On Shakespeare’s The Tempest [Very Rough Draft]

On The Tempest

   As seems most likely, there are no examples of simply wise human kings in all of human history. The lack of a wise man- is the first reason that the best regime described in Plato’s Republic cannot come into being. What Shakespeare does in The Tempest is to show the clearest picture of a particular wise ruler in all of human drama and writing. Solomon of the Bible, Joseph in Egypt, or Moses himself may be the only other close examples, or candidates, aside from Oberon-Theseus and the Duke Vincentio in Measure for Measure. There are almost no examples in human history or literature of a completed human in action. John on Potmos, or Merlin the magician come to mind. Shakespeare does not show a king but rather a duke, as we suspect, for the same reason that Israel was not supposed to have a king. But Shakespearean wise rule is over free men, not over those so inferior as to be like children to the best or to the wise. But by embodying a particular example of wise rule, Shakespeare does by means of poetry and his art, drama, what neither history nor empirical science can achieve. He brings into publicity, if not into being, the conjunction of theoretical and practical wisdom that would characterize the philosopher-king.

   Continuing, then, to copy old school papers onto the computer, I have an old Tempest paper that was presented according to an assignment in the class of John Alvis. It was in a way the culmination of my coursework at the University of Dallas, beginning as a report on the essays of Paul Cantor and Barbara Tovey, which Irving Wasserman would give us when we studied the Republic and The Tempest together, in his course called Political Philosophy, at Grand Valley State here in Michigan. The Cantor and Tovey essays, both reading The Tempest in light of The Republic, set the principle of the new kind of Shakespeare studies, called Shakespeare’s politics, but reading the plays and poems as the works of one of the greatest of the Socratic philosophers. Howard White, John Alvis and Timothy Berns have also written Tempest essays belonging to this school. Students of Leo Strauss, Allan Bloom and Harry Jaffa, are responsible for the beginning of this school of Shakespeare reading, with the book Shakespeare’s Politics, which was followed by Shakespeare as a Political Thinker, edited by John Alvis and Thomas G. West. White’s Copp’d Hills was also published in 1970. From these we will begin to explain this new kind of the study of human things, after which politics and psychology too might become Socratic.

   In a detailed commentary on Lear, we tried to keep The Tempest always as a placeholder and guide, as it is for all the plays. While Lear shows thought on the discovery of nature at the beginning of philosophy, The Tempest shows a Shakespearean teaching on natural right, much as does the Republic of Plato. There is an attempt in each to deal with the succession in light of natural right, and in the Tempest this has a chance of success.

   The essay of Paul Cantor on Shakespeare’s The Tempest is especially helpful to us due to its focus on the play, in relation to Shakespeare’s tragedies– especially King Lear. The Tempest is called a comedy, because it works out happily and contains no deaths, but the Greek categories do not quite contain Shakespeare. Cantor notes that the play, nearly his last, is filled with echoes and motifs from Shakespeare’s earlier plays with emphasis on the tragedies, as if to sum up his career, putting the themes of his earlier works into a larger, and perhaps final, perspective. Like Hamlet, The Tempest includes the story of a man who wants to murder his brother, as Antonio would have done to Prospero, and tries to murder a king, Alonso of Naples, in order to seize his rule. Like Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest includes the story of the prince Ferdinand, who falls in love with the daughter of a man his father hates. And like Lear, The Tempest is the story of a man thrust from power, but a man who escapes with his Cherubim like daughter to a magic island, which, Cantor notes, calls to mind what Lear came to long for at the end of his story.

   The entire background of the play is itself a tragedy, or a narrow escape from tragedy, which occurred in Milan twelve years prior to the action of the play, in an Italy of republics and participates, with Milan, the first among “signiories, independent Dukedoms of Northern Italy or Lombardy. Prospero recounts this background tragedy to Miranda, when he explains to her his reason for raising the Tempest. The setting is the Italian republics and principates as that of the Italy of Machiavelli. Twelve years ago, Prospero tells her, for the first time, he was the Duke in Milan, a “prince of power,” reputed to stand unparalleled in the liberal arts. But, thinking that his library was “dukedom enough,” he entrusted the government of Milan to his brother Antonio, while he himself spent his time devoted to the betterment of his mind, “transported” and “rapt in secret studies,” to the neglect of worldly ends. But the unlimited trust of Prospero awakened an equally unlimited evil nature in his brother. Antonio made an alliance with Alonso, the king of Naples, to subject Milan to Naples in exchange for military forces to remove Prospero from the city. The love of the people of Milan for Prospero made it impolitic for the usurper to murder him, and so Prospero and Miranda were then put out to sea on a rickety boat. Gonzalo, the noble councilor of King Alonso, was moved to furnish Prospero and Miranda with some provisions, and with books from his library that he prizes above his Dukedom. Prospero’s fall from power due to an imprudence regarding political matters is then the background tragedy set for comic resolution through the action of the play.

   Cantor explains that the recurrent tragedy in Shakespeare’s plays is that the evil characters, such as Richard III, Antonio or MacBeth, somehow tend to push their way into positions of political power, while the decent characters, such as Henry VI, Lear and Cordelia, either fail to achieve rule, or fail to maintain rule properly. The Tempest poses the political dilemma in the starkest possible terms. Prospero falls from power while the members of the court party have gained and hold power by morally questionable means. The problem at the root of both the Tempest and the tragedies is that wisdom and power are disjoined in the world. The fall of tragic heroes can be traced to some blind spot in their character which leads to imprudence in their action. There is no tragedy where practical wisdom reigns. But to take up the pursuit of wisdom leads one to desire leisure away from the management of households and polities. And those who desire power do not seek wisdom. The two pursuits tend in opposite directions from one another. Cantor states that those who have power, like Lear, are for a variety of reasons curt off from the wisdom they need to use power wisely, while those, like Prospero of Milan, who are wise, find that their wisdom undermines their ability to act with the force and decisiveness which political life requires. Thus, for reasons inherent in the nature of philosophy and the city, wisdom and power are disjoined in the world, tragically.

   But the Tempest is not bounded by this fundamental dilemma, which makes the place of man in the cosmos appear to be in its very nature tragic. Cantor states:

   Somehow The Tempest works to perform a sea change upon this tragic material, transmuting it into “something rich and strange,” and ultimately comic. And yet despite this magical transformation, the play does not lose touch with the fundamental problems dramatized in the tragedies; indeed, through a process of abstraction or distillation, it seems to reveal their pattern with new clarity.”

   Again, as Jaffa states (p. 1 above): The typical Shakespearean comedy is a tragedy that does not happen, due to the presence of wisdom. The pattern is the same, though is in particulars present in neither. Prospero is both the ruler of spirits and the legitimate Duke of Milan, and the conjunction together with “bountiful fortune,” diffuses the tragic circumstance and works the magical transformation.

   It is wise rule, then, that apprehends the unity of the tragic and comic patterns and demonstrates this unity by turning tragic circumstances toward their happy conclusion. The same is implied in Plato’s Republic. The Platonic account of the conflict between the lives of philosophy and the city begins in Plato’s Apology of Socrates, and culminates in the Socratic account of the philosopher-king or kings who rule in the best regime in Plato’s Republic. Cantor prefaces his essay with an excerpt from the center of the Republic, in which Socrates states that there is no rest from ills for cities or for human kind unless philosophers rule as kings, or those now called kings and chiefs adequately philosophize. Socrates later adds that without this conjunction of wisdom and rule, “neither a city nor a regime will become perfect, nor will a man in the same way either.” Cantor states that having previously looked at this problem from the angle of how those in power might be led to wisdom, Shakespeare considers in The Tempest how a wise man might be led to power…

   If Lear, the most kingly of men, must be thrust out of power to be led to his confrontation with the noble philosopher on the heath, then Prospero, the man with a philosophic nature to begin with…must be taught what Lear refers to as “noble anger (II, iv, 276), so that he can develop something of the commanding nature of a ruler.

