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ure, she does not abate a jot of her loyalty to her father.
Shakespeare has most exquisitely realized the sig. The effects nificance of the fact that his heroine has seen no men of her iso
lation. but her father and the brutish Caliban, and that she remembers no woman's face, “save from my glass mine own.” When she first sees the youthful and princely Ferdinand, her love goes out to him wholeheartedly and unaffectedly, with no coy posing to enhance her price. Prospero suggests to her that the young man is a tolerable sample of humankind:
I ii 412 f.
But he's something stain'd
But she, to whom humankind is an almost unknown world, is dissatisfied with so grudging a commendation:
Ibid. 415 f.
I might call him
The courtship of Ferdinand and Miranda, the "fair encounter of two most rare affections," is characterized, over and above its alluring charm and naturalness, by a certain austerity of holiness, such as might have been imagined in the wooing of unfallen man and woman in paradise.
But, to my mind, the loveliest incident in the play is not this. It is the observation that Miranda makes when, in the last act, Prospero draws aside the curtain, revealing her and Ferdinand to the Neapolitan company, and showing her, for the first time
in her life, a group of human beings. Hereupon she
exclaims : Vi 181 f.
That has such people in't! Shake- That “How beauteous mankind is!” exposes the speare's victorious
very secret of Shakespeare's triumph over the deadhumanism. ening influences of ordinary life. He had lived forty
seven years; he had known joy and sorrow, failure, the weariness of struggle and the disillusionment of success. He had lived amid the swarming egoisms of a great city, and laboured, with inconceivable strenuousness, in a profession that was scorned by the great and powerful. With the natural modesty of true genius, he had never dreamed of his own immeasurable superiority to the colleagues and rivals of his craft. He had known envy and self-scorn; he was familiar with the feelings analyzed in his own
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
child; and therefore to him was it given to see the mystery of the kingdom of God.
The highest praise we can give to Ferdinand is to Ferdinand. declare him not unworthy of the matchless maiden whose affection he has won. He is brave, chivalrous and loyal; and he has the quality, still rarer in the scion of a kingly house, that he is teachable. His acceptance of the task of carrying the logs is at once a splendid discipline for one whose soul was in danger from his having been born an idol, and a proof that his natural humility and common sense had enabled him to escape that danger. The lesson in obedience will teach him how to rule.
Of the minor characters in The Tempest, Alonzo Alonzo. is the most pathetic figure, by reason of his supposed bereavement, and the contrast between his present predicament and his accustomed state. He does not know that his loss is unreal, and that the suffering laid upon him is for the purgation of his sin-stained soul. His trusty counsellor Gonzalo Gonzalo. seeks to comfort him with diversions which are a trifle tedious and prosy; and of this Shakespeare makes a secondary use to reveal the infamous characters of Antonio and Sebastian, who mock the Sebastian
. kindly old man at every word. The bitterness of and Antonio. their scorn is a sure sign of depravity: only to wickedness is anything human unqualifiedly contemptible.
The conspiracy of Antonio and Sebastian against The comic Alonzo has its comic counterpart in that of Caliban conspiracy:
Trinculo and and his two vinous associates against Prospero. Stephano. Trinculo and Stephano have no necessary share in the working out of the main plot; yet who could wish them absent? The parallelism of their foolish wickedness with the wicked folly of the two princes
is one more instance of Shakespeare's constructive skill, his power of revolving wheels within wheels.
Among the minor characters, too, that of the Boatswain is noteworthy, especially for his finely inspired rebuke to Gonzalo during the tumult of the storm: “What care these roarers for the name of king?”—a sentiment that may be commended to those stern democrats who are fond of assuring us that Shakespeare was a sycophantic snob, who worshipped monarchs and pandered to them.
The masque in Act IV, as we have seen, was chaffed by Jonson — not necessarily in an unfriendly spirit. It is perfectly consonant with the romantic and magical nature of the play, and the speeches of Iris and Ceres are in the richest vein of Shakespeare's descriptive nature-poetry. But, even if the scene were not beautiful in itself, anything could have been pardoned that led up to and occasioned that most majestic speech of apology and explanation which Prospero makes to Ferdinand:
You do look, my son, in a mov'd sort,
Is rounded with a sleep.
IV i 146 ff.
The gigantic energy, which in an earlier chapter The last we noted as the distinguishing characteristic of the play a new Elizabethan age, manifested surprisingly in Marlowe and uniquely in Shakespeare, is again forced upon our attention by the fact that Shakespeare's last play creates a new poetic genus. There has been no successor to The Tempest that can be mentioned in the same breath with it. The progress of poesy has produced other new genera, but none that appeals so universally as Shakespeare's native woodnotes.
Science has advanced with mammoth strides. The veils that hid from him and his contemporaries the surface of the earth and the dark backward and abysm of time have been torn aside. The globe has been explored from pole to pole, and the rocks beneath our feet have yielded up their ancient secrets. We peer down vistas of antiquity that he could not have dreamed of, and the world that our instruments measure is vaster beyond imagination than the one that was known to his time. Yet from the colossal realities of our experience we cannot extract such emotions of grandeur and mystery as his power of perfect sympathy and stately speech enabled him to distil from his little world. Nor shall our science ever enable us to search more deeply into the human heart than his inspired vision penetrated effortlessly. His revels are not ended; and his dreamchildren are more secure of immortality than the real men and women of the fleeting generations, each of which in its day learns to love them and him with a love that shall not die.