Thursday, April 8, 2010

the mind's whispy savagery

how about a nice foamy dollop of philosophy for this evening.

in my extensive (and noble/keen/extra credit) readings around the subject of Shakespeare and Colonialism, Shakespeare's Women, The Godless Shakespeare, &etc. I discovered some new discourses that the great Bard himself has so slyly slipped into his masterpieces. I was in the library reading up on The Tempest, one of his last and best-loved plays. Quite a breather from blood and gore and severed hands of Titus Andronicus.

According to some critic or other (won't bore you with names and credentials) the on of the primary discourses of The Tempest is that of religion, order and spirituality.
On the other hand (haha), and from the holy biased perspective of an (almost certainly) atheist critic, Shakespeare's account of Titus Andronicus was 'godless' and 'anti-Catholic.' This is because, mirroring a classical Greek myth, Tamora unknowningly eats the flesh of her own sons cooked in a pie by Titus in an act of revenge. At the Banquet, presumably a parody of The Last Supper, there is partaking in cannibalism, and mention of blood-drinking. This mirrors the Holy Communion, thus a comment on the nature of Catholic rites. After all, the play is about rites and rituals, but also the disintegration of the State.

Comparably, another critic linked The Tempest to the philosophy of neo-platonism. In simple, uninvolved form the theory says this:

Man's element is made up of three primary organs: digestive organs, brain and heart
Mind - imagination, memory, intellect. [brain]
Soul - the airy essence of spirituality and dreams. [heart]
Body - the 'vegetative,' the elementary, fundamental, earthy being. [digestive organs]

In The Tempest, neo-platonism goes something like this:

Ariel is the 'airy spirit,' the soul of man.
Caliban is the element of man. the savage, earth-made rogue.
Prospero is the mind of man, the learned magician and ruler.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...