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To what extent do Shakespeare and your writer present harmony and reconciliation as possible endings to the various conflicts within the play?

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Introduction

Saturday, 17 May 2003 Jad Salfiti A2 English Literature To what extent do Shakespeare and your writer present harmony and reconciliation as possible endings to the various conflicts within the play? 'The Tempest' written by William Shakespeare and 'Translations' written by Brian Friel both share allot of common ground. Thematically, they both explore the idea of hegemony; one culture supplanting another. Both plays demonstrate the impact of colonisation, in Translations, Hugh shows how economic advancement and cultural integrity can collide, whereas Caliban shows how Prospero has forced Caliban into a linguistic straightjacket. Parallels can be drawn between Caliban and the people of Ireland; both are misunderstood and underestimated, Caliban's original language is reduced and stigmatised. Miranda calls it "babble", Caliban recites the most beautiful lines in the play, and clearly he is not the "monster" Prospero would like to believe. Equally Yolland finds it "astonishing" that Jimmy Jack and Hugh are so well-educated, this reflects the social/cultural attitudes of the time, in England the Irish were commonly portrayed and thus stereotyped as being 'Paddys' and 'barbaric'. Both the Irish and Caliban must "adjust for survival". This adjustment can be poignant and no doubt the initial harmony is disrupted. However, in both plays there is partial reconciliation, in 'Translations', we see the coloniser and the colonised "leap over the ditch" into a brief exogamous relationship. ...read more.

Middle

In reality, however, Yolland is more as a hibernophile than Owen, who seems to be keener on adjusting "for survival" rather than the preservation of tradition. Owen and Yolland blur the distinction between the Irish and the English; he is an Irishman who transcends racial distinction, so much so that he becomes more of an 'Englishman'. He has made the afore-mentioned choice, and opted for economic advancement. Owen is someone who will by the end of the play be reconciled with the culture he left behind, when he takes on Manus' role. In 'The Tempest' Caliban is brutalised and corrupted. 'The Tempest' was written in 1611 during the Jacobean Period, following the discovery of the Bermudas and the colonisation of Ireland. Caliban might be interpreted as a representation of the 'primitive' people who occupied the Bermudas, great debate occurred over whether they Bermudas should be colonised, Rousseau's 'noble savage' myth was the argument used to oppose an imperialist conquest. Prospero's arrival on the island disrupted the harmony. From a modern post-colonial perspective this emphasises the fine line between liberation and colonisation an issue we are confronted with now with the Iraq Crisis. "You taught me language, and my profit on't/Is I know how to curse". He sees Prospero as entirely oppressive; while Prospero claims that he cared for and educated Caliban before he tried to rape Miranda. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the Masque towards the end there is a Reconciliation of the real and the fantastical in the shape of the natural reapers joining with the supernatural nymphs "in a great dance". This symbolises the reconciliation of the pagan (fleshy) and the Christian (spiritual) and the combining of the body and spirit In 'Translations', reconciliation is shown between two the English and the Irish. The first embodiment of this is Owen who takes elements from both and represents the new man. The second is the exogamous inter-racial relationship between Maire and Yolland, although there relationship is brief it shows the potential for future reconciliation between the English and the Irish, the fact that the play uses English language to express Irish characters adds fuel to this argument, however Manus' actions demonstrates that obstacles will stand in the way. Jimmy's words seem to summarise these obstacles "you don't cross these borders casually- both sides get very angry" it is cultural conditioning which separates us as human beings, race is used as a barrier. However the play ends on a note of harmony, when a stubborn Hugh agrees to teach Maire English, this sea change indicates that the problems can be overcome when "both sides" have reached a stage of 'spiritual understanding' and pay no heed to political factions which stand as only as an impediment to human progress. ...read more.

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