   Cantor sees the source of Prospero’s noble anger as the original wound to his dignity caused by the usurpation and near fratricide committed by his brother. Cantor states that the vexation of Prospero at the disruption of the transports of the masque by the conspiracy of Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo, reveals this source, being something of a re-enactment of the original error of Prospero in the neglect of political matters back in Milan. The order in which they head off to kill Prospero, with Stephano following Caliban, is like the following of the bestial part of the soul by the tyrant, in the tyrannical ordering of the soul. The point of the vexation of Prospero corresponds to the one place where Socrates too is vexed, when the accusers come to spatter mud on philosophy (Republic, VII, 536c)[1]

   At any rate, Cantor states that the learning to feel anger of Prospero is part of what completes his originally incomplete wisdom. If Prospero can be said to have had theoretical wisdom, this was like that of Anaxagoras or Thales or the pre-Socratic Socrates, who sought knowledge of the heavenly things while ignoring the human things. The turning of natural philosophy to the contemplation of the human things was what sparked the Socratic return of philosophy to sobriety. The Prospero who fell from power in Milan did not know men. He did not know his own brother Antonio. More important, he did not know what Antonio knew. Antonio knew the art by which he new created the creatures that were adherents of Prospero. Antonio has the villain’s wisdom- that of an Iago, the cunning of one who is “himself alone,” and “is not” what he is, some kind of knowledge of men which allows him to shape men according to his plans. Iago may aim more purely at malice, while Antonio aims to seize the seat of power. Perhaps he has what Jesus implies is the “serpent’s” wisdom, when he tells the Apostles to be wise as serpents but as innocent as doves. There is something that those who are not innocent see, something about the “real” world and how it goes, that allows them to use men. Though what this means, and how it is called wisdom in a qualified sense, is not nearly clear, Antonio has the political villain’s wisdom, the Machiavellian wisdom of how to acquire and maintain principalities and powers. In one of his finest insights of the piece, Cantor states, “Though dangerous in the hands of a villain, this knowledge is surely a part of human wisdom, perhaps the fundamental part.” The Tempest presents the completion of the wisdom of Prospero by staging the crowning action of his twelve year effort to correct the original imperfection of his wisdom.

   In the allegory of the cave, too, Socrates asks, of the men who see the good, “don’t be surprised that the men who get to that point aren’t willing to mind the business of human beings, but rather that their souls are always eager to spend their time above.” The philosophers do not desire to rule, straightening out the business of others, providing justice, nor do they care about the things sought by those who seek rule for self-interests of various sorts. Philosophers want to be left alone in the highest pleasures. Philosophy and rule tend by nature in opposite directions. Socrates famously failed to rule Xanthippe, as is noted in Taming of the Shrew, and his family, aside from being comical, is notably unremarkable. Diogenes tells of his saying when he brought guests home for a dinner for which he had not provided, and she dumped the dishwater on his head, after so much thunder, I thought surely there would follow a deluge.” His sons are average guys, and he is poor, working as a laborer in stone, if on the Parthenon. It is Plato that was the Aristocrat, though Plato had no family or offspring at all, except the dialogues and letters.

   The Prospero of the play is very different from the Prospero of Milan. Prospero has learned the need and developed the ability to rule. He has spent the twelve years on the island with his books, educating his daughter and ruling over the spirit Ariel and the beast Caliban. Cantor states that these mythical beings are like pure forms or abstractions of Prospero, who is aligned with reason in the three part Platonic soul (Republic, Book III-IV). Prospero overcomes the independence of the spirit Ariel, by praise, and by some natural kinship between them. When this fails, Prospero threatens the spirit with an imprisonment even greater than that from which he freed Ariel upon arriving at the island. Ariel is aligned with thumos or spiritedness, which makes men wish to throw off every form of rule. The slavish appetite of Caliban is by contrast ruled simply by pain and pleasure. Aristotle uses the example of the rule of the foresighted one over the natural slave to establish the natural hierarchy of rule, in the first book of his politics. The ordering of the household of Prospero shows that he stood with the ancients against the moderns on the question of natural right. Cantor cites the lessons that Prospero learned in ruling these two sorts of beings as the key to his practice of balancing one side of human nature against another in moderating the Italians to prepare for his return to Milan.

[2017] Building on the basis of the account of Cantor, the elements of the household of Prospero are not quite the same as the three parts of the soul in Plato’s Republic. Ferdinand himself is more like the thumatic guardians, to be subjected and ruled by reason. Thumos is only one part of the heart, or the middle part of the ethical soul, abstracted for the purpose of the regime. As Tovey reads, as Caliban represents the body, Ariel represents thought, or intelligence,” the rational faculty. Ariel as a symbol is much more like the imagination, an intellectual faculty, if imagination is more related to the heart. The imagination communicates between intellect and desire in persuasion, informing wish, while Thumos does so in compulsion. But Ariel may yet be related to what becomes of thumos or imagination in the soul of the man of practical wisdom. Thumos may undergo a transformation from the law-formed character of ethical virtue to the prudent man, an intellectual virtue, who himself sees the good and does it. “Spirits to enforce, art to enchant-” and Ariel is the means of the enforcement of the rule of Prospero. But, as Tovey notes, he is himself without either pity or anger (p. 296)]. Caliban, whom Prospero calls a devil got by the devil himself upon the witch Sycorax, says that the art of Prospero is of such power that it would “control my dam’s god Setebos, and make a vassal,” or servant, “of him.” This is something more than moral indignation.

I.i  The Ship in the Storm

   As is said of Rousseau’s Emile, The Tempest may be, among other things, the articulation of a reading of Plato’s Republic. If Barbara Tovey is correct, in her essay entitled “Shakespeare’s Apology for Imitative poetry,” then, as she says, the first four lines of the play indicate that Shakespeare himself, in writing the play, attempts the work of phronesis or practical wisdom, which is to mediate between the philosophic sight of the intellect and the irrational part of the soul. The play opens with the ship of the Italians in a storm raised by Prospero. In his only words of the play, the master tells the Boatswain to speak to the mariners, or they will “run” themselves “aground.” In a proportion, Tovey states that this work of Shakespeare is to the Republic of Plato as the Boatswain is to the Master. We recall that after expelling the poets from- the best regime on the charge that they strike false images of the gods, the only kind of poetry which Socrates would allow in the regime is that which serves the philosophic rulers in forming the souls of the citizens by means of true images. It is the task of poetry which serves the intellect to embody the things seen by the intellect in particulars. These images are crystallizations from sight. Their luminous beauty comes from and points toward the truth, or the originals outside the cave of which these are images. By thus giving body to the shapes of things unseen, poetry mediates between philosophy and the political men, who come to see the plays. Shakespeare’s apology for imitative poetry is that by knowing the originals, the poet mediates between philosophy and the political men of the city, even as the master tells the Boatswain to speak to the mariners.

   It is by good fortune that the ship of the Italians comes within range of the art of Prospero, and by this art he raises the storm and brings them to the island. The power of Prospero to command wind and water, though limited in range, reaches to the root of elemental nature. He raises a tempest at sea much like the storm to which Lear was subject on land. Cantor remarks that at least since Plato’s Republic, the ship has served as a metaphor for the political community. In The Tempest, as in the Republic, the scene with the ship works to dissolve the conventional hierarchy and subtly introduce the natural standard of wisdom. When the mariners are battling the storm, and the courtiers interfere, the Boatswain shouts, “What cares these roarers for the name of King?” and tells them to “Keep below.” Cantor writes:

   The power the community confers upon its rulers loses its force in the face of a hostile nature, to which titles are merely names, with no substance behind them. As King Lear learned when the thunder would not peace at his bidding, nature does not always support human convention by obeying the commands of kings.

   Cantor states that the structure of the political community is dissolved because, if their lives are at stake, men will disobey authority, handing rule over to those who have the natural ability or doing what they think best to preserve themselves. When facing death, men get serious, and one sees what is most important to them. As in King Lear, the storm is a trial of men. Here, the wicked men curse while the decent men turn to prayers. Cantor says that the prospect of death brings out men’s fundamental egoism. When Gonzalo tells the Boatswain to remember who he has aboard, the Boatswain answers, “None that I love more than myself.” Cantor compares this with the statement of Stephano, while being punished in Act V, “Every man shift for himself, for all is fortune.” Cantor asserts that the fundamental egoism of men uncovered at the beginning of the play is covered over again by Prospero in the end, so that, as Antonio jokes about the imaginary regime of Gonzalo, “the latter end of his commonwealth,” too, “forgets the beginning.” Cantor emphasizes how much Prospero must accomplish to prepare his return to power. Regarding the architectonic purpose of Prospero in the play, Cantor writes:

   The storm has destroyed the structure of the society that expelled Prospero by undermining the authority of its rulers. Prospero thus has the opportunity to reconstruct the society as he sees fit, to re-found its regime.

   To this purpose, of restructuring the Italian regime, Prospero divides the Italians into three groups, in order to work on each in a way suited to its nature. Cantor sees the flattery of Stephano by Caliban as a re-enactment of the tragedy of Julius Caesar on a comic plane. Freed from authority, the desires of these become unlimited, and they set off to seize rule on the island. Prospero captures them by setting out royal robes on a line, distracting them with the mere appearance of royalty. A similar point is made with the spectacular disappearing banquet which Prospero has Ariel show to the court party. With these men, Prospero does all he can to awaken their guilty consciences. He has Ariel imitate a minister of provident fate, making the harm their crimes do to themselves evident by translating it into tangible harm, even as is done in spanking a child for unjustly striking his fellows. Cantor states:

   He allows Alonso… to think he has lost his son as punishment for deposing Prospero. With such men, the force of shame is evidently not enough to check their greed and ambition. They must feel that the powers of the universe are arrayed against them, that destiny will punish them for their crimes.

   Cantor notes that if Prospero hopes to return to power, he must make an ally out of Ferdinand, overcoming his pride and moderating his spiritedness. Prospero does this with “The one force guaranteed to overcome his youthful pride, romantic love…Ferdinand becomes reconciled to Prospero’s authority for the sake of Miranda.” She is the one thing for which he is willing to give up his freedom and accept imprisonment. Using the lesson learned in ruling Ariel and Caliban, Prospero balances the otherwise rebellious spiritedness of the prince with his desire for Miranda.

   Cantor sees Ferdinand as reformulating his notion of nobility, as Antony did with Cleopatra, so that nobility becomes a matter of nobility in love. The circumstance of Ferdinand may have become tragic as did that of Antony had he and Prospero remained enemies. The Romans have no parents. Prospero appears to them to oppose their love, concealing from them as long as possible the truth that he has designed the match. Prospero makes a potentially dangerous enemy into his son-in-law and the main reason for the reconciliation of the King of Naples to the restoration of Prospero and Milan. It is only later that the two learn that their love will reconcile Naples and Milan, uniting Northern and Southern Italy.

[2017] The uniting of Northern and Southern Italy may be the mystery of the play. The unification of Italy was the aim of Italian patriots from the time of Machiavelli until this was finally achieved by Girabaldi in the 19th century. Between the two are the Papal states, and there are other republics, Venice and Florence. But the three parts of the nation are also, as in King Lear, likened to the three parts of the soul. Cordelia absent leaves “Nothing in the middle.” One might wonder: Is Romantic love, for Shakespeare, what allows for the connection between the mind and body, replacing security or self preservation as this functions in modern political theory? Only love can persuade the noblest to take up the care of the things of the world, and it is in care of Miranda that Prospero has turned to the study of politics and, potentially, to political action. And, it is imagination, not scholastic philosophy, which communicates the things of the intellect to the desiring part of the soul.

   The Tempest is completely silent about Christianity or any direct reference to the pope or Papal states. Yet the reading of the play may call for a history of the relation between Christianity and politics (Appendix A) especially in the orders of the Western world, if that is the reordering of the Italian regime addressed by The Tempest. Ariel, Cherubim, and the virtue of compassion may the closest reminder that there is any Biblical based order in the world. The famous forgiveness of Prospero may be another example, teaching that “the rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance” (V,i, 27-28)- correcting the tragic flaw of Hamlet. As Strauss writes of the aim of the Prince, “The liberation of Italy eventually requires the secularization of the Papal states. It requires even more… (Thoughts on Machiavelli, p.68), since the church is, according to Machiavelli, the cause of the religious and moral corruption of Italy. Strangely, Christendom is criticized both, simultaneously, for holding temporal royalties and rejecting the world and being incapable of governing. The failure of the Friar in Romeo and Juliet indicates concern with the Machiavellian issue. The reason for the presentation of the things of the soul in terms of pagan divinities rather than Biblical images becomes more important: Was Shakespeare piously avoiding the vulgar presentation of sacred things, familiar from the tradition of the mystery plays? Or was he furthering the project of Machiavelli, attempting to liberate Italy, and the West from Christendom or even all Biblical based orders? The imprudence of the Friar in Romeo and Juliet sets the question of Christianity and political prudence at the center of the Italian plays, while the appeal to Greece and the founding of Theseus implies its completion in Socrates and the Platonic Best regime.

Milan and Naples

[2018-19] There is an obvious suggestion that Shakespeare’s Prospero, and his dukes generally, are an answer to Machiavelli’s “prince,” and this is the thesis or possibility that we will pursue, turning it into an assurance through the labors of our text. This is again contrary to the teaching of White that the plays are more a Machiavellian response to Christendom (Copp’d Hills. p. 65). In Measure, Shakespeare addresses the same or similar circumstance addressed by Machiavelli in the story of the use of Ramiro de Orco by Cesare Borgia in chapter VII of the Prince, corrected by genuine wisdom from the sophistic or tyrannic perversion of the pursuit of power. Similarly, Prospero conducts the action of the unification of Italy, integrating what Machiavelli sees and does within the context of genuine wise rule.

“Trough all the Signiories it was the first” indicates a Northern Italy of sovereign dukedoms, rather than an empire. “Dukes” were invented in Italy by Justin (518-527), son of Justinian, when Longinus, regent from Byzantium, set an exarch over 30 Dukes in Italy (Florentine Histories, I. 38). Founded in 360 B. C. as medliolanum, meaning in the midst of the plain, in Gothic rather than Latin. Mediolanum was a part of Cisalpine Gaul, as Rome expanded. Under Caesar, it was known as a center of learning, leading to is later status. Milan was for a time the capital of the Western Empire, after 286, and the 313 edict of Milan is issued by Constantine from there. It reached its ancient peak when Ambrosius was Bishop. Prosper is an old saint mentioned in a list by Nennius. He was an Augustinian, upholding the teaching that salvation is by grace, working against the Pelasgian heresy. Ambrosius, Bishop of Milan- somehow related to Aurelianus Ambrosius the uncle of Arthur and king of the Britons, seems also to be involved, in a conflation. Ambrosius is also the family name of Merlin in Nennius. The possibility is that Merlin is fatherless because he is the offspring of Ambrosius. But Augustine heard Ambrose in Milan, effecting his direction. The suggestion is that Prospero is the tradition of the wise addressing Machiavelli and the problem addressed by Machiavelli, as well as the problem introduced into the orders of the West by Machiavelli. Ariel is the name of Israel in the prophet Isaiah (29:1-8) where the word means both Jerusalem and secondarily a shade or spirit (Oxford note p. 855).

   Naples is called a kingdom, but is itself subject, as to Spain at the opening of Machiavelli’s Prince. There, in Chapter one of the work which concludes the calling of Lorenzo to liberate Italy, Milan taken by Sforza is an example of a “new prince in a new principate,” while Naples is the example of “a member adjoined to a hereditary state, “as is the kingdom of Naples for the King of Spain.” Machiavelli writes that of the two sects of arms in Italy, “the Sforzesca were in greater esteem, because the Duke of Milan had given him the promise of Madonna Bianca in marriage.” (Florentine Histories V. ii; I. vii) cited by de Alavarez, The Prince, ch. XII note 12, p. 77). Milan was once destroyed in a sixth century Ostrogoth invasion of the Byzantine empire under Justinian, then re-settled as Lombardy (569 A. D.) It was Conquered by Charlemane, (774), and rebelled against the empire in the 11th century. Milan was set up as a Duchy under the Holy Roman Emperor, governed by the Visconti until one died without an heir. Azzone Visconti is considered the founder of the state of Milan, and Many Visconti served as Archbishops of Milan, including one during the early career of Shakespeare. Machiavelli calls Giuseppe Visconti a tyrant (Florentine Histories, ). Bernabo Visconti is an example of “extraordinary modes of punishment” used by Machiavelli in Chapter XXI of the Prince, where Ferdinand of Spain is the example of what a prince should do to be esteemed (de Alvarez, ed, The Prince, p. 137, note 6). Francesco Sforza, a mercenary captain, took over as Duke of Milan when he married the illegitimate daughter Bianca, conquered the city and restored the Duchy, which for 3 years had been the Ambrosian Republic of Milan. Sfozas governed Milan until Louis XII took The territory in 1498. Northern Italy or Lombardy would then be Ghibbeline and represent the Holy Roman Empire. Antonio too ears in the Florentine histories (II, viii), and in each case we can look for suggestions regarding the Italian names in Italian histories. Alfonso is King of Aragon. Ferdinand, like the name Isabella, recalls Spain and alludes to the Inquisition. Gonzalo de Cordoba conquered Naples for Ferdinand of Spain in 1503, after Louis had taken Milan in 1499. Ferdinand suspected Gonzalo of aiming at the tyranny of Naples himself. Earlier, about 1050, Naples indicated the influence of the Eastern Empire in Italy. Machiavelli, a bit strangely, writes that because of a daughter of Frederick descended from Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, “every king of Naples is called king of Jerusalem” (Florentine Histories, I. iv). The name Stephano, meaning crown in Greek, is also familiar from Machiavelli Alvis, Honor, p. 251).

   While returning from negotiations in Spain regarding the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, the ship of Roderigo Borgia, the future Pope Alexander VI, was caught is a storm, and a nearby ship with 200 Borgia household members was sunk (Wikipedia) . This is very similar to the Court party in the Tempest returning from a wedding in Tunis, though it is Tunisia or Carthage rather than Spain- where Aeneas stopped before his founding of Rome from Troy. The Borgias are Spanish rather than Italian.

