Pre-Modernity In Shakespeare's The Tempest

1005 WordsOct 3, 20175 Pages
The transition from pre-modernity to modernity is even now, an ongoing process. William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest (1611), takes place between the late middle ages and early modern period. In the play, Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, has been exiled from his home and sent to an uninhabited island with his three year old daughter, Miranda. With his knowledge of sorcery, Prospero is able to conjure up a storm and bring forth his enemies who are traveling by sea. Although the play is written in the modern era, it reflects on both pre-modernity and modernity. Prospero portrays concerns and characteristics of pre-modernity by enslaving Ariel and Caliban through social stratification. In contrast to that, because Miranda does not have…show more content…
ARIEL. I do not, sir. PROSPERO. Thou liest, malignant thing! Hast thou forgot The foul witch Sycorax, who with age and envy Was grown into a hoop? hast thou forgot her? (1.2.244-59). The issue focused on here is Ariel’s bound duties to serve Prospero. In the pre-modern era it is common for the upper class to look down on an inferior group of people. In this case, although Prospero does not verbally admit that Ariel is his servant, he does guilt Ariel into believing his actions are permissible. In relation to that, Prospero performs similar practices on Caliban. However, Prospero’s power to govern Caliban is of slight difference when considering the act of guilt. Because Caliban is the son of Sycorax and the Devil, this results in Prospero disparaging him. With Prospero’s power and level of hierarchy, Caliban is degraded and portrayed as only partly human. Emphasized in the play is the representation of pre-modernity, however, that could be a result of character choice. Noticeably, all the characters except for one are men. Nonetheless, the idea of modernity does make its way into the play through Prospero’s daughter, Miranda. Being an era full of enlightenment and art, modernity is a rising time for entertainment. A time in which art began depicting individuals as subjective creations. A time in which philosophy evoked new ideas and modified perception. A time in which the divine begins disconnecting from rationality. A time

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