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Sacerdotal vestiges in The Tempest.

In Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, Geoffrey Bullough observes that The Tempest's "didactic nature," as well as Prospero's "masterful aloofness" and "use of the supernatural"
 have encouraged some critics to treat the play as an allegory. The
 whole piece, ... permeated with Christian feeling, ... has been
 interpreted as a Mystery play in which Prospero, if not the Deity,
 is "the hierophant or initiating priest" in a rite of purification
 which the Court party must willynilly undergo.... Caliban ...
 becomes the Monster to be overcome, and Miranda Wisdom, the
 Celestial Bride.

Though wary of such allegorizing, Bullough has "no doubt that in The Tempest, more than in the other 'romances,' Shakespeare was thinking of human life in a cosmic way," eliciting "a moral perfection in which reason and the affections would be united with grace." (1) Grace Tiffany notes that in the romances "grace" appears more often and with deepening meaning as Shakespeare moves "away from a dramaturgy emphasizing tragic choice to one focusing on divine rescue." (2) Divine activity is, however, complexly portrayed in The Tempest. Certainly Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Winter's Tale show central characters rescued from tyrants or their own tyranny, and innocents resurrected from death, by an intervening deity (Diana, Jupiter, Apollo) as well as by wise counsel or medical-magical ministry (Helicanus and Cerimon in Pericles; Belarius, Pisanio, and Cornelius in Cymbeline; Camillo and Paulina in The Winter's Tale) and by the talismanic power of a chaste maid (Marina, Innogen, Perdita). In The Tempest, however, "divine rescue" occurs with a difference. Unlike previous protagonists (Pericles, Posthumus, Leontes) who steadily decline in moral agency, Prospero is a benevolent magus who uses supernatural power (or a theatrical simulacrum thereof) to redeem an entire ship of state. Though he too has engaged in a neglectful quest, received aid from a wise counselor, and been inspired by an angelic daughter, he now shows virtuoso control of "spirits" who can alter both settings and to some degree souls by means of magical/theatrical productions.

The opening tempest, with Prospero's choric follow-up, displays the magus's power via the tour-de-force acting and nonillusionist staging at Blackfriars and the Globe. (3) An explicit theatricality will make the presentation of divinity (as well as the final resurrection/reunion) quite different from the previous romances--indeed, polar opposite to the miraculous ending of The Winter's Tale. Like Jupiter in Cymbeline (5.4), Juno in The Tempest (4.1) mechanically "descends," and her masque extensively displays the beneficent role of divinity (and implicitly, of royalty) in human life; but since Juno, Ceres, and Iris are emphatically "enacted" by Prospero's spirits, they are far less shrouded in mystery than Diana, Jupiter, and Apollo in the previous plays. (4)
 Spirits, which by mine Art
 I have from their confines called to enact
 My present fancies....
 Thou and thy meaner fellows your last service
 Did worthily perform; and I must use you
 In such another trick. (5)

As with the tempest and the vanishing banquet, Prospero explicitly creates and controls each spectacle. Implicitly, these ornately clad "Spirits" execute the monarch's power as a viceroy of God, yet in this play their masque-function fails. Instead of banishing vulgarity and evil, these artificial deities are themselves dispelled by the encroaching baseness of Caliban's conspiracy. These events acutely show the gods as artful projections of the magus's mind and "spirits." Accompanied by a "strange, hollow, and confused noise," they "heavily vanish" at Prospero's command: "Avoid; no more!" (4.1.139 s.d., 142).

This dispersal of pagan deities (and of masque elements) in The Tempest makes us question the nature of its supernatural dimension. Is the play, as Colin Still argues in The Timeless Theme, a universal purgatorial allegory that mirrors the visionary rites of both ancient Eleusinian neophytes and medieval Christian pilgrims? (6) Or does learned Prospero enact a Neoplatonic quest, as W. C. Curry argues in "Sacerdotal Science in Shakespeare's The Tempest"--with partial approval of Frank Kermode in his masterful Arden introduction? (7) Or is The Tempest a biblical "mystery play" whose symbolism highlights the need of the Jewish/Christian messiah? Northrop Frye anticipates such a reading and its attendant problems: "the truly greatest art ... presents a symbolic picture of the deepest religious impulses of the age," but it "defeats its own ends by approaching the theological side and tending to explicit utterance of any teaching." Shakespeare, when "striving to penetrate the uttermost depths ..., drops from symbolism to allegory, the explicit statement of symbolism, in his last plays." (8) Frye saw Shakespeare approaching "nearer and nearer the sacerdotal drama as his genius developed.... The only possible development from the theme of The Tempest would have been the passion play itself," for that "supreme sacrifice" "the nexus of all religious symbolism" provides "the supreme drama." (9)

In "The Tempest" as Mystery Play, Grace Hall offers a fully Christian reading. (10) She proposes three Judeo-Christian sources for its language, characters, and scenes: the Bible, the Coventry cycle of mystery plays, and the 1559 Book of Common Prayer. Despite the breadth of these works, whose epic-cosmic scope and liturgical ritual seem to embrace all human history and moral temperaments, her study's shortcoming is its narrowed pool of sources. We must cast a wider net to appreciate the complex synthesis of Shakespeare's valedictory play. (11) Still, in privileging the gospel message, Hall gives deep suggestiveness to some of The Tempest's most intriguing lines. Is the holy message there, and does it subsume the play's multiple layers of symbolic story?

I. Prospero's Forebears

Consider the central figure of Prospero through six sets of sources, which I have arranged according to widening moral/spiritual import. How does each contribute to The Tempest's generic identity; and can they be integrated within a Christian sacerdotal reading?

1. Farcical Comedy: Prospero's irascible and cunning care for Miranda draws on a long literary tradition of possessive, often self-deluded fathers: Roman comedy's senex, the commedia dell'arte's Pantalone, and Italian romance's exiled monarch who contrives courtship and revenge on an enchanted island. (12) This dimension is reinforced by the drunken servants' antics, the young lovers' naivete, Gonzalo's gullibility, and Prospero's petulance. These features jostle the play's more dignified philosophic and religious components, but they closely resemble the moral frailties that afflict major figures of the Old and New Testaments.

