페이지 이미지

lished in that year.* The passage in question occurs in Book I., Chapter xxx., ' Of the Caniballes' (cp. Temple Classics, Vol. i.).

The play obviously connects itself with current stories of colonisation and adventures of English seamen. There probably direct allusion to the wreck of Sir George Somers' ship, the Sea Venture, in July 1609; an interesting account, which Shakespeare seems to have read-one of at least five accounts-was published in the following year, written by Sylvester Jourdain, entitled 'A discovery of the Barmudas, otherwise called the Ile of Divels: by Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Sommers, and Captayne Newport, and divers others' (cp. Prospero's command to Ariel to fetch dew from the still-vexed Bermoothes ').

Soon after, in 1612, a fuller account was published, written by William Strachey; this tract illustrates the play in so many striking details that a strong case may be made for Shakespeare's use of it.+

Ben Jonson seems to allude to The Tempest in the Introduction to his 'Bartholomew Fair' (1612-14).—'If there be never a Servant-monster i' the Fayre, who can help it, he sayes; nor a nest of Antiques? Hee is loth to make nature afraid in his Playes, like those that beget Tales, Tempests, and such like Drolleries!'

The Tempest, among other plays, was acted at Court in the beginning of the year 1613, before Prince Charles, the Lady Elizabeth, and the Prince Palatine Elector, whence some scholars have inferred that it was specially composed for the marriage of the two latter royal personages, and have detected in Prospero a striking resemblance to King James.

Various futile attempts have been made to place The Tempest among Shakespeare's early plays, but, apart from the evidence adduced above, metrical tests and general considerations of style make an early date impossible.

The Sources. The Tempest was in all probability founded on some older play, but as yet its source has not been discovered.

An old German Comedy, called The Fair Sidea, by Jacob Ayrer, a notary of Nurnberg, who died in 1605, is perhaps a German version of Shake

* The authenticity of Shakespeare's autograph in the British Museum copy of Florio's Montaigne is now doubted.

tcp. The Rev. W. G. Gosling's valuable articles contributed to Literature, April 8, 15, June 3, 1899. If Shakespeare actually used the printed tract, the date of the play would be subsequent to 1612; I note that Strachey returned to England at the close of 1611 he wrote from his lodging in the Blacke Friars. There are possibilities that Shakespeare read the MS. The problem, resting on date of publication, is somewhat complicated.

speare's original; its plot bears a striking resemblance to that of The Tempest. Ayrer's productions were in many cases mere adaptations or translations of English plays brought to Germany at the beginning of the seventeenth century or previously by strolling players, ‘The English Comedians,' as they called themselves (cp. Cohn's Shakespeare in Germany, Preface, and pp. 1-75).

The Discovery of the Barmudas' has been already alluded to above.

In Eden's History of Travayle, 1577 (P. 252, Arber's Reprint), Shakespeare probably found 'Setebos' (Act I. sc. 2, l. 437); from the same work he possibly derived the names Alonso, Ferdinand, Sebastian, Gonzalo (for Gonzales), and other details.

In dealing with the Date of Composition reference has been made to Shakespeare's indebtedness to Montaigne; similarly, Ovid's Metamorphoses, vii. 197-206, as translated by Golding, probably suggested Prospero's Invocation, Act. V. 1, 33, sq.

The name 'Ariel,' though glossed by Shakespeare as 'an ayrie Spirit,' is of Hebraistic origin, and was no doubt derived from some such treatise as Heywood's Hierarchie of the Blessed Angels' :


The earth's great lord

Ariel. The Hebrew Rabbins thus accord.'

Caliban. 'Caliban' is most probably a contemporary variant of 'Canibal,' which is itself merely another form of Caribal,' i.e 'Caribbean.' There seems to be no particular difficulty in this derivation of the name, yet several scholars have rejected it. 'To me,' observes Mr Furness, it is unsatisfactory. There should be, I think, something in the description of cannibals, either of their features or of their natures, to indicate some sort of fellowship with a monster like Caliban. No such description has been pointed out.' This seems hardly enough to negative so plausible a theory as to the origin of the name.

A large number of critics have dealt with this creation of Shakespeare's; a valuable summary of the more important criticisms is to be found in the Variorum' edition of the play. Three studies call for special mention :-(1) Galban: The Missing Link: by Daniel Wilson: (2) Renan's philosophical drama, entitled Caliban; (3) Browning's Caliban upon Setebos; or Natural Theology in the Island.

The Scene of Action. 'The Scene, an uninhabited Island'; the claim of the Bermudas is now generally admitted as the original scene of Prospero's magic. Shakespeare refers to the still-vexed Bermoothes,'

and the local colour and details seem to be derived from the tracts referred to above, or perhaps (as Mr Rudyard Kipling has recently elaborated the idea) from the description given by one of the mariners, with the wealth of detail peculiar to sailors,' prepared to answer questions for unlimited sack.' 6 Much, doubtless, he discarded, but so closely did he keep to his original informations that those who go to-day to a certain beach some two miles from Hamilton, will find the stage set for Act II. scene 2 of The Tempest—a bare beach, with the wind singing through the scrub at the land's edge, a gap in the reef,' etc.*

Duration of Action. The Time-Analysis' of The Tempest brings out very clearly the fact that in this play Shakespeare has adhered strictly to the Unity of Time; the whole action of the play lasts from three to four hours; cp. Act I., 2, 239-240; Act V., 1, 5; ibid. 1. 136-137, 186, 223.

It is alleged that a sailor's 'glass' was a half-hour glass, and that Shakespeare was guilty of a technical error in using it in the sense of 'an hour glass.' The error was no doubt intentional.

The Music. There is good reason to believe that Wilson's Cheerful Ayres or Ballads, Oxford, 1660, has preserved for us the original music of two of the songs of The Tempest-viz., 'Full fathoms five,' and 'Where the Bee sucks'; the composer was R. Johnson, who in 1610 wrote the music for Middleton's Witch, and in 1611 was in the service of Prince Henry (cp. Grove's Dictionary of Music, Variorum Tempest, pp. 352-353, and Naylor's Shakespeare and Music, Dent, 1896).

[ocr errors]

Later Verses. In 1669 appeared Dryden and Davenant's version of The Tempest; or the enchanted Isle. According to Dryden, Davenant designed the Counterpart to Shakespeare's plot, namely that of a man who had never seen a woman.' Than this version,' observes Mr Furness, 'there is, I think, in the realm of literature, no more flagrant existence of lese-majesty' (cp. Variorum Tempest, pp. 389-449). In 1797 F. G. Waldron published The Virgin Queen, attempted as a sequel to Shakespeare's Tempest.'


* cp. Spectator, June 2, 1898. Mr Gosling, however, maintains that Mr Kipling's 'vivid imagination has led him astray when he thinks he has discovered the scene of the shipwreck in a cove about two miles from Hamilton. . . . The actual scene of the shipwreck and landfall of Sir George Somers are known beyond doubt. The rocks on which Sir George Somers' ship, the Sea Venture, was wrecked, lie off St George's, about twelve miles from Hamilton,' etc.

The Tempest

[blocks in formation]
« 이전계속 »