   In The Winter’s Tale, Bohemia may be related to Northern Italy, and Sicily to the Southern extreme. The question of Jealousy and tyranny are related to the questions of the Medieval church: “It is an heretic that makes the fire, not she that burns in it,” says Paulina. This is the most explicit Shakespearean statement of opposition to burning of scholars and heretics happening all around, and taken for granted as he wrote- which is why everything he writes is veiled in allusion and analogy- such as the analogy of Jealousy with the madness of the attacks on “heresy.” Indeed, as it seems to us, and been addressed in the essay on Hamlet, the whole key to the unification of Italy may be the correction of the conjoining of the Roman empire and Christendom that occurred with Constantine, as by the political liberty discovered and established especially by Madison and Jefferson. But that may take some showing. The late plays generally, especially in the names of the characters and their sources, demonstrate a concern with the fundamental orders of the West, the failure of Greece and Italy thus far, and the opportunity of English politics, all addressed quite carefully, in a way that allowed Shakespeare to survive at least into his fifties and set the crown of these late plays upon “this distracted globe,” the Globe theater.

   The crown of Shakespearean drama is interestingly not an English but an Italian play, and it is these orders with which the dramatist is concerned. The restoration of the respect for the liberal arts and political wisdom, as well as the ceremonial understanding of romantic love, and the restoration of drama and the imagination may be involved in the reconciliation of the parts of the Italian regime. In the restoration of natural right through the teaching of the best regime, Shakespeare is much like his fellow Platonist Leo Strauss. The theoretical basis of the study of the parts of the soul and natural right is also the basis of the division of the characters into three groups, each governed differently, and the reordering the regime, turning the West from tragedy toward a happier arrangement. Where there was the temporal power of the Popes and great confusion regarding the things of the imagination, Shakespeare has shown a way out of the fundamental conflicts of modernity, if we accept him.

   The rule of Prospero is contrasted with another picture of nature and rule shown in Gonzalo’s imagination of the best regime or best condition of man. The court party of Alonso, Antonio, Gonzalo and Sebastian are separated out as they set off in search of Ferdinand. When the King Alonso, lies down to sleep. Gonzalo, inspired by the qualities of the island,enters into an imagination of the government of the island if he were in charge of its colonization. Contrary to what is done customarily, he would lists all of the additions of the civilized condition which he would exclude, and all the evils of civilization that would not exist in his regime. There would be no magistrates, no letters, none of the arrangements for exchange, and no agriculture. He imagines that all the men would be idle and all the women pure, and that nature would simply provide for the people. He concludes,: “I would with such perfection govern/ as to excel the golden age.” The things listed are from the essay of Montaigne, “Of the Cannibals,” in which the author mentions Plato by name three times. Montaigne there laments that Lycurgus and Plato did not see the cannibals of the New World and the simplicity in which they live, considered to be a pre-civil condition. Montaigne  contends that these men which we see in experience surpass not only the pictures with which licentious poetry has embellished the golden age, but also the “conception and desire of philosophy. Montaigne believes that Plato would have found this condition of man to be superior to his own imagined commonwealth, and here begins his list of the things of civilization unknown to the cannibals, “It is a nation, I would answer Plato, that hath no kind of traffic… The name Caliban is thought to be drawn from this source, as this abstraction of “the body” represents in one sense the “natural” in man, apart from human additions, thought by Montaigne and then Rousseau to be conventional. The image of the pre-civilized condition replaced the image of Eden and provided a reference by which to judge convention without appeal to the ends or to a final condition. While Gonzallo is imagining his utopia, the sleeping king is about to be assassinated by the usurper Antonio. Ariel is sent to awaken the king, just in time.

   The matter of Italy that Prospero addresses involves the attempt of his wicked brother Antonio to seize Naples, which may have resulted in the unification of the Kingdom in an Italian tyranny. That he is the brother of Prospero is another indication that Machiavelli- one of the twelve greatest minds among the “philosophers,” is the issue. Prospero is in a circumstance similar to Edgar in Lear, in conflict with a tyrannic brother. Because the early flaw of Prospero allowed the usurpation in Milan, the impending murder and usurpation of Naples is his business to correct, and he does so. That Prospero speaks in terms of “fortune,” then his enemy now his dear lady is an indication of the Machiavellian theme, intermixed with how he speaks of “Providence divine.

      In addition to the interpretation of Ariel, the only major point on which to criticize the Cantor essay may be his neglect of Miranda, and the presentation of the marriage as a means in service to the political motives of Prospero. We will argue that it is central to his purpose, just as Socrates says of the philosopher that in caring for his private affairs, he governs the city (Republic, 497a4; 499b; 500d5; 517c; 473e5). “I have done nothing but in care of thee,” he tells her, as Lear too might have said to Cordelia regarding that succession. Prospero, beyond the assurance of the legitimacy of his daughter, (I,i, 56) never mentions his lost wife, nor her name. But he tells Ferdinand that Miranda is “one third” of that for which he lives. The marriage is the aspect of his purpose that Prospero seems to comment on the most. When the two fall in love, Prospero, aside, says, “It goes on, I see, as my soul prompts it.” and “At first sight they have changed eyes. Delicate Ariel, I’ll set thee free for this.” And before seizing Ferdinand, Prospero aside says: But this swift business, I must uneasy make, lest too light winning make the prize light.” Again aside, looking on the beauty of the sight, says, “Fair encounter of two most rare affections. “Heavens reign grace on that which breeds between ’em.” At first, Ferdinand thinks himself to be king, his father to be dead, and Miranda to be the source of the magic of the island. Psychologically, this by analogy explains something about the wonders of love and the faculties behind this. In love, what Jung terms the “anima” is the mediator to the contents of the what he calls the “collective unconscious.” Through love, and the base labors of carrying the wood which fuels the fire of the wise man. The prince gains his freedom, then seals it with self-control. Prospero replaces the tragic death of Romeo with a moderating education, curing the tragic flaw of love and the cause of the impulsiveness of Romeo. At the masque, Ferdinand comes to see Prospero as the true source of the magic of the island. In images, the Wedding Masque describes this moderation and the reason for it, when Ceres, the bringer of aspersions and bestower of  blessings on the marriage, says that she will not come near the spot if Venus and Cupid are there, because she has forsworn their company for the part they had in the abduction of Persephone into the underworld. But Iris assures her that they have fled, having been unable to work their charms upon these two. The entire treatment of the marriage suggests that it is an end in itself, in harmony with and inseparable from his purpose to regain his dukedom, reconciling Milan and Naples, and uniting Northern and Southern Italy.

   Two voices that may join in to the argument that the marriage of Miranda is also for its own sake are those of Howard White and Harry Jaffa. White focuses on the education of Miranda, by which she becomes one of the most beautiful creatures in all of the plays, or even without parallel, despite Juliet, Desdaemona, Cordelia, Jessica and Hermia. White cites the statement of Prospero:

Here in this island we arrived, and here

Have I thy schoolmaster made thee more profit

Than other princess can, that have more time

For vainer hours and tutors not so careful.

White also notes that the name of Miranda means “the wonderous one.” Wonder is, notoriously, the beginning of philosophy (Plato, Theatetus,  155d; Aristotle Metaphysics, I.i). Socrates tells Theatetus, “This sense of wonder is the mark of a philosopher. Philosophy indeed has no other origin, and he was a good geneologist who made Iris the daughter of Thaumus (wonder).” As Ariel promised in his song to Ferdinand on his arrival at the island, his father, whom he thought to be dead, suffers a “sea change,” “into something rich and strange.” Through Miranda, Ferdinand becomes royal, in preparation for what will be his kingship. In this way, Prospero prepares the souls of both the crown and the coronet he is uniting, so tending the succession of the most or the whole of Italy.

Harry Jaffa states, somewhat surprisingly,

According to Plato, the arrangement of marriages is the central mystery of philosophic rule: “The arrangement of the marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda is the culmination of Prospero’s exercise of that wisdom he has gained by making the liberal arts ‘all my study.’

Jaffa says this because, in Plato’s Republic, the philosopher kings are introduced into the city in order to arrange the marriages between the male and female sides of the guardian class. As in The Tempest, each side of the union is educated by philosophy. The arrangement of the marriages is said to make the communism regarding women and children possible to institute, in the regime of the Republic. This extreme communism is said to bring about that unity of the city which, in the soul that the city is an image of, is like the unity tying the soul and body together under the common ruler within. We say the Republic is falsely read where taken as a “blueprint” for an actual city. The meaning is symbolic, as the regime was founded in speech in order to see justice in the soul, and The Tempest may do more to show us how the Republic might be transcribed literally into the visible in an accurate way. But the marriage seems essential to the purpose of Prospero, no more a means to the political ends of Prospero than the former are means to the latter.

