Tải bản đầy đủ - 0trang
The Tempest: Drama and the Valorization of the Other
Company, some of whose members Shakespeare knew and whose
experiences have clearly inXuenced what goes on in the play.68 Other
old world elements, ranging from overt references to Christian religion69 to systematic engagement with the Moors who dominated the
seas oV North Africa in Shakespeare’s day,70 are rigorously suppressed,
so that Virgil and colonialism, it seems, are the poles between which
our response to the play should oscillate.
This seems clear now, but it was not always so. In fact, as recently
as 1975, GeoVrey Bullough could omit the Aeneid from the sources
and analogues to The Tempest in his Narrative and Dramatic Sources
of Shakespeare and declare as well that ‘The Tempest is not a play
about colonization.’71 Since then, the growth of postcolonial studies
has virtually guaranteed that the readings of The Tempest to which
Bullough objects would proliferate, for as Howard Felperin has
noted, ‘It is perfectly consistent with the theory of a political unconscious that the ideological structures of a text should become visible
as such only when they have begun to break down in the ambient
culture.’72 Not all responses to the colonial themes of the play,
however, are recent: Trevor GriYths has noted that, by the nineteenth
68 Philip Brockbank, ‘The Island of The Tempest’, in On Shakespeare: Jesus, Shakespeare and Karl Marx, and Other Essays (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), 327.
69 R. S. Conway, ‘The Classical Elements in Shakespeare’s Tempest’, in New Studies
of a Great Inheritance: Being Lectures on the Modern Worth of Some Ancient Writers
(London: John Murray, 1921), 178.
70 J. Brotton, ‘ ‘‘This Tunis, sir, was Carthage’’: Contesting Colonialism in The
Tempest’, in Ania Loomba and Martin Orkin (eds.), Post-Colonial Shakespeares
(London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 36; and Richard Wilson, ‘Voyage to
Tunis: New History and the Old World of The Tempest’, ELH, 64 (1997), 336–7.
71 GeoVrey Bullough (ed.), Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, 8 vols.
(London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, and New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1957–75),
viii. 241. Bullough was not alone in these opinions. Frank Kermode, in the introduction to his widely used Arden edn. of The Tempest (London: Methuen, 1954), asserted
categorically that ‘there is nothing in The Tempest fundamental to its structure of
ideas which could not have existed had America remained undiscovered’ (p. xxv),
and in 1972 Howard Felperin would refer unproblematically to ‘[t]he absence of a
literary source for The Tempest’ (Shakespearean Romance (Princeton: Princeton Univ.
Press, 1972), 247).
72 Howard Felperin, ‘Political Criticism at the Crossroads: The Utopian Historicism of The Tempest’, in Nigel Wood (ed.), The Tempest (Buckingham and Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1995), 45–6. See also Ania Loomba, ‘Shakespeare and
Cultural DiVerence’, in Terence Hawkes (ed.), Alternative Shakespeares 2 (London:
Routledge, 1996), 164–91.
century, the debates on evolution had begun focusing critical attention in this direction,73 and interestingly enough, George Washington’s one reference to Shakespeare is a description of the British army
as a Prospero whose plans were about to dissolve, leaving the rebel
colonists to take the position of a successful Caliban.74 Thus there are
still a few naysayers, but even the ideologically reluctant generally
acknowledge that colonialism is an important discursive context of
the play, if not the dominant one.75
Whether or not Virgil forms one of these discursive contexts
remains more debatable. That Shakespeare knew the Aeneid cannot
be questioned,76 and since James I both quoted from it in his
Basilikon Doron and was Xattered in Virgilian terms in a triumphal
73 Trevor R. GriYths, ‘ ‘‘This Island’s mine’’: Caliban and Colonialism’, Yearbook of
English Studies, 13 (1983), 159–80.
