Hello there! We continue our studies in Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest. To help you prepare for the English A exam, we take another look at how to do a summary. Read on, and enjoy!
ENGLISH B— Episode 6: Caliban’s claim to ownership.
European explorers in the 16th century brought home accounts of the New World they had ‘discovered’. They wrote of ‘monstrous’ animals and of peoples with strange customs—and naturally they often exaggerated! They clearly believed in the ‘finders keepers’ rule, so you will see Trinculo and Stephano discussing the possibility of capturing Caliban and taking him back to Europe as a kind of circus exhibit or perhaps offering him as a gift to some emperor. (Act 2: ii) Prospero, too, assumes that he has every right to claim ownership of the island. But what about Caliban’s claim? • Caliban claims that the island is his, bequeathed to him by Sycorax, his
mother, and that Prospero has stolen it. • As a gracious host, he offers to show the Europeans the delights of the island—water with berries and so forth—but is then ill-treated and enslaved. • He is required to learn the language of the Europeans and then is criticized
for not speaking well. • He is made a servant/slave to Prospero, and subjected to vicious punish
ments. • He is denied access to Miranda (who is deemed superior to him). • His mother is named a witch, and he himself is called a monster, sub-human
and incapable of behaving in a cultured way.
Does Caliban’s story sound familiar?
For some 300 years after The Tempest was written, audiences apparently accepted Prospero’s story, and dismissed Caliban’s claim. More recently, audiences have started to see Caliban as the victim of colonization: he is ‘named’ and silenced and controlled by the colonizer, and his rights are systematically stripped away. This way of responding to the play is an example of a “postcolonial reading”. Here’s a question for you to think about: Does Shakespeare give Prospero the right to rule the island simply because he is a European, or because he has the qualities of a good ruler? music surrounding them) is a symbol of divine blessing and harmony in society—achieved when all rebellions are subdued, and authority placed in the right hands.
The game of chess played by Miranda and Ferdinand is a symbol of the wisdom, self-control, order and skill that will bring success both to their marriage and to their future actions as rulers.
The marriage of Miranda and Ferdinand symbolizes the peace and unity that their two (formerly hostile) nation states will enjoy. Read the following passage and then summarise, in not more than 115 words, the reasons given for the importance of studying and understanding Religion.
• Step 1 Underline the material you need in your summary. (We have done
this for you by italicizing the sections). • Step 2 Write out the selected material in your own words, avoiding repetition or examples illustrating a point. • Step 3 Revise your work, ensuring that you have the correct number of
It’s hard to imagine any subject more important to study and understand than Religion. More important than Maths? Or French? Or Physics? Or Engineering? Well, let’s at least say that it is equally important, though maybe for different reasons. There are three main reasons why it is so essential to understand and appreciate what religions are, and why they matter so much. The first is that religions are extremely dangerous. Think of all the evil and vicious things which have been done in the name of Religion: people have been tortured and burned alive; holy wars and crusades have been fought; whole groups of people have been kept in subordination and subjection—outcastes, slaves, women in relation to men. And think also of the many difficult and apparently insoluble problems in the world at the present time which have a religious part to them: Northern Ireland, the Middle East, the apartheid system in South Africa, the division between communist countries and others. It is not the case that religions alone create those problems, but it is certainly true that Religion has a part to play in them. If we want to live in a more peaceful world, it is important that we understand what there is about Religion which makes believers so passionate in their commitments and in their division from each other.
But there is a second reason why it is wise to study and understand Religion: religious belief has been the inspiration, not only of great violence and hatred, but also of almost all of mankind’s greatest achievements, in art, poetry, music, architecture, spiritual exploration and discovery. The creative power of Religion is enormous in all parts of the world. And this is still true. To take just one example, we have just lived through one of the one of the greatest ages of Christian poetry that has occurred in the world history of Christianity. Of course, we are so close to it that it is hard to see it, but it is in fact the case that the last hundred years have seen an almost miraculous flowering of Christian vision, and also of Christians grappling with the reality of evil. So Religion is not disappearing or fading away. It is changing its forms of appearance and expression, but it remains a vital and creative force in many lives. Indeed, it is still the case that the majority of people alive on the planet today are committed to some form of religious belief. And that leads to a third reason why it is so important to study and understand Religion. Religions are concerned with the question of eternal life, with what may ultimately and in the end—and for ever—be the case. If it is the case that your life can find its rest in God and can abide in Him/Her for ever, it is obvious that the issues which religions set before us are a great deal more important than a choice between cornflakes and porridge for breakfast. Of course, it may be that what religions claim is false—it may be that there is no reality correctly described as God in whom we can find our eternal life. But we can scarcely know whether that is so before we make some exploration ourselves.
(From the Foreword by John Bowker to 1986)
Religions of Man
by Roger Whiting,