WHERE THE TEMPEST MEETS FORGIVENESS: But Prospero Forgives!

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Perhaps one of the biggest characters in Shakepeare’s The Tempest is Prospero, the duke of Milan. We learn very early on of Prospero’s relationship with many characters in the play such as his hatred for Caliban because of an accused rape of Prospero’s daughter and strife towards Antonio for sending Prospero’s daughter to die in the shipwreck caused by the tempest. Prospero, and Ariel, have all the power in the world when they gain knowledge about Trinculo, Stephano, and Caliban’s plans of murder. However, Prospero choices to forgive Caliban despite their past which is surprising as a reader. We are set up in the beginning with knowledge that Prospero has raised Caliban, and nutured him. Once Prospero learns of the accused rape he becomes bitter and angry with Caliban because he doesn’t understand how someone who is like a son to him could do such a thing to his actual daughter. But Prospero forgives! He forgives and moves on in his relationship with Caliban and Antonio, giving the reader a sense of hope for the sense of forgiveness in all humans. Exemplifying the fact that no matter what the past circumstances, the future holds forgiveness once one is able to forgive.

 

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WHERE THE TEMPEST MEETS FORGIVENESS: Should Mercy Be in the Nature of Human Beings?

 

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While frowned upon, I am pasting a block quote from Act 5, scene 1. I think it is important to see the actual words said and dialogue between Ariel and Prospero.

ARIEL
The king,
His brother and yours, abide all three distracted
And the remainder mourning over them,  
Brimful of sorrow and dismay; but chiefly
Him that you term’d, sir, ‘The good old lord Gonzalo;’
His tears run down his beard, like winter’s drops
From eaves of reeds. Your charm so strongly works ’em
That if you now beheld them, your affections  
Would become tender. 
PROSPERO
Dost thou think so, spirit? 
ARIEL 
Mine would, sir, were I human. 
PROSPERO 
And mine shall.
Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling  
Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,
One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,
Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?

 

Here Ariel converses with Prospero and tells the reader that mercy should be an underlying trait each human being possesses, or rather be a part of the nature of human beings. However, we know that this is not always the case. Ariel here says that if he were human he would be able to understand and feel tenderness and mercy. Right after Ariel tells us that he imagines he could feel some sort of compassion, he makes a stab at Prospero’s humanity. Since we know that forgiveness is not always first nature and that mercy is not always given, it raises the question; “Is it more human to seek vengeance, or forgive?” (via shmoop) We have analyzed lots of different ways that forgiveness arises, or does arise and after blog posts it becomes evident that would forgiveness be the best way to treat your enemies? Most of the times, we,  as humans, seek vengeance and revenge on an action or person that has put us in a state of denial or anger. Forgiveness, most times, is second nature, despite the reputation of human kind – that of kindness. Here, the root of forgiveness comes from Prospero’s past and while we never clearly see him forgive the people who have hurt him, we know he does forgive. 

 

 

photo via: wholelivingdaily.wholeliving.com

WHERE THE TEMPEST MEETS FORG(I)VENESS: Grief

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In the beginning of Act 2 we learn that Alonso, the King of Naples, has washed up on shore with Antonio, Sebastian, Gonzalo, and others. Antonio and Sebastian tease Gonzalo with interesting, borderline mean, intentions only to be interrupted by the King. He interrupts to tell them of his grief that he is currently dealing with. He tells of his regrets of his decision to marry his daughter to a man that was so far away. The ship’s route, before the wreck, was headed towards Africa to see his daughter but has taken his sons life instead (or so he thinks). Sebastian then goes on to tell the King that it is his own fault because, despite the fact that everyone harassed King Alonso about it, he chose whom his daughter would marry. While making a point that he chose to marry his daughter to an African who lives far away instead of a closer European, Gonzalo changes the subject to try and save the conversation from getting too out of had. I chose to relay all this information because it is key in understanding how grief-stricken the King is in order to relate it to forgiveness. King Alonso has been faced with adversity, in this case in the form of grief, because of an action that he chose to do. In life, when we are faced with outcomes that are no favorable as a result of an action we have done, who do we blame and, more importantly, who do we forgive? While I cannot speak for King Alonso, in most cases we blame ourselves but don’t always forgive ourselves. If the root of problem is our actions then how does that translate into forgiveness? To be honest, I couldn’t tell you. I chose to put the “i” in “forgiveness” in my title in parentheses because what I am seeing in exploring the roots of forgiveness through Shakespeare’s literature is that most forgiveness is self-forgiveness, or “I” forgiveness. Self-forgiveness comes from time and peace of mind but one must overcome grief in order to start forgiveness. Let’s hope King Alonso can overcome the grief of his daughters marriage and this ship wreck.

 

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Where The Tempest Meets Forgiveness: Cold Nature & Sympathetic Character?