74 Hulme and Sherman (eds.), ‘The Tempest’ and Its Travels, 172.
75 Leo Salingar, ‘The New World in ‘‘The Tempest’’ ’, in Jean-Pierre Maquerlot and
Michele Willems (eds.), Travel and Drama in Shakespeare’s Time (Cambridge: CUP,
1996), 211–12, summarizes nicely the arguments against emphasizing colonialism in
The Tempest; Alden T. Vaughan, ‘Shakespeare’s Indian: The Americanization of
Caliban’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 39 (1988), 137–54, concedes that colonial readings
of the play bring it into contact with American culture in useful ways but argues that
it was unlikely that these readings square well with Shakespeare’s original intentions;
and Edward Pechter, ‘The New Historicism and Its Discontents: Politicizing Renaissance Drama’, PMLA 102 (1987), 292–303, disagrees vigorously with eVorts to place
colonialism at the centre of interpretation, but even he has to admit that ‘colonialism
is obviously relevant’ to The Tempest (296). More representative of contemporary
critical opinion is the conclusion that ‘The ensemble of Wctional and lived practices,
which for convenience we will simply refer to here as ‘‘English colonialism,’’ provides
The Tempest’s dominant discursive contexts’ (Francis Barker and Peter Hulme,
Cannibalism and the Colonial World (Cambridge: CUP, 1998), 198); see also Hulme
and Sherman (eds.), ‘The Tempest’ and Its Travels, 174–5; and Gerald GraV and James
Phelan (eds.), William Shakespeare, The Tempest: A Case Study in Critical Controversy
(Boston and New York: Bedford/St Martin’s, 2000), whose extensive treatment of the
colonial context of the play suggests how established this approach has now become.
76 J. M. Nosworthy, ‘The Narrative Sources of The Tempest’, Review of English
Studies, 24 (1948), 287–8 notes that trs. by Douglas, Phaer, and Stanyhurst made
Virgil widely available in Shakespeare’s time; that the Aeneid served as a frequent
source in literature of the period like Dido, Queen of Carthage and The Faerie Queene;
and that Hamlet even says clearly, ‘One speech in it I chieXy loved: ’twas Aeneas’s tale
to Dido’ (Hamlet, 2. 2. 447). For a survey of Virgilian allusions in Shakespeare’s plays,
see also T. W. Baldwin, William Shakespere’s Small Latine and Lesse Greeke (Urbana,
Ill.: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1944), ii. 456–96; for more recent work on Shakespeare and
Virgil, see Craig Kallendorf, introduction to Vergil: The Classical Heritage (New York:
Garland, 1993), 11–14.
procession a few years before the play was Wrst produced,77 there is
no reason it could not provide a reference point for what goes on in
the play. Yet critics are less than sure about what to do with all this.
Barbara Mowat sees the Aeneid as one of several texts echoed in a play
that lacks a ‘controlling infracontext’; J. M. Nosworthy and Jan Kott
feel that Shakespeare invokes, challenges, and then rejects the Virgilian material in his play; and Robert Wiltenburg concludes that
‘the Aeneid is the main source of the play . . . , the work to which
Shakespeare is primarily responding, the story he is retelling’.78 My
position is closest to Wiltenburg’s, so I shall try in this section to
provide the detailed justiWcation that has been lacking for this position.
In doing so, I shall also attempt to show that the Virgilian material
merges with the colonial discursive context to guide us towards a
reading of the play that respects the two interpretive poles between
which Shakespeare’s island world Xoats.79 Finally, I shall consider
77 At the end of Basilikon Doron, James took a line from Anchises’s prophecy: ‘And
being content to let others excell in other things, let it be your chiefest earthly glory, to
excell in your owne craft: according to the worthy counsell and charge of Anchises to
his posteritie, in that sublime and heroicall Poet wherein also my diction is also
included . . . Parcere subiectis, & debellare superbos’ (Charles McIlwain (ed.), The Political Works of James I (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1918), 52, qtd. in Gary
Schmidgall, Shakespeare and the Courtly Aesthetic (Berkeley–Los Angeles and London:
Univ. of California Press, 1981), 83 n. 19). James was Xattered in Virgilian terms in a
triumphal procession of 1604, where one arch invented by Ben Jonson carries the
motto ‘Redeunt Saturnia Regna’ (Ecl. 4. 6). Jonson explains the allusion thus: ‘Out of
Virgil to shew, that now those golden times were returned againe, wherein Peace was
with us so advanced, Rest received, Libertie restored, Safetie assured, and all Blessednesse
appearing in every of these vertues her particular triumph over her opposite evil’ (Ben
Jonson, The Works, ed. C. H. Herford, Percy and Evylyn Simpson, 11 vols. (Oxford:
OUP, 1925–52), vii. 100, qtd. in Schmidgall, Shakespeare, 78).
