Key Crit!!


Carey-Webb: Colonisation

"a model of colonial relationships and a metaphor of colonial history"

  • Prospero's treatment of Caliban
  • Trinculo and Stephano's treatment of Caliban
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Goodwin: Hidden meanings

"A great deal of its substance seems deliberately hidden beneath the surface.” 

  • Prospero's manipulation of Miranda and Ferdinand's relationship
  • The Masque
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Hirst: Power

"The Tempest is a play about power"

  • Prospero's desire for power
  • Trinculo and Stephano's desire for power
  • Prospero's control over Miranda
  • Prospero's control over Caliban
  • Stephano and Trinculo's control over Caliban
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Knott: Ending/Monologue

"Prospero's tragic monologue"

  • he has changed and become a New Testament God
  • links to Shakespeare: his last play, saying goodbye to theatre
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Billington: Cards (Prospero's power)

"Prospero holds all the cards"

  • Prospero has control over everyone/everything
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Vaughn: Colonisation

"Europeans control the land, its resources, its inhabitants: a theatrical microcosm of the imperial paradigm"

  • Prospero's control over Caliban
  • Stephano and Trinculo's control over Caliban
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Mendes: Sub-plot

You get a sense of the sub-plot echoing the main plot, parodying those other characters. Their purpose in the play is important.”

  • Trinculo and Stephano's attempted usurpation of Prospero mirrors Antonio and Sebastian's attempted usurpation of Alonso.
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Hargest: Sub-plot

"To present Stefano, the drunken butler and Trinculo, the court jester merely as a pair of drunken clowns is to oversimplify their roles"

The sub-plot allows Shakespeare to "reinforce the dark, conspiratorial world of the play, and emphasise the important themes of the master-servant relationship and the elusive nature of power and freedom." 

  • mirrors and parodies the main plot
  • criticism of colonisation
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Jameson: Miranda's ignorance

 "total ignorance of the conventional forms and language of society"

  • carries the logs for Ferdinand
  • tries to stand up for him (asks him to be gentle/not to hurt him)
  • rebels against the conventional ideas of Jacobean women
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Billington: Colonisation

Prospero can be seen as a "colonial overlord"

  • Treatment of Caliban reflect the colonisers' treatment of the natives.
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Linley: Surface

"The Tempest appears at first sight a light-hearted mix of romance and playful humour, but it is also dark at times, cynical, satirical, violent and psychologically disturbing, hinting deep character flaws and suspect motives."

  • Stephano and Trinculo's attemtped usurpation and manipulation of Caliban
  • Prospero's manipulation and control over Miranda (the Masque)
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Doran: Revenge and Forgiveness

The Tempest is a play about "the human desire for revenge and our capacity for forgiveness."

  • Prospero's journey of redemption and forgiveness (shift from Old Testament to New Testament God)
  • Epilogue
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Herrin: Redemption and Forgiveness

The Tempest is a play "about forgiveness and the possibility of redemption."

  • Prospero's shift from Old testament to New Testament God
  • Epilogue
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Mabillard: Forgiveness

"Prospero goes through the motions of forgiveness, but his sincerity is lost to us."

  • Manipulation to regain his power
  • Epilogue
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Linley and Solomon: Old to New

"The Prospero of Acts I-IV represents the stern Old Testament God - harsh, vengeful and punitive . . . . Prospero’s planned revenge, turns at the end to the central idea of the New Testament: forgiveness."

"Prospero undergoes a transformation."

  • Prospero's arguable forgiveness
  • Shift from Old to New Testament God 
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Knight: Ariel and Caliban to Prospero

"Ariel and Caliban are representations of dual minor potentialities of Prospero's soul."

  • Caliban is a parallel --> shows his darker side of human nature
  • Ariel is a foil --> shows his brighter side of human nature
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Kermode: Old to New

"Learning is a major theme in the play"

  • Prospero's shift from Old Testament to New Testament God (more forgiving)
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Mowat: Epilogue

"The final image of Prospero that lingers in our minds is of the mortal creature of the epilogue."

  • demonstrates Prospero's shift over the course of the play
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Linely: Masque and control

"The ideal control, imaged in snow and fire, is sustained throughout the masque."

  • Prospero uses the Masque as a demonstration of his power
  • Using Miranda and Ferdinand's marriage as a way of gaining power
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