Elizabethan-era English meets my analysis head-on.
Monday, October 24, 2011
I'm really excited to see The Tempest on Saturday. The play is fascinating to me, with its dearth of real plot and heavy focus on human interaction. Almost like a lot of movies that seem to come out nowadays. Still, The Tempest is a compelling play, and the sheer extravagance of it is astounding to the modern reader, and must have been more so to the viewer of Shakespeare's day.
A harpy. I looked for a long time for
a blog-appropriate picture, by the way.
I especially enjoyed both Ariel's denunciation of Alonso, Sebastian, and Antonio as a harpy, and the appearance of Juno, Ceres, and Iris to Ferdinand and Miranda. Part of the appeal of this play, to me at least, is its power to create images in the mind, just like any other good novel. So is it better to read or see the play?
There's no question that Shakespeare was meant to be watched and not just read. But when it's performed, I feel almost the way that I do when I see a movie after reading a book. For example, whenever I read Lord of the Rings, I still picture in my mind the actors and characters from the movies (which were great, by the way. Not disparaging them).
Ceres, goddess of
Juno, queen of the Roman
Pantheon (originally named Hera)
It just seems to me that any visual interpretation of a text forces its imagery onto the mind. Perhaps it is just me, but for my English 251 class last semester, I read a selection by Wayne Boothe (here is an annotation of the essay) about how ethical reading involved interaction with the author and mental submersion in their work, in essence visualizing and recreating the work inside your own head. So is watching the movie or play before reading the text an unethical reading? Is it simply accepting another's interpreation?