2. Magical Romance: Prospero's deft separation of four groups (governors, lovers, servants, crew), as he entrances each with theatrical illusions, recalls the conjuring magicians of stageplays and romances, as well as real necromancers such as Faustus, Agrippa, and Dee. (13) In "Prospero's Book" Barbara Mowat astutely analyzes the lure of forbidden conjuration and joins those who question the validity of "white magic" in the Renaissance: can a sacerdotal Christian magus traffic with earth-spirits? (14) But other scholars find Prospero's benevolent providence compatible with Christian morality and distinct from the darker necromantic analogues. (15)

3. Virgilian Dynastic Epic: Allusions to the Aeneid include a stormy voyage, debate over Dido and Carthage, treacherous political conflict, spirits who assist cosmic vision, and a protagonist who shapes an empire's (and a world's) cultural values. Renaissance poets viewed Virgil's work as an allegorical reservoir of humane and Christian meaning, a model of national identity and destiny. (16) Like pius Aeneas, Prospero learns through suffering, assumes communal responsibility, and implements a philosophic, Godly rule that resembles Gonzalo's utopian ideal. (17) Yet The Tempest surpasses the Aeneid by resolving each of its tragic elements. Despite the skeptics' mockery, Gonzalo sees Dido as a faithful widow, not an illicit lover. "O dea certe!" is chaste Miranda, not troublesome Venus, who with Cupid is barred from the betrothal masque (a chastening of pagan deities). Virgil's legendary "magic" as artificer is surpassed by Prospero's Art, which looks beyond Aeneas's suffering, beyond the Aeneid's vengeful ending, and beyond the goal of dynastic empire: "Every third thought shall be my grave" (5.1.311). Though Prospero resumes his dukedom, many scenes in The Tempest emphasize the transitoriness of worldly power, the Augustinian view of the imperium Romanum paling before the imperium sine fin. (18)

4. Royal Masque: Building on the epic quest for divinely ordained empire is the spectacle of goddesses (Juno, Iris, Ceres) who descend to bless the lovers--a scene that flatters James I for his civilizing influence. (19) This refined syncretism easily accommodates a Christian reading of the play, though it tends to privilege the glory of an earthly king over that of Christian divinity. Eventually, however, even these benevolent deities are, like Venus and Cupid, dis-spelled.

5. Philosophic Tragicomedy: Building on both the magical and the masque elements, a still more morally elevated genre is suggested by the thematic depth of Prospero's remarks and stagings, which resemble the Neoplatonic ideas of Plotinus, Iamblichus, and Ficino, who seek to transcend Nature's bodily restraints--thus anticipating Calderon's Life Is a Dream, notable heir of The Tempest. (20) Many who applaud this erudite dimension of the play sever it from Christian doctrine, citing the dark implications of magic art. (21) Thus Prospero as Neoplatonist, or more broadly, as humanist philosopher, controls his destiny through self-knowledge and self-restraint, with no significant confession of personal sin nor dependence on divine grace. The "auspicious star" indicates only a Ficinian cosmic awareness by which Prospero shapes his course. Yet many Christian humanists combined philosophic with spiritual quest: likewise, Prospero's interplay of artful boasts and humble confessions seems central to the action.

6. Judeo-Christian Mystery Play: John Bender explains the liturgical, seasonal implications of the play's performance at Hallowmas, when one could invoke judgment against oppressors, discover true love, and eliminate winter by "ritual divinations" like the masque. Yet he considers the play "fundamentally secular": Gonzalo's fervent biblical allusiveness "provides no license to reduce the play to a Christian allegory," and by abjuring supernatural power Prospero accepts his "simple humanity." (22) Besides Gonzalo's oracular remarks, however, Prospero's stagings (a fiery storm, manna in the wilderness, angelic music and song, apocalyptic judgment) recall the feats of exiles like Elijah and Moses, and the tempest-calming power of Jesus and the Apostles. (23) Repeatedly, Prospero imitates aspects of the Trinity: God's watchful power, the Messiah's atoning presence, the Holy Spirit's providential enactments. (Indeed, it is the presumption of this triune performance that necessitates his final abjuration of power.) The "most auspicious star" (1.2.182) suggests not only "bountiful fortune" (now Prospero's "dear lady") (1.2.179) but also Prospero and Miranda's survival of persecution and the hope of her bearing a blessed child with Ferdinand, as implied in the masque. Prospero is thus aligned with "Providence divine" (1.2.159) as he unites the lovers and, finally, with "immortal Providence" (5.1.189; cf. 5.1.201-4) as he reunites everyone. To reform the ship of state, seeking not simply revenge but conversion to moral health, Prospero's stagings form a coherent sequence of sacramental parodies: (1) The opening tempest resembles a communal baptism, though not equally received: to some a dreaded death threat, to others an awakening to deep bonds, and to a rare few like King Alonso, "a sea-change / Into something rich and strange" (1.2.403-4). (2) To acknowledge this spiritual death, Ariel mimics a burial service, including the vision-anointing of extreme unction: "Those are pearls that were his eyes"; "Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell" (1.2.401,405). (24) (3) Prospero's lengthy teaching and questioning of young Miranda ("'Tis time / I should inform thee farther") resembles a confirmation, during which Prospero removes his "magic garment" (1.2.22-24). (4) At the play's center, the lovers, with Prospero as invisible priestlike witness, enact an Edenic marriage, reclaiming nature's innocent bond. (5) In contrast, the treacherous lords Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian are chastened by a vanishing banquet, denying communion to the sinful. (6) Ariel's commination (25) evokes confession from contrite Alonso, but contempt from Sebastian and Antonio. (7) The masque enacts unending harvest blessing for the lovers. (26) (8) Finally, Ariel draws all souls into Prospero's circle for judgment. (27) These last two stagings (harvest fruition and final reckoning) are of crucial significance, for they surpass the office of priesthood, showing the overreaching of Prospero's sacerdotal imitation. Indeed, of the old faiths seven sacraments, only the ordinance of priesthood is missing from Prospero's theatrical analogues. In viewing The Tempest as sacramental theater that prepares for a spiritual kingdom, we add the book of Isaiah to Italian romances, necromantic texts, Virgilian epic, and Neoplatonic treatises as a major source. It is a subtext for ARM'S name and nature, for Gonzalo's prophecies, and for the implicit messianic message. (28) The Christian implications of Prospero's "Art" are affirmed by John Mebane's study of Renaissance magic and by George Slover's account of the "Magnum Magus" in explaining Shakespeare's reliance on the parable of Providence in The True Declaration of the Estate of the Colonie in Virginia.

None of Prospero's stagings, however, is explicitly Christian. Each spectacle's epiphanic climax is shrouded in pagan imagery: the illusory drownings and enchanting songs that spur the naifs' love quest are managed by Ariel, a spirit of questionable name and nature; the mannalike feast is given by "monstrous" shapes (3.3.31), and Ariel chastises the befoulers of royal power as a harpy (indeed, he/she metamorphoses for each occasion and individual: tongues of fire to inspirit the entire ship; hound and goblin for Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo; harpy for Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian; soul-changing singer for Ferdinand; goddess merging earth and heaven for the worthy lovers); the betrothal masque involves pagan deities of harvest; and the reunited passengers are addressed by Prospero neither as magus nor as priest, but as Duke of Milan. Thus, while the play's iconic imagery provides a mystery-play drive toward conversion and eschatology, (29) the opacity of that iconography holds the mystery at bay as a continual challenge. Since this veiled sacerdotalism underlies a fable of the playwright's personal achievement, it lays a basis for Prospero's eventual act of humility. What, then, is the generic nature and purpose of this potent but indirect sacramental symbolism?

