Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Isles of Wonder

As I re-read and research the play "The Tempest", I discover more and more intriguing "Easter eggs" that Shakespeare purposely left behind for us to find. For this post, I would like to pinpoint the location of the island that Prospero is stranded on.

Since the play itself doesn't tell us the name of the island, other than being called "The Isles of Wonder." I'm going to obviously use the ancient script, but at the same time explore historical facts to find the mysterious island.
It is believed that the play was written in 1610-1611, that was a few years after John Smith met up with Pocahontas in what is now America. Speaking of America, The play was written a little over one hundred years after the continent was discovered, but we'll touch back on that later.
 In "The Tempest" it gives vivid descriptions of what the island looks like. I'm going to use the words from the characters in the play, to paint a picture of the island. Starting with Caliban.

Caliban said that the island had "...fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile..." He continues by explaining the witchcraft that his mother, Sycorax, took part in before she died. "All the charms Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!" Caliban even went has far as describing the island's beauty along with it's strange occurrences:

"Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices..."

Miranda, Prospero's daughter, tells us of "...wild waters..." near the island after Prospero did is sorcery. Speaking of sorcery, it was constantly used on the island from both Prospero and Sycorax.

Ferdinand, Miranda's love interest,  hears singing(from Ariel) on the island, but he cannot find the source:
"Where should this music be? i' the air or the earth?
It sounds no more: and sure, it waits upon
Some god o' the island."

Ariel, servant to Prospero, is a spirit on the island. In one scene from the play, Ariel appears to the stranded survivors, as a harpy, and makes their swords too heavy to lift. When you read this scene, it sounds like some form for paranormal activity is going down. Adding to Ariel's ability to make the swords weigh a ton, the spirit can also shape-shift to various elements found on the island. As if that's not creepy enough. Also Ariel is not the only spirit on the island. There are at least three known spirits with names; and they are: Iris, Ceres and Juno. The other inhabitants are Nymphs and Reapers(I have a feeling I'll be talking about that on my future blog). Ariel has another passage about the island that clearly gives it away, but before I share that; I would like to touch on something that I mentioned in my previous post.

Before, I said that Caliban's name originated from the Carib people, and as we know the Carib people were located in the Caribbean area. That being said, the island is somewhere close to that region. Not only that, but what was brought up prior to my explanation; is that the island had a lot of strange things happening: witchcraft and sorcery, "the isle is full of noises", "voices", "wild waters" and even the whole play is about a group of people being shipwrecked on an island. You're still not sure where this mysterious island is? Maybe Ariel can shed some light on this subject. 

When Prospero asks Ariel where the survivors were placed, Ariel responds by saying that they're near "Bermoothes". Very interesting! That word is strangely similar to the word "Bermuda"! Not only is it close with the spelling, but from some of the variety of languages that I've come to know; the language Tamil and Singhala proves that this word is one in the same. In both of these languages the Sanskrit symbol for the letters "d" and "th" normally make the same sound, the same goes for "u" and "oo" and even the letter "e" can sound like the letter "a" depending on it being part of the prefix or the suffix of the word.

Remember when I talked about the discovery of the American continent? During the time of this
play, there were a variety of explorers still venturing the "New World". One of the first explorers, for the Europeans, was Christopher Columbus. In fact on October 11, 1492; Columbus has one of the first accounts of something wired happening on Bermuda. His log said he saw "... strange dancing lights on the horizon..." He also wrote about how his compass was giving bizarre readings. Because of these unexplained occurrences Bermuda bore another name, "The Devil's Triangle!" As if that's not scary enough.

In conclusion, the island that the characters were stranded on was Bermuda. Mystery solved!

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