78 Barbara A. Mowatt, ‘ ‘‘Knowing I Loved my Books’’: Reading The Tempest
Intertextually’, in Hulme and Sherman (eds.), ‘The Tempest’ and Its Travels, 28;
Nosworthy, ‘Narrative Sources’, 291; Jan Kott, ‘The Aeneid and The Tempest’, Arion,
ns 3 (1976), 440; and Robert Wiltenburg, ‘The ‘‘Aeneid’’ in ‘‘The Tempest’’ ’, Shakespeare Survey, 39 (1987), 159.
79 Writing in 1998, Jerry Brotton could still argue that the Virgilian references in The
Tempest had not been situated within discussions of the colonial contexts of the play
(‘ ‘‘This Tunis, sir, was Carthage’’ ’, 23–42), and two years later Barbara A. Mowatt still
felt that the image of Prospero that is supported by references to Virgil and Ovid could
be perceived as ideologically at odds with texts that bring up the colonial implications
of the play (‘ ‘‘Knowing I loved my books’’ ’, 28–9). In the 1990s, however, there were
three serious attempts to bring the Virgilian and colonial interpretive discourses
together. Donna B. Hamilton, Virgil and The Tempest: The Politics of Imitation (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State Univ. Press, 1990) identiWes a number of interesting new parallels
how our search for the voice of the colonial Other is aVected by the
generic switch from epic to drama.
Like the Aeneid, The Tempest opens in the midst of a storm, a point
of contact that opens out into a broad dialogue between the two
works.80 In both cases the storm that brings the characters together is
supernaturally inspired, and the role of Aeolus in Aeneid 1 is taken by
Ariel at the beginning of the play. All the human characters escape
drowning, and in both cases they come ashore in a deep cave with
fresh springs and nymphs. The points of contact between play and
epic, however, are not limited to geography and the weather. Ferdinand, for example, links the fury of the waves to his passion (The
Tempest, 1. 2. 393), and in an obvious sense the raging waves reXect
the raging emotions within Prospero as well, as he recalls his expulsion from Milan and begins his plan to redress his grievances. Indeed,
although Prospero would prefer to assign rage to the lower creatures
like Sycorax (The Tempest, 1. 2. 276), he Wnds himself provoked by
Caliban, and each curses the other (The Tempest, 1. 2. 319–29).81 As
he struggles to control the furor (‘rage’) within himself, he begins to
between the Aeneid and The Tempest, but in trying to situate the Aeneid within both
constitutional and colonial contexts at the same time, the book fails to develop a clear
colonial reading of the play in Virgilian terms. The same problem arises in Heather
James, Shakespeare’s Troy: Drama, Politics, and the Translation of Empire (Cambridge:
CUP, 1997), here in part because James Wnds the challenge to Virgilian imperialism not
in the Aeneid itself, but in Ovid’s rewriting of it. Finally, Margaret Tudeau-Clayton,
Jonson, Shakespeare and Early Modern Virgil (Cambridge: CUP, 1998) from my perspective overstates Shakespeare’s challenges both to Virgil and to the power structures
of his own day, in part to emphasize a contrast she sees between the Virgilianism of
Jonson and Shakespeare. The discussion below, I hope, will make clear my debt to all
three of these books along with the diVerences in my own approach, which is intended
to provide a more synthetic analysis of the play around the issues of Virgilian
colonialism than these three scholars have done.
80 I have relied primarily on the following sources, none of which is anywhere near
complete, for parallels between the Aeneid and The Tempest: Nosworthy, ‘Narrative
Sources’; Wiltenburg, ‘The ‘‘Aeneid’’ in ‘‘The Tempest’’ ’; and Kott, ‘The Aeneid and
The Tempest’. In order to avoid overburdening the notes, I acknowledge my dependence
on these three articles here. Citations are from The Arden Shakespeare edn. of Frank
Kermode (London and New York: Methuen, 1954).
