Friday, July 19, 2019

Sound in The Tempest and the New Orthodox View :: Tempest essays

Sound in The Tempest and the New Orthodox View  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Critics have offered varying evaluations of the characters in William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Some consider Prospero to be magnanimous for forgiving his enemies, for freeing Ariel from the confines of a tree, and for treating Caliban with great sympathy until the monster's attempted rape of Miranda. Others view Prospero as an oppressive colonizer and consider both Caliban and Ariel to be his innocent and mistreated subjects. In his article "Reading The Tempest," Russ McDonald argues that the new orthodox interpretation of The Tempest, "which exalts the colonized, is as narrow as the old, which idealizes and excuses the colonizer" (117). He argues that the actual status of the characters is considerably more ambiguous, and he supports his view by analyzing the rhetorical devices present in the play. However, a close examination of the various sounds disbursed throughout the work--including speech, silence, and music--tends to support a less ambiguous view of the characters. Indeed, it tends to lend support to the new orthodox view that Prospero is an oppressive colonizer, for he often threatens his enemies and servants with unpleasant sounds and demands silence from others, including his daughter. The play begins with a ship's crew being subject to terrifying sounds that Prospero has ordered Ariel to produce. The sounds are all loud: "whistle," "storm," "cry," "thunderclaps," "fire and cracks," and "roaring" (1.1.7, 14; 1.2.203-5; 2.1.2). The terror that these sounds and the accompanying storm inflict upon the mariners is evidenced by their cries: "All lost! To prayers! To prayers! All lost!" (1.1.52). The infliction of these sounds is also made to appear unjust when Miranda pleads with her father: "If . . . you have / Put these wild waters in this roar, allay them. / . . . O, the cry did knock / Against my very heart. Poor souls, they perished!" (2.1.1-9). Indeed, Prospero often refers to unpleasant sounds as a means of threatening others. "I will plague them all, / Even to roaring," he says of Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano (4.1.188-214). When Prospero believes Ariel is not providing an eager and willful service, he threatens the spirit with imprisonment in a tree, reminding Ariel that when he was previously trapped, his "groans / Did make wolves howl" (1.2.289-90). Prospero also tells him, "Thou hast howled away twelve winters" (1.2.298). Similarly, Prospero threatens Caliban, carrying out his threats and subjecting the monster to tortures accompanied by unpleasant sounds. Sound in The Tempest and the New Orthodox View :: Tempest essays Sound in The Tempest and the New Orthodox View  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Critics have offered varying evaluations of the characters in William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Some consider Prospero to be magnanimous for forgiving his enemies, for freeing Ariel from the confines of a tree, and for treating Caliban with great sympathy until the monster's attempted rape of Miranda. Others view Prospero as an oppressive colonizer and consider both Caliban and Ariel to be his innocent and mistreated subjects. In his article "Reading The Tempest," Russ McDonald argues that the new orthodox interpretation of The Tempest, "which exalts the colonized, is as narrow as the old, which idealizes and excuses the colonizer" (117). He argues that the actual status of the characters is considerably more ambiguous, and he supports his view by analyzing the rhetorical devices present in the play. However, a close examination of the various sounds disbursed throughout the work--including speech, silence, and music--tends to support a less ambiguous view of the characters. Indeed, it tends to lend support to the new orthodox view that Prospero is an oppressive colonizer, for he often threatens his enemies and servants with unpleasant sounds and demands silence from others, including his daughter. The play begins with a ship's crew being subject to terrifying sounds that Prospero has ordered Ariel to produce. The sounds are all loud: "whistle," "storm," "cry," "thunderclaps," "fire and cracks," and "roaring" (1.1.7, 14; 1.2.203-5; 2.1.2). The terror that these sounds and the accompanying storm inflict upon the mariners is evidenced by their cries: "All lost! To prayers! To prayers! All lost!" (1.1.52). The infliction of these sounds is also made to appear unjust when Miranda pleads with her father: "If . . . you have / Put these wild waters in this roar, allay them. / . . . O, the cry did knock / Against my very heart. Poor souls, they perished!" (2.1.1-9). Indeed, Prospero often refers to unpleasant sounds as a means of threatening others. "I will plague them all, / Even to roaring," he says of Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano (4.1.188-214). When Prospero believes Ariel is not providing an eager and willful service, he threatens the spirit with imprisonment in a tree, reminding Ariel that when he was previously trapped, his "groans / Did make wolves howl" (1.2.289-90). Prospero also tells him, "Thou hast howled away twelve winters" (1.2.298). Similarly, Prospero threatens Caliban, carrying out his threats and subjecting the monster to tortures accompanied by unpleasant sounds.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.