   But this addition seems not to affect Cantor’s thesis that The Tempest shows the tragic disjunction of wisdom and power in the world, and the comic reconciliation of wisdom and rule, the fundamental tragedy, in Philosophic rule. Cantor addresses the question of whether the union of tragedy and comedy in Shakespeare’s late plays shows a change in perspective from the early histories and tragedies. He answers that although it is not in principle impossible for a man like Prospero to come to rule, it is only by unbelievable good fortune that Prospero is able to bring about the reconciliation of the two. The success of his rule depends upon so many chance occurrences and improbable events that it is hardly to be expected in the world. If the regime of Prospero is like a dream, it is one so true that the deficiencies of “reality,” which the dream says is of the same stuff, where actual rulers are inferior to the natural rulers, the wise men, and wise women, are remedied by it. The improbability of its actualization, and the impossibility of its occurrence, Cantor writes, “Only serves to sharpen our sense for the potential of tragedy in political life…” (p.253), leaving the problem of wisdom and power no less problematic than in the tragedies. One must wonder about the future of Prospero in Milan, without his magic, and with Antonio remaining unrepentant. The most famous lines of the play tell us that the conjunction, seen for a brief moment on the magic island, will fade away like a dream. Cantor concludes by saying that the recognition of Prospero, of the transitori-ness of human achievement, preserves a detachment in Prospero which keeps him from taking human life too seriously.  He says that the revels speech itself is spoken from the perspective of the wise man, which ultimately turns out to be the perspective of eternity. Cantor states:

“As we see at the end of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, the ultimate comic perspective is a cosmic perspective.”

Ferdinand and Miranda

In a teaching of Jung, applying something like Joachims’s understanding of history to the pattern of the development of an individual, Jung writes:

…Generally speaking, the father denotes the earlier state of consciousness when one was still a child, still dependent on a definite, ready made pattern of existence which is habitual and has the character of law. It is a passive, unreflecting condition, a mere awareness of what is given, without intellectual or moral judgment. This is true both individually and collectively…The state of unreflective awareness known as “father” changes into the reflective and rational state of consciousness known as “son”. This state is not only in opposition to the still existing earlier state, but, by virtue of its conscious and rational nature, it also contains many many latent possibilities for dissociation. Increased discrimination begets conflicts that were unconscious before but must now be faced, because, unless they are clearly recognized, no moral decisions can be taken.

[   Joachim famously considered the phase of the Spirit an historical period, similar to the Old testament, the teaching of Jesus, and then the guidance of the Spirit. However this might be applied to understand history, whether the descent of the Paraclete after Jesus ascends, or the Spirit prophesied to be about especially in the end times,

The beginning of the second state is about where we find Ferdinand when he lands on the magic island. This place in the story is parallel to the beginning of Romeo and Juliet The innocence of Miranda surpasses Juliet in beauty and feminine virtue due to her having been painstakingly educated by her father. As Romeo pronounces on the senselessness of his father and the ancient family quarrel, Ferdinand too thinks that he is fatherless [at the opening of the play].

For twelve years, Prospero has been on the island where he has studied the art of ruling. Prospero is an instance of the archetype of the wise man or wise ruler. The wise ruler does his work in service to the divine and for the good of humans. As in the history of Merlin and King Arthur, or the philosopher-king in Plato’s Republic, this archetype emerges in the accidental coincidence of wisdom and power. Prospero gets his powers from his magic books of liberal study. One of his many actions in the play is the education of Ferdinand through his love for the daughter of Prospero, Miranda. Amid the context of more important things, such as the  treatment of the tyrannical soul, the play illustrates the entry of the prince and his future queen into the harmony of wisdom, which Ferdinand says makes Prospero like a second father to him (V, i, 195). This either is or is like the entry into philosophy through the mediation of the anima and animus. The future king, though not adept himself at the liberal arts nor a magician,will be guided by wisdom through Miranda.

   Prospero was once the Duke of Milan, a real city, but he did not then understand the coincidence of wisdom and ruling, nor could his power there be secured. He spent all his time studying the liberal arts and left the practical matters up to his brother Antonio. Antonio, though, turned out to be the opposite of Prospero, hungry only for power. Antonio usurped the dukedom from Prospero, who narrowly escaped with his life and his daughter. Their boat landed on the shore of the magic island. There they have lived for twelve years. Here, along with being transported and rapt in secret studies,” as in Milan, he has learned the art of ruling through educating his daughter Miranda and ruling the spirit Ariel and the beast Caliban. The play opens with a royal ship in a storm. Aboard the ship are the King of Naples, Antonio the usurping brother, and others. Prospero tells Miranda that he has created the storm, in care of her, and that no one will be harmed. He begins to tell her for the first time the story from twelve years previous, of how they came to the island and who she is. The ship has sunk in the storm which Prospero sent Ariel to make in order to draw its passengers to the island in an attempt to cure the harm done in the usurpation.

   The prince Ferdinand, son of the King of Naples, is landed alone by Ariel, where he sits in mourning, thinking that his father is dead at sea. Ariel there sings a song to him which tells him of his drowned father and introduces him to the magic of the island:

Full fathom five, thy father lies;

Of his bones are coral made;

Those are pearls that were his eyes;

Nothing of him that doth fade

But doth suffer a sea change

Into something rich and strange.

   Juliet in the garden of Capulet is similar to Miranda on the magic island. As Romeo leaped over the orchard wall of Capulet and into his garden to find Juliet, Ferdinand comes from shipwreck at sea onto the yellow sands of the island.  His first experience of the magic of the island, though, is this song ordered sung by Prospero, telling him that his father is dead, yet suffers a sea change. Prospero then shows him to his daughter, and the two fall immediately in love:

Prospero: The fringed curtains of thine eye advance

And say what thou seest yond.

Miranda: What is’t? A spirit?

Lord, how it walks about! Believe me, sir,

It carries a brave form. But tis a spirit.

(I,ii, 408-412)

Prospero tells her that no, it is not a spirit, but a mortal and a “goodly person. Miranda replies, “I might call him/ A thing divine; for nothing natural I ever saw so noble.” Prospero aside says,

It goes on, I see, As my soul prompts it.

Spirit, fine spirit, I’ll free thee

Within two days for this.

(I,ii, 418-422)

Ferdinand sees her and exclaims: “Most sure, the goddess/ On whom these airs attend.” The first thing he asks her her is if she is a “maid” or not, and how to bear himself on the island. He then pulls back, remembering to act nobly, and states, “I am the best that speak this speech/ Were I but where tis spoken.” Jung calls this “inflation of the ego,” and it is characteristic of love, of the soul who has seen or thinks he has seen the goddess. Prospero responds: “How the best? What wert thou if the King of Naples heard thee?” Ferdinand answers:

A single thing, as I am now, that wonders

To hear thee speak of Naples. He does hear me;

And that he does, I weep. Myself am Naples

Who with mine eyes, never since at ebb, beheld

The King my father wrecked

(I,ii, 430-437)

   Ferdinand, fatherless in both the literal and symbolic sense, believes himself to be the King of Naples. In the projection of the anima, a natural inflation results, as one seeks to be the beloved of a goddess. In his inflation, Ferdinand, innocently enough, believes himself to be a king. He identifies himself with his genetic father, who is the highest sovereignty that Ferdinand has known. Jung writes: “This, however, is not an advance; It is simply a retention of the old habits and customs with no subsequent differentiation of consciousness. No detachment from the father has been effected. Legitimate detachment consists in conscious differentiation from the father and the habitus represented by him. This requires a certain knowledge of one’s own individuality. But as the song of Ariel promised, the father of Ferdinand “doth suffer a sea change,/ Into something rich and strange.”

   The outward manner of Prospero suddenly and mysteriously becomes harsh. Aside, he says, “But this swift business/ I must uneasy make, lest too light winning make the prize light” (I,ii, 451-2). He turns on the prince, accusing him of being a traitor and usurping the name he does not own, and of coming onto the island in order to take it from him. He tells Ferdinand he will be put in prison. Ferdinand, with the spirit of a prince, raises his sword to resist, but Prospero disarms him with his magic staff. The prince has come under the power of the wise man. Prospero then tells Miranda, who has never seen other men, that compared to most man, Ferdinand is a beast like Caliban, and most to him are like angels. [She does seem to have heard about angels.] Miranda ignores the advice of her father, for the first time in her life, saying: “My affections/ Are then most humble. I have no ambition to see a goodlier man” (I,ii, 484-5). [Prospero, then, humiliates the love inflation of the prince, while Miranda will disobey her father for the first time in her life because of love.]

The distinction between the will of Prospero aside and his explicit will shows the distinction between the purposes of wisdom and the purpose of tradition or the will of the father based on the ancient laws and ways of fathers. Prospero aside is glad that they have “changed eyes,” and even has set up the whole affair. Yet he imprisons Ferdinand as a means to humble him and remove the projection of the goddess. He is the hidden wisdom, the source of the magic of the island, of which Jung writes  as being behind the “elfin nature of the anima,” of which Ferdinand is unaware. Prospero, standing behind and above the prince and princess and directing their course, is an embodiment of love itself, who “without eyes sees pathways to his will.” These archetypal configurations are constellated in every human love, to some extent. The old man is a midwife who seeks to give birth to the divine child in the soul. In the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet this love is not fully embodied (as the prince and Friar are separate). He puts the lovers through trials, the first half above, which are aimed at tending the seed of the love to fulfillment and avoiding the tragedy. The trials and labors of love are aimed at this, and are not easily fulfilled in a harmonious way. Some embodiment of wisdom is most helpful.

