Induction. Sept 17



Prospero’s Project: On Tuesday we attempted to defines Prospero’s “project” as the revenge he may, or may, not exact on Antonio and/or Alonso. Early modern revenge drama (or plotlines in the case of The Tempest) generally feature a wronged man, who enacts retributive “justice.” That is, the revenger is only satisfied when the person who wronged him has suffered in the exact same way he was made to suffer.  Is revenge was moral? Argued Miranda was the most sympathetic character in the play, and wondered if Prospero’s moral authority was undermined by his inability to read or recognize an affinity between his own suffering and the suffering he inflicts upon Caliban?

What are some other ways to define Prospero’s “project”?

Theater History: Also wanted to emphasize that the London in which plays like The Tempest were played, was filled with theaters and performances of all types. And while Shakespeare has had a pronounced effect on the subsequent generations, in large part due to his editors, he was part of a thriving scene and produced his work in collaboration with other writers, actors, and theater impresarios.

Textual Scholarship

Term Definition
Crux Crux (Latin for “cross”, “gallow”, or “t-shape”) is a term applied by palaeographers, textual critics, bibliographers, and literary scholars to a point of significant corruption in a literary text. More serious than a simple slip of the pen or typographical error, a crux (probably deriving from Latin crux interpretum = “crossroad of interpreters”) is difficult or impossible to interpret and resolve. Cruxes occur in a wide range of pre-modern (ancient, medieval, and Renaissance) texts, printed and manuscript.

Consider the following unresolvable crux:

Ferdinand responds to the Prospero’s truncated masque by saying,

Le me live here ever;

So rare a wondered father and wise

Makes this place a paradise. (4.1.123-25)

The crux is contained in the word wise, or is it wife? What are some options for resolving this problem? 

The Oxford editors choose ‘wise’ and MIT Open Source chooses ‘wife.’ The crux hinges on the representation of the terminal, or descending ‘s,’ which, in the first Folio, looks more like ‘f’ than usual.

So what makes the island a paradise for Ferdinand? Is it Prospero or Miranda? There is no answer that accommodates both–If editors or actors choose ‘wife’ they exclude the father & if editors or actors choose ‘wise’ they exclude the wife. The term excluded in the judgement, sort of haunts the decision b/c cannot have a daughter without a father and vice versa. 

Though the crux cannot be resolved–a judgement always has to be made–editors can interrupt the reading process by calling attention to the apparatus itself, i.e. glossing the line and reminding the reader what types of technology render the double reading.

Taming of the Shrew

How does the RSC poster below attempt to resolve the problem of the two texts of Taming of the Shrew?


Shrew Induction I & II

What does the Lord mean when he says, “Sirs, I will practice on this man” (Induction 1.35) and why?

Compare the Lord’s treatment of Sly to his treatment of the dogs.

Who does the Lord get to the play Sly’s “humble wife” (Induction I.115) & what instructions does the Lord tell his servant to pass along to Bartholomew?

What sorts of evidence do the Lord and his servants offer to Sly to persuade him that he is actually “a mighty man of much descent” (II.13)?

Visual Rendering

  • Go to
    Open Anatomy of Social Scene and read through Read through the infographics “Death and Dying in Macbeth and Hamlet”; “Shakespeare’s Game of the Hollow Crown” & “Shakespeare’s Enchanted Forest”
  • As you read, consider some of the following questions:
    Who is the author? Who is the intended audience?
    Of what is the author trying to persuade the reader? Is the author successful?
    How does the author balance text and image? How does design effect meaning?
    How do infographics compare to argumentation? Is one more persuasive than the other? Why or why not?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *