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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.

  • Date Submitted: 10/24/2015 09:46 AM
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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.

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 interesting and intellectually viable character in The Tempest, and thus he requires a full historical narrative. Miranda facilitates the context of Caliban as a noble savage by providing an explanation of his position as an “abhorred slave”. The decline of Catholicism during the Renaissance (due to shifts from allegiance to currency) and consequently marital customs such as restraint, abstinence and self-discipline informs the ambiguity of her rape; it is the displacement of one value-laden theology which allows speculation over another. Prospero systematically indoctrinates Miranda with these values; the scene serves to condemn what is ‘civilised’ and to question if a spectacle of love that is ‘free’ is necessarily uncivilised. Thus Caliban’s aptronym is both ironic and anagrammatic, ‘canibal’, pertaining to the only undisputed source of the Tempest; Montaigne’s essay Of Cannibales.

The Freudian 'Family Romances' bind Prospero, Caliban and Miranda. Prospero, the great usurper of preternatural powers, is outraged by his foster child’s ‘betrayal’ of familial constraints. Although the stichomythia illustrates how closely these characters are entwined, Miranda does have consciousness exclusive of Prospero, and defiantly claims to have memory prior to her inhabitance on the island....


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