The library, and step on it!


Years and years ago, there was a production of The Tempest, out of doors, at an Oxford college on a lawn, which was the stage, and the lawn went back towards the lake in the grounds of the college, and the play began in natural light. But as it developed, and as it became time for Ariel to say his farewell to the world of The Tempest, the evening had started to close in and there was some artificial lighting coming on. And as Ariel uttered his last speech, he turned and he ran across the grass, and he got to the edge of the lake and he just kept running across the top of the water — the producer having thoughtfully provided a kind of walkway an inch beneath the water. And you could see and you could hear the plish, plash as he ran away from you across the top of the lake, until the gloom enveloped him and he disappeared from your view.

And as he did so, from the further shore, a firework rocket was ignited, and it went whoosh into the air, and high up there it burst into lots of sparks, and all the sparks went out, and he had gone.

When you look up the stage directions, it says, ‘Exit Ariel.’

— Tom Stoppard, University of Pennsylvania, 1996 (via flameintobeing)


You know what they say! One man’s tragic flaw is another man’s pretty reasonable personality asset under the circumstances, I guess. Do…do they say that?

"The theatre can teach us…the truth of the illusory nature of our existence. It can alert us to the dream-like quality of our lives, their brevity, mutability and lack of solid grounds. As such, by reminding us of our mortality, it can foster in us the virtue of humility. This is a precious accomplishment, since much of our moral trouble springs from the unconscious assumption that we will live forever. In fact, our lives will meet with as categorical a conclusion as the end of The Tempest. This, however, may not be as dismaying as it sounds. If we were to accept that our existence is as fragile and fugitive as that of Prospero and Miranda, we might reap some advantage from doing so. We might cling to life in a less white-knuckled way, and so enjoy ourselves more and injure others less. Perhaps this is why Prospero, rather strangely in the context, urges us to be cheerful. The transience of things is not wholly to be regretted. If love and bottles of Chateauneuf-du-Pape pass away, so do wars and tyrants."
— Terry Eagleton, How To Read Literature.

"Prospero, you are the master of illusion.
Lying is your trademark.
And you have lied so much to me
(lied about the world, lied about me)
that you have ended by imposing on me
an image of myself.
underdeveloped, you brand me, inferior,
That is the way you have forced me to see myself
I detest that image! What’s more, it’s a lie!
But now I know you, you old cancer,
and I know myself as well."
— Caliban, in Aime Cesaire’s “The Tempest” (via heddahopperhats)

"Now our partnership is dissolved, I feel so peculiar:
As if I had been on a drunk since I was born
And suddenly now, and for the first time, am cold sober,
With all my unanswered wishes and unwashed days
Stacked up all around my life; as if through the ages I had dreamed
About some tremendous journey I was taking,
Sketching imaginary landscapes, chasms and cities,
Cold walls, hot spaces, wild mouths, defeated backs,
Jotting down fictional notes on secrets overheard
In theatres and privies, banks and mountain inns,
And now, in my old age, I wake, and this journey really exists,
And I have actually to take it, inch by inch,
Alone and on foot, without a cent in my pocket,
Through a universe where time is not foreshortened,
No animals talk, and there is neither floating nor flying."
— Excerpt from “Prospero to Ariel”, The Sea and the Mirror: A Commentary on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. W.H. Auden.
posted 1 year ago with 9 notes

"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 sometime voices
That, if I then had waked 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 waked
I cried to dream again."
— Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, III, ii (via lottie2)
posted 2 years ago via lottie2 with 37 notes