Week 11

May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Reflecting on Caliban

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!
(Act I, Scene 2, lines 366–368)
(Shakespeare, Norton)

Caliban is the earthly creature that is truly an inhabitant of the land and that has been corrupted by education and language. The image in my mind of Caliban especially with these lines screams Aboriginal history at me. Shakespeare has fuelled Caliban with this fiery persona to claim the island as his own. How did Shakespeare come to know of the indigenous? Caliban’s language is so rough with sharp vowels and short words consisting of one or two syllables. Language has displaced Caliban. Miranda and Prospero’s gift is not welcomed within Caliban’s world understanding and knowing. Instead, it has corrupted him and his own perception of self identity to his previous primitive self. Many may perceive Caliban as the villain or force of evil because of this and because of his opposition to Prospero. But is he really a force associated with evil? Did we not also come onto this land with good intentions to educate the indigenous with western culture, language and religion? Not realising how the indigenous way of life was far more superior than we could ever imagine ourselves to be at the time. I believe through Caliban, Shakespeare offers a different perspective to his audience. To a Great Britain rising to the peak of colonisation, Shakespeare releases Caliban to voice the voice of the indigenous and our disturbance to their existence. Caliban’s view of an oppressive Prospero is a valid view that cannot be objected, highlight a unique wisdom within his indigenous perspective.

Week 10

May 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

T h e    l a n g u a g e

Although Shakespeare touches on universal themes of love, loss, authority, relationships and war, it is not the essence of what makes his artistic works riveting. Anyone can write a play or a poem on such universal themes. It is more how he does it that leaves me awestruck. To think, I was going to be an English teacher without really knowing the true power of language.

Shakespeare used to look like this to me “fOSDhg;csKJFSDRNzzzZzzZzzZzzzz……………..”
A clear language barrier.

After practice in reading, re-reading and acting out Shakeaspeare’s plays, I gradually began to understand him. Shakespeare’s hold on language is something that definitely stands the tests of time. He only had so many words he could work with at the time and definately developed the English language. Linguistically, he used every technique possible where appropriate to tap into a realm of imagination that cradles our emotions to submit to the demands of his words. The power of his words lusciously paint worlds within the reader’s minds, so much that you cannot read Shakespeare, you must act it. Any reading easily turns to acting because the words control your tongue. Throughout the plays I have noticed that Shakespeare does not describe the surroundings, he more so uses and contrasts his characters language with each other to create an inherent environment and story within themselves.

Much can be learnt about Shakespeare’s language. This is what 21st century literature needs to return to. Shakespeare’s work provide a refreshing source of linguistic inspiration in the 21st century literature that seems to be exhausting all of it’s creativity within plots and characters. Yet if we return to the very heart of literature, to use language like how Shakespeare did, we would have the power to inspire worlds of imagination to our readers and society. And imagine what the world be like then….

Week 10 Critical Comment

May 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Peer Review on Daniel’s Blog

You have blogged a powerful concluding paragraph here. Great Job! I couldn’t help but think of that line “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”. However, I slightly disagree with one of your points though “We cannot examine our life any more than our dreams”. If we do examine our lives, we find the answer is not in life itself but it is held within us. I think that this is why Shakespeare has such extraordinary characters. It is not life that complicates their matters, but their own selves and they actions they choose. In saying this, I think Shakespeare’s plays are somewhat an examination of life. I’d like to know what you think.

Week 9 Critical Comment

May 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Peer Review on Joseph’s Blog

Wow! Great entry Joseph! Just thought I’d drop in with some thoughts.

Ariel’s song is beautiful! You cannot help but feel joy for his freedom and the language Shakespeare uses helps to bring this joy out to the reader. My joy is finding how Ariel connects to the insignificant and miniscule wonders of nature that compose the beauties and entities of life. It definitely takes me back to Blake’s “To see a world in a grain of sand”. Despite being a spirit, I think that it is the first song the Ariel actually connects himself to being connected to the land as one. As you pointed out, Shakespeare certainly emphasises how harmony is achieved in the miniscule and every day things of life – significantly coming at the end of the play where everyone has reconciled with each other, themselves and natural world that surrounds them. That of course just adds on to your points of interconnectedness.

Week 9

May 1, 2012 § 3 Comments

The Tempest’s P R O S P E R O

Good, old and wise Prospero is certainly the protagonist of this play. Through him, we embark on beautiful journey towards reconciliation and acceptance that not only harmonizes his past, present and future… but also harmonizes the world as he and Shakespeare see it. This web based resource is personalized by me to explore the simplicities and complexities of Prospero’s character. The image above is exactly how I pictured him to be. But that is not why I have included the image in this web based resource. I was captured by this image, by the actor’s face – the depths of thoughts, his vulnerability and strength showing at the same time. The ragged garment wrapped around his shoulders is his magical cloak that is interestingly earthy looking as supposed to a garment of status.

Using this garment, Prospero releases forces of his imagination to take his daughter and all the other characters in the play, AND his audience of course, on a journey to weather the tempest! Prospero’s complexities are inherent in the roles he plays within the play. Actively, Prospero is a father, magician and arguably a true representation of Shakespeare himself.

The following is my attempt to re-create Prospero’s emotions coming to a reconciliation, using the elegance and power of Shakespeare’s language. This is inspired by Prospero in Act 4, scene 1, 148–158 and Act 5, Scene 1 of Prospero’s epilogue.

To the mercy of destiny I surrender to God’s hands
In faith I trust you to care not for me
But beg you to turn your gaze to shelter Miranda and her beloved Ferdinand
Replaced by prayer
I trust in fate and faith and love
So much so that
I pluck my magic garment and lay it rest.
In mercy I retire to return to sleep 
To ressurrect in my dreams where no one will weep

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