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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