.

The Rarer Action - Resources for The Tempest



"The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance." - Prospero
Prospero with his daughter Miranda
I had hopes of a stage production, but circumstances in my life necessitated some changes in plans.  It wasn't going to be a big deal, but we would at least have had  a stage, an audience, and a few sound effects. Instead, we had a little living room and makeshift costumes with a few moms watching.  I shouldn't have worried as  the students took their roles seriously and performed Act 5 of William Shakespeare's The Tempest with aplomb.  These students continue to inspire and amaze me.

Sebastian and Alonso the king in hand knit crown
Ferdinand and  Miranda play chess

Prospero's hand on the right, with Ariel and Caliban

That quote of Prospero's at the top of the page is one of my favorites.   I am thrilled with the depiction of forgiveness at the end of the play, how Prospero gives up his justified interest in revenge and forgives those who have wronged him, even though only one has repented. True depictions of human nature abound in this story.  What a wonderful ending!

Four of the students from our TBG Community are also in our high school group, The Hive.  The very following Tuesday, we were discussing pp. 56-57 from Charlotte Mason's Ourselves where she uses a few characters from The Tempest as an illustration of how our Reason can justify whatever it is we would like to do, however wrong.  How deeply and richly do they now understand that Reason is not  an infallible guide yet must be exercised from a correct starting point.  Mason gives us this possible exam question from the book that can now be answered from her writings and illustrated by their familarity with The Tempest:

-Show that the power of reasoning is a trust to be used to good purpose.


I can't help but ramble here, but it is hard to express what years and years of experiencing Shakespeare can do for a child...or adult for that matter.  Here, a quote from Charlotte helps illustrate my point.

We probably read Shakespeare in the first place for his stories, afterwards for his characters, the multitude of delightful persons with whom he makes us so intimate that afterwards, in fiction or in fact, we say, 'She is another Jessica,' and 'That dear girl is a Miranda'; 'She is a Cordelia to her father,' and, such a figure in history, 'a base lago.' To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading this world-teacher, lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mould our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life. -Mason, 4.72

We prefer  Folger Shakespeare Libraryeditions when we do Shakespeare with a group.  Oftentimes Amazon gives the 4-for-3 deal with these.  As always, we listen along with  Arkangel audios - The Tempest (Arkangel Complete Shakespeare) . I make a reading of a retelling prior to our class optional.  While everyone knows about the venerable Lambs' and Nesbit's retellings, I find the youngers and myself occasionally enjoying a well-done picture book. Bruce Coville's The Tempest and Ann Keay Beneduce's versionwere two we read. For video, I ended up showing clips from the BBC's version of The Tempest.

Finally, here is an excellent video with director Trevor Nunn talking about The Tempest.  This would be good viewing for the teacher who wants more background information on the play or for high schoolers.





From joy to joy,
Nancy




6 comments:

  1. we are just finishing up The Merchant of Venice. The great thing about Shakespeare is that it is so full of so many things to ponder. I will look The Tempest as a choice for next session. Thanks for the pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Jen!

      The Merchant was one of the last plays I read before my boys went off to college. I loved it and remember that I watched at least a half dozen versions! We actually watched that performed at the venerable Guthrie theater in Minneapolis...wonderful memories.

      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

      Delete
  2. Love doing The Tempest! Jennifer, we did The Merchant of Venice in the fall with one of my favorite Recitations: The Quality of Mercy. Don't forget The Wednesday Wars at sometime for light heartedness on all the plays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a few sweet stories about that speech, Bonnie. Ohhh...I'll save that for a blog post! I think it's time I reread The Wednesday Wars, too.

      Looking forward to seeing you in June!

      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

      Delete
  3. What great resources. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. i'm glad you've posted resources... and about your group. i bet it is a LOT of fun. what an investment! :)

    ReplyDelete