Sunday, March 17, 2013

Throwback Theater: The Tempest and Ad Fontes

The Renaissance was a time when referring back to ancient sources, otherwise known as “Ad Fontes,” led to inspiration for the work at that time. Ad fontes has to do primarily with turning to the past. Renaissance icons, Shakespeare in this instance, utilized the information, studies and cultures of their history to create new ideas, to create a better future.

(Two examples to start with)

Latin Influence:
By using The Tempest as a model, we are able to create a fuller picture of what the Renaissance was all about in reference to the theme “Ad Fontes.” Prospero’s name (or Prospera in this version of the play) is a derivative of the Latin word prosperus meaning successful or fortunate. We can now draw conclusions about what kind of character Prospero is, as well as how his (her) name fits into the description of the Renaissance time, because we looked back to the source of Prospero’s name. Prospero is fortunate, he is the most powerful character in The Tempest and has the ability to control his environment from his books. Prospero’s books gave him power in the same way that individuals in the Renaissance received knowledge from books. 

Romantic/Mythological references:
Shakespeare returned to the sources by including a masque in the middle of The Tempest. The masque includes Iris, goddess of the sea and the sky, Greek goddess Juno, and Roman goddess of fertility, Ceres. Including these Greek and Roman influences laces the play with echoes of the rich, reemerging culture of the past.

Using the following clip, how can we draw parallels from either Greek or Roman literature to The Tempest. What about this clip uses Ad Fontes in a meaningful way? How can a knowledge of previous works help us understand Shakespeare's play?

1 comment:

  1. Sweet! What a cool clip, and a perfect tie in. I think it might be cool to include short short passages from a few "classics" just so that people have something to expand their knowledge of those actual texts (ad fontes within ad fontes) because I know I learned about Greek mythology without having a clue about where that information was coming from when I was in middle school.