Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thoughts on Primary Sources

I thought I would share some of the things I found while doing research - I'm in the Sprezzatura section, but I found a couple of fun things that maybe might help people in other groupings.

The Online British Library: they have a selection of original texts scanned into digital format, definitely worth poking through. For the Ad Fontes or Printing groups, there are a couple Bibles. For the humanists, there's part of the treatise put together by the first guy to study anatomy through human autopsy (apparently he was inspired by humanism, AND he's from the Renaissance). Go check it out.

John Lydgate: an author spanning the before and after of the printing press. The link takes you to a catalog of sorts of his publications; some of them are texts written just before the printing press, then republished with the new technology. Some of them are by other authors. We've talked a lot about the resurrection of old, old sources in the Renaissance, and we've talked about the press being a new medium allowing for wide dissemination - and I thought it interesting how Lydgate combined the two.

Our subject for the eBook is the digital age, as seen through the Renaissance - which means we're basically looking at the social changes resulting from new technologies. So I thought it might be interesting to try and see, very briefly, what the Renaissance was changing from. So if anyone finds sources about the late middle ages - or knows of some good ones - that'd be awesome. (Maybe even Renaissance authors who talked about it? Their perspective would be pretty cool to dig into.)

And if you run into any good primary sources for court culture, beyond The Prince or The Courtier, let me know? I'm finding tons and tons of articles (secondary sources), but not a lot of primaries. The wiki page dealt mostly with the idea of love - and I'd like to look at the actual politics and dynamics of the court, especially on an international scale. I'm really interested in how personal rhetoric and human interaction coincide.

See you guys in class!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Six Principles for Project-Based Learning

In my current Renaissance Literature course, we have turned a corner and begun a new phase. While we will continue reading Renaissance literature, we will do so for the express purpose of producing an ebook which we will publish by semester's end.

We've moved to a new classroom, a computer lab, signally formally a shift from lecture-and-discussion to management-and-production.

I want to orient my students for what is to come, because project-based learning is just not the same animal as traditional, classroom-based instruction. Here are six principles for succeeding at this project-based approach to learning:

  1. Keep the End in View
  2. Be Flexible
  3. Take Initiative
  4. Work Together
  5. Own It
  6. Find the Stakes and Stakeholders

Ad Fontes Chapter - Draft

The Fountain
Ad Fontes is Latin for ‘back to the sources’. It seems appropriate that we label this cultural phenomenon in Latin, because that’s what it was all about. It was a rediscovery of Latin by Francis Petrarch, the poet who wandered deep into the library. His rediscovery of Latin reopened the possibilities of language. Petrarch was essentially the guy I work with who knows excel really well. All he did was spend some time on youtube and wikihow, but now he can accomplish the work it takes me 45 minutes to do in 5 minutes. The is knowledge readily available to anyone with the motivation to find it, but once you do find it you have the edge over everyone attempting the same thing.  Petrarch saw the inefficiency in the use of language around him, or the sad use of excel around him, decided to go back to the how-to manual and changed everything.  For Petrarch, the manual was written by an ancient Roman philosopher and orator named Cicero. This re-discovery of language gave Petrarch the edge. It essentially have him rhetorical magic.

The Scholar
The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, is a play lead by the character Prospero, a duke overthrown by his brother while he too was wandering deep into the library. Though he was betrayed and exiled to a mysterious island, he took his library with him. His books sourced him with magic that made him ruler of the island and lord to some strange creatures.

The Consequences
Prospero becomes an example of the elevated abilities of someone who has ‘returned to the sources’. His abilities are dramatically heightened as he holds supernatural control over the inhabitants of the island and the tempest itself. One of the island natives, Caliban, identifies the source of Prospero’s power. In act 3, scene 2, line 92, he plots to overthrow Prospero and highlights the importance of Prospero’s library.

First to possess his books, for without them
He’s but a sot, as I am, nor hath not
One spirit to command.

