English Review of Shakespear’s “The Tempest” Why is it that people fawn Shakespeare and have unreasonably high reguard for his works, including The Tempest, and label them as”immortal classics”? Indeed Shakespeares works had great significance in the evolution of English literature, but these works, including The Tempest are mostly devoid of significance and literary value in the present day. One can expect to gain little educational benefit of the english language or hightened apreciation for fine literature from the reading of Shakespeares titles for reasons enumerate. First of all, the colorful and sophisticated metephoric vernacular style of the language utilized is archaic; even the speech of intellectually refined individuals and other respected literary works do not imploy of this rich style of speech. The poemic composition of The Tempest does not increase ones ability to apreciate distinguished literature because the refined and respected works of most other classical writers are in novel form and thus differ highly from Shakesperian works in the literary devices and mannerisms from which they are comprised.

The Tempest was written in early seventeeth century England. At this period of history and country the English language was quite different from what it is today in many ways. First, standard, formal vocabulary was different at this time.

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An great expample is found in the line “..you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!” (act 1 sc. 1, p. 9). In this line, the word incharitable is the modern equivalent of the word uncharitable.

The standard dictionary word has changed prefixes somewhere througout the centuries.Another thing that would have made a further gap between the vernacular in the play and modern English is Shakespeares deployment of common language, or slang (although I have no proof because I dont speak sixteenth century slang). “A pox o your throught..” (act 1 sc.1, p.

9) and “..give oer..

” (act 1 sc. 1, p. 9). These phrases seem to be slang therms because they are so deviant from there modern english equvalents, “curses on” and “give up”, respectiveley.What value does learning the archaic vernacular give to the reader. Surely it does not increase thier word power or sophisticate thier vocabulary, for nowhere, not even in among people of high intellecutal refinement such as venerable college professers, is this dead language used.

Another distinctive trait of the vernacular used in The Tempest is the heavy use of metaphor. This use of metaphor is so heavy and outlandish that it becomes extrodinarily difficult to interpret and causes the words to fall into chaotic ambiguity. In fact, it is not unreasonable to define the language of the text as sophistry.

A great example of heavy metaphor in The Tempest is the line “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.I, / Beyond all limit of what else I th world, / Do love, prize honor you” (Act 3 sc. 1, p. 95). In modern terms, this means: “Lord, bear witness to what I say, and bless my claim (to this woman). Let me be damned if I lie when I say that I love honor, prize and honor you above anything else in the world.” The learning of this type of heavy usage of metaphor would be justified if it were imployed in many other respected classic works or in modern eloquent speech, but it is not.Metaphoric speech outside of literature and informal speech is reguarded as crude and unsophisticated in modern speech.

This is so because people have come to reguard refined speech as being characteristic with the use of a large vocabulary consisting of consise and sophisticated words. Even if the argument is made that one cannot gain much benefit in refining their speech by reading The Tempest, Shakespeare aficianados claim that there is value in the mechanics and devices common in literature which can be learned from his works. This is exaggerated, however. The most valuble literary device that can be learned from The Tempest is the metaphor.However, as I said before, Shakespeare over uses this so much that his words fall into sophistry. A good example is the line “Or that there were such men / Whose head stood in their breasts?” (act 3 sc.

3, p.113). I can make no sense out of this whatsoever.

Another outlandish metaphor is “Which now we find / Each putter-out of five for one will bring us / Good warrant of” (act 3 sc.3, p. 113). However, a foot note explains that line makes reference to the fact that because of the danger involved in travel at the time, a traveler could give a sum of money to a broker and collect five times his deposit if he could successfully return from his voyage. However, this is out of context with the preceeding lines in which Gonzalo is lamenting on the immoratlity of the others.

As you can see, Shakespeares use of metaphor is not as exemplary as it is reputated. As for respecting The Tempest for its useage of other literary devices, one might as well proclaim a VCR instruction booklet as a great classic piece of literature.I say this because The Tempest is an epic poem, and not a novel. There is no great comparison with the usage of elements of this drama which was intended to be performed, not read. For starters, the characters of the play are one dimensional. For example, Prospero is an all powerful sorcerer who is bent only on retribution for Antonio, the usurper of his thrown.

There are no other aspects of Prosperos personality seen in the play, and very little about his intimate thoughts and feelings which is so common in many classic pieces of literature.If The Tempest is still viewed in the twentieth century to by a great piece of literature by so many respectable authorities of literature, then they might as well go ahead and indiscriminately label other works devoid of literary merit as “immortal classics” – including the owners manual to my 1989 Ford Taurus. Yes, Shakespeare did play a vital role in the evolution of literature, but the greatness of his work has been surpassed by far by other authors – authors which perhaps should be given more credit for their endevours than a 433 year old has been.


Racial Tension in FeverWith the racial tension as high as it was in Philadelphia at the time of the Fever, one would think that any common enemy or goal would bring everybody together. However, when the illness known as the Fever hit the city, prejudice rose to different heights. Prejudice and racism is bad enough as it is. However, the citizens of Philadelphia were making it look like they wanted the blacks and immigrants to come back into the city.