81 P. Brown, ‘ ‘‘This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine’’: The Tempest and the
Discourse of Colonialism’, in Jonathan Dollimore and Alan SinWeld (eds.), Political
Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism, 2nd edn. (Manchester: Manchester
Univ. Press, 1994; repr. of 1985 edn.), 315–46. See also Barbara J. Bono, Literary
Transvaluation: From Vergilian Epic to Shakespearean Tragicomedy (Berkeley–Los
Angeles and London: Univ. of California Press, 1984), 220–4.
take on the role of a new Aeneas in Shakespeare’s play. The disorder
in individuals, by extension, is transferred to a disorder in the state,
for ‘tempest’ in Shakespeare’s day also signiWed ‘great trouble, business, or ruZing in a common weale’.82 The ‘common weale’ aboard
the storm-tossed ship is clearly troubled, for the boatswain rages at
his noble passengers as violently as he does against the storm (The
Tempest, 1. 1. 11–48). The ship of state in turn is equally storm-tossed
for, as Prospero explains, he has lost his kingdom (and almost his
life) to the rebellion of his brother Antonio. There is a possible
allusion here to book 1 of the Aeneid. These themes are the same
ones raised in Virgil’s storm, which is compared in a famous simile to
a political disorder that is calmed by an orator ‘pietate gravem ac
meritis’ (‘remarkable for righteousness and service’, Aen. 1. 151).83
This description Wts Gonzalo, who is described in the list of characters at the beginning of the play as ‘an honest old councillor’ and who
is challenged by the boatswain to restore order: ‘You are a councillor;
if you can command these elements to silence, and work the peace of
the present, we will not hand a rope more—use your authority’ (The
Tempest, 1. 1. 20–3). He cannot do so, so that at this point the forces
of fury clearly have the upper hand, for the storm rules the waves, the
boatswain rules the ship, and Antonio rules Milan.
The corollary to this political theme is the play’s colonial subplot.
The matter comes up almost as soon as we meet Caliban, for he
inhabited the island before Prospero came and still considers it his:
This island’s mine, by Sycorax by mother,
Which thou tak’st from me. When thou cam’st Wrst,
Thou strok’st me, and made much of me; wouldst give me
Water with berries in’t, and teach me how
To name the bigger light and how the less,
That burns by day and night: and then I lov’d thee,
And show’d thee all the qualities o’th’isle,
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile:
Curs’d be I that did so! All the charms
82 Schmidgall, Shakespeare, 156–65, quoting Thomas Thomass 1588 Latin/English
83 Viktor Poăschl, The Art of Vergil: Image and Symbol in the Aeneid, tr. Gerda
Seligson (Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1966), 23.
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!
For I am all the subjects that you have,
Which was Wrst mine own King, and here you sty me
In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me
The rest o’th’island.
(The Tempest, 1. 2. 333–44)
This is the story of colonization as it was played out again and again
in the new world84 and, as Stephen Orgel notes, Caliban’s claim to the
island is reasonable according to the international law of the day.
Prospero, of course, sees things diVerently, but he never addresses
Caliban’s arguments; his claim, too, is legally defensible,85 so that a
space opens up between them, the space that invariably separates
colonizer and colonized.86 Caliban is helpless against Prospero’s
magic, leaving him only the option of cursing his oppressor, just as
Dido could only curse Aeneas as he sailed oV to conquer Italy.
The Wrst act also begins rewriting the Dido-and-Aeneas subplot
from the Aeneid. When Ferdinand Wrst sees Miranda, he greets her
with a literal translation (‘Most sure the goddess’, The Tempest, 1. 2. 424)
of Aeneas’s greeting to the disguised Venus (‘O dea certe’, Aen. 1. 328)
after he came ashore near Carthage,87 and their relationship quickly
becomes one of the most important aspects of the play. Ferdinand
plays Aeneas to Miranda’s Dido, and by putting Ferdinand into
Aeneas’s place here, Shakespeare is splitting that role between Prospero and Ferdinand, for as we noted above, Prospero takes over from
Aeneas the role of political leader and the burden of struggling to
impose ratio (‘reason’) over furor (‘rage’). There is, however, precedent for this division in previous Renaissance rewritings of the
Aeneid: we recall that Sforza in Filelfo’s epic functions as Aeneas
except in the relationship with Lyda, where Carlo Gonzaga temporarily assumes this role. The same thing had happened in Petrarca’s
84 Patricia Seed, ‘ ‘‘This Island’s Mine’’: Caliban and Native Sovereignty’, in Hulme
and Sherman, ‘The Tempest’ and Its Travels, 202–11.