Many have noted The Tempest's generic synesthesia (tragedy, comedy, tragicomedy; satire, pastoral, romance; masque, morality, mystery play), a medley so ranging as to suggest the elusive "unifable" sought by James Joyce and Northrop Frye. A second, closely related interpretive maxim was proposed by G. Wilson Knight: The Tempest's main source is all of Shakespeare's earlier plays. He "spins [t]his plot from his own poetic world." (30) It is not enough, however, simply to identify the recycled figures--Gonzalo, a good-natured but foolish counselor like Polonius and Gloucester; Prospero, a stage-directing magus like Oberon, Hal, Hamlet, Vincentio, Portia, Beatrice, Rosalind, Viola, Helena, and Paulina; Ariel, another dynamic spirit-servant; Miranda, another wise innocent; Antonio, another ruthless villain; Caliban, Stephano, Trinculo, another set of clowns. One must also observe how The Tempest refines each figure. (31) How does Gonzalo improve on Polonius and Gloucester? How does Caliban extend Bottom, and Miranda transfigure Ophelia? How do Puck and Oberon attain the larger and more poignant identities of Ariel and Prospero?

II. Judeo-Christian Symbolism in The Tempest

To fathom this transformation, consider Hall's reading of The Tempest as a Christian parable. With an acute ear for biblical echoes in phrasing and events, she offers a typological reading. The opening storm reveals the need for a genuine messiah. The ship's "fraughting souls" (1.2.13) show humanity as a wayward church; they cry for "the master" but find no one who "can command these elements to silence, and work the peace of the presence" (1.1.9, 21-22). (32) The scream "We split" (1.1.60) suggests both death and social dispersal, and most of the passengers will "sleep" until the play ends with apocalyptic reunion. (33) With mixed results, Hall identifies the play's main characters with key figures in the Bible and mystery plays. (34) Thus Prospero typifies Moses, divinely inspired lawgiver (with book, cloak, and staff) whose magic frees but severely tests his people. Hall gives inadequate attention to Ariel, whose name in Isaiah 29 means "lion of God"; she does not cite Slater's, Berger's, and Esolen's studies of Isaiah's extensive relevance to The Tempest. (35) Nor does she compare Ariel to angel-messengers and angel-enforcers in the mystery cycle. Ariel's dazzling role in the tempest recalls Hebrews 1:4: God "maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire." Hall, however, astutely notes that Ariel serves Prospero's stern commands until freed to enjoy a higher law of love, reinforced through Miranda and Ferdinand's union. Hall's most suggestive remark concerns Ariel's vow to live merrily "under the blossom that hangs on the bough" (5.1.94)--a phrase that connects this lively spirit not only with the natural world but with the mystery plays' recurrent image of Christ, blossom of the virgin maid. Hall sees Ferdinand as a figure of Christ, who embraces suffering by carrying wood (as Christ bore a cross and as the prototype Isaac brought wood for his own sacrifice) to serve Miranda's wondrous beauty of soul and body. Like the Virgin Mary, Miranda is humbly bold in her own sacerdotal role, inspiring veneration as a type of the true, beauteous church of believers. For Peter Milward, the praise of Miranda's perfection recalls adoration of the Virgin Mary, and he compares Miranda's joyful wonder at Ferdinand and later at other courtiers with the "exultet" chant in liturgies for Christmas and Easter. (36) Prospero's balancing this capacity for wonder against darker realities ("'Tis new to thee") (5.1.184) resembles the balanced vision of the mystery plays, which match epiphany with laughable vulgarity. (37) Gonzalo, an Isaiah in exile, predicts a messianic utopia, and at the final reunion his benediction recalls the lost-and-found paradoxes of the prophets, the Gospels, and Paul's letters (see Ps. 119:171, Isa. 53:3-12, Luke 15:1-32, Matt. 18:12-14, John 3:16, 2 Cor. 7:8-11). Targets for the Magnificat's humbling of the proud are the "three men of sin" Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio (3.3.53) (and the vulgar parody Caliban, Stephano, Trinculo), who typify antics of Corpus Christi vice figures: ambitious Lucifer, envious Cain, power-hungry Herod and Pilate, betrayers like Judas, sinful victims of the Flood, and the unrighteous at Doomsday. Even before judgment they suffer "spiritual death" (Luke 15:24, John 5:24, Eph. 2:5, 4:18-19, Gen. 2:17) unless "godly sorrow" brings repentance (2 Cor. 7:8-11, Acts 17:30, Luke 15:20) so that the lost can be found, changed by "heart-sorrow" to "a clear life ensuing" (Temp. 3.3.81-82). (38) The richly mysterious language of The Tempest is full of such biblical allusions. (39)

Some of Hall's typological readings are wonderfully suggestive; others are troubling. As a proposed Christ-type, Ferdinand is peculiarly unworthy, and Shakespeare in fact underscores the prince's shortcomings: his despair over losing his sinful father Alonso, his paralyzed sword and submission to Prospero's "rough magic," his naive courtship of Miranda when he assumes princely privilege, his residual errancy in the chess game. Though typology makes all things possible, this is a stretch. One might simply view Ferdinand, like the naive, fearful, obedient Isaac of the mystery play, as an unworthy prototype of Christ, for his charm lies in the paradoxical blend of folly with genuine princely potential--in a situation clearly beyond his control, except in his response to Miranda's moral beauty and to her father's Art. Ferdinand's character derives partly from medieval and Renaissance romance, a provenance that interacts with Christian influence, as in the symbolism of the chess game. (40)

Likewise, Prospero is an inadequate Moses. Yet a close reading of Exodus will extend the similarity. Though Moses has no spirit-helper like Ariel, he is assisted by Aaron: "I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet" (Ex. 7:1). Aaron, whose name resembles Ariel's, performs magic at Moses' bidding, including a storm of fiery hail to daunt an errant sovereign. Moses' final miracle, the Passover infanticide that convinces Pharaoh to free the Israelites, parallels Alonso's belief that he has lost his son Ferdinand. A major reason for Hall's comparing Prospero's power with that of Moses is to justify the final abjuring of "rough magic": the Old Law will be replaced by Jesus' new "magic," a dispensation of love. (41) But defining Prospero's power as Mosaic miracles and delivery of the Old Law is too limiting. Though Prospero never explicitly claims a power derived from God, nor identifies his "book" as Holy Scripture rather than a conjurational grimoire, his providential Art nevertheless evokes comparison with not only Moses but Elijah and Jesus (co-luminaries of Transfiguration) and other Old and New Testament miracle workers. The biblical etymology of "Prospero" suggests a wider figuration than a necromancer, wider even than Moses enacting the Old Law. (42)

