English 1022E Lecture Notes - Pablo Neruda, George Lamming, Blank Verse
The Tempest Lecture
January 11, 2011
* * *
O. Mannoni, Psychologis de la colonisation
George Lamming, The Pleasures of Exile
“What a great language I have inherited... from the fierce conquistadores... We
came up losers... we came off winners. They carried off the gold and left us the
gold... They carried everything off and left everything... They left us the words”
-Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize Poet
* * *
-The chess game is rational, and represents the relationship they have; will, reason
-The court party suffers from an excess of ambition that makes them want to
occupy the position of those higher up than them. They are even prepared to
murder to get their ambitions fulfilled; already attempted murder by exiling Miranda
and Prospero to die
-His incapacity to control himself has led to insanity. Madness (King).
-Prospero understands that reason always has to be controlled.
-Third Party is the low comedy group. They stand for an excess of
passions/appetites; and inability to control them.
-How did the Renaissance think about Passion and Appetite?
-Feeling, emotion and passion; these can be easily confused.
-Feeling is happiness, satisfaction, content, passive state of being. This is an
-Emotion is a turbulence of feeling; something that moves us to take action:
love, pity, fear, disgust. Those are things that will make us want to move
towards the object that the emotion emanates from, or move away from it.
-Passion is rage, terror, hatred, loathing, guilt, jealousy, shame. So powerful
that they affect us physically and mentally. They jump across the mind/body
split and suggest that maybe it isn’t that important. One feels these
passions viscerally, in your gut; because of this they can take over your life.
Othello; what jealousy does to him. Passion can produce a chain reaction.
Shame - self-hatred - self-destructiveness. These vicious passions are more
powerful than emotions and feelings.
-Gradually, the Third Party’s susceptibility to uncontrolled passion increases and
takes them closer to the brink of vicious passion.
-Now that Trinculo and Stephano are on the scene, things change because of
alcohol which unhinges them and Caliban. Alcohol is an obvious means by how we
put our reason aside for awhile. The relaxing of the control of reason can lead to
-The second time we see them (Act 3 Scene 2) they are drinking again, and plotting
to kill Prospero. Uncontrol has started to issue in a positive movement towards fatal
-Stephano is hoping that he will replace Prospero as the King of the Island with
Trinculo and Caliban as the servants/viceroys.
-Disorder in the minds of these 3 is beginning to move towards disorder in society
as they plot to kill Prospero.
-Act 2 Scene 2 l.129
-Caliban still speaks in blank verse. He has a much more rational mode of speech
than Trinculo/Stephano who speak in prose. This sets him apart from the other two.
-Caliban is becoming monstrous and unnatural in his behaviour. He sings the
opposite of the beautiful music that Ariel sings; like a rugby song. Caliban has lost
control here, he is a babbling gibbering idiot speaking in syllables.
-He has no control at all and in fact if we look at what has happened we can see
there is an inversion/perversion of the reason and will.
-Caliban is now in the trap of himself. Exercising liberty, the ability to do exactly
what you like when you like to whoever you like. Idea that service is perfect
freedom; but freedom here is just the flaunting of all forms of service.
-Act 3 Scene 2: perverse freedom turns to violence. These are insults on the
integrity of the body. Caliban wants to put a stake through Prospero’s brain.
-Violence against themselves with the help of Ariel. Language becomes violence
here, and physical violence follows. This is an inversion of the peace and harmony
that Ariel can bring to the island.
-Thought is free? No it’s not if you’re under the influence of alcohol. These 3 are full
of uncontrolled sexuality and violence.
-Prospero’s means of educating them. We can’t expect much more than shame,
regret, and control maybe coming through that.
-Act 5 Scene 1 l.284 they come to their senses.
-Caliban is placed firmly in his position in the hierarchy but he’s a much more
positive character than Trinculo/Stephano. He has a sense of the Christian Humanist
vision. He will use reason and asks for God’s help to be a better person. Although he
needs to be controlled still, he is much more positive than trinculo or stephano are
at the end.
-We’ve placed emphasis on Christian Humanist vision. Let’s turn the play upside
down; ask ourselves how the play might be perceived in the position of someone
like Caliban, someone who is being controlled by someone like Prospero. Give the
play a tempered, modifyed, post-colonial reading.
-Relationship between the Imperialist ruler and Colonial Subject (Prospero and
-2 Big ideals of Imperialism were/are: Enlightenment, Emancipation (bringing
-What we see in the Tempest is this imperialist/colonial dynamic; Prospero is the
stand in for the imperial leader; Caliban is the servant being colonized.
-The patterns in this book could be seen as supporting an Imperialist ideology.
-Act 1 Scene 2, l.333. Caliban argues that he is the rightful ruler of the island by
inheritance. He enabled Prospero and Miranda to survive there or they would have
-When the French landed in Quebec, they had scurvy and didn’t know what to do
but with the help of the Natives they survived.
-Prospero uses words that sound so denegrating: race, slave, savage(forest dweller)
etc. Miranda says he is incapable of goodness, but he isn’t; she’s exaggerating.
-Caliban says that they taught him how to speak, and thus he knows how to curse.
Prospero’s books give him control over Caliban and Ariel. All caliban can do is curse
back against his imperial conqueror.
-Caliban has learned to speak in beautiful images, beautiful blank verse. There’s a
sense where Caliban is not at the bottom of the hierarchy at all. We should treat this
post-colonial approach with some caution. It may be too simplistic because what
Caliban has got is some good and some bad from Prospero
-Sycorax herself was not a gentle kind ruler of the island. She imprisoned Ariel in a
tree for 12 years which is just as harsh, maybe worse than what Prospero has done
to Caliban. She came to the island from Algeria, she took over the island.
-Could Britain be the Island? It was invaded by Saxons, taken over by Normans, etc.
So many different people have migrated there.
-Conclusion: Prospero’s presence has been a mixed curse and blessing. He’s
enabled Caliban in certain ways but also hindered and imprisoned Caliban.