Munmun Masud

September 25th, 2010

Outline and Paper

Posted by munmunmasud in Uncategorized

Title: Technology Foreshadows the Future

Thesis: The sounds and noises produced through Ariel’s technological instrument/device ultimately foreshadow several of the character’s future.

Idea One: Act I

The sounds of thunder foreshadow the tempest plotted by prospero and eventually carried out by Ariel.

Idea Two: Miranda’s isolation

Before the crew washes up to the island, Prospero tells Miranda about their past. He also temporarily puts her to sleep through Ariel’s mechanism. He asks her if she is listening to him. This is significant as he resorts to have her hear about their past rather than forcing her to recall or think about it. Because of Miranda’s limited encounter with civilization, we can predict that she will be enthused once she meets new people for the first time in her adult life.

Idea Three: Caliban’s interpretation of the island’s noises

Ariel’s instrumental and soothing sounds affect Caliban, and give him pleasure and something to look forward to—his reign after Prospero’s departure.

Idea Four: Breaking down “Auspicious Gales”

Gales are sounds that can be heard. Auspicious connotes a happy ending for Miranda and Ferdinand’s marriage and the play’s finale.


Munmun Masud

Professor Buell

English 399W

September 24, 2010

Technology Foreshadows the Future

Interpretations of elaborate sounds of various characters provide a detailed understanding of their prospect throughout William Shakespeare’s final play, “The Tempest.” These sounds can either be defined as “natural” noises that inhabit the island, or we can assume the sounds are being produced through the use of a technological instrument/device created by Prospero’s spirit servant, Ariel. The latter will be argued for the purpose of this essay. Technology is formed through knowledge and skill, of which are available to any human society for the provisions of life. In this play, Prospero uses his knowledge which were acquired through books, and his skills for magic—at times with the help of Ariel, to create sounds and noises that dictate each of the character’s emotion along with his/her future.

The initial sounds are heard in Act one, which indeed are created through the use of Prospero’s magic and spirit servant, Ariel. It is the thunderous sound of the tempest. Even before the characters speak, the act begins with “A tempestuous noise of thunder and lightening heard.” This is where Shakespeare’s sense of practicality comes into question because, in fact, only “thunder” is “heard,” and “lightening” can only be seen. Hence, Shakespeare overshadows sight by placing more emphasis on sound; the sound created by Ariel’s device. The sounds of the roaring tempest foreshadow each character’s outcome in the act, as the sensation of panic and fear overpower Boatswain, Master, Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, Gonzalo and others who are left shipwrecked, whirling in open water.

In Act one, Miranda’s father begins to inform her about their past. Prospero repeatedly questions her if she is listening to his tale. Prospero’s act of telling the story and Miranda’s act of hearing it displays the role of sound for Miranda’s character. She is so confined of a creature that Shakespeare chooses to have Miranda hear rather than live her history, before resorting to the island.

Miranda’s limited encounter with people other than the mentioned three: Prospero, Ariel and Caliban, foreshadows the excitement she will unknowingly possess once her eyes are laid upon unfamiliar beings. She claims, “O wonder / How many goodly creatures are there here! / How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world / That has such people in’t” (V. l. 182-185). Such words are excitedly announced once she encounters the royal shipwrecked party upon her father’s island.

Shakespeare does not fail to acknowledge how the sounds affect even the beast-like creature of the island, Caliban. In a drunken manner, he states,

“Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises,

Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.

Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears, and sometimes voices

That if I then had wak’d after long sleep

Will make me sleep again ; and then in dreaming

The clouds methought would open and show riches

Ready to drop upon me, that when I wak’d

I cried to dream again” (III. l. 140-148).

This verse depicts a different face of Caliban—a side in which we encounter humility in him. Shakespeare humanizes him by saying that he sleeps, dreams, cries, and is even able to feel pain as he says, “sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.” By stating this, Shakespeare persuades us that Caliban is not as malicious. However, as readers, we cannot fall prey to Caliban’s least bit of humanistic qualities because he had once plotted to rape Miranda and is conspiring to murder Prospero. The above verse reveals Caliban’s appreciation of the noise he hears in the island. We can assume that Caliban refers to Ariel when he mentions “twangling instruments.” As he tries to calm Trinculo and Stefano, he goes on to describe the “delight” and how much he dreams to reign over the island. This verse describing Caliban’s appreciation of the sounds he hears definitely foreshadows his future. As native of the island and the son of the deceased Sycorax, the former sovereign, Caliban will rule once Prospero leaves the island for Milan. As a result, Caliban’s dream will become reality.

Towards the very end of the play, Prospero asks Ariel for a safe journey home. He requests that all, including himself, be delivered by sea through “auspicious gales” (V. l. 315). This terminology connotes an impractical understanding of the natural world because it implies that if a natural disaster was to strike, Ariel would protect everyone. The term “gales” suggests wind, however it also refers to noise; further implying that Prospero wants only harmless noise to accompany him and the royal party. The clichéd phrase, “safe and sound” is used as a pun when reflected to this scene as the term “sound,” suggests both noise and safety. The adjective “auspicious,” implies a fortunate departure. Shakespeare’s effort to conclude the play with the connotation of safe departure foreshadows the idyllic finale of Miranda’s wedding and Prospero’s life as an ordinary man, awaiting death—the final phase in which Prospero will not be able to hear noise nor will he be able to command Ariel for it, as he had promised Ariel would be set free.

It is noise, whether heard in the form of music or thunderous roar that seizes the attention of almost all the characters. When sweet tunes are heard, it either gets overlooked by characters because it occurs during sleep or because it is too engaging to protest—in the case of Caliban. Ariel’s ability to create both beautiful and horrifying sounds puts emphasis on material aspects of the play, the instrument itself. Through Shakespeare’s inclusion of noise, the characters are offered opportunities in which they are able to reflect on, not realizing that it eventually foreshadows his/her outcome.

September 12th, 2010

Summer Solstice, New York City: Through the Lens of Technocriticism

Posted by munmunmasud in Uncategorized

The very first line of the poem indicates the character’s frustration with what I would perceive to be is technology. It is stated, “By the end of the longest day of the year he could not stand it,” (l.1). As we read further on, we learn that he is escaping upward. This can be a portrayal of the character’s attempt to leave behind all the negativity of technology by escaping towards the sky, where technology is somewhat limited as opposed to the ground. Therefore, if this suicidal man decides to jump, he would fall where all technology can be found, the ground. As a result, his death would be a representation of being trapped in a world run by technology.

As opposed to the first line of the poem, the last line, “back at the beginning of the world” (l. 40) indicates a period of time where technology did not exist. Perhaps, this is the era the man wants to relocate to, upon death, if he decides to jump. Clearly, we are aware of all the technological references in the poem. These references further allow us to comprehend the man’s current emotional state, the feeling of being trapped. For example, the police bombard him, and finally become his rescue. The police force is an example of technology as they put to use specific methods, materials and devices to solve practical problems, such as this situation.

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