« ZurückWeiter »
As when a Tree's cut down, the secret Root
Lives under ground, and thence new branches shoot:
If they have since out-writ all other Men,
"T is with the drops which fell from Shakespear's pen
Which work by Magick supernatural things:
Who by our dearth of Youths are forc'd t'employ
And that's a transformation, you will say,
MRS. F. A. KEMBLE'S ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE TEMPEST
Many critics of The Tempest have endeavored to interpret it allegorically. Thus Lowell identifies Prospero with the Imagination, Ariel with the Fancy, Caliban with the Brute Understanding, Miranda with Abstract Womanhood, and Ferdinand with Youth. Emile Montégut and Dowden (the former in all seriousness, the latter in a playful exercise of fancy) have traced in the play an allegory of the poet's dramatic career (See the Révue des Deux Mondes, 1865, and Dowden's Shakspere, His Mind and Art, pp. 425-427). Less well known is Mrs. F. A. Kemble's interpretation, contained in a MS. note in a copy of Hanmer's edition, and printed by Furness.
"The Tempest is my favourite of Shakespeare's dramas. Chiefly I delight in this play, because of the image it presents to my mind of the glorious supremacy of the righteous human soul over all things by which it is surrounded. Prospero is to me the representative of wise and virtuous manhood in its true relation to the combined elements of existence, the physical powers of the external world, and the varieties of character with which it comes into voluntary, accidental, or enforced contact. Of the wonderful chain of being, of which Caliban is the densest and Ariel the most ethereal extreme, Prospero is the middle link. He- - the wise and good man is the ruling power, to whom the whole series is subject. First, and lowest in the scale, comes the gross and uncouth but powerful savage, who represents both the more ponderous and unwieldy natural elements (as the earth and water), which the wise magician by his knowledge compels to his service; and the brutal and animal propensities of the nature of man which he, the type of its noblest development, holds in lordly subjugation. - Next follow the drunken, ribald, foolish retainers of the king of Naples, whose ignorance, knavery, and stupidity represent the coarser attributes of those great, unenlightened masses which, in all communities, threaten authority by their conjunction with brute force and savage ferocity; and only under the wholesome restraint of a
wise discipline can be gradually admonished into the salutary
the elements, and comprehends alike without indignation or sympathy, which are moral results, the sin and suffering of humanity. Therefore, - because he is only a spirit of knowledge, he is subject to the spirit of love, and the wild, subtle, keen, beautiful, powerful creature is compelled to serve with mutinous way. wardness and unwilling subjection the human soul that pitied and rescued it from its harsher slavery to sin, and which, though controlling it with a wise severity to the fulfilment of its duties, yearns after it with the tearful eyes of tender human love when its wild wings flash away into its newly recovered realm of lawless liberty."
1. BLANK VERSE
The governing element of verse structure in English is different from that in Latin and Greek. In the classical languages quantity forms the basis of the prosody; in English its place is taken by stress. In O. E. poetry stress and alliteration had been the regulating factors; afterwards, as a general rule, alliteration disappeared, except as an ornament, and syllabic equality was substituted, accompanied during the M. E. period by rhyme. The Earl of Surrey, in his translation of part of the Eneid, abandoned rhyme and introduced blank verse, a sequence of five stressed and five unstressed syllables in rising rhythm (i.e. with the stress on the second syllable) without rhyme. This became the normal metrical form of the Elizabethan drama, e.g.
For this', | be sure', | to-night' | thou shalt' | have cramps' (i. 2. 325).
But a succession of such lines, as is proved by early plays like Gorboduc, has a most monotonous effect, and the beauty of Elizabethan verse is largely due to its variations from this primary type. As Shakespeare's command over his instrument increased, he more and more indulged in such variations, so that in The Tempest, one of his very last plays, there are comparatively few verses in the purely normal form.
2. NORMAL VARIATIONS
Among the variations there are several which recur regularly, and which are not to be regarded as departures from a type, but as new types.
(a) Stress variation. The classification of syllables into stressed and unstressed is not exhaustive, for there are many shades of gradation between the unstressed and the strongly stressed. Thus a weak or intermediate stress may be substituted for the normal