Monday, October 17, 2011

Bring me that horizon

So for now I'm moving on to the next assignment in my Shakespeare class: The Tempest.

I don't know anything about The Tempest, other than I remember seeing the "Wishbone" episode way back when. ("Wishbone." Man, what a great show that was.)

Here's something cool that I found in the first scene:

"Boatswain: Do you not hear him? You mar our labour; keep your
cabins: you do assist the storm.

Gonzalo: Nay, good, be patient.

Boatswain: When the sea is."

I like the boatswain talking about the sea as if it's a real person, as if the sea could be patient or could use some assistance in its storm. It seems like that's how a real sailor would talk, especially one in Shakespeare's day who was probably more superstitious and more likely to believe in Poseidon, Neptune, etc.

And I also thought it was interesting that, even though everyone on the ship thinks they're going to die, the royalty still apparently thinks there's time for complaining to the sailors. I think it's a sign of the "divaness" of the upper class, that in the middle of a deadly storm they feel so inclined to clash with the "blue collar crowd." Seems to me like "straightening deck chairs on the Titanic."


Now, on to Act I Scene II: What do all these people have in common?

Luke Skywalker

Harry Potter

Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries

Woody from Toy Story 2

Perdita from The Winter's Tale

Miranda from The Tempest

That's right - they all had secret identities and destinies that are revealed to them in a major plot point of their stories.

Why do you think that element is used so often? Is it because we all have that wish? To someday miraculously find out we are something more than we thought? That we "smack of something greater than ourselves"?


When Prospero said that Caliban was "A freckled whelp hag-born—not honour'd with a human shape," I thought, "Well, then what does he look like?" Click here for the ideas some people have come up with.

A lot of them remind me of Gollum, which makes sense, because Caliban does seem like quite the contemptible little creature.


The Tempest will be our next field trip, this time to Salt Lake City. I wonder how they're going to show the storm in the first scene...I'm guessing it will probably be like this:

...just kidding.


  1. J.J. you really know how to post. I really liked the provocative thought. Personification is a great tool Shakespeare uses to get us thinking. I immediately think of how the ocean is impatient when I hear those words from Boatswain "when the sea is." I think relating attributes to objects people are familiar with draws them into the reading.

  2. Thanks! I think this class has helped me be a better blogger.

    And personifying the ocean is a perfect example of what literature does that nothing else can. You won't find a scientific or historic account of the ocean's impatience or having a mind of its own.