English 366C, Section F01
: Shakespeare's Comedies and Romances >
> Notes (1)
: Notes (1)
Shakespeare's final play (written solely by him)
Prospero as Shakespeare bidding farewell?
Prospero as benevolent teacher of morality and right rule?
Or Prospero as rigorous patriarch and colonist?
The structure of the play
The movement from tempest to music
Gonzalo and his (
) ideal commonwealth (2.1.146 ff)
The careful narrative of exposition (Miranda spaces out; Ariel complains) -- 1.2.
A morality-play binary between Ariel and Caliban?
Ariel as "air" Caliban as "earth"
The comic pact enforced by Prospero's power ("art")
The potentially tragic re-enactment of usurpation on the island (2.1)
The defeat of Caliban's rebellion with Stephano and Trinculo. Note that Ariel had to remind Prospero of their approach. (4.1.138)
as a kind of masque [video]
The elaborate stage directions (after 3.3.52, 3.3.83, and 5.1.57, for example)
The concept of the "anti-masque" -- Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban
The masque itself (4.1.60ff):
Its language and structure: the foregrounding of Ceres and the fear of Venus (4.1.76; compare Prospero's strong defense of virginity before marriage, 4.1.14-22)
the Marriage Service
in the Book of Common Prayer
The importance of music in the play -- original songs surviving
"Full fathom five" (1.2.400 ff)
"Where the bee sucks" (5.1.88 ff)
Listen to these two songs, accessed from
this page in the "Life and Times" website.
The revels end: the masque illustrating the evanescence of both art and life? (4.1.148ff)
This page last updated on 2 March 2009. © Michael Best, 2002.