They told the blacks that they could come back to the city because they had immunity to the disease, when in actuality they only needed the blacks and immigrants to act as caretakers for the white upper class citizens. They forced the blacks and immigrants out of their homes, where they were loved by their families and friends, and into nursing the white residents of Philadelphia. The blacks and immigrants went from a place that they truly loved and that truly loved them back to a place where they were forced to love those whom they had hated just weeks before. In other words, the blacks were forced into forming an artificial love for their enemies.

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This is a new level of prejudice. This type of racism is worse than the original, simpler form of racism that existed in Philadelphia before the Fever broke out.The illness was called the Yellow Fever Epidemic. Although it seemed like a terrible thing, it was actually like a godsend, in a very crude manner, to bring the many different races of Philadelphia together. When the fatal epidemic hit the white people of Philadelphia, the blacks and other immigrants who were shut out were given immunity, or so they were told, and the chance to return back to the city. As Wideman wrote, “I was commandeered to rise and go forth to the general task of saving the city, forced to leave this neighborhood where my skills were sorely needed. I nursed those who hated me, deserted the ones I loved, who loved me.

” This is said by a black doctor named Dr. Rush, who is speaking of his extreme discomfort in leaving his community where he knows he is needed and appreciated to go and help a city full of people that will pretend to like him, so that in turn he will he try to save them. The people who were shunned out of the city were now returning to essentially save the city of Philadelphia.

The blacks and immigrants, the so called heroes that were sent to return to the city after the Fever hit were probably better off outside of the city where they were. They were in places where they were loved and their skills were much appreciated. They may have been doing the same work outside of the city that they would have been doing with the white people in Philadelphia, but they appreciated and actually cared for their work more so now then ever before. They at least felt like they were working towards the same goal and for the same kind of person as themselves.

On the other hand, when these blacks and immigrants were called over to the city after the yellow fever hit, they were basically being used by the people who had kicked them out in the first place. Even though they would basically be doing the same kind of work, the work would seem much more painful. Wideman’s description of “commandeered to rise and go forth to the general task of saving the city, forced to leave the neighborhood where my skills were sorely needed,” summed up their feeling for working with the enemy that had kicked them out of the city.

It simply stated that “The small strength I was able to muster each morning was sorely tried the moment my eyes and ears opened upon the sufferings of my people, the reality that gave the lie to the fiction of our immunityI nursed those who hated me, deserted the ones I loved, the ones who loved me.”The work was now described as a task. The blacks and immigrants had already formed a neighborhood and had their own identity. Their skills were needed by their own people in their own neighborhood.

The people the blacks and immigrants came back to were not people from their own loving neighborhoods and communities. Rather, they were from the racist city of Philadelphia. When the blacks and immigrants left to go back to the city, they realized that they were being used. Wideman wrote, “the moment my eyes and ears opened upon the sufferings of my people, the reality that gave the lie to the fiction of our immunity.” In other words they all knew that immunity given to return to the city was so that the blacks could take care of the sick whites from the city.


Explication Through a multitude of literary devices and techniques, Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of Myself,” is one of his most famous contributions to American literature. He uses simile and metaphor, paradox, rhythm, and free verse style, to convey his struggle between the relation of the body and soul, the physical and the spiritual being. He continues to disobey all social restrictions of the romantic time period. From the beginning, Whitman begins by stating, “What I shall assume, you shall assume, for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you,” proposing that the reader listen to him, for he possesses all of the answers to life. The setting is somewhat naturalistic, and offers an image of the speaker, relaxing, possibly sprawled out across a blanket, philosophizing about life, while in the middle of a peaceful meadow. As the poem later shifts in tone, and setting, Whitman starts to think about the answers to life he has come up with, based upon the past, and decides that the reader should hear him out, one final time, as his ideas have changed.

This brings us to #44 of “Song of Myself.” In section #44 of, “Song of Myself,” Whitman’s first stanza begins: “It’s time to explain myselflet us stand up. What is known I strip awayI launch all men and women forward with me into the unknown.

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The clock indicates the momentbut what does eternity indicate? Eternity lies in bottomless reservoirsits buckets are rising forever and ever, they pour and they pour and they exhale away.” Whitman is simply stating that he wants to tell the purpose of his madness. The madness that Whitman expresses is that of power and self-confidence. Whitman has written this based upon his experiences in life. Through these experiences, he has grown to know certain things about life and tries to pass them down to the reader.

Throughout the beginning of the poem, Whitman takes the reader by the hand and demands that he follows Whitman and his ideas, because based on his own life Whitman holds the answers to the reader’s questions. But now, he asks the reader to erase everything that he has previously said – forget the past. Why don’t we try something new? We have to focus on the present, not on the past, but also to focus on what we are going to experience in the future, what can we expect? Well, there’s no telling what will happen.