   While In Romeo and Juliet, the error of the Friar is to rush the marriage, the solution of Prospero is to postpone the marriage until both are prepared in a certain way. There is disjunction in human marriage between the natural and conventional ages for marriage. Prospero secures chastity until the conventional ceremony, if it is legitimate and legal yet by the end of the play (V,i, 309). In the next scene in which Ferdinand appears, he is carrying logs to fuel Prospero’s fire, which is usually the job of the beast Caliban. There he says:

There are some sports are painful, and their labor

Delight in them sets off; some kinds of baseness

Are nobly undergone, and most poor matters

Point to rich ends This my mean task

Would be as heavy to me as odious, but,

The mistress which I serve quickens what’s dead

And makes my labors pleasures. O, she is

Ten times more gentle than her father’s crabbed

And he’s composed of harshness. I must remove

Some thousands of these logs and pile them up,

Upon a sore injunction…

(III,i, 1-11)

   Ferdinand, ruled by his heart, is in service to Miranda, yet through her he is ruled by Prospero. He remarks here how pains can be pleasures. What’s dead in him is quickened by his love. The wise Prospero here appears unjust to Ferdinand for the trials he puts him through. Miranda offers to carry some of the logs for him, but he will not dishonor her by it. He must carry the logs from which the fire of Prospero springs.  He is compelled to do the work of the beast, and is cooled down by this, [humbled and placed in service. One is reminded of the work of self control which noble men must practice to prevent the subjection of the princess to the animal in man. The law against men striking women is most important in primary education and throughout, an elemental lesson in nobility. Here he asks Miranda for her name, and she breaks her father’s “hest ” or order, and gives it to him. While the prince is deflated, the princess attains independence from her paternal authority.

   Ferdinand tells her that for many virtues he has liked several women, but “never any/ With so full soul but some defect in her/ Did quarrel with the noblest grace she owed” (III,i 59-67). Then he tells her:

I am in my condition

A prince, Miranda; I do think a king

(I would not so), and would no more endure

This wooden slavery than to suffer

The fleshfly blow my mouth. Hear my soul speak!

The very instant that I saw you did

My heart fly to your service; there resides,

To make me slave to it; and for your sake

Am I this patient log-man.

(III,i, 59-67).

Are these not the two examples of love at first sight in Shakespeare? There are certain indications that this is at least the second highest love, if not the equal of the tragedy. [It is an answer to Bloom regarding the highest love in which the lovers can be married happily ever after, if Romeo and Juliet cannot. She asks the prince if he loves her, and the answer:

O heaven, O earth bear witness to this sound

And crown what I profess with kind event

If I speak true! If hollowly, invert

What best is boded me to mischief

And crown what I profess with kind event

If I speak true!

Beyond all limit of what else i’ th’ world,

Do love, prize, honor you…

(III,i, 68-74)

Prospero aside says: “Fair encounter/ Of two most rare affections.!” Calling aspersions, he adds, “Heavens rain grace / On that which breeds between them.” Again there is the triangular archetype, the male and female joined within wisdom, an image more full than yin and yang and the whole of these. Miranda then to Ferdinand:

…I am your wife, if you will marry me;

If not, I’ll die you maid. To be your fellow,

You may deny me; but I’ll be your servant

Whether you will or no.

[Ferdinand agrees, “with a heart as willing/ As bondage e’re of freedom. Here’s my hand.” And Miranda gives him her hand. In the next scene, Prospero gives the prince his daughter’s hand. The hand, and the importance of receiving the hand and and blessing of the father in marriage, if he is not a tyrant, are very interesting, and very old. There is the transfer of the image from the father to the husband as the girl becomes a woman. Consent rather than compulsion in marriage may be the most essential feature of A Western civilization, going along with free political orders as the root of the family. Shakespeare here, in the marriage of these two, sets an example that guides the marriage ceremonies in the West.] This would be Shakespeare’s presentation of fertile love, in what turns out to be a defense of nature against the Greeks regarding love, an attempt to present “heterosexual” love as the example that shows human erotic or romantic love.

Prospero, upon giving his daughter, tells Ferdinand:

If I have too austerely punished you,

Your compensation makes amends; for I

Have given you here a third of my own life,

Or that for which I live; who once again

I tender to thy hand. All thy vexations

Were but my trials of thy love, and thou

Hast strangely stood the test. Here, afore heaven,

I ratify this my rich gift…

(IV,i, 1-8)

[The thirds of Prospero are very famous in Tempest Interpretation, but she is one of them, and another is “my grave,” said to indicate philosophy (White, ). The other third is likely to be Milanese politics, to the extent that this is different from his care for his daughter.]

In contrast with Romeo and Juliet, Ferdinand is a prince, and Miranda has been educated by her father alone on the magic island. There she had no “time for vainer hours,” and is brought to a fullness of soul and a purity that would not have been possible in Milan. Again, Juliet in the orchard is similar to, or in the place of, Miranda on the Island. In their love at first sight, when they “change eyes,” both experience and speak about things divine. In place of the banishment of Romeo, Ferdinand is imprisoned, and huymbled, in place of the immediate marriage and and the action screaming toward tragedy. As Juliet rejects the proposed marriage to Paris, so Miranda disobeys her father, or his external and apparent will. And in place of the feigned death of Juliet under the sleeping potion of the Frair, in order to escape the house of her father, is the trial yet to come, of sexual self-control. Prospero tells Ferdinand:

Then, as my gift, and thine own acquisition,

Worthily purchased, take my daughter. But

If thou dost break her virgin knot before

All sanctimonious ceremonies may

With full and holy rite be min’stred,

No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall

To make this contract grow; but barren hate,

Sour-eyed disdain, and discord shall bestrewe

The union of your bed with weeds so loathly

That you shall hate it both. Therefore take heed.

As Hymen’s lamps shall light you.

(IV,i, 13-24)

This trial is deeply symbolic, as was the old custom, now for the most part disbelieved, of virginity until marriage. Here Ferdinand must overcome himself. His love must side with what Prospero says and shows him, over his desire to have intercourse with Miranda. His heart must side passionately with wisdom rather than the sexual appetite. This, as the final trial, solidifies the overcoming of the animal nature, the attachment to the earth and the self-preservation principle. It is a giving up of the possessiveness of the beloved, which, most mysteriously, is simultaneously the culmination of the humbling and deflating trials which make possible the vision of the wedding masque. This reveals a most astounding connection between reverence in the love of women and reverence with regard to the love of wisdom. Irreverence in love is connected with irreverence, inflation or arrogance with regard to knowledge and the mind.

She is both the gift given by wisdom and his own acquisition, worthily purchased” by going through the trials. If Ferdinand breaks her virginity– and the language is shockingly explicit for printed reference to one’s own daughter– before the ceremonies, “no sweet aspersions shall the heavens let fall” to water the seed which is their love, but their union will be in discord rather than harmony. [Shakespeare here teaches a surprising root of the harmony of the household in the self-governing of the prince] If Ferdinand does not overcome himself, and fuse this self overcoming in the orders of the soul, his failure to transcend the selfish desires will keep their love weighted and chained in service to the appetites, making their bed and union hateful to them. If the love of the heart stays entangled in the weeds of the appetite for sexual procreance, it will not be freed for the procreancy of the heart, which is a genuine and natural higher kind of procreancy. If not overcome, the sexual desire will drag the love out of the heart and turn it into lust and rage, selfishness and despotism, which destroy marriages.

Another way to view the ancient teaching of virginity until marriage is in terms of imprinting, in analogy with what Konrad Lorenz learned about baby ducks. These would follow him about, because at a certain critical age, he was there to become for them their mother duck. In marriage, what occurs regarding virginity is similar. There is an imprinting or fusion of the souls at the crown of the family. Though most or all marriages fall short of the measure, still this is the measure, and it is by reference to it that many things in actual loves can be understood, and perhaps explained. Most reject the best condition, though for marriage this is similar to the way in which the many reject the best regime. Shakespeare shows us the best condition, a measure of which every actual love is likely to fall short, barring certain accidents or the constant presence of wisdom embodied. Still, this may be the best example of wise rule and why we reject it.]

There is in this a relation shown between this self-control and the royal marriage, which is the integration of the anima. A natural reason is shown, of which the old law is a symbol. [Circumcision, and the circumcision of the heart is another example.] It is a connection between purity and wholeness. The wholeness of marriage is a connection to or an entry into the harmony of the universe. The marriage according to nature is the vehicle of the aspersions, or grace, which rains or reigns through the wholeness of the parts. Ferdinand responds:

As I hope

For quiet days, fair issue, and long life,

With such love as tis now, the murkiest den,

The most opportune place, the strongest suggestion

Our worser genius can, shall never melt

Mine honor into lust, to take away

The edge of that day’s celebration

When I shall think or Phoebus’ steeds are foundered

Or night kept chained below.