Caliban knows the extent of Prospero’s powers because Prospero taught Caliban how to speak. A duke to turn tutor is a massive change in social status. Social status in Prospero’s case is unusual as he was cast out of society and forced to make acquaintance with island natives. Though this does change the importance Prospero would place on his reputation, it is worth noting how far a descent it would be (Shin 375). The choice to become Caliban’s teacher shows how importance he afforded language and the weight he gave to education. Heightened thinking becomes an issue for Caliban when Prospero, after a dramatic betrayal, forces him to revert to the life of a slave. His powers are increased but his freedom to exercise them is decreased. In act 1, scene 2, line 364 he curses Prospero in frustration.

You taught me language, and my profit on’t
Is I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language.

The source of the characters progress, be it Caliban or Prospero, comes back to power of language and the study of the liberal arts. I can identify with Caliban’s experience of returning to the sources. The longer I am in collage more I strain at the confines of academic life and the greater desire I have to enter the ‘real world’ and effect change. My education helps me see my potential and gives me the tools to realize it. Prospero’s experience with Ad Fontes is less relatable, but infinitely more exciting. Maybe if I spent more time in the Library…

Works Cited
Shin, Hiewon. "Single Parenting, Homeschooling: Prospero, Caliban, Miranda." Studies In Literature, 1500-1900 48.2 (2008): 373-93. Rice University. Web.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest.

Sprezzatura Chapter Draft

by John Everett Millais, 1852


“One change,” wrote Machiavelli, “always leaves a dovetail into which another will fit” (2). And change is exactly what the Renaissance was: change in language, change in religion, change in politics. Governments became highly competitive, both between nations and within the murky confines of individual courts, and melded with new societal values tied to literature and the measure of man (Knecht). The result was a battleground of posturing and preening as nobles vied for social supremacy, and from this murk arose the word sprezzatura, or excellence without apparent effort.

This was the ideal of the courtier, the standard imposed upon him: that he must excel in all arts, all sport, all methods of leadership, all morality, all the things that might possibly reflect on his character. He was the epitome of the good in humanity – and he rose to the position without effort, because he was simply that good.

Now, we all know this to be bologna. Or we believe it to be bologna; our current society is painfully aware of the duality of human nature. We see it, we live it, we are it: we post it online, share it, blog it, unabashedly vomiting the cruelty of humanity onto public spaces where names go unknown and faces unseen.

The Tempest

Written in 1610, toward the end of the Renaissance, The Tempest was Shakespeare’s exploration of the Court and human duality. An eclectic group of nobles find themselves stranded and separated on a strange island of strange magics; and here, ripped from the familiar comforts and wealth of their native courts, they begin to reveal their true selves, the true man muffled and smothered by the inherent artificialities of government.

Alonso, King and top of the food chain is, perhaps, the only character in the play who doesn’t think of his political power or position. His only thoughts throughout the play are for his lost son. Indeed, Alonso is a peculiar noble. Single minded, somewhat oblivious, he seems to function mostly as an object of pitiful desire: desire, because the other characters aspire to his power; pitiful, because the most powerful man, politically, is reduced to a shuffling, shambling mess of melancholy, grief, and guilt.

His son – very much alive, and very much in love – also retains his goodness, and perhaps embodies the sprezzatura man. He is athletic (2.1 114-123), physically attractive (1.2 417-419), and in the face of enforced servitude, declared, “The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service, there resides / To make me slave to it” (3.1 64-67). Key to his character is his retention of these qualities, even after his fall from prince to slave. The happiest man throughout the play, Ferdinand is the poster boy for everything the nobleman strove to be.

Their associates are not. Sebastian, brother to the King, and Antonio, plot regicide. When asked after his conscience, Antonio scoffs, “Ay, sir, where lies that? …I feel not / This deity in my bosom” (2.1 277-279). Quick to lie, quick to scheme and plot for their own advancement, Sebastian and Antonio are closer to modern expectations of politicians. Though painted in a veneer of courtly goodness, their insides rot.


There exists another island, another strange land were men lose themselves, are stripped of public personas and reveal the face behind the mask. But our island has a name.

It’s the internet. Specifically, it is the public forum, where names and faces change owners in an eye blink, where even mothers might be prevented from recognizing their own sons. Hidden behind anonymity, we become fearless. Where is the consequence? Who can catch us, who will know?

Ours is a world of King Alonso`s, lost Ferdinand`s and rotting Antonio`s.

This section needs more work. And perhaps a better argument. Hrm.

Works Cited

Machiavelli, Niccoló. The Prince. Trans. N. H. Thomson. Ed. Philip Smith. Dover Publications, Inc.: New York (1992). Print.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Ed. Virginia Mason Vaughan, Alden T. Vaughan. Bloomsbury Arden
Shakespeare: London (2014). Print.

Knecht, Robert J. “The French Renaissance Court.” History Today 57.7 (July 2007): n.pag. History Today. Web. 4 October 2015.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Court Culture draft

Court Swag
“Swag” is what we would call our present day “Sprezzatura” or Renaissance Court Culture. The Court, in general, was the political head and symbol of power in the British Renaissance. Because of this power, members of the court had to be experts in everything, they ultimately had  to have “swag” wherever they went. In our class discussion, we talked about what it means to have the courtly “swag.” In the Courtier, we learn that members of the court must be well learned, well read, must speak a foreign language and be athletic. In other words, “courtiers were expected to be richly dressed and to be generous patrons […] talented all-rounder, skillful in courtly conversations, spoits, dancing and the arts - with an air of easy grace of recklessness.” 
Besides the actual qualities of a courtier, the court itself referred to the entourage of the Queen and the actual presence of the Queen during the Renaissance period. It “[court] was wherever the Queen happened to be and was made up of all those who surrounded the Queen from servants to the courtiers themselves.” This suggests that not only was the court a physical way you had to act and be trained, but it was also wherever the court physically appeared. This also suggests that the court demanded a sort of behavior around them and it was expected of them to behave in a certain way.

Court Culture in The Tempest and the Complex Nature of Miranda
In The Tempest, Prospero is introduced as an ex-Duke of Milan. He says, “Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since, / Thy father was the Duke of Milan and / A prince of power” (Act 1?). This immediately establishes a sense of court culture even though Prospero and his daughter, Miranda are not physically in a court-like atmosphere. His mere authority in being an ex-Duke supports the idea that the court was more about where the nobles and royals were rather than the physical structure of a place reflecting a place of high courtier and courtship. Another aspect I would like to bring into this discussion of court culture in The Tempest is the complexity of Miranda as a woman of the court. At this time, there was a lot of skepticism about Queen Elizabeth and her ability and capabilities as a woman in a male-dominated society to rule. This was reflected in many of Shakespeare’s plays, including The Tempest through Miranda. Although Prospero threatens to have fatherly and courtly rule over her, Miranda ultimately leaves her father and goes on to love who she wants rather than who her father would like her to marry. This suggests that she rebels against Court culture and the idea that men held all power. 
However, this idea is challenged when she completely submits to her husband. In Act III she says, 

But this is trifling, / And all the more it seeks to hide itself / The bigger bulk it shows. Hence, bashful cunning, / And prompt me, plain and holy innocence. / I am your wife, if you will marry me. / If not, I’ll die your maid.”

This suggests a complete subjection to male authority and an opposition in the previous idea of her rebellion against her father. In court culture there was a constant struggle and complexity between female and male authority in Court culture and how women should behave in the court.  

