Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
6Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Prospero and Paternal Power

Prospero and Paternal Power

Ratings: (0)|Views: 3,460|Likes:
Published by Morten Oddvik
In this essay I will examine Prospero’s use of paternal power, more specifically in his relationship to Miranda and Caliban. Linguistic power is central in these relationships, and there exists a parallel between the relationship of Prospero and Miranda and the relationship between Prospero and Caliban. I will look closely at linguistic power and the use of language, and especially how Prospero uses this towards Miranda and Caliban. I will use the expression linguistic power as Stephen Greenblatt has used it in his article “Learning to Curse: Aspects of Linguistic Colonialism in the Sixteenth Century”, where language is presented as an essential tool when establishing power over an environment in order to control it and its inhabitants.
In this essay I will examine Prospero’s use of paternal power, more specifically in his relationship to Miranda and Caliban. Linguistic power is central in these relationships, and there exists a parallel between the relationship of Prospero and Miranda and the relationship between Prospero and Caliban. I will look closely at linguistic power and the use of language, and especially how Prospero uses this towards Miranda and Caliban. I will use the expression linguistic power as Stephen Greenblatt has used it in his article “Learning to Curse: Aspects of Linguistic Colonialism in the Sixteenth Century”, where language is presented as an essential tool when establishing power over an environment in order to control it and its inhabitants.

More info:

Published by: Morten Oddvik on May 14, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

01/14/2013

pdf

text

original

 
Morten Oddvik, E-202 Marginalized Whiteness, 14.05.2009
Prospero & Paternal Power 
In this essay I will examine Prospero’s use of paternal power, more specifically in hisrelationship to Miranda and Caliban. Linguistic power is central in these relationships, and thereexists a parallel between the relationship of Prospero and Miranda and the relationship betweenProspero and Caliban. I will look closely at linguistic power and the use of language, andespecially how Prospero uses this towards Miranda and Caliban. I will use the expression linguistic power as Stephen Greenblatt has used it in his article “Learning to Curse: Aspects of LinguisticColonialism in the Sixteenth Century”, where language is presented as an essential tool whenestablishing power over an environment in order to control it and its inhabitants.In Scene 2 of Act 1 of 
The Tempest 
Prospero and Miranda speak of the twelve years thathave passed since he was the Duke of Milan. Prospero appears to have been a caring father, or ashe assures Miranda that she; “Art ignorant of what thou art” (14, Act 1, Scene 2), and that he hastaken full responsibility for her, as a proper father ought to do. On the other hand, Prospero hasapparently been cautious with giving Miranda information about her past. In response toMiranda’s inquires concerning herself Prospero answers; “Stay, not yet” (14, Act 1, Scene 2). Hehas had full control over her upbringing and has formed her into his image. He is to some extent incontrol over her sexuality and her thoughts. “Obey, and be attentive” (15, Act 1, Scene 2), heexclaims to her in the same scene.Miranda sympathizes with her father when Prospero explains his misery of being maroonedupon the island. The teenaged girl, in her naivety, fully believes what her father is telling her, aschildren usually do - until they get new impulses from outsiders. Obviously she does not have anychoice since Prospero has taught her everything she knows. Perhaps Prospero has taught her toomuch? The answer will nevertheless concern the importance of language, which I will examine in
1
 
Morten Oddvik, E-202 Marginalized Whiteness, 14.05.2009
this essay. I will look at how language works as a means of control and power in relation toProspero’s paternalism.In his article Greenblatt coins the expression «linguistic colonialism» in terms of colonial power claimed by the colonizer. It is a known fact that language is considered as a means of actingout power, and in the case of Prospero’s power over Caliban it is essentially a question of linguistic colonialism. As Miranda has been an unspoiled mind of a child, Caliban is viewed byProspero as a “tabula rasa” (17) in the words of Peter Martyr in Greenblatt’s essay. Prosperoassumes that Caliban is “ready to take the imprint of European civilization” (17), and that he hasthe perfect right to take this colonial responsibility, sort of speak. This responsibility and right is justified by the colonial view that indigenous people were “culturally naked” (17). Indigenous people were far behind the glorious civilization of Europe, or as Martyr suggests; “Wild men live beyond the pale of civilized life, outside all institutions, untouched by the long, slow developmentof human culture” (22). In other words, the colonial powers saw it as a kind gesture to help these`noble savages` to a higher civilization, or at least use them, in the utilitarian sense, in their imageof modern civilization. Since the “ruling class (was) obsessed with the symbolism of dress” (17)and the indigenous people were regarded as “culturally naked” the colonizers, like Prospero,claims his right to educate Caliban and teach him to be a good servant through teaching him waysof obedience through language and knowledge.There is an interesting parallel between these two relationships I have described above,which I already have presented. Interestingly, Greenblatt cites Terence Hawkes, who suggests that;“A colonist acts essentially as a dramatist. He imposes the `shape` of his own culture, embodied in
2
 
Morten Oddvik, E-202 Marginalized Whiteness, 14.05.2009
his speech, on the new world, and makes that world recognizable, habitable, `natural`, able tospeak his language” (24).In the same way Prospero imposes his `shape` upon Miranda. His paternal power justifiesthis, and nothing is more normal than parents raising their children in their image, but as there is alack of outside impulses, Prospero has all power in his hands until Miranda encounters new people, like Ferdinand and Caliban. Prospero’s paternalism is seen in his relationship with Calibanas well, this sense that he is inferior and does not know what is best for him. Prospero claims this paternal responsibility as rightful due to his knowledge and wisdom. Like a dramatist he takescommand and “imposes” his scheme on all the people that are on the island, and by doing this he isin full control, as a dramatist. Prospero’s relationship to his daughter is especially interesting, as heraises her within this dramatic image and tries to control her.Miranda is an interesting character because she attains knowledge from her father, which Iargue that she uses in order to rebel against her father. Prospero wants to control her sexuality anddesire for Ferdinand. He wants to protect her in the traditional paternal sense, as he does when hescolds Caliban for trying to rape his daughter. Miranda feels that Prospero interferes in the passagewhere Miranda and Ferdinand first meet and start to develop an amorous interest in each other.Why speaks my father so urgently? Thisis the third man e`er I saw, the firstThat e`r I sighed for. Pity move my father To be inclined my way!
(Act 1, Scene 2)
In the same way as Prospero regarded Caliban as a threat to Miranda with his sexuality, heis afraid that Ferdinand poses a similar threat. Prospero is afraid of men’s desire for his daughter.Prospero wants to be in full control of Miranda and her emotions and sexuality and both Calibanand Ferdinand are threats to this paternal power. Again, Prospero justifies his use of magic to
3

Activity (6)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
Julie Ayres liked this
Jenni N Chad liked this
antsig liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->