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I. ii. 91, 92. With that which, etc. 'With that learning which exceeded in value all popular estimates [of learning), save that it compelled me to live a retired life'-whence rose the trouble in Prospero's career.
I. ii. 100-102. Who having, into truth, etc. A difficult passage. The general meaning seems clear: He had told the lie so often that, so far as his own memory was concerned, he had come to believe it.
I. ii. 169. Now I arise. A much disputed passage. There seems to be no reason for assuming that more is meant than the words state literally.
I. ii. 228. to fetch dew. Dew was to be fetched for use in some sort of incantation.
I. ii. 266. for one thing she did. Prospero does not specify the nature of the act; but there seems to be an implication that the witch was spared because of her pregnancy. Cf. Henry VI, Part 1, V. iv. 10 ff.
I. ii. 334. berries. The reference may possibly be to coffee.
I. ii. 351. In the Folios this speech is assigned to Miranda.
I. ii. 377, 378. kiss'd The wild waves whist. 'Kissed the wild waves into silence.'
II. i. 37. Ha, ha, ha! etc. In the Folios the second half of this speech, 'So you're paid,' is assigned to Antonio. In order to make sense out of the passage the words must be given to Sebastian, who, having lost the wager, pays with a laugh.
II. i. 41. He could not miss it. “Uninhabitable as this island is, neither Adrian nor the rest could do without it, just then.' (Furness.)
II. i. 69. pockets. His pockets are, presumably, still damp and muddy.
Ernest Law - Shakespearean torgeries
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II. i. 90. miraculous harp. The harp of Amphion, son of Zeus, raised the walls of Thebes by the magic of its music.
II. i. 134. Who hath cause. Who for 'which.” ‘Your eye hath cause to be wet with grief at your banishment from Claribel.'
II. i. 137, 138. at Which end ... bow. The difficulty here is in finding the subject of 'bow'; it may be ‘she'; but is more probably 'end.' The confusion of the passage would be somewhat reduced by. dropping the word ‘at.' The metaphor of a pair of scales needs no interpretation. The poor soul long weighed the hatred of the proposed match over against her desire to obey her father.
II. i. 190. out of her sphere. According to the Ptolemaic astronomy, the moon is a planet, moving in a crystal sphere. The gentlemen are preposterous enough to lift the moon out of her sphere; but she is as inconstant as they, and changes continually.
II. i. 198. Go sleep, and hear us. Perhaps, 'go to sleep, and then, if you can, you will hear us laughlaugh with delight, i.e., to be rid of such a bore.
II. i. 233, 234. how, in stripping it, etc. 'This purpose [of being king] you really cherish at heart, though you pretend to mock at the notion of ever being king; but, by laying the notion bare, i.e., by stripping off all pretence, you will invest it with the more attractiveness.' Sebastian is urged by Antonio to express freely his covert ambition to be king.
II. i. 250. Ambition cannot pierce, etc. Any thought of the future which extends beyond the death of Ferdinand will suggest that Sebastian may be the next king. “When ambition pierces to its furthest wink, there discovery ceases, and the crown is found.' (Furness.)
II. i. 258. she that from whom. A specimen of Shakespeare's hurried and tortuous construction: 'from whom' probably means 'in coming home from
whom.' The sentence would be somewhat clearer if 'that were dropped.
II. i. 287. candied be they. 'Let twenty consciences be first congealed and then dissolved, ere they, etc. (Malone.)
II. i. 297. They'll tell the clock. 'They will say anything that we say,' or, figuratively, 'They will agree that it is any hour of the day which we choose to assert that it is.'
II. ii. 107. I have no long spoon. 'He that eats with the Devil had need of a long spoon.' (Marlowe, Jer of Malta, Act III.) A common saying.
II. ii. 185. scamels. No one knows what this word means. Perhaps some kind of bird, as the sea-mew, is meant. But the word may very well have been coined by Shakespeare. The attribution of an exact meaning to it could add nothing to the beauty and suggestiveness of the passage.
III. i. 15. Most busy lest, when I do it. As famous a crux as any in Shakespeare. Despite the tortuous nature of the passage, the general meaning is clear: 'I am busiest when I am least [lest] occupied; for when I forget my work, I am busied with sweet thoughts (of Miranda), which refresh me for my toil.' 'Forget is the antecedent of 'it.'
III. iii. 17. S. d. Prosper on the top. A plain reference to Prospero's entry "above, on the upper stage, or balcony.
III. iii. 39. Praise in departing. This may mean, 'Spare your praise till the end of the performance.'
III. iii. 45. Dew-lapp'd. This has usually been taken to be a reference to the disease of goitre, which enlarges the neck. The explanation, however, is far from satisfactory. IV. i. 3. third. Miranda is one 'third of Pros
' pero's interest in life. The other two thirds are usually taken to be himself and his dukedom.