Sunday, April 22, 2012

Three-Word Wednesday, Magpie 114 and ABC Wednesday


"O" is for "Original"
The prompt this week reminded me of Shakespeare’s sad tale of a drowning.
This occurred as a result of a shipwreck that happened some years ago – quite a number of years ago, actually; it was in 1609.

A ship named the “Sea Venture,” which was on its way to Virginia, was caught in a tempest, something that we today would recognize as a hurricane, and crashed on a dangerous island, a bloody spot feared by all sailors of that day because of the rocks that surrounded it – they called it the “Isle of Devils.”

The ship was destroyed on the rocks, but all hands – 150 people and one dog – got ashore and lived to tell the tale.
They had landed on, of all places, Bermuda.

I have to admit that the place has changed a bit since then.
At any rate, the ship’s passengers learned, since they spent months there, that it wasn’t an isle of devils at all; in fact, it was a pretty great place to spend the winter. There was plenty of food: all kinds of edible plants, animals and birds, and the sea around the island was chock-full of fish.

The news about the Sea Venture, when it got back to England, created a sensation. Will Shakespeare read about it and sat down to write a play, named, as I’m pretty sure by now you’ve guessed, “The Tempest.”
For the playwright, the island was a magical, mysterious and enchanting place.
And he filled it with magical, mysterious inhabitants.
The main character of this play is Prospero, who lives with his daughter on this island. In exile, far away from everyone, he has somehow managed to acquire the power of magic to help him in his daily existence.
I’d have to list “The Tempest” as one of the most original and wildly creative of dramatist Will’s productions. The human and imaginary characters, the dramatic and the grotesque, are blended together in what has come to be regarded as a genuine work of art.
Among the various bizarre inhabitants of the isle is kinky Ariel, a sprightly spirit – or a spirited sprite :-) – who flits about in a positive marathon-race of service for his master Prospero. It’s Ariel who tells the poignant tale of the drowned man.
His lines are sad, tender and unforgettable.
“Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made.
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.”

If you’ve ever heard, or used, the phrase “sea change,” three guesses as to where it came from. :-)
(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings.)

45 comments:

jaerose said...

I loved 'The Tempest' at school - largely because of Caliban..I hope you can get i-player where you are..there's a new version coming to the BBC I believe..great post..Jae

Daydreamertoo said...

Amazing tale. You always have the most interesting things to write about, thank you.

Berowne said...

Thanks so much. I enjoy your comments, Daydreamertoo, because I'm a daydreamertoo. :-)

Brian Miller said...

i am thinking that washing up on bermuda now might not be as bad a thing now...now an island of magic and mystery...that would not be so bad either...

Leslie: said...

How fascinating! I didn't know Will had taken his story from the reality of that ship wreck. Just last year, I tutored a student who was studying "The Tempest" and I, who had never read it before, was quite intrigued by the tale.

Berowne said...

Brian Miller: "I am thinking that washing up on bermuda might not be as bad a thing now."
Until you get the hotel bill. :-)

Berowne said...

Leslie: "How fascinating! I didn't know Will had taken his story from the reality of that ship wreck."
By the way, if you scuba dive, you can go there and see some actual remains of the Sea Venture.

Linda said...

A fun and interesting movie, "Shakespeare in Love" shares a link to this tale of yours Berowne. I always enjoy coming here and reading through your Magpie posts. Thank you for sharing them. =D

oldegg said...

The secret in your writing about the arts in general is how you fascinate us with your well researched detail and drag us in to be players too in the subject. Top post once again.

Berowne said...

Old Egg, New Egg - whatever. Your comments are always great. Thanks.

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Yeah, good work!
Well informed stuff!!!

Brandee Shafer said...

It's been a long time since I've read The Tempest. I've always been a Macbeth girl, myself. But, oh, to crash unharmed...into beauty. I'll take it every time.

Roger Owen Green said...

Odd, but the 1609 date made me think of the Henry Hudson trek up the Hudson river to what is now Albany. A couple years later, he had his own tragedy in Hudson Bay.

Sharp Little Pencil said...

I love Shakespeare, and I lived two seasons in Bermuda, an artist-in-residence at the Princess Hotel, the oldest building on the island. Originally, it was a palace for Princess Anne, whoever she was. Was there at a piano soothing tourists during Hurricane Emily in the 80s!

Love the info, love your take on The Tempest, truly one of his best! Always learning from you, friend. Peace, Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/04/22/pity-party-marathon-with-fireworks/

Berowne said...

