Look again at Act one in both texts; compare and contrast the two plays especially in regard to language and communication. Bear in mind the unit is entitled ‘Broken Communication’. ‘The Tempest’ begins with a enormous storm and signifies a great change for the people of the island, but we do not learn until later on in the play that it is Prospero who has caused the storm so that the characters on the ship will be brought to the island.
The opening scene is very dramatic and shows the inner turmoil and change that will occur for the characters involved, whereas it is also quite confusing for the audience as we are not aware of what significance the storm has, and what has caused it until later. Characters run frantically about in this scene and we are unaware of their purpose; the audience is not communicated well at the beginning as we are left uninformed of the situation.Order now
Just as in ‘Translations’ where there is also a lack of communication as Manus is trying to get Sarah to talk but as she is unable to talk she cannot express her feelings and thought to him clearly and so the communication between the two has been broken. Manus says, “Soon you’ll be telling me all the secrets that have been in that head of yours all these years”. When Prospero tells Miranda the story of where he came from and how he used to be the Duke of Milan but was usurped by his brother, he asks Miranda if she is listening properly to make sure there would be no broken communication between the two of them.
He says, “I pray thee, mark me” and “Dost thou hear? ” But Prospero does not communicate well and sometimes talks nonsense so that it is hard to understand what he means. Prospero explains that he gradually grew uninterested in ruling his kingdom and turned his attention more and more to his studies and books, neglecting his duties as duke. As he did not communicate as well with his subjects and got lost in his books and the power they gave him, this gave his brother Antonio the opportunity to usurp him.
He said, “I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated to closeness and the bettering of my mind. ” There is also a sense of Broken communication when the English are translating the Irish place names in ‘Translations. Owen translates Lancey’s orders but does not translate them correctly so everyone becomes confused at what Lancey wants. Owen says, “Did I make a mess of it? ” Manus says, “You weren’t saying what Lancey was saying! ” In ‘Translations’ Yolland and Maire share an intimate moment having left the dance.
They express their love for one another without understanding the words either is speaking. Their communication is broken as they do not understand each other verbally but they understand each other on a deeper level. The character of Caliban shows the importance of language and how it can be used as a weapon. He says, “You taught me language, and my profit on’t Is, I know how to curse. When his native island was colonised his language was taken away, and therefore he did not have the power he once had.
Miranda and Prospero think that they are doing Caliban a great favour by teaching him their language and making him use it, although he does not see it like this. To Caliban it is only a reminder of how he is different from Miranda and Prospero and how they have changed him from what he was. Caliban uses the language they have taught him against them, so that he has some hope at keeping his identity. ‘ Prospero is another character who shows how language is very important with regards to the power you have.
Prospero’s books are a symbol of his power, and the words he reads in them provide him with this power. Without the language in the books he feels he has no power on the island. He say, “From mine own library with volumes that I prize above my dukedom”. Prospero realises that he gets all his power from his books and so he prizes them very highly. Translations’ shows the idea of how language is important to a country and person’s identity as in the play all the Irish place names are changed into their English equivalent.
When the soldiers have to take each of the Gaelic names and anglicise it, either by changing it into the approximate English sound or translate it into the English word, they feel they have had their identity taken away from them. Without a cultural background, or if people have their cultural identity taken away from them, they feel they have lost a sense of the person they are. Owen says, “My job is to translate the quaint, archaic tongue you people persist in speaking into the King’s good English.
” This quotation shows how the English do not see the Irish as civilised people because they speak a different language that they do not understand. They think that they are doing the Irish a great favour and making them more civilised by Anglicising their places names and teaching them English. They do not realise they are taking away the Irish’s identity and background.