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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0392  Thursday, 27 February 2003

[1]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Feb 2003 11:59:07 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0377 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic

[2]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Feb 2003 21:45:59 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0377 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Feb 2003 11:59:07 GMT0BST
Subject: 14.0377 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0377 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic

>Is there evidence that Caliban has ever been physically punished by
>Prospero?

Caliban, of course, does say that he is wound with adders, his feet
pricked by hedgehogs, etc., in his opening speech in 2.2.  I suppose,
though, that I was referring to other productions - including RSC 2000 -
where Caliban has been made up to suggest that he has suffered physical
beating, Voss's Prospero did actually use some physical violence upon
him.  (Another example would be the way he was chained in the Leeds 1999
production, or tied in a harness in RSC 2002)  In the Old Vic production
Jacobi expressed anger, but used no physical violence - one of the ways
in which it seemed to me the production did not really carry through its
gestures.  I certainly don't think there 'ought' to be physical
violence, and agree that it's perfectly possible to suggest the mind
control that Prospero has over Caliban in many ways.

In a number of productions, however, what has been interesting has been
the violence of Stephano towards Caliban - RSC 1970, 1993 and 2002 would
be examples. Again it's of course not a necessary choice...

David Lindley
University of Leeds

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Groves <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Feb 2003 21:45:59 +0000
Subject: 14.0377 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0377 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic

>Is there evidence that Caliban has ever been physically punished by
>Prospero? I always get the impression that he has only ever witnessed
>such punishments - against Sycorax and Setebos - and that this acts as a
>deterrent that holds him in awe.

CALIBAN As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd
With raven's feather from unwholesome fen
Drop on you both! a south-west blow on ye
And blister you all o'er!

PROSPERO For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt have cramps,
Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up; urchins
Shall, for that vast of night that they may work,
All exercise on thee; thou shalt be pinch'd
As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging
Than bees that made 'em.

....

CALIBAN All the infections that the sun sucks up
From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall and make him
By inch-meal a disease! His spirits hear me
And yet I needs must curse. But they'll nor pinch,
Fright me with urchin--shows, pitch me i' the mire,
Nor lead me, like a firebrand, in the dark
Out of my way, unless he bid 'em; but
For every trifle are they set upon me;
Sometime like apes that mow and chatter at me
And after bite me, then like hedgehogs which
Lie tumbling in my barefoot way and mount
Their pricks at my footfall; sometime am I
All wound with adders who with cloven tongues
Do hiss me into madness.

Peter Groves

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