III. Prospero's Art

The diverse generic sources of Prospero's spacious identity all enrich the meaning of his "Art." Only twice does Shakespeare describe his power as "magic," precisely at the moments when he surrenders control of it: he lays aside his "magic garment" after the initial tempest, and at the end, before reclaiming his ducal role, he abjures his "rough magic." If Shakespeare's references to "magic" are thus limited and qualified, his use of "conjuration" is completely absent. Prospero never enacts the elaborate conjuration rites of Faustus, Agrippa, Dee, and the grimoires; he simply asks Ariel to "come" or "Come with a thought" (1.2.187-88; 4.1.33-50, 57-58, 163-64; 5.1.102-3). (43) Up to his final reference to "Spirits" (magnified by capitalization)--"Now I want / Spirits to enforce, Art to enchant" (epil. 13-14)--we tend to identify Ariel's volatile imaginative and intellectual force with Prospero's own "spirit." Only the tense master-servant relation, Ariel's petitions for freedom, and our sense of Ariel representing a power not fully in Prospero's grasp prevent the full identification. But if this spiriting is largely "outside" Prospero and must finally elude him, how does he gain such masterful access to its power?

While Shakespeare completely avoids "conjuring" and uses "magic" restrainedly and marginally, he capitalizes "Art" and uses it eleven times. In his final boast, Prospero emphasizes not magic but "my so potent Art" (5.1.50). Its main synonyms in the play--"enchant" (encantare), "spell" (spel, spiel), and especially "charm" (carmen), used twelve times--all emphasize the power of song or poetry, and thus underscore Shakespeare's broad view of "Art" as the power of spoken, enacted language. (44) Ariel, spirit of the air, voices musical, poetic "airs." Why, then, do many interpreters of The Tempest insist on restricting Prospero's powerful Art to questionable modes of Renaissance "magic"? Unfortunately, many recent editions of The Tempest do not follow the Folio in capitalizing "Art" (or "King" and other key words). Kermode's Arden edition is a notable exception. Thus many editors and critics have secularized Prospero's Art before the interpreting begins--shrinking it with a lowercase a, then shrinking it further by focusing narrowly on special forms of "magic." In contrast, Kermode and Young explore the central interplay of Art and Nature; Barbara Traister follows Rolf Soellner in viewing Prospero as a "Master of Self-Knowledge"; Mebane emphasizes "Magic as Love and Faith." (45)

To match this range of options with the range of sources for Prospero, consider four favorite critical views of his Art, all suggesting aspects of Shakespeare's career as playwright. Prospero's Art is most commonly viewed as the magic of a conjurer and illusionist, establishing a literal, commonsense basis for the play's wish fulfillments and connecting him with a host of romance and stage magicians. Robert West and Barbara Mowat wonderfully clarify the play's appeal to this literal dimension, though I believe Shakespeare subjects it to radical reform. All prototypes, especially Faustus, disappoint us by using their magic in self-trivializing and devilish ways; (46) and even the more respectable magicians like Dee and Agrippa, who invoke divine aid for their practices, never demonstrate a moral and communal purpose as comprehensive, meaningful, and compelling as Prospero's.

Second, Gary Schmidgall's astute study of Shakespeare and Courtly Aesthetics views Prospero's Art as the divine power of anointed kingship, exhibited in the courtly masques so popular at the time of The Tern pest and providing an aesthetic of spectacle and wonder. (47) Schmidgall, however, does not explain why Shakespeare presents the only anointed king, Alonso, as a disempowered moral bankrupt, beginning with the opening storm-scene, which evokes the need for a more authentic "master." Nor does he explain how Prospero can develop such supernatural power while in exile, when the supposed "power of the king's presence" has no courtly community to reify it. Nor does he explain why Prosperos masque is truncated by the clowns' approach--why its presumed disclosure of royal presence cannot simply resolve their vulgarity and treachery. When Caliban finally sues for grace on seeing Prospero in ducal garb (presumably like the clothing that deluded Stephano and Trinculo), we sense that this "royal presence" is incommensurate with Prospero's more authoritative power when he was invisible! As David Bevington observes, Shakespeare never followed Jonson and the rest in creating masques for James I. By having Prospero present the masque as "some vanity of mine Art" (4.1.41) and dispelling it by sinful reality, Shakespeare demonstrates his withdrawal from this genre, subsuming its artistry in a broader purpose. (48)

Third, the learned view Prospero's Art as a philosophic and educating power, drawing on the "liberal Arts" (1.2.73) from both Neoplatonic and humanist sources to produce humane civility and self-governance. For Kermode, this contemplative effort can even achieve "the supernatural powers of the holy adept" and can be a "means of Grace"; but, he adds, "the criterion of [such fulfillment] is not the Christian one of adherence to, or defection from, God, but of immateriality or submersion in matter." (49) This preference of Neoplatonic over Christian principles would problematize Prospero's mirroring of the playwright, for Plotinus and Ficino's intellectual withdrawal from material and passional experience seems antipathetic to the spirit of Prospero, Ariel, and Shakespeare. "Where the bee sucks, there suck I" and "Merrily, merrily shall I live now / Under the blossom that hangs on the bough" (5.1.88, 94): this embracing of the natural world, the Creation's sensuous sweetness, is distinct from the goals and values of Neoplatonism, and as we shall see, these natural images may contain deeper implications.

Prospero's Art may also serve a religious quest that implicitly, and at times explicitly, acknowledges the debilities of sin and the need of divine aid to achieve wonders, employing the spirit world to redeem Eden and to prepare for Apocalypse. Thus Prospero's power is not adequately explained as popular conjuration, as royal presence, or as Neoplatonic astral invocation and philosophic transcendence. It also implies and at times parodies the divine power revealed in Judeo-Christian scriptures, both the punitive, prophetic, and law-giving feats of Elijah and Moses, and the restorative miracles and sacrificial atonement of Jesus and his followers. Prospero's stagings seem most sacramental when they seek to transform souls, often in enchanted phrasing that one might call scriptural romance. The circle into which Prospero draws everyone as he invokes "heavenly music" (5.1.52) may recall not only the necromancer and Neoplatonist but the Christian:
 Whoever seeks the beginning in an elegant form
 Will find here the beginning in the end.
 Thus whoever has true love in the veneration of Christ
 Will in his last hour end by beginning. (50)

Which dimension of Art best contextualizes Shakespeare's parable of fully activated human powers, committed to personal and communal harmony, but eventually abjured?

Prospero's final boast (5.1.33-50), echoing Ovid's Medea (Metamorphoses 15.197-209), emphasizes two fearful skills: (1) raising tempests (or more generally, using the spirit-power of Art to disrupt Nature, like the "tempest" by which God speaks to Job) and (2) reanimating the dead. Kermode notes that Shakespeare, in revising the speech, selects for Prospero only those elements consistent with "white" magic. (51) In The Tempest each spectacle is safely illusory and beneficently purposeful. Instead of the dread chaos portrayed by Medea, Prospero's tempest restores and improves both nature and human nature, always in emphatically biblical phrasing: "not so much perdition as an hair / Betid to any creature in the vessel"(1.2.30-31);"our garments ... being rather new-dyed than stained" (2.1.59, 61-62). The storm's best effects, of course, are inward, bringing the lovers a cherished bond, Gonzalo a utopian paradox of "king but no king," (52) sinful Alonso a transfiguring penitence, Caliban an apparent quest for "grace." Instead of Medea's twisting of nature to inflict cruel dominion, each nature-transforming feat in Prospero's boast alludes to favorite Shakespearean theatrical events that evoked wonder or thwarted evil. Making fairy rings by midnight moonshine recalls the joyous imaginative power in k Midsummer Night's Dream; and "by the spurs pluck'd up / The pine and cedar" (5.1.47-48) recalls Nature overcoming tyranny in Macbeth. Eclipsing the sun and raising storms (both in full daylight) were common at the Globe, sometimes portentous and even demonic, as in Julius Caesar and Macbeth, but increasingly signifying a providential "baptismal" purging and cleansing, as in King Lear, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest.

If Shakespeare's theatrical disruptions of nature are managed so beneficently, rousing the dead likewise appears in positive, biblical phrasing. Medea's "I call up dead men from their graves" becomes Prospero's "graves at my command / Have wak'd their sleepers" (5.1.48-49). Reanimating the noble dead out of Holinshed and Plutarch (often more noble than in the chronicles, and shaped in moral parables) was daily fare at the Globe; or ghostly victims were roused to chide the conscience of evildoers (in Richard III, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and Macbeth). In The Tempest, as in the other romances, the resurrection scenes occasion joyous epiphany: Alonso recovers from spiritual death, his son from the sea and sea-sorrow, the ship and its fraughting souls from dissolution--all better than before. In his eulogy for the play's action, Gonzalo voices ("Beyond a common joy!") (5.1.207) many biblical-cum-romance motifs in The Tempest's restoration scene: lost-found, asleep-awake, blind-seeing, dead-alive (5.1.205-13); and Prospero, unlike his riposte to Miranda's "brave new world," tempers none of Holy Gonzalo's remarks (see 5.1.62-71). Prospero's Art is impressive, and so modestly understated as "rough magic" that abjuring it recalls Chaucer's "Retraction," Virgil's wish to burn the Aeneid, and Shakespeare's apparent indifference to publishing his canon: "drown my book" is deeply suggestive.

Prospero's artful struggle for personal and communal fulfilment need not be limited to necromancy or Neoplatonism if either is narrowly defined or presumes to be more than a metaphoric layer in the great palimpsest of The Tempest. Shakespeare here recapitulates his canon, refining it into a quasi-allegorical mode even more fully than in The Merchant of Venice, Measure For Measure, King Lear, and The Winter's Tale, which also draw partly on biblical models of atonement and wonder. The Tempest's symbolism accommodates almost any moral-spiritual system--though elusively. The abjuring of "rough magic" cautions not just against conjuration but against Art's reductive and deluding imitations, especially its proudly tyrannic uses. It underscores Art's inescapable wish fulfillment, even in its most admirable formulations. Thus, though The Tempest has a broad political dimension, both in the play's action and in its apparent desire to influence James I, his court, English society, and future audiences, it is nonetheless simply a work of art, such stuff as dreams are made on. The epilogue presents a further abjuration, beyond disposing of a grimoire and/or one's own enchanting creations. Echoing Jesus' prayer, Prospero enjoins humility and forgiveness to reconcile person with person, and persons with God. This scriptural message resonates through the play--in Prospero's struggle to master his passions, both vengefulness and pride, and to show charity to others. (53)

If, however, The Tempest's sacerdotal allusiveness implies need of the Messiah, why does Shakespeare present this "good news" in symbolism so shrouded as to keep the mystery mostly intact for four centuries? Certainly the play's symbolic opacity derives partly from the 1606 Act of Abuses against mentioning the Christian deity in stage plays. (54) Great art, moreover, veils the sacred. Erasmus in the Adagia "infers that not only Socrates, Diogenes, and Epictetus, but also Christ and the Apostles, the Holy Scripture, and the very Sacraments of the Christian Church, reveal, if properly understood, a Silenus-nature." (55) The engaging depth of The Tempest, shimmering around its human characters, suggests a simulacrum of the "messianic secret," In simple but indirect parables, Jesus explains a kingdom focused on "the least of these" (humble Gonzalo's "king but no king") and empowered by suffering for others, yet he cautions apostles and recipients of healing not to share this mystery with those who do not seek it and are not ready to behold it. (56)

Equally challenging questions arise from postcolonial studies. (57) Does The Tempest highlight a self-sacrificing Master who exalts "the least" the "poor in spirit"? Or does Prospero's "rough magic" enforce a divine-right imperialism that enslaves the sensual Caliban, roughly manages Ariel's spirit-power and Ferdinand's princely desire, and sternly lectures Miranda and arrests her consciousness in sleep, along with gentles like Gonzalo and Francisco, and commoners like the ship's crew? As we have noted, The Tempest subsumes noble privilege and dynastic aspiration within a larger vision, expanding Shakespeare's career-long testing of sovereignty to a supernatural and spiritual dimension. Prospero finally questions what his Art's dream-stuff has achieved; he admits his fragile control of self and others, and even shares responsibility for Caliban's being a "thing of darkness" (5.1.275). Yet despite Prospero's inadequate emulation of providential power, The Tempest discloses a Christlike nature in Gonzalo and Miranda, who comfort others, lovingly projecting onto them a divine beauty like their own: "I have suffered / With those that I saw suffer" (1.2.5-6). Miranda's "piteous heart" is shaped partly by Prospero, who has tried to do "nothing but in care of" her (14, 16); and he, in turn, has been shaped not only by treasured books but by friends like "Holy Gonzalo" (an astonishing rescension of Polonius) and by the divine image that shone in Miranda's infancy. Despite Prospero's harsh treatment of her and Ferdinand, of Caliban and Ariel, and of himself (parenting is "rough magic"), he persistently looks to that compassionate, forgiving nature--gained through divine grace, parental love, and sympathetic suffering--as his touchstone and goal. (58)