[I’m having difficulty ending here or trying to find an ending. I also think I am going to far into the authority thing…]

Duality in Humanism- Draft

Prospero: The Original Jekyll & Hyde

For years The Tempest was seen as the closing masterpiece of Shakespeare’s career as a playwright Many scholars initially read it as Shakespeare’s swan song, but over time an awareness of the effects of colonialism was born and as a result people began to read this text through what is called “postcolonial lenses.” The relationship Prospero has with characters such as Caliban, Ariel, or even Miranda came under fire as scholars saw him as an executor of slavery and patriarchy.
The Conflict of The Scholar
When scholar Robert B. Pierce originally critiqued The Tempest he expressed a sympathetic view toward Miranda and Prospero. Yet the rise of the postcolonial interpretation forced him to re-evaluate his original sympathetic reading. Instead of taking sides or discrediting the new lens completely, Pierce decided to accept that there was merit to the new interpretations of Prospero. Pierce’s conflicted understanding of The Tempest lead him to conclude that maybe we needed to redefine the way we understood  the meaning of the play. In a rather bold academic move, Pierce accepts both as valuable and necessary to his understanding of the play. Prospero and Miranda’s exile is worthy of sympathy, but at the same time the colonialist relationships that permeate the work give rises to a less than friendly view of Prospero.
While it can be argued that Prospero is justified in demonizing and belittling Caliban for his attempted rape of Miranda, it is nevertheless curious that Prospero keeps Caliban around as a servant rather than banishing him from the island—or even killing him since Prospero probably has the power to do so. For Prospero there is a profit in keeping Caliban around. When we first meet Caliban, Miranda expresses her deep dislike to her father by saying, "’Tis a villain, sir, I do not love to look on." Miranda has reason to loathe Caliban; throughout the play we know that Miranda's ultimate characteristic is her virtue, her untainted purity, and Caliban nearly robbed her of this. Prospero replies to Miranda's complaints by saying, "But as ’tis,/We cannot miss him; he does make our fire, /Fetch in our wood, and serves in offices/That profit us" (1.2:310-314 emphasis added). So while, Prospero may have reason for mistreating Caliban, he finds a way to benefit from it, but this does not change the fact that Prospero is still a victim of an usurpation plot that left him dethroned and outcast from society.
The Reconciliation of Victim vs Perpetrator
These two intertwined ideas of victim and conqueror may seem difficult to reconcile, but we don’t have to. Prospero can be both a victim and a perpetrator of the evil that exists in his world. A modern application of this can be seen with pedophiles and domestic violence perpetrators. It is often the case that those who were abused as children or witnessed abuse in their home, grow up to inflict the same type of violence upon others. The fact that perpetrators in scenarios like these were once victims too does not change, despite their own partaking of such abusive acts. In fact, knowing the history of an abuser can lead to a better understanding of the development of such a character. Similarly, as we look at the rejection Prospero experiences we may gain some insight into the type of servitude he thrusts upon Caliban, making it so that The Tempest ceases to be a text solely about a betrayed ruler or solely about a self-interested conqueror, but rather both. If Prospero is both a victim and a perpetuator then we are forced to ask ourselves how or if other characters, like Caliban and Miranda, may likewise be the embodiments of seemingly opposite characteristics.

Works Cited:

Pierce, Robert B. "Understanding "The Tempest"" New Literary History 30.2, Cultural Inquiries
(1999): 373-88. JSTOR. Web. 27 Sept., 2015.

"Statistics on Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse." Reporting on Child Sexual Abuse. The
National Center for Victims of Crime, n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2015.  
< perpetrators-of-csa>.

The Tempest and Renaissance Viral Culture

 The invention of the printing press made it possible for Renaissance “memes” to reach Shakespeare and influence his loudest and weirdest play, The Tempest.

I Flamed Amazement: Draft for Humanism in Tempest

  • Twethis: Prospero’s command of Ariel and Caliban, as well as his total domination of the island, represent the realization of the greatest potentiality for man. Prospero has achieved mastery of himself, mind and body, and used it to take control of his environment.

So. Humanism.