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So, lately I have been delving into scripture from the Bible that exemplifies forgiveness – it is an area of my life that needs more work than the rest. Last week, we wrote a Pre-Tempest Essay and I wrote about the root of Jesus Christ’s forgiveness. This week, we have read through all of Act 1 of the Tempest, by Shakespeare and instead of analyze two characters and forgiveness between them, I am going to pick Prospero and delve into his ways and forgiveness within himself. Prospero from Scene 1 seems to show the readers that his behavior does not emulate that of Christian values. Perhaps the most intense example of forgiveness that we get from the Bible is from Jesus’ Sermon on The Mount; Jesus says that one must forgive if one wants forgiveness. With the very short history I know of Prospero, and from what the play tells us, we know that Propsero has gotten lucky when he takes the cane to bring vengeance on his enemies in the ship. We learn that, between dialogue with Ariel, he had no intentions of mall play or to harm the enemies on the ship and actually inquires about their safety from Ariel. This is very interesting in the sense that Prospero seems to be the character in control from the start. He acts with selfish intent yet lets off sympathetic vibes. He does not think twice about putting the men on the ship through horrible toil, all the while they think the storm is a result of the death of Prince Ferdinand. He abuses their ignorance to give himself self-pleasure, almost. This is where forgiveness comes to play when looking at this scene and Prospero. He insists that those who turned against him suffer as a result of their actions, before he offers them forgiveness. This means innocent people suffer too but Prospero doesn’t seem to mind. He lets them be hurt and almost killed before he shows affection and forgiveness for them. The root of his forgiveness seems to be internal betrayal, but only from certain characters, perhaps Caliban, and not all of the people on the vessel. Very interesting to see that Prospero has such a cold nature but a sympathetic character.

We seem to be seeing lots of examples of forgiveness…Will we be seeing examples of reconciliation?

 

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Where the Tempest Meets Forgiveness: A Sailboat Without Its Sail?

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In the beginning of Act 1, Scene 2, we get dialogue between Caliban and Prospero. We have had less than 100 lines in the play and already gotten a full view of the relationship between these two men. As indicated through dialogue around likes 47, we learn that anger is just raging between them – forcing their views of each other to be seen through skewed lens. It seems as though they have had a rocky past, maybe with one another or maybe with other loved ones, that is acting as a barricade for forgiveness. The root of forgiveness in this case seems to be their past; an action that has occurred in their relationship in the past is stopping the growth of their relationship in the future. So, why a sailboat without a sail? Think about it. A sailboat without a sail cannot move. It cannot traverse the open waters or move out from a port. In fact, it doesn’t even have a sail so the chance to move is not even an option. The sail is a metaphor for forgiveness. Once the boat, or their relationship, has a sail it can move, or rather, once one has forgiven the other, their ship can sail the sea. Prospero and Caliban’s relationship seems to be at a standstill because of their past and because neither has chosen to forgive the other. Maybe if they would just employ the use of their sails…

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KR2. Khaled Hosseini vs. Shakespeare?

During this chapter we get a taste of what Hassan is like as a father. Farzana, his wife, gives birth to a baby girl and the reader learns that Hassan sounds like a terrific father. While talking about Hassan’s reaction to the death of Sanaubar, Rahim Kahn remarks that, “…it always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place” (211).

This quote means a lot to me in terms of the development of Hassan as a person and a father. When Rahim Khan finds out Hassan has married, he also finds out Farzana is pregnant. Later, the book tells us that Hassan is hurt by the death of this baby girl and that, “the loss was hard on Hassan” (211). While under bad circumstances, it is valuable for me as a reader to see that Hassan is establishing feelings for a child and developing himself as a father and more as a caring character in this book. It is saying that it hurt Hassan very badly to see this child die when she was only 4, rather than to never have felt a loss like that if he hadn’t have had that child.

This quote reminds me a lot of Shakespeare’s, “’It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all” quote. It explores the idea that after you invest time and effort, and feelings in Hassan’s case, that you have to live with the feeling of regret and guilt once all that time and effort is wasted, or rather over and out of your control. It suggests to the reader that it is possible Hassan would have been better off without that loss and to not have experienced the pain of loss. But without the death of his little girl we would never get to grow with Hassan as a character in Kite Runner.

Tables Turned Pt. 2 – Comparison of 4.1.145-148 & 5.5.16 Soliloquies

4.1.145-148 vs. 5.5.16

Wow. What a guilty conscience Macbeth now has. He has gone from having no remorse in his actions, to some, and now, at this point, he is completely remorseful, begging to end his life. His greed that drove all of his actions throughout the course of the play and was his sole motivation has backfired on Macbeth’s emotional state. At this point Macbeth sees his life and all he has done as pointless. His past as snowballed into this big ball that has wrecked Macbeth, emotionally and physically. This last line, “It is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing”, tells me the most about how Macbeth is feeling and really stood out to me. Here, Macbeth tells the audience that life is dramatic and idiotic and without any meaning at all. This passage shows us how Macbeth opens up to the readers with this side of him that is lost without the presence of his wife, which happened to be one of his motivators throughout the course of the play when looking at the 4.1.145-148  passage . This is a big indication that Macbeth has given up; given up with the throne, now that he has finally gotten there, and with his life. Oh, how the tables of Macbeth’s greed and want have turned.