“Hear my soul speak”
Subjectivity and intersubjectivity in Shakespeare’s The Tempest
The Tempest is a “mankind” type of play, and Shakespeare’s strategy is to present fallen man in terms of language. Various aspects of “fallen language” are encoded in the characterisation and verbal exchanges. The unifying feature is a notable lack of “caritas”, due to an extreme self-centredness in the speakers, which Shakespeare displays in scenes of all-round incomprehension between many of the persons of the play. Such closed states of mind I have labelled “subjective”, giving this word a negative connotation. A regenerative process is marked by a hard-won return to communication worthy of being called “human” according to Renaissance ideals. I have labelled such negotiations between characters “intersubjective”. In the play, the channels of communication are restored by means of various insights, among them Prospero’s better self-knowledge and Ferdinand’s experiential discovery of truth. The “language of the soul” flows when such processes are set in motion; this special language is written into the play and is experienced in many guises within the play and, according to Renaissance rhetorical theory, by the audience as well.
Published online: 25 January 2002
Cited by 1 other publications
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