The Tempest: a postmodern reading
AuthorPalma, Theodore Sourav
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The works of William Shakespeare have a universal influence and are considered the representatives of ‘all time and all ages’. Critics, scholars, academics and students have been rereading, reexamining, retelling and restaging his plays century after century. This dissertation proposes to examine The Tempest as a postmodern text. The postmodern elements: ant-formality, pastiche, intertextuality, paranoia, irony, playfulness, puns, wordplays, conspiracy theories, temporal distortion and supernatural elements create an atmosphere in The Tempest which can be described as postmodern. Focusing on the Ihab Hassan and Brian McHale’s definition and characterization of postmodernism which have created an opportunity to have a postmodern approach to The Tempest, this paper illustrates how Shakespeare deconstructs the formal properties of the text and uses pastiche that project a postmodern connotation of the play. The dissertation also explores the religious, mythological, geographical and historical references of characters and their names, events and incidents, and locations and places that construct intertextuality and insert paranoia in the play. In identifying postmodernist elements— particularly the presence of supernatural and dreamy world—this dissertation attempts to examine binaries natural vs. supernatural and reality vs. dream which are pivotal postmodern concepts. Based on Foucault’s The Eye of Power, the dissertation also discovers the Panoptical Gaze of Prospero who has assigned Ariel—as a surveillance to keep an eye on everybody and everything in the island. Finally, this paper aims at rereading The Tempest—as a postmodern text.