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'miranda And Ferdinand Are More Important To The Play Than They May At First Seem'. By Considering The Dramatic Presentation Of Miranda And Ferdinand, Evaluate This View

1006 words - 5 pages

'Miranda and Ferdinand are more important to the play than they may at first seem'. By considering the dramatic presentation of Miranda and Ferdinand, evaluate this view.

It is insensible and much too simple to imagine The Tempest in absence of characters we deem to be extraneous, such as Miranda and Ferdinand. Shakespeare's mere selection of Miranda and Ferdinand as characters justifies their significance; they have been written, and thus have intrinsic value. There are instances in which Ferdinand and Miranda advance their linear plot and become indisputable and binding components of the play.

Although it is necessarily unhelpful to prioritise characters, Caliban is the most ...view middle of the document...

She notes this memory is of other women, “had I not / Four or five women once, that tended me?” which suggests an alternate mode for Miranda preceding Prospero’s invention. This is important because it illustrates that unlike a God, Prospero’s powers are not omniscient; they are finite and circumstantial.

The serene and illusory romance between Ferdinand and Miranda reinforces a theme often featuring in Shakespearean dramas (King Lear most obviously), of happiness found in exile. “Or bless’d was we did?” Miranda notes, whilst Ferdinand concurs that “some sports are painful, and their labour / Delight in them sets off...” The 16th century neo-stoic retained composure in understanding the irrelevance of all material pleasures – spiritually abundant, but materially deficient. Ferdinand’s labour is in close proximity to Prospero's lair, and perhaps Prospero is considered by Ferdinand to be a God or Renaissance magus, his stoicism thus not owed to his love but to a spiritual appraisal.

Inspired by Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and poem 'Hero and Leander', Shakespeare utilises the concept of idealised romantic youth to appease his 16th century monarchical audience, "who ever loved that loved not at first sight?", “…The very instant that I saw you, did / My heart fly to your service”. Devon Hodges notes in Renaissance Fictions of Anatomy that the Renaissance saw a shift from the medieval discourse of resemblance to a modern mode of deconstructive analysis, which we identify in this extract. The heart and eyes are drawn from one another on alternate lines, yet Renaissance practices of anatomisation theorized that eyes were coupled with the heart, thus there is enjambment. Without Miranda and Ferdinand, Shakespeare would struggle to denote this so succinctly.

The Masque is integral to The Tempest. Although its narrative purpose is to celebrate the marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda, it provides Shakespeare with the opportunity to include mythological references to spirits Iris and Dis. Iris is the rainbow; an Old Testament symbol for denoting a pact between God and humanity. Dis represents the underworld, thus the Masque unites an omniscient celebration of love.

Elaine Showalter notes that “the...

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