Humanism is in my opinion the best thing to come out of the Renaissance. Imagine stepping out of the Dark Ages - the bubonic plague, serfdom, people basically living and dying like cattle - and then stepping into the warm glow of the Renaissance where Shakespeare, Cabeza de Vaca, and Pico della Mirandola are waiting to bestow gold stickers just for being you. Essentially, humanism boils down to a celebration of man, and more specifically the potential of man. A cow will always be a cow, but the plough boy guiding him is much more than what he appears to be. The opinion of humanity dominating most Renaissance thinkers is that anyone can master their environment based purely on the human characteristics that they naturally possess. (This is where interpretations of the Bible shift from focusing on the “burn in hell for your inescapable sin” aspect and moves over to the “man was made in the image of God” aspect.) The key focus of humanism is the dynamic nature of man and this great, wide, open future of potential that everyone is born with. I don’t think anyone puts it better than Renaissance philosopher Pico della Mirandola, who wrote “that man is the intermediary between creatures, the intimate of the gods, the king of the lower beings, by the acuteness of his sentences, by the discernment of his reason, and by the light of his intelligence the interpreter of nature”(Oration on the Dignity of Man).  
So. Humanism. Pat yourself on the back for choosing to be reincarnated human, because not only are you capable of anything but you also naturally possess the skills to master your world.

Playing in Storms

In Shakespeare’s play The Tempest the storyline revolves around the character Prospero, an ex-Duke booted from his kingdom for being too bookish who angrily sulks on an island for twelve years amassing power. Remember, humanism is about the natural talents and great potential given to all men, and in Prospero those two things come together beautifully. During his time spent exiled on his rocky island he becomes more powerful than he had been before in Milan; in twelve years Prospero has realized that he is not a victim of life and is capable of taking control; “He can now take a hold on destiny - insofar as it is given men to make their own fortunes”(Rockett 77).

Mind and Body

The composition of a human being is essentially divided into the two mediums through which people perceive reality; spirit and body. Part of the grand potential of man is his ability to not only master his environment, but to know and master himself. As Mirandola writes, “Whatever seeds each man cultivates will grow to maturity and bear in him their fruit”(Oration on the Dignity of Man). Mirandola acknowledges that across the spectrum, people are different based on what sides of themselves they give in to, whether bestial or spiritual. Those that react more based on their physical instincts are more bestial, while those who respond based on spiritual or intellectual reactions are more tempered.

The Tempest takes these two sides of man and represents them in the two servants of Prospero; Caliban and Ariel. Caliban is the purely physical, he displays brutish behavior and has an ugly - he’s literally fishy - demeanor. Prospero has control over him but it is not absolute, representing the struggle that Prospero has over his own physical urges such as, ahem, anger. Ariel on the other hand is a nebulous, beautiful, hermaphroditic spirit that is completely obedient to Prospero and seeks total freedom, like the mind's driven pursuit of knowledge. Although powerful, he is powerless until Prospero frees him, just as when Prospero is empowered when he educates himself. Mind and body, Ariel and Caliban, are both under the control of Prospero, the shining example of the enlightened, all-knowing Renaissance man.

Works Cited

Mirandola, Pico Della. "Oration on the Dignity of Man."
Rockett, William. "Labor and Virtue in The Tempest." Shakespeare Quarterly, 24.1(1973): 77-84.
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest.

