Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Tempest : Tragedy, Comedey, Definitely Both.


Act four has started to really show me why the play is falling under the category of a tragi-comedy especially after we discussed this in class on Friday.  I can see the marriage between Miranda and Ferdinand starting to play out, as Prospero has finally decided to hand off his daughter in the beginning of Act Four.  Prospero says to Ferdinand,  “If I have too austerely punished you, Your compensation makes amends, for I have given you a third of mine own life” (VI.I. 1-3).  This is very interesting me though because as the footnote states, usually a father would denote that his daughter would be half of his life, but instead she is only a third.  This definitely says a lot about Prospero as a character but that would be a different post.  I am curious as to whether the marriage will end up playing at the end of the play especially because of the enhanced amount of “magic” being done by Prospero and Ariel.  I see in Prospero’s comment to Ferdinand later on that he could possibly be foreshadowing a downfall in the situation between the two by telling him, “Look thou be true.  Do not give dalliance to much the rein” (VI. I. 51-52).  I would like to hope that things will in fact work out for Miranda and Ferdinand but like I said since there is a lot of wizardry and witchcraft occurring I cannot be so sure. I feel that some sort of trick is going to be played on the two of them but I hope the ultimate ending of the play will end up with the two of them being able to consummate their marriage.
In the sense of tragedy at the end of act four scene one we can see almost some sort of tragic ending for Stefano Trinculo and possibly even Caliban.  As one of our reading questions address, what is the stage direction that has seemed to infer what the fate of these characters is?  We see at the end of the act with a few lines left to go, the stage direction says “cries within” right after the “spirits in the shape of dogs and hounds, hunting them about” into some sort of cave or mountain (page 3106).  These cries definitely to me signal that the men are dead which could be the tragic ending for some of the characters.  I don’t know if I necessarily like the outcome, because I do not believe the Caliban should have been killed even though he was plotting to kill Prospero.  There was something that was something about Caliban’s bitterness that I felt really suited his character and was appropriate being all the torture that Prospero put him through between all the work he performs and the amount of credit he actually receieves for it.  Neither Miranda nor Prospero ever give Caliban the respect that he deserves, maybe because of when he tried to "rape" Miranda in the past and shows no remorse, but either way I beleive some thanks should be given to him for his work (II.II. 348-351).   Not that I am saying murder would be an acceptable revenge plan, but it is something that Caliban felt he needed to do, unfortunately his plan was not carried out.  I recognize that although it is not a main character that loses his or her life, it is still a life that is possibly lost, three to be exact.  I am not certain that they are dead but I think it is pretty clear that this might have been the outcome for the men.  As one can see there clearly is a fine line between the idea of tragedy and comedy and the two really mix together which makes the story line much more enjoyable.  I think the idea that tragedy and comedy put together also really demonstrates our reality because the two are always occurring concurrently rather than independently.

1 comment:

Thomas Baschnagel said...

I definitely agree with your assertion that The Tempest is both a comedy and a tragedy. If I hadn't looked up the fact that "tragicomedy" was an actual genre with which Shakespeare would have been familiar, I would have had an impossible time deciding which dramatic form to assign it. I also agree with your observation that Ferdinand and Miranda's marriage is beginning to play out in Act IV. I also agree that Caliban doesn't deserve to be killed. He's always been one of my favorite characters, especially when he says the line, "You taught me language, and my profit on’t / Is, I know how to curse." That's always struck me as one of Shakespeare's best lines. And finally, I really like your statement that " tragedy and comedy put together also really demonstrates our reality because the two are always occurring concurrently rather than independently." That's such a true sentiment, and it's appropriate for life in general, The Tempest, and Shakespeare's other plays, many of which feature elements of tragedy and comedy despite being predominantly one or the other.