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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Deeper Than Plummet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1443  Tuesday, 28 May 2002

From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Monday, 27 May 2002 16:13:56 -0400
Subject: 13.1388 Re: Deeper Than Plummet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1388 Re: Deeper Than Plummet

> 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

Steven Marx's review of Prospero's Books (with QuickTime movie clips)
gives a pretty ingenious argument for Genesis as the source text for The
Tempest that reminds me of recent syncing of Pink Floyd to The Wizard of
Oz.

"Progeny: Prospero's Books, Genesis and The Tempest." Renaissance Forum.
1.2 (1996): 31 pars. 1 Sep. 1996.
<http://www.hull.ac.uk/renforum/v1no2/marx.htm>.

Both books he points out for instance begin with a stormy sea. (I think
there might be a clue here as to why Michelangelo has Jonas spit out of
Leviathan's mouth over the entrance to the Sistine Chapel).

> To touch on an earlier discussion, one example is that Prospero is very
> much a Renaissance mage.  Current magical practice and what we can
> reconstruct of ancient magical practice is very different from what
> Prospero did.  The magic he practices fits the magical texts of his era
> alone.
>
> Janet T. O'Keefe

That explains the play, but probably the Renaissance magicians tried to
replicate ancient practices. Prospero's magic, in any case, is a
conflation of unrelated principles. Phenomena like St. Elmo's fire,
actual storms, illusory storms, groaning pine trees, pine spirits, oak
spirits, air spirits, Setebos, pinches and stitches, paralysis, trances,
sleep induction, visions, misdirecting forest fairies, fetching
familiars, projected vision, e.s.p., etc. represent a composite of many
different branches of "science" that seems designed to convey the idea
of magic only as a metaphor for the theater.

Clifford Stetner

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