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An Ecological Translation Of Shakespeare’s The Tempest

1643 words - 7 pages

IV

The Tempest places forward the rhythms of the dynamic Nature in the context of ever changing society and the inconsistent human mind, but also how they reflect both elevated and distorted symbolic association of humans and Nature: allusions to “pinch-spotted…. Than pard or cat o’ mountain”, “welkin’s cheek”, “rotten carcass of a butt”, “Jove’s lightnings”, “King’s son, Ferdinand/ With hair up-staring then like reeds, not hair, -”, “veins o’th’earth” and “bak’d with frost”. Caliban’s lethargy is associated with the movement of a tortoise. Charms and omens of Sycorax are associated with hateful creatures as “toads”, “beetles” and “bat”. In the lines “Temperance was a delicate wench”, weather and climatic condition of the island is compared to the temperament of a delicate female. Sebastian’s association of Gonzalo’s identity to that of an “old cock”, Gonzalo’s tears as “winter’s drops”. Its opening scene introduces us to the tempest tossing and playing like a toy with the ship, a human invention. The turbulent tumultuous interplay between the strong wind and the sea-waves prove the insignificance, and failure of a man-made commodity of pride and elegance in the hands of mighty nature. The royal and the noble personages, the intellectuals, the dynamic, bold warriors and the proficient crew manning the regal ship are helpless and paralyzed in front of the wild power of Nature. Their significance and might diminishes eventually. During crisis, the king, who is claimed as the messiah of a human society, despite his incredibly chivalric profile, becomes inefficient and entirely dependent upon the boatswain and his sailors (representing the commonplace and the proletarian) for saving his life. Wrath of Nature thus devastate the human system of social hierarchy and bureaucracy: Ariel: “Not a soul/ But felt a fever of the mad and play’d/ Some tricks of desperation.” (1.2.209-210) exhibits how Nature, in a moment, can raze civilization’s illusion of superiority, and strip off its mechanical sanity, rationality and power of invention. Jumping out of the ship into the sea driven by fear of drowning reflects Nature’s mockery of an ostentatious human contraption. Man’s boastful clinging to his materialistic exhibits and possessions get transformed into his surrender and plea to Mother Nature for mercy. The island symbolizes Nature’s unbounded bountiful, magnanimous realm, which influences and motivates positively in an individual way, the psychology of an individual: “the enchantment of the island purposely makes its appearance correspond with the several natures of the ship-wrecked men who come ashore….Gonzalo finds his “garments rather new dyed than stained with salt water”, but “Antonio and Sebastian cannot see them so. Gonzalo’s comment on the abundance of greenery in the island, ‘how lush and lusty the grass looks! How green!” (2.1.51) Apart from Gonzalo’s eco-affability, it also shows how amidst Nature, man’s outlook/ perception broadens, refreshens,...

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