest, not
of all plays.

Best wishes,
David Bishop

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