Outlook Issue 15 Winter 2011
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
Prev     Next
Theatre Lessons from The Tempest To promote the 2012 Olympics, David Cameron and Boris Johnson played tennis doubles in Trafalgar Square, each partnered by a paraplegic. We were in the front of a dense crowd, cheering them on before making our way to the Haymarket Theatre for a matinee performance of The Tempest by William Shakespeare. The Tempest is a brilliant and complex play with a strong Christian message. Prospero, the hero, (played by Ralph Fiennes) has great wisdom and magical powers derived from studying books. Initially it appears as if Prospero wants vengeance but he uses his powers to create situations where his enemies have the opportunity to recognise the evil they have perpetrated and repent. Antonio, Prospero’s brother, who in collaboration with Alonso, king of Naples, seized the dukedom of Milan from Prospero, refuses to repent but is still forgiven. Alonso repents and finds his son Ferdinand who he thought dead to be alive and engaged to Miranda, Prospero’s daughter. Through studying the bible we grow in wisdom. Recognising and repenting of our sins bring us closer to God and each other. Without repentance God’s love cannot be experienced. Prospero has two servants, Caliban and Ariel. Caliban, a near anagram of cannibal, represents human nature in its raw sinful state. Caliban is resistant to Prospero’s attempts to educate him and ungrateful for his kindness. He resents having to serve Prospero and chooses to serve the drunken butler Stefano who feeds him alcohol. Those who reject God’s law make foolish choices and are easily seduced by worldly pleasures. Caliban has attempted to rape Miranda, a brutal lust which is contrasted with the true love Miranda and Ferdinand have for one another - a love which is mutual and consensual, suffers for the other and seeks to serve. It has a physical expression within the bounds of matrimony, blessed by God. The love of Miranda and Ferdinand is a reflection of divine love. Ariel was imprisoned in a tree by the mother of Caliban, the witch Sycorax and must serve Prospero to earn his freedom. Sycorax and Caliban are both associated with the sin inherent in human nature. We are saved from sin by God and in return must serve in order to break free of sin. Aileen and Liz Sanderson