To the end of his career, Shakespeare avoided the full explicitness of religious allegory. (59) Despite the welling up of meaning in names like Prospero, Miranda, Caliban, and Ariel, none of them is significantly restricted by the names' thematic suggestiveness. Each is free to express and accrue meanings, to grow experientially into widest identity. In this valedictory play, the intensely sensory and experiential linguistic medium gathers metaphoric power from many social and literary genres, including an implicitly religious dimension. If Ariel's earliest song of "a sea-change / Into something rich and strange" and "pearls that were his eyes" implies the baptismal mystery, it greatly expands our sense of baptism's meaning. And his final song of merrily living "Under the blossom that hangs on the bough" might indeed suggest, not just an elemental spirit's identity with the material world, but the blossoming of that world by divine incarnation and by the crucifixion of one who "hangs on the bough." (60) As Northrop Frye intuited, Shakespeare in The Tempest (and especially in Ariel's songs) encourages a religious, spiritual dimension of allegory even as he leaves it submerged in symbol. His richly allusive phrasings force audiences to brood more deeply on Ariel's fathomless yet divertible powers, as on the more problematic nature of humans--both courtiers and clowns--who use and abuse that "spirit."

Emory & Henry College


(1) Geoffrey Bullough, Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, 8 vols. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; New York: Columbia University Press, 1975), 8:273.

(2) Grace Tiffany, "Calvinist Grace in Shakespeare's Romances: Upending Tragedy," Christianity and Literature 49 (2000): 421-22.

(3) In "The Tempest's Tempest at Blackfriars," Shakespeare Survey 41 (1989): 91-102, Andrew Gurr argues convincingly that The Tempest is the first play Shakespeare created specifically for Blackfriars. Cf. Ernest Law, "Shakespeare's Tempest as Originally Produced at Court," in The Tempest: Critical Essays, ed. Patrick M. Murphy (New York: Routledge, 2001; orig. 1920), 150-72; The Tempest, ed. Christine Dymkowski (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 3-6.

(4) Daniel Seltzer, "The Staging of the Last Plays," in Later Shakespeare, ed. J. R. Brown and B. Harris (New York: St. Martin's, 1967), 127-65; Philip Edwards, Shakespeare: A Writer's Progress (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 175-78; John Jowett, "New Created Creatures: Ralph Crane and the Stage Directions in The Tempests' Shakespeare Survey 43 (1990): 107-20; Maurice Hunt, "Visionary Christianity in Shakespeare's Late Romances," CLA Journal 47 (2003): 212-30.

(5) The Arden Tempest, ed. Frank Kermode (London: Methuen, 1954), 4.1.120-22, 35-37 (my italics) ; hereafter cited parenthetically in the text.

(6) Colin Still, Shakespeare's Mystery Play: A Study of "The Tempest" (London: C. Palmer, 1921); revised as The Timeless Theme (London: I. Nicholson & Watson, 1936).

(7) W. C. Curry, "Sacerdotal Science in Shakespeare's The Tempest," in Shakespeare's Philosophic Patterns (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1937), 163-99.

(8) Northrop Frye, "The Relation of Religion to the Arts," in Northrop Frye's Student Essays 1932-1938, ed. Robert D. Denham (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 309-10.

(9) Northrop Frye, "Religion and the Art Forms of Music and Drama" in Northrop Frye's Student Essays, 334-37. See The Eternal Act of Creation: Essays, 1979-1990, ed. Robert D. Denham (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993), xv-xvi. I am indebted to Dr. Denham for providing me with recently published volumes of Frye's notebooks, as well as with invaluable advice. Editing the play twenty years later, Frye was more guarded: "The Tempest is not an allegory or a religious drama: if it were, Prospero's great 'revels' speech would say, not merely that all earthly things will vanish, but that an eternal world will take their place?' Yet Frye urges that the play "not simply ... be read or seen or even studied, but possessed" (William Shakespeare, The Tempest, ed. Northrop Frye [Baltimore: Penguin, 1959], 24). He meditated persistently on The Tempest in sacerdotal contexts, and it focused his conclusion in four books: A Natural Perspective (1965), 145-59; The Secular Scripture (1976), 150-56; The Myth of Deliverance (1983), 150-59; and Northrop Frye on Shakespeare (1986), 171-86. Frye endlessly revisits The Tempest, especially in Notebooks and Lectures on the Bible and Other Religious Texts, ed. Denham (2002) and Notebooks on Romance, ed. Michael Dolyani (2005).

(10) Grace Hall, "The Tempest" as Mystery Play: Uncovering Religious Sources of Shakespeare's Most Spiritual Work (Jefferson City, N.C.: McFarland), 1999.

(11) Despite the impressive Henry VIII and mediocre Two Noble Kinsmen (the latter collaborative), many aspects of The Tempest suggest the playwright's departing comment on his creative power.

(12) K. M. Lea, Italian Popular Comedy: A Study in The Commedia dell'Arte, 1560-1620, with Special Reference to the English Stage, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1934), 1:201-12, 2:44253; Bullough, 8:310-28; David Young, The Heart's Forest: A Study of Shakespeare's Pastoral Plays (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972), 148-53; Robert Henke, Pastoral Transformations: Italian Tragicomedy and Shakespeare's Late Hays (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1997), 56-60, 94-106, 132-40, 146-53, 162-65, 191-98.

(13) Curry, 163-99; Kermode, xlvii-li; C. J. Sisson, "The Magic of Prospero," Shakespeare Survey 11 (1959): 70-77; Robert H. West, The Invisible World: A Study of Pneumatology in Elizabethan Tragedy (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1939), 115, 126-27, 247-50, and "Ceremonial Magic in The Tempest" in Shakespearean Essays, ed. Alwin Thaler and Norman Sanders (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1964), 63-78; Harry Berger Jr., "Miraculous Harp: A Reading of Shakespeare's Tempest," Shakespeare Studies 5 (1967): 153-83; D. G. James, The Dream of Prospero (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967), 45-71; Hardin Craig, "Magic in The Tempest," Philological Quarterly 47 (1968): 8-15; Harry Levin, "Two Magian Comedies: The Tempest and The Alchemist" Shakespeare Survey 22 (1969): 47-58; Robert Egan, Drama within Drama: Shakespeare's Sense of His Art in "King Lear," "The Winter's Tale," and "The Tempest" (New York: Columbia University Press, 1975), 90-125; David Woodman, White Magic and English Renaissance Drama (Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1973), 64-86; Young, 159-70, 183-84; Karol Berger, "Prospero's Art," Shakespeare Studies 10 (1977): 211-39; Alvin B. Kernan, The Playwright as Magician (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), 129-75; Barbara Traister, Heavenly Necromancers: The Magician in English Renaissance Drama (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1984), 125-49; Barbara Mowat, "Prospero, Agrippa, and Hocus-Pocus," English Literary Renaissance 11 (1981): 281-303, and "Prospero's Book," Shakespeare Quarterly 52 (2001): 1-33; John S. Mebane, Renaissance Magic and the Return of the Golden Age (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), 174-99; Kurt Tetzeli Von Rosader, "The Power of Magic from Endymion to The Tempest," Shakespeare Survey 43 (1990): 1-13. Cf. Lynn Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science, 8 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1923-58); Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (New York: Scribners, 1971); Wayne Shumaker, The Occult Sciences in the Renaissance: A Study in Intellectual Patterns (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972); Brian Vickers, ed., Occult and Scientific Mentalities in the Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).

