Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-4k54s Total loading time: 0.355 Render date: 2021-12-01T04:45:39.270Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Book contents

Giants and Enemies of God: The Relationship between Caliban and Prospero from the Perspective of Insular Literary Tradition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2007

Peter Holland
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Get access

Summary

This chapter engages with a growing body of criticism that analyses early modern drama from the perspective of insular literary tradition. Its eventual focus is on Shakespeare’s Tempest but it begins in Anglo-Saxon literature, before moving on to the foundation myth that appears in the medieval Brut, or Chronicles of England. These sources illuminate the play’s engagement with political and religious controversies that were current in England when the play was first performed in November 1611. This approach adds another dimension to the established post-colonial critique of the play and adds depth and complexity to the relationship between Prospero and Caliban as it exposes additional cultural significance in the manipulation of images deployed in the play. Although these images reflect traditional eschatological and mythical sources, those sources have hitherto been obscured by the overwhelming preoccupation of earlier critics with classical influences.

The best-known form of the mythical founding of Britain recounts the coming of Brutus, grandson of Aeneas of Troy, from Armorica, with a band of Trojans. They kill the giants they find when they land at Totnes in Devon and settle down to create a city-based society. European foundation myths citing Greek or Roman ancestors first appear in the work of the seventh-century Frankish chronicler, Fredegar. These myths offer explanations of how a society, civilization or realm came into being and include etiological material and eponymous characters. Many British myths, legends and stories include giants. From the work of Anglo-Saxon poets to that of sixteenth-century antiquarians, giants appear as the original inhabitants of the island of Britain. They are, of course, part of many foundation myths. The Titans of Greek legend are the classical version, and Genesis 6: 4 tells us that before the Flood ‘there were giants in the earth in those days’. Giants are the quintessential primary inhabitants in the myths of many realms and regions.

Type
Chapter
Information
Shakespeare Survey , pp. 239 - 253
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×