(IV,i, 23-34)

Prospero responds “Fairly spoke. Sit then and talk with her; she is thine own.” Ferdinand has stated that for hope of a life in the love he is now in, no persuasion from the lower mind or “worser genius” will melt his honor into lust, making his marriage less than a nightless day of unfading sunlight. By honor he follows the will of wisdom.How different he is now from the time that he first arrived on the island, and would take Miranda off immediately! She is now his own, i. e. the anima is integrated regarding the noble. The integration leads to the symbolic vision of the wedding masque, wherin wisdom unveils the spirit realm to Ferdinand and Miranda for their wedding gift. Prospero shows the realm of the gods to the lovers, who once had its significance projected onto each other and experienced this only through one another’s eyes. This is like the initiation into the love of wisdom, the unveiling of the spirits that are, among other things, knowledge, and in service to wisdom,. This shows the crowning of the soul with philosophy in its natural sense, for the integration of these spirits [or knowledges] is the road toward wisdom, as exemplified by Prospero.[vii]

The masque begins. Prospero tells them the right regard for this realm: “No tongue! All eyes! Be silent.” Iris, goddess of the rainbow and messenger of Juno, (Queen of the sky), addresses Ceres, who is the earth. Juno, through the arch of the rainbow, bids Ceres to leave her realms over the earth to “come and sport” on the “grassy plot” where the masque takes place. The earth then hails the rainbow, and asks why Juno has summoned her there. The rainbow answers,

A contract of true love to celebrate

And some donation freely to estate

On the blessed lovers.

Ceres responds with a question:

Tell me, heavenly bow,

If Venus or her son, as thou dost know,

Do now attend the Queen? Since they did plot

The means that dusky Dis my daughter got,

Her and her blind boy’s scandaled company

I have foresworn.

(IV,i, 86-91)

Ceres will not approach to rain blessings with the sky if Venus or Cupid are there. Their “scandaled company” was the means by which another daughter of the earth, Persephone, was abducted by Dis (Pluto or Hades) into the underworld.[viii] Iris responds that she need not fear (losing another daughter, Miranda), since Iris saw Venus heading back to Paphos (The place of the center of the Venus cult (Signet note to IV,i, 104-5) and her son, “Dove –drawn with her” They were indeed thinking of doing some “wanton charms” upon Ferdinand and Miranda. But Venus has gone, and

Her waspish-headed son has broke his arrows

Swears he will shoot no more, but play with sparrows

And be a boy right out.

(IV,i, 98-101)

Hymens torch will be lit, and Cupid thus transformed into a normal boy. [The ground above the passions at the crown of the family means that unlike Theseus, Ferdinand will not be struck with arrows of passion chasing other women unfulfilled.] The rule of wisdom and the basis, in something like the Socratic Nous, shows the kinship of Shakespeare with the Biblical and classical, as opposed top the modern, philosophers.

At this point, Juno alights. The goddess of the sky asks Ceres, the goddess of the earth and her sister, to go with her to bless the marriage, that they may “prosperous be/ And honored in their issue,” their offspring (IV,i, 104-5). Together the goddesses sing the song of blessings on the two. In the song are themes of fertility and and rich harvest which speak symbolically of the life the two will enter together.

Here at the blessing, where earth and sky meet, Ferdinand recognizes wisdom as his father, the spirits as spirits, and that he wants to live forever in this paradise:

Ferdinand: This is a most majestic vision, and

Harmonious charmingly. May I be bold

To think these spirits?

Prospero: Spirits which by mine art

I have from their confines called to enact

My present fancies.

Ferdinand: Let me live here ever!

So rare and wondered father and a wise

Makes this place Paradise.

(IV,i, 117-123)

Iris then calls the Nymphs, and then the reapers, which join together in a dance. Toward the end of the dance, Prospero remembers that Caliban is on his way, with others from the ship that landed in the Tempest, to attempt top murder Prospero. The entire play, of which the action of Prospero in the marriage is only a part, here abstracted, moves toward its conclusion. Here Prospero tells Ferdinand:

You do look, my son, in a moved sort,

As if you were dismayed; Be cheerful, sir.

Our revels now are ended. These, our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits, and

Are melted into thin air;

And like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capped towers, the great globe itself,

Yes, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vexed.

Bear with my weakness; My old brain is troubled.

Be not disturbed with my infirmity.

If you be pleased, retire into my cell

And there repose. A turn or two I’ll walk

To still my beating mind.

(IV,i, 146-163)

We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

The sonship of Ferdinand to wisdom has occurred through his love for Miranda. Toward the end of the play, Ferdinand finds that his father Alonso, the King of Naples, has not drowned:

Ferdinand: Though the seas threaten, they are merciful;

I have cursed them without cause.

Alonso [asking of Miranda]: Is she the goddess that hath severed us

And brought us thus together?

Ferdinand: Sir, she is mortal;

But by immortal providence she’s mine.

I chose her when I could not ask my father

For his advice, nor thought I had one. She

Is daughter to this famous Duke of Milan,

Of whom I have so often heard renoun

But never saw before; of whom I have

Received a second life; and second father

This lady makes him to me.

(IV,i,   )

Through the movement of The Tempest, the education of Ferdinand has taken him from the drowning of his father Alonso, through love to marriage and the replacement of the conventional father with Prospero, who embodies wisdom. Upon the death to Ferdinand of conventional authority, or tradition, he enters into a magical realm, the island, where he finds Miranda. He falls in love, taking her for a goddess and himself for a king, in his original encounter with the unconscious, or spirit world. The mistake upon the dissolution of the conventional authority is to take oneself to be the authority, the ruler or king, which corresponds to taking the beloved to be a goddess. This is the innocent tragic flaw of the pattern of the heroic drama, at least on the level of love. Ferdinand here challenges the true king in an attempt to possess the anima, the projection of which is carried by Miranda. But he is immediately taken into custody by the father of the anima. While all the divinity Ferdinand can see is Miranda, the hidden wisdom of Prospero works through his love for his daughter to transform him from thinking himself to be sovereign and Miranda a goddess to the recognition of what is truly sovereign, and Miranda to be mortal. The trials show symbolically the workings of the liberating education.

With regard to the solution of the second (“son”) stage in Jung’s notion of the trinity process of development, Jung states, “The exemplary life of Christ is itself a transition and amounts to a bridge leading over to the third stage, where the original stage of the “father” is as it were recovered. If it were no more than a repetition of the first stage, everything that had been won would be lost” (Psychology and Religion, p. 181). Shakespeare shows the crossing of this second stage by showing the image in the soul of the Christ event, which occurs as the integration of the anima through his royal love. The tragedy occurs inwardly, as purging or humbling, and thus leads to marriage. Prospero uses tradition to slay the inflation of Ferdinand and to establish the independence of Miranda from his external will, while following his true will and the way of love. This shows the purpose of the fathers with regard to love, which is to cause a symbolic and not a literal death. The purpose and fulfillment of love is shown to be the crossing of this bridge, for which it must be guided by the embodiment of love itself, the philosopher Prospero.

Jung states: “The advance to the third state means something like a recognition of the unconscious, if not actual subordination to it (Ibid, p. 181) Jung’s note to this line reads “Submission to any metaphysical authority is from the psychological standpoint submission to the unconscious.” [That is to say, psychology itself is incapable of crossing over to the third state. Jung avoids distinguishing between the collective unconscious and the metaphysical truth, so that psychology might be considered a science. Within the ancient context, this “projection” is an apprehension through the “self.”] “Adulthood is reached when the son reproduces his own childhood state by voluntarily submitting to a paternal authority, either in psychological form or factually in projected form, as when he recognizes the authority of the church’s teachings” (Ibid, p. 181). Shakespeare in the figure of Prospero presents a third alternative, which is philosophy recovered in its natural sense.

Jung states, “Though the new level (reason and reflection) acquired through the emancipation of the son continues into the third stage, it must recognize that it is not the source of the ultimate decisions and flashes of insight which rightly go by the name of “gnosis,” but that these are inspired by a higher authority known in projected form as the Holy Spirit.” In non-Christian terms, this is the harmony of the universe, which one partakes of by ruling wisely.

Notice that the third stage does not provide for a distinction between Prospero and Ferdinand [/ Miranda, or the newly reborn compared to the mature wise man. Nor is there a distinction between the king and the philosopher. The noble education is by nature an image of the philosophic education.] The end of the third stage is but the beginning of the pursuit of wisdom. Prospero, though, is wise. The third stage does not show “individuation, but leaves us at the integration of anima/animus and the emergence of the “self,” the seed of individuation planted. The integration of the self is the pursuit of wisdom. The end or goal of this pursuit is shown by Prospero himself. The wise ruler, tending the fields of mankind toward harmony, in service to what is good is the picture of the fourth.