You're amazing, Grace. Artist-in-residence in Bermuda - remarkable. Always wonderful to hear from you, friend Amy.

Lydia said...

I so loved this post. Darned perfect for the prompt, it is.

Have never read "The Tempest" nor seen it on stage. As I don't think it is showing any time soon nearby, I guess I should make the play a part of my summer reading because it sounds So Good!

Little Nell said...

Wonderful to connect the prompt to Shakespeare's play. At first I thought you were leading up to 'Twelfth Night' and the twins' shipwrecking, and I didn't know about 'The Tempest' being inspired in this way. Well, it's Shakespeare's birth (and death) day today, so this is a fine tribute.

Berowne said...

Litle Nell: "Well, it's Shakespeare's birth (and death) day today, so this is a fine tribute."
Very true, it is. So, Happy Birthday, Will!

kaykuala said...

This is a fine tribute, Berowne! More so on the Bard's birthday! Appreciate very much the kind of anecdotes you always include in your postings. Great write!

Hank

Lyn said...

Thanks for taking me so far from the ordinary..leave it to you and Will..it's nice that one can think of the 2 of you together!

Kutamun said...

You are a very Protean story teller, Bero' , thanks .
Helen Mirren made an enchanting Prospera

Black Jack's Carol said...

I am really appreciative that joining "ABC Wednesday" led me to your blog. Long ago, I lived in Montreal, and used to attend all of the Shakespeare in the Park performances. The Tempest was one of them and I remember it vividly. I, too, hadn't realized that it was based on a true story. Thanks especially for reminding me of Ariel's "sad, beautiful and unforgettable" lines.

Kay L. Davies said...

Fascinating post, as usual, Berowne. I've always been addicted to alliteration, so have always loved the phrase "Full fathom five" despite the connotations.
K

thingy said...

Glorious! Great post.

Hildred and Charles said...

I think that the word Tempest is much more imaginative and relevant to the general fury of a storm at sea than is 'hurricane' - anyway, hurrah for Will S. that he used this more romantic title.

Berowne said...

KAY L D: "I've always been addicted to alliteration, so have always loved the phrase 'Full fathom five'."
Quick - no checking with Google - how deep is that, in feet?

Berowne said...

Kutamun: "You are a very Protean story teller, Bero'."
Thanks so much. By the way, my nickname is "Beroo," as in Kanga and Beroo.

Berowne said...

Lydia: "I so loved this post. Darned perfect for the prompt, it is."
I so loved this comment, thanx.:-)

mrsnesbitt said...

And there was I.OBVIOUSLY waiting for reference to the Titanic! We have heard so much of it of late!
BUT...............you were there hun! OBVIOUSLY ONE step ahead of me! OH!


Great stuff
Denise ABC Team. x

Margaret said...

A school we once attended did tthe play The Tempest in a pool house. It was really fun. Interesting post, as usual.

chubskulit said...

Drowning is the scariest thing for me.

O is for....
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

PhenoMenon, ABCW Team said...

Reminds me of exotic treasures left behind after a shipwreck.

Ann said...

Well I've never read "The tempest" but I think I might. So interesting to know where the idea origianted from/.
Ann

Writersdaybook said...

I look forward to every Wednesday to see how you have magically woven the words into you post.

Berowne said...

Wonderful comment, Writersdaybook; thanks.

Sheilagh Lee said...

You always have the most interesting tidbits thank you once again for sharing this with us.

Tess Kincaid said...

I was counting on a Shakespeare fix and was not disappointed...nice post Mr. B...

Ellecee said...

This was so interesting. You always educate and entertain. Thank you.

Berowne said...

What encouraging comments from Tess K., Sheilagh L and Ellecee -- my best thanks.

Linda Jacobs said...

Thank you for this little taste of Shakespeare. Since retiring I haven't read old Will's work at all. I think that must change soon!

sush said...

There is a mystical magic there- I enjoy reading your posts but am the laziest in commenting on all of them though-Sorry:-)

Rinkly Rimes said...

Interesting .....as usual.

☆•.¸.Mildred.¸.•☆ said...

How interesting! Loved your writing on "The Tempest" which I have never read but feel like reading now!
Thanks for sharing;o)

***
Have a great day****

Dandelion Girl said...

This is one of my favourite plays. Love your pictures :)

Di Eats the Elephant said...

You have a beautiful lyrical voice when you inform, Berowne. So glad we get to be the recipients of it. The Tempest is one of my favorite plays.

 
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