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"Good wombs have borne bad sons" -William Shakespeare
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"True, / And look how well my garments sit upon me, / Much feater than before. My brother’s servants / Were then my fellows; now they are my men" - Antonio (2.1.312 - 315))
In this passage, Antonio attempts to convince Sebastian to murder his brother and to take his place as the King of Naples. When Sebastian says that he remembers when Antonio did the same thing to his brother, Prospero, Antonio agrees and points out how well it turned out in his favor. In this quote, the word garments is not only referencing his beautiful clothes - one of the many benefits of being a Duke - but also the power which came with his Dukedom. The word “feater” means “more elegantly” and is in reference to his garments, again emphasizing how he feels that he is the better ruler. Another thing that emphasizes his lust for power is the line “My brother’s servants… now they are my men” because it demonstrates how he has no regard for the consequences of his rise to power, even if it meant losing friends or family. This whole passage exemplifies Antonio’s power hungry nature and his greedy and selfish behavior.
This quote is when Caliban decides to commit himself to Stephano’s slavery because they gave him alcohol. This quote is important because he decides to do all the dirty work that he promised Prospero before he turned on him. He told Prospero that, “And then I loved thee, And showed thee all the qualities o’ th’ isle. The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place and the fertile” (1.2 402-405). Caliban basically promised Prospero the same things he is promising Stephano, and doesn’t understand that although he may be escaping from Prospero’s slavery, he is actually subjecting himself to the slavery of someone else. Stephano is actually only a power hungry butler who plans on selling Caliban to the zoo, when they are back in Naples, while Prospero is a born and raised duke who took care of Caliban before Caliban tried to rape Miranda. The theme of colonization is prominent throughout the play and I believe that Caliban’s situation is an allusion to the different countries trying to take over native land by conquering the people. Caliban is very naive about the intentions of his “employers” so he believes that he can be free from his torture if he becomes a slave to someone else.
The famous Leonardo DaVinci painting portrays a healthy woman who welcomes all that come her way. She welcomes everyone, just as the new world welcomes millions of people seeking new found opportunities. The Mona Lisa and the New World are both healthy, fertile, pure, new and welcoming, and they share their virtues with Miranda. Miranda is new and innocent like the land she lives on, she welcomes Ferdinand and worries for Prospero’s ship and crew members. Miranda represents the future of the population of the new world to Caliban, but to Prospero she represents his journey back to dukedom. The Mona Lisa also has a beauty that no one can ignore. Miranda, to Ferdinand, is “So perfect and so peerless, are created/ Of every creature’s best.” as Mona Lisa is to Leonardo DaVinci.
From what we have seen in the play so far, we can easily tell that there is a major power struggle occurring among many of the characters. Because of the situation that they have been placed in, the true colors of these characters has begun to show little by little, and in this passage, Sebastian does exactly that. The marriage they are referring to is that of Claribel to a prince from Tunis. Sebastian’s brief overview of the wedding details and his automatic change of topic to wealth demonstrates his rather selfish and materialistic personality. This trait is touched upon later in the Act, but I think that this is a short and simple summary of Sebastian’s motives and exemplifies his self-centered personality.
Like the Titan, Atlas, the characters of The Tempest have, or had, burdens unbearable as holding up the sky. Caliban has the burden of servitude to Miranda and Prospero, Ariel is under Prospero’s power until Prospero sets him free, Prospero is no longer the Duke of Milan, and Miranda has to suffer through her father’s horridly boring stories. Though all the characters have completely different problems they are all connected through the way they perceive their personal problems. This foreshadows and symbolizes a future connection of all the characters through a shared hate for something or someone.
This passage reveals that Miranda places the blame of her father’s misfortune on his mother, who birthed his malevolent brother, Antonio. Her belief that her grandmother is responsible for Antonio’s actions reveals that, in larger terms, society uses women as a scapegoat for mens’ corrupt actions. Because the woman is punished, in this scenario, shows that this is time period is a patriarchy and woman are considered second class citizens. The line “good wombs have borne bad sons” exhibits that this is not an uncommon stereotype because good woman have had evil sons before.