Dear Shakespeare: A Critique of The TempestTo Mr. William Shakespeare,I am going to get right down to business. I am writing to you regardingour recent collaboration on The Tempest.
In my opinion I think we need to makea couple of changes. The first is in regards to Caliban and the second has todo with Prospero. As I was reading the section of the play where Caliban takes Stephano ashis master I began to think about how he should be wiser by now. As is Calibanbegs a drunken Stephano to be his master. In my opinion Caliban should showdevelopment by not drinking and possibly taking advantage of the drunk Stephanoand Trinculo. It should develop in this fashion:Caliban:I believe that I can assist you in your stay on theisland.Order now
Stephano: What mean you beast?Caliban: I prithee, let me bring thee where crabs grow,And I with my long nails will dig thee pignuts,Show thee a jay’s nest, and instruct thee howTo snare the nimble marmoset. I’ll bring theeTo clustering filberts, and I’ll teach thee to getYoung scamels from the rock. Does’t though attend me?Stephano:I do. For all this service what want’st you in return.
Caliban: I ask but one simple service. The death of my tyrantmaster. Stephano:You ask me to murder for you?Caliban: I ask only that you remove your only opponent in makingme your vassal. Stephano:Well bargain’d for a monster such as thee.
I shallconsider it. If the scene is run in this way Caliban is developed as more human and lessmonster. Also it adds more urgency to the possible danger Stephano and Trinculobring, but the comic aspect remains because the two are drunk. My second suggestion addresses the issues of Prospero and tempests. Atthe end of the play there is the opportunity for great suspense.
Theinteraction between Prospero and his brother and conspirator could be much moreintense. You could easily create an internal conflict for Prospero where hedebates whether or not to take action against Antonio. Of course he cannot havegiven up his powers at this point. Instead of just letting Antonio aloneProspero could use his magic to give him pains, make him small or one of manyother whimsical tricks to teach Antonio a lesson; I think that causing Antonioto sleep and in turn not taking him home would be the most fitting punishment. If need be Prospero could discuss it with the king, possibly in this way:Prospero:Have you a moment my lord?Alonso: Of course, what brings you?Prospero: As you know my brother Antonio caused my daughter and myself tobe stranded upon this isle for these many years. Alonso: Ay, a fact that I myself apologize for.
Prospero:Thank you my lord but ’twas not your fault. My evilbrother alone deserves the punishment for the wrong acted against me. Alonso: And you would like to act out the sentence. Prospero: You are a wise man my liege. Alonso: What do you propose my good duke?Prospero:With my powers I could cause him to fall into a harmlesssleep until we have left this isle without him. This would be a most fittingpunishment.
Alonso: That it would, but would you allow such a fate to befallyour kinsmen?Prospero:I do not wish to do such a thing but the rage inside medemands that action be taken against him. Alonso: Keep your heart at ease my son. Action will be taken,he will be ridiculed and you will be reinstated in your rightful position. Prospero: I wish for action to be taken now.
It burns within me that he bepunished. Alonso: I cannot control you my son, but I advise that you let him be. Though, if with you great powers you were to take some action against him youwould be the only one to know. After this scene has been inserted I think that at some point a great stormshould form around Antonio only to die down when Prospero regains his composure.
In the fashion the theme of tempests would be enhanced and also the suspensewould be greatly increased bringing the audience more into the moment. Also, itwould take reduce the feeling that Prospero is an old man lacking strength orgreat personality. As your assistant I bring you these suggestions.