[1] Famously, it is noted by Pascal and repeated by Strauss, that Socrates laughs once or twice, but does not weep, while Jesus weeps once, but does not laugh, at least in the scriptures. Jesus too is angry in only one place, when the tables of the money changers in the temple are overturned. Anger or thumos, spiritedness, is a deep question regarding its place in the soul. Together with fear, joy or laughing and sorrow or weeping, anger seems to be among the most basic emotions. Love is something different, but is also an emotion. It is possible that anger is converted in the healthy human soul, so that it disappears in the phronemos, the man of practical wisdom as considered by Aristotle in his Ethics. Envy, vengeance, jealousy, hope, compassion and other identifiable but complex emotions seem somehow derivative.

Appendix A: A Brief History of Christianity and Politics

The division of St. Augustine between the earthly and heavenly cities is a good ground for the study of this issue, though it remains to determine just what belongs to each. The Allegory of the Cave is another presentation of this division. For the first three centuries, Christianity was persecuted by both Jewish and Roman political authorities, so it was easy to see both these as a part of the “principalities and powers” opposing St. Paul. “Babylon” in the statue of the dream interpreted by Daniel refers to a series of 5 empires, the last quite probably Rome. But when the persecutions ended, and Constantine converted the empire itself to Christianity. A circumstance unforeseeable even by John then comes to be. As the Western empire declined, the Roman Church remained, providing some semblance of an ordered society amid the barbarian invasions. The eastern empire continued despite the emergence of Islam, until 1453 conquest by the Turks- nearly contemporary with Machiavelli and to Shakespeare only yesterday. The Churches of the East and West are then as ghosts of which the political empires were the bodies, and these continue to this day. That the Western Church has splintered into the Protestant sects makes them no less a part of the Roman Church, especially as these are defined in protest to Rome. Certain assumptions regarding the place of spiritual authority in society continue, the character and stature and purpose of religious law, the importance of unity and obedience, continue, and hence the persecution of heretics was not for them- as it is for us- the first article of protest. Prior to the reign of Constantine, religious persecution committed by Christians seems to have been unheard of and unthinkable, though there was concern with heresy, and to keep the teaching of the Gospel pure or original.

The retirement of Prospero from political life in Milan is described in terms of the “liberal arts,” the studies proper to a free man, a modern term- rather than monasticism. Some ascetics consider books too to be an attachment to be renounced. But there is to say the least some similarity: The life of the philosopher, especially in post-Socratic ancient Greece. There are too lives, the philosophic and the political, in the fundamental choice of all decent men, to which the lives of family and city seem lower, animal concerns, necessities to be set straight so one can attend to higher things. In monasticism and then in the institution of priests with worldly spiritual authority, the error of Prospero might be said to characterize the error of the orders of the West.

Appendice B: Irving Wasserman on The Tempest:

Class notes, from “Political Philosophy,” Grand Valley, 1981, 1983.

In a course that included the attempt to read Plato’s Republic,” Irving Wasserman paused to read with us The Tempest, with the essay of Barbara Tovey, then newly printed. This conjunction of intellect and imagination is surely a pinnacle of education in the twentieth century. The teaching of Professor Wasserman, even as preserved in cxlass notes, it one of the best on the Tempest, with many unique teachings, as that on the magic of Prospero.

1981 Intro on Shakespeare: Bloom’s Shakespeare’s Politics

p. 55: The kind of ruler he was not in Milan. In Milan, he ruled in a certain way, but badly.

…consciously wanted to portray political wisdom

56: Difference in ruling, Milan and on the island.

Each group are political rulers.

60 In Milan, Prospero wasn’t the best ruler

About the situation of a wise ruler ion a real city.

The wise ruler and the actual city against the background of the island.

How he got his kingdom back.

The Thirds: himself, M Milan. In first, Milan was ignored. Miranda and he, studies.

How Prospero sets pout educating others.

About a ruler who wasn’t wise, who became wise.

Caliban, Ariel and Ferdinand think he is a tyrant. 3 views of tyranny. Gonzalo’s dream world.

Prospero Ariel/Caliban appetite. Caliban is not educable.

The magic is not omnipotent. Magic is merely remedial.

Nature, art and chance. By chance he came to the island. Working with what is given.

puts down powers in entering the real world.

61. Monday.

Emphasis- best community. Wisdom must rule.

The best city depends partly on chance.

If it did emerge, it would deteriorate.

61 Brother Antonio is going back to Milan. Can he make Antonio see in Milan?

Equivalent of magic in the real world.

The Tempest seems Platonic. “Something, best…in a profound way…not doctrine

Yet Plato and Shakespeare are the greatest teachers.

didactic…something different than we usually mean by the term.

It is nowhere, a utopia, literally nowhere.

p. 62 They came to the island by chance.

Not creator- invented not the nature of things (black magic)

Found Caliban with his nature. All natures are given.

Caliban, drunk, recognizes his true master, shakes the tyrant.

Powers: only 4 hours.

All he can do is try to make Ferdinand and Miranda better, to rule Naples.

Cannot ensure his successors. (succession?)

Nature /art. the highest art. Gonzallo’s best regime

A play within as play (Iris, Juno)

That is,Shakespeare (Prospero) puts on a show.

got interrupted.

Ferdinand is transformed by a vision of marriage. Future life. Fertility rites.

They’re always trying to rape Miranda. It breaks in upon the magic

Question: What can Prospero dpo and not do?

Not make nature. Makes the storm.

The tests and trials.

By their reaction to the storm, each character is revealed.

Antonio and Sebastian are conventional rulers.

They both go back to the world the way it is. There, realism.

Power shows who someone is. Top: The magic wand is broken.

The education of Ferdinand

Power. Guards. If it was not done with magic, the play would be concerned with those kinds of realities.

p. 63

Ariel The poetic imagination. Enslaved

disciplined in service to wisdom


Power, police.

Miranda- first appearance. Compassion Prospero: be collected.”

Prospero mlearns something about his passion.

Masque Storm contrived for Miranda. “In care of thee.”


Art- Studies on the island are now used in ruling wisely.

64 bTop: The plat is the magic

Education and the trance of repentance.

Gonzallo’s Utopia- not morally harsh.

Private property- Caliban’s island.

Naturesd. Storm- Republic. Creates trials. Each character responds.

Powersa impermanent and almost accidental. Only 4 hours.

Absolute power- rule must give way to Ferdinand and Miranda.

Power- trance of repentance- the sword. Education.

Propsero’s rule is not liker Gonzalo’s utopia (primative).

Morally harsh- equal treatment would be unjust.

Caliban’s attempt to rape Miranda ended education.

Then began his slavery, until alcohol.

Poetic imagination, Ariel- poet in service of wisdom.

Prospero’s compassion at the end of the play- withheld significance?

Only after Ariel says something.

Antonio and Sebastian transformed? No indication. Back to real world.

Gonzalo Corrupt regimes. Naples and Milan. Question of usurping.

Stephano Caliban The island is his. Tunis and Carthage.

Magic: to rule. Power to determine what men will honor.

Contrived love. Prospero effects world disappears. Un-political-ness of love.

Love is the leverage Prospero has on Ferdinand.

The Masque Through the beautiful things. Prospero! sorrow, labor, sexual self control.

Comes to be favored by Ferdinand, not a tyrant.

The Masque is interrupted.

The game of chess. Ferdinand is cheating. Miranda doesn’t criticize.

Even if the city did come into being- impermanence.

Restraint is as natural to man as freedom.- contrary to the moderns.

Caliban- power will show a man. Persuasion is insufficient

[Points of repetition

Best regime. Wise ruler- in a real city. About a ruler who wasn’t wise who became wise.

Utopian- nowhere, literally. The highest art.

Chance- came to the island by chance.

Art- the highest art. Studies on the island now used in ruling wisely.

On Magic

-not omnipotent. Nature/Art/Chance. Works with the given.

Puts down powers on entering the real world. What is the equivalent of magic in the real world?

Not a creator- invented not the nature of things (black magic{ Irv had a teaching that Prospero’s art is distinct from black magic in that it does not change the natures of things, as princes into frogs.} All natures given.

Play within a play- Shakespeare (Prospero) by magic puts on a show.

Magic wand broken.

Power. guards. if not with magic, play would be concerned with these realities. 

Powers impermanent, almost accidental.]


From beginning to end the play is about the possibility of realizing the best

Education- each has peculiar tests and trials

Ariel- wants to be free. Master, Dost thou love me?

Prospero’s anger. When the Masque gets interrupted, he gets angry.

Prospero is learning wisdom, and education in wise rule.

A play about the possibility of wisdom ruling.

The spirited element on the side of reason.

Prospero has to use the spirited and the appetite- not pure types.

Prospero pardons Antonio and Sebastian (going back to a Christian world)

Question of the possibility in Milan. They’ll be up to their old tricks again

What trials or tests does Prospero arrange for each of the three groups?

A: Alonso, Antonio, Sebastian 1. storm

B. Stephano, Trinculo, Caliban

C: Ferdinand and Miranda.

How does each group respond to the trials?

The Tempest is the first trial of those on the ship and of Ariel and Miranda.

Trials in Republic.