All we can do is move forward and see what happens. He moves on into the next stanza by writing: “We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers; there are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them. Births have brought us richness and variety, and births will bring us richness and variety. I do not call one greater and one smaller, that which fills its period and place is equal to any.” Whitman says thinks that all we know about the future so far is that the seasons will continue to change, just as in the past. Nature will run its course regardless of the situations humans bring upon themselves. He also feels that everyone born, is born for a reason, and has something to offer to society, in some way or another. This is the least that we can expect.

Whether a person is born into a poor family or a wealthy one, it does not make either better or worse than the other. Whitman feels that everyone is equal, and should be treated equally without discrimination, regardless or social or physical attributes. In the third stanza, Whitman writes: “Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you my brother or sister? I am sorry for youthey are not murderous or jealous upon me; All has been gentle with meI keep no account with lamentation; what have I to do with lamentation? I am an acme of things accomplished, and I am an encloser of things to be. My feet strike an apex of the apices of the stairs, on every step bunches of ages, and larger bunches between the steps, all below duly traveled-and still I mount and mount.” Here is a direct statement towards minorities. He apologizes on his own behalf for the discrimination for which they have been plagued. Why should I feel the grief that you feel? I am a pinnacle of things achieved, and I still possess the ability to achieve more. He goes on to explain that he has climbed to the top of the mountain.

As he has climbed, he has grown, both physically and spiritually. The further Whitman climbs, the closer he comes to greatness, and the separation between him and the people below him is expanding, the further people are from his greatness. This sense of superiority correlates to his theme of equality because he had to earn his way to the top of the mountain, and feels that everyone, if not already, has or should have the ability to climb to the top as well.

Then he would not be as superior; however, he insists that ambition is the reason for his superiority, and each person is equal in that they can control their own ambition to become more powerful. The following stanza, Whitman describes the climb to the top by stating: “Rise after rise bow the phantoms behind me, Afar down I see the huge first Nothing, the vapor from the nostrils of death, I know I was even thereI waited unseen and always, and slept while God carried me through the lethargic mist, and took my timeand took no hurt from the foetid carbon. Long I was hugged closelong and long. Immense have been the preparations for me, faithful and friendly the arms that have helped me.” Now Whitman begins to explain the journey to the climax of his peak. As he looked behind him, past everyone’s praise, he could remember when he was in his or her shoes, at the bottom of the mountain, eagerly waiting to climb to the top. The floating fog grew thicker, and it made it harder to see those behind him. Whitman was anxious to see what the journey along the way would bring to him.

As he proceeded to climb, God and his spirits were there to guide Whitman through every obstacle that he faced along the way. The “lethargic mist” is an image Whitman uses to symbolize God taking him by the hand, guiding him through the unknown. This mist was slow moving, and thick, making it difficult to see what lied ahead of him. He shut his eyes and let his faith in God control his destiny. Nothing could affect him while in this state of mind, not even the highly offensive smell of the carbon.

As he learned, he progressed to the next level, taking his time, consuming all the knowledge around placed around him. He worked hard to get to this point, and not a soul could take this moment away from him. Whitman was also gracious that everyone around him was able to see the desire to succeed that he had possessed, and offered help towards his success. Concluding section #44, Walt Whitman writes, “Cycles ferried my cradle, rowing and rowing like cheerful boatmen; for room to me stars kept aside in their own rings, they sent influences to look after what was to hold me. Before I was born out of my mother generations guided me, my embryo has never been torpidnothing could over lay it; for it’s the nebula cohered to an orbthe long slow strata piled to rest it onvast vegetables gave it sustenance, monstrous sauroids transported it into their mouths and deposited it with care.

All forces have been steadily employed to complete and delight me, now I stand on this spot with my soul.” In this final stanza, Whitman sums up the section by telling the reader that throughout his journey, a spirit had watched over him, and as previously mentioned, people were willing to lend a helping hand so that he could achieve greatness. He was guided throughout his early periods of life. Whitman also seems to feel that great people existed in his past generations.

Hard work and determination runs through his blood, and that his ancestors gave him the power to accomplish greatness. Nothing could destruct what he had so carefully constructed. He imagined himself as a bright spot, a nebula, out in space stuck to a heavenly being. But the spirits carried him to this place and he stands now, with all of his body and soul, knowing that neither can be touched. In “Song of Myself” #44, Walt Whitman uses a variety of literary devices. His use of powerful rhythm and the multiplicity of metaphors and images set the realistic tone of the poem.

He often contradicts himself throughout the entirety of the poem, specifically in section #44 when he tells the reader to listen again to what he has to say. This is what he tells the reader at the beginning of the poem, to follow him, then, as the poem progresses, Whitman becomes unsure of himself, until #44. It’s the use of these literary devices, as well as a free verse style that contributes to Whitman’s unprecedented technique.

This poem was drastically liberal compared to previous and current writers of his time. This never before seen method, although highly controversial to social boundaries of the time period, willingly opened the doors and allowed future writers to cross the invisible line, set by previous writers, and express themselves in way that they saw fit. Word Count: 1598


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