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letteratura e civiltà inglese I

03/04/2012 LETTERATURA E CIVILTA’ INGLESE I PROF.SA ROMERO

THE TEMPEST.

Doctor Faustus is the basis for Shakespeare’s masterpieces. Doctor Faustus can be read as the starting point of the production of Shakespeare in the Elizabethan age.

The main character of Doctor Faustus is a black magus, an occult philosopher. The tempest has to do with Prospero an Italian duke of Milan and he is a white magus. The tempest closes both Shakespeare productions. It is written in 1611. The first documented theatrical performance in 1611. From 1603 Elizabeth death. Elizabeth is dead and James I is the new monarch. The political and historical culture situation is important to understand the tempest.

Actually in England T. is not defined a “tragicomedia”, a tragicomed y. But tragicomedy is a term that perfectly fits the T because this term is a double noun, an oxymoron. The T is made up with contrasts, with ambiguities.

We don’t know more about Shakespeare life (1564-1616). When we speak of Elizabethan culture we think just to the period of Elizabeth but it is not correct. Anche Virginia Woolf è elisabettiana. La cultura elisabettiana va oltre il 1603. è una cultura. It is a mood, a state of mind.

It is so difficult to find the propel defi nition of Shakespeare’s works. He never published his works. Only after his death, 7 year after his death in 1623, two actors friends of Shakespeare and partners in the Globe: Heminges (or Hemmings) and Condell. They published all the works by Shakespeare. But they do not organized the 47 works according to a chronological criterion. They follow a thematic criterion or a genre criterion. It is known as the FOLIO PUBLICATION (f 23). First they put the comedies, second the histories (drammi storici) and the last group were the tragedies. In a curious way the work that opens the folio is THE TEMPEST. A very important choice. The T is the last work written by Shakespeare.

Why it is placed in the beginning:

1)According to many critics, the tempest concentrates all the images, concepts of his previous

production, as it was a summa of Shakespeare’s ideas.

2)Some critics think that the tempest is a spiritual will, a farewell to theatre.

(vedere l’ordine in cui sono messe le opera nel folio)

An interesting thing is that the last works by Shakespeare recover, go back to the brilliant light comedies written 10 years before and this will be the key of the interpretation. Anche durante il regno di James I lui tratta argomenti del periodo elisabettiano. The critic Edward Dowden (1877) observed that the 4 last plays by Shakespeare share common features and all can be defined in the same way. This are defined today “romances” (drama romanzesco).

Non tutte le opere sono pubblicate nel folio.

Main features of the romance:

1)It comes from classical Greek literature (ex. Odyssey is consider the perfect example of

romance). Recent critics think that this genre developed in France and the greatest example is “il romanzo della rosa” (1260).

2)Tratta di amore cortese, ideali cavallereschi, fato, heroic values and ideals, the magical

supernatural element. The theme of the quest. [es. più grandioso in the Elizabethan Age: The fairy queen.]