Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Caliban's Island
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1477  Wednesday, 7 September 2005

[1] 	From: 	David Basch <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 18:17:46 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1462 Caliban's Island

[2] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 23:18:00 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1462 Caliban's Island

[3] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 22:40:59 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1462 Caliban's Island


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Basch <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 18:17:46 -0400
Subject: 16.1462 Caliban's Island
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1462 Caliban's Island

Larry Weiss in trying to belittle the idea that Prospero is the Lord 
satirically reads Shakespeare's lines as telling of the death of God:

    It appears, then, that Shakespeare anticipated Nietzsche.
    Prospero's retirement, in which every third thought is his
    grave; his broken staff and drowned books represent the death
    of God.

But Larry is mistaken and takes the lines in the wrong way.

First, consider the meaning of Prospero in Italian, which is "I make 
happy," and then consider Psalm 84:4 which declares, "Happy are they who 
dwell in Your house" (though some translate the Hebrew word "ash'rei" as 
"blessed").

As to the lines in the Tempest:

    And deeper than did ever plummet sound
    I'll drown my book.

this is to compared with Alonso's lament about his son Ferdinand that he 
thinks has drowned. Alonso says:

         ...  my son i' the ooze is bedded, and
         I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded
         And with him there lie mudded.

Note the difference between the two expressions. Alonso specifically 
alludes to a physical "plummet" (plumb) sounding the depths of the mud 
but the other comment by Prospero is a metaphor referring to a depth 
that is beyond what plummet may sound. In context with all the allusions 
to Prospero's divine nature, this must refer to depths beyond anything 
physical, like the depths of the human heart. It is there that he 
Prospero drowns His Holy Book, the Bible, deep in men's hearts everywhere.

The passage in The Tempest says nothing about the death of God but only 
deals with Prospero, Who as God, decides to remove Himself as an actor 
in the human world, refraining from performing "rough magic," hence not 
needing His staff, and making His influence thereafter felt in more 
subtle ways.

Prospero, having thus decided to do so, enters his other role as mortal 
king, contemplating death with every third thought. I had mentioned this 
dual role of Prospero, both God and mortal, in my earlier posting.

I would note also that the contrast between mortal kings, who are 
subject to death and decay, and to God, Who lives forever, is the theme 
of the Jewish High Holiday piyutte, or hymn, "All Believe," which seems 
to be allegorically enacted in the play.

(My late brother Charles astutely noted the relation of the Jewish hymn 
to this pattern in the play a number of years ago, though I would not be 
surprised if this theme appears in the hymns of other religious traditions.)

David Basch

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 23:18:00 +0000
Subject: 16.1462 Caliban's Island
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1462 Caliban's Island

Why does Prospero break AND bury his staff? Is it his ring of Gyges?

http://falcon.tamucc.edu/~sencerz/Myth_of_Gyges.htm
http://wso.williams.edu/~rbhattac/whyarewejust.html

Puzzled,
Joe Egert

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 22:40:59 -0400
Subject: 16.1462 Caliban's Island
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1462 Caliban's Island

 >Prospero ... enters his other role as
 >mortal king, contemplating death with every third thought. I had
 >mentioned this dual role of Prospero, both God and mortal, in my
 >earlier posting.

I'm sorry I misconstrued the earlier post. I thought Basch equated 
Prospero with Jahweh, when all along it was really Jesus. Perhaps 
Shakespeare was a Christian after all.

_______________________________________________________________
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.