A Textual Criticism of Shakespeare's The Tempest

            Textual Criticism of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

             The word brave has several different meanings throughout the history of the English language according to the Oxford English Dictionary. For William Shakespeare, the word has even more meaning. In his final play written, The Tempest, Shakespeare uses the word brave fourteen different times with several connotational differences. A play is usually developed by its characters, but in The Tempest, the language develops character, and the play is better understood through a close examination of the language, particularly the word "brave”. The "new world” Shakespeare creates in The Tempest uses the word brave to shape the identities of his characters using a very "old” language, with several different meanings. Bravery is used intermittently throughout the play in different form and context as it captures different meanings and performs different capacities and the most important becomes how the word defines the characters.

             Miranda becomes the character that the average reader can identify with. She is sympathetic and innocent, and from her the word brave is introduced to the reader in Act 1 Scene II. As she looks up to her father Prospero with admiration, she views the ship headed by Alonso as a "brave vessel”. In this case brave is defined in the footnote as fine or gallant. The Shakespearean lexicon helps reiterate this definition of brave meaning something fine, splendid, or beautiful (137). Miranda herself is a character possessing these qualities, as she is secluded from the outside world, her character becomes splendid in nature. She possesses an intrinsic beauty far different than the other characters, which are familiar with the horrors in the reality of the world. .






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