85 Stephen Orgel, ‘Prospero’s Wife’, in Margaret W. Ferguson, Maureen Quilligan,
and Nancy J. Vickers (eds.), Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual DiVerence in Early Modern Europe (Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1986), 58.
86 Peter Hulme, Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, 1492–1797
(New York and London: Methuen, 1986), 124–5. See also John Gillies, Shakespeare
and the Geography of DiVerence (Cambridge: CUP, 1994), 143–4.
87 Hamilton, Virgil and The Tempest, 21.
Africa, presumably to keep the hero from being tainted with amatory
failings.88 How, we wonder, will Ferdinand handle this challenge?
It is worth pausing here to note that Shakespeare’s Virgil is bound
to his age, not ours, in several other ways as well. The idea that Virgil
was a magician, which Comparetti put forth as typical of the Middle
Ages,89 remained alive in later centuries as well and accounts at least
in part, I believe, for the role that magic plays in this drama. It may
well be true that this association would have been stronger with the
less well-educated members of the audience, but we should remember that the emerging principles of scientiWc empiricism had not
generated explanations for everything and that the well-educated
people who knew the Aeneid best often still retained some sympathy
for the older way of seeing things.90 Prospero’s magic reXects aspects
of this very ambivalence, for it works on the island but not oV of it
and can do almost anything except ensure the day-to-day survival of
Prospero and Miranda.91
Several other important Virgilian details that are likely to escape a
modern reader may well be linked to Cristoforo Landino, whose late
Wfteenth-century commentary remained inXuential in England
through (inter alia) Gavin Douglas’s partial appropriation of it.92
88 See the preceding chapter, pp. 40–1, 55 for discussion of this point and
references. I am not suggesting that Shakespeare had read Filelfo or Petrarca, only
that this division of roles is reasonable within the mental framework of the time. On
Ferdinand as an alter Aeneas, see Hamilton, Virgil and The Tempest, 40.
89 Domenico Comparetti, Virgilio nel Medioevo, ed. Giorgio Pasquali, 2 vols. (Florence:
La Nuova Italia, 1982; repr. of Florence, 1937 edn.), pt. 2: ‘Virgilio nella legenda populare’,
tr. by E. F. M. Benecke as Vergil in the Middle Ages and repr. with a new intro. by Jan
M. Ziolkowski (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1997); see, however, Pasquale’s
preface, i, pp. xv–xxxiv for a discussion of how modern scholarship has modiWed
Comparetti’s Wndings. I am grateful to Rita Wright for Wrst stimulating me to pursue
90 Tudeau-Clayton, Jonson, Shakespeare, 7–8, 94–101, rightly emphasizes this
point, referring to Gabriel Naude´’s Apologie pour tous les grands personnages qui ont
este´ faussement soupc¸onnez de magie (Paris, 1625). See also Frances Yates, Majesty and
Magic in Shakespeare’s Last Plays: A New Approach to Cymbeline, Henry VIII, and The
Tempest (Boulder, Colo.: Shambhala, 1978), 93–102.
91 Hulme, Colonial Encounters, 128.
92 Tudeau-Clayton, Jonson, Shakespeare, 25–6, 192, 209–11. It is diYcult if not
impossible to ‘prove’ that Shakespeare knew Landino’s commentary, but a growing
number of scholars suspect that he did, and the fact that extracts from Landino
appeared in English in Douglas’s version of the Aeneid makes it likely that at least the
basic points of Landino’s approach were circulating widely in Shakespeare’s England.
In this commentary and the reworking of it in books 3 and 4 of
Landino’s Disputationes Camaldulenses, Aeneas’s journey is seen as
marking a movement from the active to the contemplative lives. This
in fact is the very journey Prospero had made in Milan: ‘thus neglecting
worldly ends, all dedicated j To closeness and the bettering of my mind’
(The Tempest, 1. 2. 89–90), he left a power vacuum into which his
brother stepped. As part of this journey, ratio (‘reason’) must overcome
furor (‘rage’); the storm scene in Aeneid 1 was allegorized in this way in
Landino’s commentary,93 and Shakespeare’s rewriting in The Tempest,
as we have seen, is compatible with this allegorization. Landino’s
allegory may also explain another puzzling aspect of Act 1 of The
Tempest. As part of how he manipulates Ferdinand, Prospero attempts
to cast him as a usurper on the island who wants to steal control of it
(The Tempest, 1. 2. 454–7). He wants to see if he can arouse political
ambition in him this way, and it is worth noting that, in Landino’s
allegory of Aeneid 4, Aeneas’s attraction to Dido is also linked to the lust
for political power.94 Prospero, in other words, is simply casting Ferdinand into the role of Aeneas as he was understood in Shakespeare’s age.
