HUMAN 1B Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Great Chain Of Being, Vitruvian Man, Thrice

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7 Feb 2017
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February 7, 2017
The Tempest: Lecture 2
Two Changes that shape the play:
Prospero drowns his book, gives up his power (p 75-6)
cruel, inhumane
how does he end up seeming deeply human?
Caliban “seek[s] for grace” (p 86)
only one in Act I to resist Prospero
Language is the Partner to [Human] Empire:
1. Conflict (within and between languages): Prospero vs. Caliban
2. World: whose island is it? (language decides)
3. Characters/People: How does language define humanity
Characters + Conflict + World = A Play
Conflict
Prospero’s Power = Conflict (language-based)
1. power exerted through language (confer identity; control bodies; change perception;
make believe) = partner of empire
comes from books: p 13 and p 55
likely that Caliban already had language before Prospero
argues that new language’s only function is to curse Prospero
2. vulnerable, enchanted / dominated / critiqued / interpreted by language = way to ruin
empire
“rapt in secret studies” (p 9)
“This island’s mine by Sycorax my mother” (p 20)
3. language allows challenge, poetry, self-understanding, play and creativity:
“King” (p 20)
“This island’s mine” / “The isle is full of voices” (p 56-7)
“Ban-ca-Caliban… Freedom high day!” (p 47)
Caliban plays with language in this way
4. language disempowers / confines him both from without and from within:
“You taught me language, and my profit on’t / Is, I know how to curse” (p 21)
“What a thrice double ass was I” (p 86)
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