Event Title

Prospero: Shakespeare's Portrayal of Himself as a Regretful Father

Presenter Information

Kirstie Lorentz, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor

Matthew Fike, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

English

Location

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 114

Start Date

24-4-2015 4:20 PM

Description

Contrary to Ania Loomba’s negative critique of Prospero in The Tempest, he is frequently thought to represent Shakespeare himself, as critics like David Bevington and Stephen Greenblatt suggest. They do not, however, consider him to be a regretful father. Despite Prospero’s unpredictable temperament and deep thirst for power, this paper argues that his treatment of Miranda and Ariel, combined with the actions he takes during The Tempest, reveal him to be a repentant father filled with haunting regret, not only for his own past mistakes but also as a representation of Shakespeare’s own past mistakes.

As a character in his own right, Prospero harbors strong feelings of regret for his daughter’s life of isolated poverty and devotes himself to righting his wrongs. His actions also constitute an emotional catharsis for Shakespeare himself. For example, Prospero’s speeches against premarital sex and the labor he designs to test Ferdinand’s love reflect the author’s wishes for his own daughters and his feelings regarding his forced marriage to a pregnant Anne Hathaway. As an autobiographical figure who reflects Shakespeare’s own shortcomings, Prospero embodies the author’s wish that he had handled certain things differently. Whereas claims that The Tempest is Shakespeare’s farewell to the theater are overstated, the paper concludes that a biographical approach has value because Shakespeare and Prospero, as fathers, have more in common than has been previously realized.

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Apr 24th, 4:20 PM

Prospero: Shakespeare's Portrayal of Himself as a Regretful Father

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 114

Contrary to Ania Loomba’s negative critique of Prospero in The Tempest, he is frequently thought to represent Shakespeare himself, as critics like David Bevington and Stephen Greenblatt suggest. They do not, however, consider him to be a regretful father. Despite Prospero’s unpredictable temperament and deep thirst for power, this paper argues that his treatment of Miranda and Ariel, combined with the actions he takes during The Tempest, reveal him to be a repentant father filled with haunting regret, not only for his own past mistakes but also as a representation of Shakespeare’s own past mistakes.

As a character in his own right, Prospero harbors strong feelings of regret for his daughter’s life of isolated poverty and devotes himself to righting his wrongs. His actions also constitute an emotional catharsis for Shakespeare himself. For example, Prospero’s speeches against premarital sex and the labor he designs to test Ferdinand’s love reflect the author’s wishes for his own daughters and his feelings regarding his forced marriage to a pregnant Anne Hathaway. As an autobiographical figure who reflects Shakespeare’s own shortcomings, Prospero embodies the author’s wish that he had handled certain things differently. Whereas claims that The Tempest is Shakespeare’s farewell to the theater are overstated, the paper concludes that a biographical approach has value because Shakespeare and Prospero, as fathers, have more in common than has been previously realized.