Thus by the end of Act 1, Shakespeare had initiated a rewriting of
the Aeneid in which the storm reXects both the magic of Prospero
and his fury at the characters from his past, along with a determination to work through once again the political and amatory values
of Virgil’s poem in a colonial setting. In what follows, I shall try to
show that Shakespeare takes from Virgil not the precise substance of
his colonial vision, but the process by which imperialism is questioned and qualiWed by ‘further voices’ that emerge in the drama.
In Act 2 the dialogue with the Aeneid proceeds in two principal
directions. First Gonzalo addresses one of the other castaways in a
speech that is designed to lift their spirits: ‘Beseech you, sir, be merry;
On Landino’s commentary, see Craig Kallendorf, In Praise of Aeneas: Virgil and
Epideictic Rhetoric in the Early Italian Renaissance (Hanover, NH: Univ. Press of
New England, 1989), 129–65, with bibliography.
93 Cristoforo Landino, Disputationes Camaldulenses, ed. Peter Lohe (Florence:
Sansoni, 1980), 159–66.
94 Ibid. 166–98. This explanation, I believe, explains the problem articulated in
James, Shakespeare’s Troy, 207, about why Prospero seems to be trying to rouse in
Ferdinand a passion he does not have. The association of Dido with political power
was an unusual feature of Landino’s commentary, so the glance in this direction in
The Tempest increases the odds that Shakespeare knew something about it.
you have cause, j So have we all, of joy; for our escape j Is much beyond
our loss’ (The Tempest, 2. 1. 1–3). This speech resembles in tone and spirit
the famous ‘O socii . . .’ (‘O comrades . . .’) address at Aen. 1. 198–207, in
which Aeneas made similar arguments to his men when they found
themselves in a similar position;95 Gonzalo’s speech, however, does
not appear to do much good—a ‘further voice’ that calls into question
both the Virgilian subtext and its eYcacy in the world of this play.
Shortly afterwards comes the infamous ‘widow Dido’ exchange, a
passage which is obviously referring to the Aeneid but which has resisted
a fully satisfactory explanation.96 Gonzalo refers to Dido as a widow,
which starts a series of arguments, Wrst about whether or not she
remained a widow, then about whether Dido’s Carthage was the same
city as Tunis, to whose king Claribel had just been married. The passage
is diYcult to unravel, but two things at least are reasonably clear. First, as
Donna Hamilton has pointed out, the argument over ‘widow Dido’
cannot be separated from the discussion that triggered it, Claribel’s
marriage.97 Sebastian upbraids Alonso for marrying his daughter
to the king of Tunis, for reasons that in themselves are important:
Sir, you may thank yourself for this great loss,
That would not bless our Europe with your daughter,
But rather lose her to an African;
Where she, at least, is banished from your eye,
Who hath cause to wet the grief on’t.
(The Tempest, 2. 1. 119–23)
95 D. D. Carnicelli, ‘The Widow and the Phoenix: Dido, Carthage, and Tunis in
The Tempest’, Harvard Library Bulletin, 27 (1979), 389–433.
96 Ibid. 389–433, oVers the fullest analysis of the scene, which unfortunately still
does not explain it very satisfactorily. See also J. M. Hooker, ‘Widow Dido’, Notes and
Queries, ns 32 (1985), 56–8; Malcolm Pittock, ‘Widow Dido’, Notes and Queries, 231
(1986), 368–9; and John Pitcher, ‘A Theatre of the Future: The Aeneid and The Tempest’,
Essays in Criticism, 34 (1984), 201. Adrianne Roberts-Baytop, Dido, Queen of InWnite
Literary Variety: The English Renaissance Borrowings and InXuences (Salzburg: Institut
fuăr Englische Sprache und Literatur, Universitaăt Salzburg, 1974), 10418, lists the other
allusions to Dido in Shakespeare’s plays and provides a brief discussion of them. James,
Shakespeare’s Troy, 198, suggests that the ‘widow Dido’ jokes unleash a bawdy and
derisive revision of the Aeneid and any overly optimistic attempts to appropriate it into
new contexts; this is the most insightful comment I have found on the scene.