Humanism The Tempest First Draft

Tempestuous Humanism
  • The intricacies of humanism can be understood through Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, which demonstrates how humanist ideology can be a boon and a bane, a practical educational theory and an idealistic societal dream.  In short, humans can be surprisingly humane or inhumane through humanism.  
Prospero: Duke, Father, Humanist, Wizard.
Humanism, the great idea that humans are great.
At least, at its most basic.  Frankly, I didn’t understand anything more than that about humanism before delving a little deeper into the writings of humanist scholars.  I found that humanism might be thought of as a refocusing of philosophical thought on the power and possibilities of man, especially in relation to other men.  One of the greatest early humanist scholars, Pico della Mirandola, said of man “To you is granted the power of degrading yourself into the lower forms of life, the beasts, and to you is granted the power, contained in your intellect and judgment, to be reborn into the higher forms, the divine” (On the Dignity of Man) In other words, because humans are self-determining creatures, we are uniquely amazing in all of creation.  
However, the issue becomes more complicated if we view Humanism in the context of history. Specifically, I’d like to look at it in the context of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.  While the play appears to be about magic and wonder, colonialism and the evils of corrupt government officials, it may be more about Humanism than you would think.  I think that many of the actions of the characters throughout the play can be explained by applying Humanist ideologies, and especially those that have to do with power hierarchies between characters.  And those relationships are (more often than not) pretty ugly.  
Prospero and Caliban
Of course, when speaking of ugly relationships the most obvious must be between Prospero, the exiled duke/wizard ruler of the island, and Caliban, his semi-slave of questionable origin.  Prospero, a man fully steeped in higher education, is depicted as a liberal humanist. He was “reputed / In dignity” and “for the liberal arts / Without a parallel;” (1.2 72-74) He even tries to inculcate a sense of civilization and intelligence in Caliban through education. However, Caliban does not appreciate this and resents Prospero’s rough magical abuse.  Prospero rebukes him in lines 345-349 of Act 1 Scene 2:
Thou most lying slave,
Whom stripes may move, not kindness; I have used thee
(Filth as thou art) with humane care and lodged thee
In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate
The honour of my child.
The attempted rape of Miranda, Prospero’s daughter (about which Caliban apparently feels no shred of remorse) is too much for him to accept.  Prospero claims to have acted with “humane care” and yet refers to Caliban as filth.  In later sections, Prosper will refer to him as “Hag-seed” (1.2, 367), “slave” (1.2, 375), “beast Caliban” (4.1, 140), “a devil, a born devil” (4.1, 188).
If Caliban is human (at least partially) and Prospero is a humanist, shouldn’t Prospero believe in Caliban’s ability to become better?  Shouldn’t Prospero treat him well and not like an animal?  After Prospero’s attempts to civilize Caliban fail, he determines that if Caliban were actually human, then he would have changed.  
Prospero can only truly be a humanist if Caliban is not human.  Therefore, Prospero begins to view Caliban as not a human, but rather a devil, a slave, a beast.  Interestingly, this can be fully reconciled with Prospero believing that he is a good person.  He did his best to help Caliban, after all, and is it not better to think of Caliban as a creature who simply cannot become better than as a being who chooses to be inferior?  By effacing the humanity of Caliban, Prospero now has a way to reconcile Caliban’s inferior actions with his appearance and a way to sooth his own conscience.    
Gonzalo and his detractors
Gonzalo, the idealistic counselor to the king, during Act 2 Scene 1 begins to imagine the Utopian society that he would construct were he lord of the isle.
“ …for no kind of traffic
Would I admit ; no name of magistrate;
Letters should not be known; riches, poverty
And use of service , none; contract, succession,
Bourn, bound of land , tilth , vineyard – none;
No use of metal , corn, or wine or oil;
No occupation , all men idle, all;
And women, too, but innocent and pure ;
No sovereignty
Although two other nobles, Sebastian and Antonio mock, and deride his ideas, Andy Mousley suggests that although his vision is perhaps unattainable, it prompts “wondering how his vision might have some sort of practical application or embodiment” (172).  In Gonzalo’s society, there would be no sovereignty, no excess labor, no poor and no rich.  It would be an equal paradise in which each man could grow to the maximum of their ability.  Mousley suggests that this society is a reflection of the “the simultaneously idealistic and practical spirit of literary humanism” (173).  If put into practice, such a society would be a great boon to humanism, but the practicality of the issue is shaky.  However, simply by suggesting these ideas, Shakespeare plants seeds of humanism in the minds of his audience.  
Works Cited
Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni. Oration on the Dignity of Man University of Adelaide, December 17, 2014. Web. October 4th, 2015.  
Mousley, Andy. Re-Humanising Shakespeare : Literary Humanism, Wisdom And Modernity. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 5 Oct. 2015.

