Monday, September 28, 2015

Mine! Mine! Mine!

There are several concepts in The Tempest that fit in our theme of “Brave New World”: There is the setting of an undiscovered island in which the entire play occurs, there’s the history of the island and its many rulers, the concept of other-worldliness/spectacle from all groups of characters in the play, and pure wonder.

Isaac Lyman in his Brave New World post put it best, “Shakespeare writes a play set in Cyprus: no magic. Shakespeare writes a play set in Messina: no magic. Shakespeare writes a play set on a Mediterranean island: magic. (?)” This new world that Shakespeare and his fellow countrymen had learned of had this magic to it because of it being unknown. All reports about the new world came from stories from the Captains and crew of ships that had made the journey. As we discussed in class, a few details of these stories may have been exaggerated due to human error and the natural state of storytelling.

In the play Act V scene I has the best example of the wonder and other-worldliness experienced by all groups of the play. Miranda says, “O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world That has such people in't!” She says this in response for seeing the whole group of people that had been in the shipwreck. They react in kind to her by Alonso asking Ferdinand, “What is this maid with whom thou wast at play? Your eld'st acquaintance cannot be three hours: Is she the goddess that hath sever'd us, And brought us thus together?” Of course not all new encounters were all in good terms. Caliban as he meets Trinculo and Stephano is at first a confused scene. It ends somewhat well when Caliban gets a drink and trades his current master for another.

The island had been ruled first by Sycorax Caliban’s mother. She was defeated by Prospero and he rules the island. In the play the idea of gaining new dominions and freedom is presented at several lengths. Prospero’s own banishment was the result of this ambition by his brother. The kings own followers think of thoughts of killing the king himself in order to gain land back home. Stephano gains a vision of being ruler when Caliban suggests to him to kill Prospero. Even in a moment when Gonzalo is trying to console Alonso, he imagines a Utopia on the island with him as ruler.

Despite all the wonder and imagination of dominion that the newcomers to this island portray. There is always an idea of home that is apart from the island. Stephano when he meets Caliban even remarks how if they were in London how things would be different.

Works Cited

Mabillard, Amanda. "Miranda" Shakespeare Online. 2000. 27/September/2015< >.

Lyman, Isaac. “Barbaric (read: brave), Ancient (read: new) Islands (read: worlds)” Website Blog. eRenaissance project blog. Gideon. September 8, 2015. Web. September 27, 2015.


  1. I really liked that quote by Issac Lyman. It puts the "magic" of discovering new worlds into perspective because Shakespeare certainly had "magic" in other plays by other definitions. But to consider a new world a kind of "magic" is a interesting concept.

  2. Every character really did seek to become a ruler of sorts in this new territory: Prospero, already in charge when everyone else showed up; Gonzalo, who hoped to create that Utopia; Sebastian and Antonio, who thought to overthrow the King; Trinculo, new master of Caliban and - so he thought - future king and husband of Miranda. The New World here seemed to inspire ambition in these men by providing an open space where they might further their authority in new ways.

  3. This is the first (and, I expect, the last) time I have been featured in a Works Cited page. So, I am flattered, and thank you.

    I like the picture of seagulls.