97 Hamilton, Shakespeare and The Tempest, 40–2. Hamilton approaches Claribel’s
marriage in relation to the discussions circulating at the time about how James might
marry his children; this is certainly reasonable, but I think there is at least one other
point of reference here as well.
In a play in which the relationship with the non-European Other
becomes central, the fact that the king of Tunis is African cannot
be overlooked. A sexual relationship with someone from this area
proved a disaster for Aeneas, and Sebastian is arguing that the same
will be true for Claribel; it is worth noting that, just days after the
wedding, Alonso already agrees (‘Would I had never j Married my
daughter there!’ The Tempest, 2. 1. 103–4).98 The other point that
seems clear here is that Virgil’s version of the Dido story has become
contested ground by this point. In the Aeneid, Dido began as a widow
but sacriWced her chastity on the altar of libido; this version, however,
had existed for centuries alongside another one in which she never
met Aeneas, but chose death rather than remarry a neighbouring
king.99 Since the Ferdinand–Miranda subplot has been set forth as a
retelling of the Dido story, which version becomes authoritative
matters in this play, and the argument in this scene suggests that it
may well not be Virgil’s.
Some of the same diYculties that we encounter in the ‘widow
Dido’ exchange also emerge in interpreting the famous ‘Siena Sieve’
portrait of Queen Elizabeth (see Figure 7). Dido was also called
‘Elissa’ or ‘Eliza’, a fact which Elizabeth panegyrists exploited regularly,
98 Harry Berger, Jr., ‘Miraculous Harp: A Reading of Shakespeare’s Tempest’,
Shakespeare Studies, 5 (1969), 253–83. Patricia Parker, ‘Fantasies of ‘‘Race’’ and
‘‘Gender’’: Africa, Othello, and Bringing to Light’, in Margo Hendricks and Patricia
Parker (eds.), Women, ‘Race’, and Writing in the Early Modern Period (London and
New York: Routledge, 1994), 96–8, notes that the ‘widow Dido’ discussions recall a
similar rewriting of the Dido and Aeneas story in Othello, which is also about a
marriage between a European and an African Other. Leslie Fiedler, The Stranger in
Shakespeare (New York: Stein & Day, 1972), suggests that Claribel’s marriage reconciles the worlds that fell apart when Aeneas Xed and Dido committed suicide (201),
but I suspect that David Norbrook is more on target when he concludes that the
eVorts to discuss Claribel’s marriage through the lens of Aeneid 4 actually highlight
how diYcult it is to bridge the historical and cultural diVerences involved in the
exercise (‘ ‘‘What Cares These Roarers for the Name of King?’’: Language and Utopia
in The Tempest’, in Gordon McMullan and Jonathan Hope (eds.), The Politics of
Tragicomedy: Shakespeare and After (London and New York: Routledge, 1992), 45).
Finally, David Scott Wilson-Okamura focuses on Carthage rather than Rome as a
template for colonization and notes that Shakespeare’s rewriting of the Aeneid
therefore serves as a warning against intemperance; see ‘Virgilian Models of Colonization in Shakespeare’s Tempest’, ELH 70 (2003), 713–16.
99 Basic information about the other, non-Virgilian Dido tradition may be found
in Lida de Malkiel, Dido en la literatura espan˜ola; and Kallendorf, In Praise of Aeneas,
Figure 7. The ‘Sieve Portrait’ of Queen Elizabeth I. Attributed to Federico
Zuccaro (Siena, Pinacoteca)
and this name in particular evoked the non-Virgilian Dido who died
in order to preserve her chastity. The sieve, which was said to be
Elizabeth’s favourite device, reinforces this point, alluding to Tuccia,
a vestal virgin who established her chastity by carrying water to the
Tiber in a sieve. The Siena painting was one of several ‘sieve’ portraits