(14) Mowat, "Prospero's Book" 3, n. 14; Curry, 163-99; Kermode, xlvii-xlviii; West, "Ceremonial Magic," 63-78.

(15) Philip Brockbank, "The Tempest: Conventions of Art and Empire," in Later Shakespeare, ed. I. R. Brown and B. Harris (New York: St. Martin's, 1967), 183-201; James, 45-71; Shumaker, chap. 3, "White Magic," 108-59; Kernan, 129-75; Egan, 90-125; Woodman, 64-86; Traister, 12549; Mebane, 174-99. Cf. C. Grant Loomis, White Magic: An Introduction to the Folklore of Christian Legend (Cambridge: Medieval Academy of America, 1948), 3-50, 71-77.

(16) Jim Nosworthy, "The Narrative Sources of The Tempest; Review of English Studies 24 (1948): 281-94; John Webster Spargo, Virgil the Necromancer (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1934); Margaret Tudeau Clayton, Jonson, Shakespeare, and Early Modern Virgil (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); lames Nohrnberg, The Analogy of "The Faerie Queene" (princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), 29-30, passim; Stephen Marx, "Posterity and Prosperity: Genesis in The Tempest," in Shakespeare and the Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 25-46.

(17) See Paul A. Cantor, "Prospero's Republic: The Politics of Shakespeare's The Tempest," in Shakespeare as Political Thinker, ed. John E. Alvis and Thomas G. West, rev. ed. (Wilmington, Del.: ISI, 2000), 241-59.

(18) See Augustine, Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick (Oxford: Clarendon, 1991), 16-17, and Opera, 10 vols (Paris, 1531), 10:25, sermon 29. I am obliged to Gerard Kilroy for drawing my attention to this reference.

(19) Gary Schmidgall, Shakespeare and the Courtly Aesthetic (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), esp. 217-62; introduction to The Tempest, ed. Stephen Orgel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 43-50; Marx, 128-32, 138, 140-43; Robert Grudin, "Prospero's Masque and the Structure of The Tempest," South Atlantic Quarterly 71 (1972): 401-9; Ernest B. Gilman, "'All eyes': Prospero's Inverted Masque," Renaissance Quarterly 33 (1980): 214-30; David Lindley, "Music, Masque, and Meaning in The Tempest" in The Court Masque, ed. David Lindley (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984), 47-59, and "Staging the Spectacular," in David Lindley, The Tempest (London: Arden, 2003), 192-215; James Knowles, "Insubstantial Pageants: The Tempest and Masquing Culture," in Shakespeare's Late Plays, ed. Jennifer Richards and James Knowles (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999), 108-25.

(20) Curry; D. P. Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanello (London: Warburg Institute, 1958), 36-53; Kermode, xlvii-li; Frances A. Yates, Shakespeare's Last Plays (New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975), 87-106, and The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979), 127-33, 159-63; Charles G. Nauert, Agrippa and the Crisis of Renaissance Thought (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965), 222-321; James, 45-71; K. Berger, 211-39; Brian C. Copenhaver, "Scholastic Philosophy and Renaissance Magic in the De Vita of Marsilio Ficino," Renaissance Quarterly 37 (1984): 523-54, esp. 528-33; Mebane; Frank L. Borchardt, "The Magus as Renaissance Man," Sixteenth Century Journal 21 (1990): 57-76.

(21) Curry, 197-99; Kermode, xlvii-li; West, "Ceremonial Magic," 63-78; Mowat, "Prospero's Book," 4-5.

(22) John B. Bender,"The Day of The Tempest," ELH47 (1980): 243. See also R. Chris Hassel Jr., Renaissance Drama and the English Church Year (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), 166-71.

(23) E. J. Devereux, "Sacramental Imagery in The Tempests," Bulletin de l'Association Canadienne des Humanites 19 (1968): 50-62; Robert G. Hunter, Shakespeare and the Comedy of Forgiveness (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965), 227-41; John Doebler, Shakespeare's Speaking Pictures: Studies in Iconic Imagery (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1974), 141-63; Ann P. Slater, "Variations within a Source: From Isaiah XXIX to The Tempest;" Shakespeare Survey 25 (1972): 125-35; K. Berger; Anthony Esolen, "'The Isles Shall Wait for His Law': Isaiah and The Tempest," Studies in Philology 94 (1997): 221-47; George Slover, "Magic, Mystery, and Make-Believe: An Analogical Reading of The Tempest;" Shakespeare Studies 11 (1978): 175-206; Mebane, 174-99; John W. Velz, "From Jerusalem to Damascus: Biblical Dramaturgy in Medieval and Shakespearean Conversion Plays," Comparative Drama 16 (1982): 311-26, and "Medieval Dramatic Eschatology in Shakespeare," Comparative Drama 26 (1992): 312-29; Peter Milward, Shakespeare's Religious Background (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973); Cynthia Marshall, Last Things and Last Plays: Shakespearean Eschatology (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991), 86-106; Mary Ellen Rickey, "Prospero's Living Drolleries" Renaissance Papers (1965): 35-42; Roy Battenhouse, Shakespeare's Christian Dimension (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 250-79; Marx, 19-39; Tom McAlindon, "The Discourse of Prayer in The Tempest," Studies in English Literature 41 (2001): 335-55.

(24) A late fourteenth-century rubric for extreme unction appears in John Mirk, Instructions for Parish Priests, ed. Edward Peacock (Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus Reprint, 1902; rev. ed., 1975), p. 31, 11. 1600-1748, 1839-92. That Hamlet's murdered father was "unhouseled" (not given the Eucharist) and "unaneled" (unanointed) (1.5.77) suggests Shakespeare's close attention to the rites for dying, and the inclusion of extreme unction underscores his memory of all seven sacraments of the old faith--and, as with Hamlet's father, a grieving for their loss (The Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. David Bevington, updated 4th ed. [New York: Longman, 1997]).

