O Brave New World

The opening scene of Shakespeare’s rumored last play, The Tempest, opens with a dangerous, chaotic storm. The opening scene contrasts to the second scene in which you meet Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, and his daughter, Miranda. The scene is replaced by a feeling of wonder and amazement, a feeling that is critically maintained throughout the play. Miranda questions Prospero about her past while upholding this admiration of the new world. While Prospero is intentionally made to feel prosperous and godlike, Miranda is meant to seem naïve and full of wonder. Her character, full of whimsical amazement contrasted with the stark ruling attitude of Prospero represents the underlying pastoral tension represented in the play. In the final act, Miranda exclaims:

“O, wonder!

How many goodly creatures are there here?

How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,

That has such people in’t!”

Jessica Slights takes on a feministic view of Miranda in her article titled, “Rape and the Romanticization of Shakespeare’s Miranda.” Slight suggests that, in contrast to the other characters, Miranda is the alternative view to morals and selfhood. She uses Miranda’s romance and marriage to Ferdinand as a way to support Miranda’s overall theme of awe, in that Miranda believes in the good in everyone. Miranda is seen as possessing the finer qualities on the island, although she is seen as the naïve one, and that is that life is beautiful and that everyone deserves a second chance. Thus showing that pastoral can be expressed not only in the green grass of the brave new world but also in the wonder, forgiveness, and trust of Miranda.

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One thought on “O Brave New World

  1. I like how you have taken the idea of pastoral literature and put a spin on it. You have identified how key themes of pastoral literature and then applied them to other aspects of the novel. I too will focus somewhat on Miranda so I am interested to read you views on her.

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