Hi! Your homework this week is to read Acts II-III of The Tempest, watch my videotaped lectures below, and then post a comment about the assigned reading at the bottom of this page. The speeches that I refer to in my lectures are printed below each video. At the bottom of this page, below all of the videos, I give you some simple study questions to help you formulate a post. The study questions follow up on things I say in my lectures, so you may want to watch the videos first. Leave your post in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
Noteworthy speeches from Act II of The Tempest: Gonzalo's utopian speech, 2.1.143: Had I plantation of this isle, my lord-- ... And were the king on't, what would I do? ... I'th'commonwealth I would by contraries Execute all tihngs; for no kind of traffic Would I admit; no name of magistrate; Letters should not be known; riches, poverty, And use of service, none; contract, succession, Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none; No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil; No occupation; all men idle, all; And women too, but innocent and pure; No sovereignty. ... All things in common nature should produce Without sweat or endeavor. Treason, felony, Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine Would I not have; but nature should bring forth, Of its own kind, all foison, all abundance, To feed my innocent people. ... I would with such perfection govern, sir, T'excel the golden age. Caliban makes the same mistake twice, 2.2.164: I prithee let me bring thee where crabs grow; And I with my long nails will dig thee pignuts, Show thee a jay's nest, and instruct thee how To snare the nimble marmoset; I'll bring thee Young scamels from the rock. Wilt thou go with me?
Noteworthy speeches from The Tempest, Act III: Caliban describes the magic of the island, 3.2.134: Be not afeard: the isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices That, if I then had waked after long sleep, Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming, The clouds methought would open and show riches Ready to drop upon me, that, when I waked, I cried to dream again. Ariel, costumed as a harpy, confronts the wrongdoers, 3.3.53: You are three men of sin, whom destiny-- That hath to instrument this lower world And what is in't--the never-surfeited sea Hath caused to belch up you, and on this island, Where man doth not inhabit, you 'mongst men Being most unfit to live, I have made you mad; And even with suchlike valor men hang and drown Their proper selves. [Alonso, Sebastian, etc. draw] You fools: I and my fellows Are ministers of Fate. The elements, Of whom your swords are tempered, may as well Wound the loud winds, or with bemocked-at stabs Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish One dowl that's in my plume. My fellow ministers Are like invulnerable. If you could hurt, Your swords are now too massy for your strengths And will not be uplifted. But remember (For that's my business to you) that you three From Milan did supplant good prospero; Exposed unto the sea, which hath requit it, Him and his innocent child; for which foul deed The pow'rs, delaying, not forgetting, have Incensed the seas and shores, yea, all the creatures, Against your peace. Thee of thy son, Alonso, They have bereft; and do pronounce by me Ling'ring perdition (worse than any death Can be at once) shall step by step attend You and your ways; whose wraths to guard you from, Which here, in this most desolate isle, else falls Upon your heads, is nothing but heart's sorrow And a clear life ensuing.
Write a comment on The Tempest Acts 2-3 and post it in the comments section below. Be sure to quote the text of the play at least once in your post. Consider answering any of the following study questions:
1.) Stephano and Trinculo are the comic relief in this play — low-class characters who speak poorly and bumble around. But, having read other Shakespeare plays, you know to expect low-class subplots (such as Lancelot Gobbo’s in Merchant) to be thematically relevant to the upper-class main plots. So what thematic connections can you draw between the Stephano-Trinculo subplot and the Prospero-Antonio-Alonso-Caliban-etc. main plot?
2.) As you all know by now, every Shakespearean play revolves around some event that happens in the middle and that divides the plot into a “before” and and “after.” Before that moment, all of the play’s conflicts are developing, and new characters and themes are being introduced. After that moment, the play’s conflicts begin to get resolved, dynamic characters show us their transformed selves, and already-introduced themes play out. In The Tempest, the pivotal moment is Miranda’s acceptance of Ferdinand’s marriage proposal in 3.1. Why do you think this is such an important moment? After all, Ferdinand proposed marriage to Miranda when he first met her in Act 1, so in that regard 3.1 brings nothing new. What *does* 3.1 add to the Ferdinand-Miranda plot line that is new? And why should the Ferdinand-Miranda plot line be privileged as the pivotal one, given that Prospero and his conflicts get most of the play’s overall attention?
3.) How do you imagine the masque in Act 3 being performed? Why?