Shakespeare, William (2014-09-25). The Tempest: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare) (Kindle Locations 2828-2831). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

First Draft-Brave New World in The Tempest

“O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world,
 That has such people in't!” –Miranda, Act V Scene I, The Tempest, Shakespeare

            The Tempest is Shakespeare’s most original play. This quote is one of the most famous and shows how full of wonder and hope the main female protagonist is as she faces new people and challenges. Why is she so full of hope? Should she be afraid of what is unknown and unfamiliar? Shakespeare shows how people in his time dealt with the “Brave New Worlds” of his day and of the few ways to cope with it: Dominate it or Embrace it. In the end, a combination of both of them seems to be the best way to handle oneself when faced with new lands and new opportunities.

Dominate It.

            While Domination is a sub-theme explored by many in the play, none know it better than Prospero and Caliban. Caliban’s mother ruled a mysterious island until Prospero showed up. Caliban said

“This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou takest from me. When thou camest first,
Thou strokedst me and madest much of me, wouldst give me
Water with berries in't, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I loved thee
And show'd thee all the qualities o' the isle,
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile”-Act I, Scene 2.

Prospero had freed Caliban from the tyranny of Sycorax who was a witch. He taught Caliban an education and Caliban returned this education in kind. However, he was not fully enthralled with Prospero’s rule either.

“Cursed be I that did so! All the charms
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!
For I am all the subjects that you have”

This disdain for his master leads Caliban to another two men who are ambitious about the island to which they have arrived: Trinculo and Stephano. Now in order to understand this new world to which they have encountered, they frequently refer back to their old one in order to bring understanding to it. Caliban’s encounter with these men was new for him and them.

Old World Vs. New World

“A strange fish! Were I in England now,
as once I was, and had but this fish painted,
not a holiday fool there but would give a piece
of silver: there would this monster make a
man; … this is no fish,
but an islander, that hath lately suffered by a
thunderbolt” .-Trinculo, Act II, Scene II.
In seeking out these new lands there seems to be a give and take about how much of the old world you must bring with you. In Trinculo’s and Stephano’s case, they bring all of the old world with them and share it with Caliban. Clothes, liquor, and titles abound with these three and they go about the island. Prospero brought a small part of the old world with him: his books.

Prospero’s story is about how he lost his dukedom due to his obsession with reading. We see as the audience how he could have avoided his fate had he just left his study and not left sole power to his brother. As Prospero then is banished to this new isle, he brings with him his books and learning and shows how what failed in the old world could be adapted to the new one.

Embrace it

Part of the allure of the island is this new freedom that all experience. All the rules and regulations that existed before can be thrown out the window. Gonzalo in trying to help alleviate Alonso’s pain, imagines the island if he were to be king on it. Instead of a typical kingship Gonzalo imagines a society with “No sovereignty” (Act II, Scene I).


Notes: I am missing a conclusion. I intend to cite The Tempest and the Introduction part of our eBook in its discussion of Shakspeare’s reading of travel journal’s and their influence on Shakespeare’s perception of the new world. I also intend to show how Prospero’s attempt to educate Caliban fails but his attempt to exact vengeance at the end of the play is successful. The point I’m arguing is that Shakspeare shows us that we need to conquer new worlds and try new methods of thinking to grow out of our old world. I’m also missing secondary sources to strengthen my argument. So far this is just representative of my close reading and keeping in mind our past class discussion.

Questions: Would my mentioning of Shakspeare’s travel journal readings be relevant to the argument I’m making?

You can see the structure my chapter is forming here in this rough first draft, is the organization good?

Is my argument sound? Does it highlight the theme adequately?

I intend to include more quotes and give better commentary in arguing the bigger thesis claim.I will include Ferdinand and Miranda’s admiration of eachother among the other quotes and points I brought up in my Notes section. Should I include other quotes to strengthen my argument?

Is the picture good? I have another one with a sunset on an island mountain. These are public domain pictures. Should I cite where I got the photos too?

Thank You Fellow Classmates and Professor For helping me understand this play better and explore the six themes of our eBook. I'm getting more excited about it.