(25) The penitential office of commination contains "a recital of God's anger and judgments against sinners, read in the Church of England especially after the litany on Ash Wednesday." See Webster's Third New International Dictionary (Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1971).

(26) Bender, 246-47.

(27) Devereux, 50-62; Hunter, 227-41; Doebler, 141-63.

(28) Slater, 125-35; K. Berger, 211-39; Esolen, 221-47.

(29) Velz, "Biblical Dramaturgy," 311-26, and "Medieval Dramatic Eschatology," 312-29.

(30) G.Wilson Knight, "The Shakespearean Superman: A Study of The Tempest," in The Crown of Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1947; repr. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1966), 204.

(31) Mark Taylor, Shakespeare's Imitations (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2002), 142-70.

(32) For "presence" not "present" (F), see Kermode, 166. On the power of the king's presence in The Tempest, see Schmidgall, 228-34, and n. 19, above.

(33) Hall, 41-47.

(34) Ibid., 49-71.

(35) See n. 23, above.

(36) Milward, 26, 29, 36, 93-94, 102.

(37) V. A. Kolve, The Play Called Corpus Christi (London: Edward Arnold, 1966), 124-236.

(38) I've expanded Hall's list of mystery play vice figures, and added relevant Scriptures on spiritual death and godly sorrow, repentance, and transformation. Cf. Marshall, 86-106.

(39) Naseeb Shaheen, Biblical References in Shakespeare's Plays (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1999), 734-49.

(40) Rickey, 35-42; William Poole, "False Play: Shakespeare and Chess," Shakespeare Quarterly 55 (2004): 50-70. Cf. Kermode, note to 5.1.171; Bryan Loughrey and Neil Taylor, "Ferdinand and Miranda at Chess," Shakespeare Survey 35 (1982): 116.

(41) See David Aune, "Magic in Early Christianity," in Aufstieg und Niedergang der Romischen Welt: Geschichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der Neueren Forschung, ed. Hildegard Temporini and Wolfgang Haase (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1980), 507-23; and "The Apocalypse of John and Graeco-Roman Revelatory Magic," New Testament Studies 33 (1987): 481-501; Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician (New York: Harper & Row, 1978).

(42) Hall, 55; Marx, 19-39; McAlindon, 335-55.

(43) Also see Tempest 1.2.497-504, 2.1.292-94, 321; 3.3.83-88; 4.1.264-66; 5.1.83-103, 316-17.

(44) Cf. Anne Barton, "Shakespeare and the Limits of Language," Shakespeare Survey 24 (1971): 19-30; Maurice Hunt, Shakespeare's Romance of the Word (Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 1990), 109-40; Russ McDonald, "Reading The Tempest," Shakespeare Survey 43 (1990): 15-28.

(45) Kermode, xxxiv-lxii; Young, 180-91; Rolf Soellner, Shakespeare's Patterns of Self-Knowledge (Athens: Ohio State University Press, 1972), 356-83; Traister, 125-49; Mebane, 174-99.

(46) David Lucking, "Our Devils Now Are Ended: A Comparative Analysis of The Tempest and Doctor Faustus," Dalhousie Review 80 (2000): 151-67.

(47) See n. 19, above.

(48) David Bevington, "Shakespeare and Public Patronage" (paper presented at Shakespeare Association of America Conference, April 9, 2004); Egan, 106-8; Gilman, 218-26; Lindley, The Court Masque, 47-59.

(49) Kermode, xlvii-xlviii, xli.

(50) Theodore Beza, Icones, id est verae imagines virorum doctrina simul et pietate illustrium. (Geneva: Joannes Laon, 1580), sig. Kk3v. Cited in Doebler, 159. For unholy uses of the circle, see West, Invisible World, 125-26, 129-31,135,250.

(51) Kermode, appendix, 147.

(52) On Gonzalo's genuinely wise folly, see John S. Hunt, "Prospero's Empty Grasp," Shakespeare Studies 22 (1994): 277-313, esp. 278-80.

(53) Marius Reiser, "Love of Enemies in the Context of Antiquity," New Testament Studies 47 (2001): 411-27; Hunter, 227-41; cf. Cosmo Corfield, "Why Does Prospero Abjure His 'Rough Magic'?" Shakespeare Quarterly 36 (1985): 31-48.

(54) Janet Clare, "Art made tongue-tied by authority": Elizabethan and Jacobean Dramatic Censorship (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990), 103-4.

(55) Edgar Wind, Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance (London: Faber & Faber, 1968), 172n. See "The Language of Mysteries," 1-16; "The Concealed God," 218-35; and the maxim that difficulia quae pulchia (the difficult is beautiful), 88-96.

(56) William Wrede, The Messianic Secret (Greenwood, S.C.: Attic Press, 1971), 80-81.

(57) See Virginia Mason Vaughan and Alden T. Vaughan, Shakespeare's Caliban: A Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991); The Tempest: A Case Study in Critical Controversy, ed. Gerald Graft and James Phelan (Boston: Bedford St. Martin's, 2000), 203-322.

(58) For a fuller response to postcolonial questioning, see John D. Cox, "Recovering Something Christian about The Tempest," Christianity and Literature 50 (2000): 31-51.

(59) See A. D. Nuttall, Two Concepts of Allegory: "A Study of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and the Logic of Allegorical Expression (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1967), esp. 1-48, 136-60.

(60) Ariel's final song, the first of his own invention, not serving Prospero's purposes, may, as Kermode says (appendix B, 142-45), characterize him simply as a daemon of the natural world:
 Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
 In a cowslip's bell I lie;
 There I couch when owls do cry.
 On the bat's back I do fly
 After summer merrily.
 Merrily, merrily shall I live now
 Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.


Yet Virgil envisions as bees both the happy workers in Carthage (1.430-37) and the blessed spirits in Elysium (6.706-9); see The Aeneid, trans. Frank O. Copley (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965). This trope is used similarly by Homer and most suggestively by Dante, when he watches angels draw loving essence from the Celestial Rose: "like a swarm of bees that one moment dip in the flowers and the next go back to where their toil turns to sweetness, descended into the great flower that is decked with so many petals, and thence re-ascended where their love abides forever" (Dante's Paradiso, trans. John D. Sinclair [New York: Oxford University Press, 1961], 31.7-12). That Ariel sleeps during the owl's ominous cry and fearlessly rides the corpse-like bat suggests a triumph over death, a belief in endless summer. Such joyful immortality seems to derive from the culminating image, the Christlike "blossom that hangs on the bough."
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Author:Reid, Robert L.
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Date:Dec 22, 2007
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