‘A written text is much richer than a performance,

‘A written text is much richer than a public presentation, because the latter

nowadayss the spectator with significances already determined by the manager ‘ . Discuss with mention to The Tempest.

In their surveyWayss of Reading( 1992 ) , Montgomery, Durant, Fabb and Furnis outline in great item the many accomplishments the modern reader of literature should possess in order to reap the most out of the texts they are faced with. The reader, they assert, does much more than absorb a text passively, they “approach texts actively, with certain outlooks in head. As we read words and sentences, we look for forms and develop hypothesis” . ( Montgomery, Durant, Fabb and Furnis, 1992: 7 ) .

Reading, so, is a procedure non merely of having but of making narrations and symbolic connexions. Furthermore, we could besides asseverate that reading involves non merely the imaginativeness of the writer but besides of the reader who portions in the dialectal procedure of literature by raising up images and characters in their head. In a drama like Shakespeare’sThe Tempest( 1990 ) there is a wealth of chance in the text for such reader building ; the opening scene of the storm at sea, for case, calls for sights, sounds and esthesiss that could, possibly, ne’er be achieved in the tight confines of the theater.

Prospero’s island, unlike say the heath inKing Learis a shadowy, intangible topographic point slightly like the characters that inhabit it. It exists, as Frank Kermode suggests ( 1990 ) as more of a symbol ( of a figure of things ) than a existent geographical topographic point and, because, of this suffers when its ocular visual aspect is made concrete. The reader is merely confronted with the simple phase description “The Island. Before Prospero’s cell” ( Shakespeare, 1990: 9 ) , no other illation is given and, because, of this we as readers are free to embroider and conceive of as we wish.

It is arguable that the experience of reading opens up an about eternal assortment of meaning. Terry Eagleton in his surveyLiterary Theory: An Introduction( 1992 ) describes the tendency in literary semiologies since the sixtiess:

“What semiologies represents, in fact, is literary unfavorable judgment transfigured by structural linguistics, rendered a more disciplined and less impressionistic endeavor which…is more instead than less alive to the wealth of signifier and linguistic communication than most traditional criticism” ( Eagleton, 1992: 103 )

One of the cardinal characteristics of literary semiologies inspired by such minds as Saussure and subsequently Lacan, Barthes and Foucault was the interpretative nature of the mark. In other words, from the form ( a word ) the reader is free to pull from a wealth of different senses – the term ‘island’ inThe Tempest, for case, can mean many different things to non merely different people but to the same individual depending on its context. When it has been changed into a referent nevertheless by the theatrical set interior decorator or the manager, the profusion of significance and the eternal fluctuation is halted. Again, Eagleton sums this place up compactly:

“The deduction of all this is that linguistic communication is a much less stable matter than the classical structuralists had considered. Alternatively of being a well defined, clearly demarcated construction incorporating symmetrical units of forms and senses, it now begins to look much more like a straggling limitless web where there is a changeless interchange and circulation of elements.” ( Eagleton, 1992: 129 )

What could be seen as a dyslogistic component to linguistic communication, the instability of the mark, can besides be seen as the foundation for the profusion of reading that we encountered in Montgomery, Durant, Fabb and Furnis ( 1992 ) .

This is particularly relevant in the characters of Ariel and Caliban who are intentionally drawn as liminal characters that exist on the boundaries of humanity and humanity and it is easy to see how this could be lost if they are made flesh, all the more so if that is mediated by the imaginativeness of the manager.

The Tempest, amongst other things, can be seen as a drama that deals with the intangible and the supra-human, as testified by Prospero in his Epilogue:

“….Now I want

Liquors to implement, Art to enrapture ;

And my stoping is desperation,

Unless I be reliev’d by supplication,

Which pierces so, that it assaults

Mercy itself, and frees all faults.” ( Epilogue )

Prospero here longs to be free of the concrete nature of the human organic structure and accordingly the phase and exist, possibly, as pure idea, as a pure mark – slightly in the manner that he does in the relationship a reader has to his character as a textual component. The profusion a reader experiences in relation to characters such as Ariel, Caliban and Prospero is due to their really intangible natures – a fact that is negated when they are played by all excessively existent histrions.

Martin Esslin, nevertheless in his essay “The Signs of Drama” ( 1990 ) applies the sorts of semiotic theories we holding been looking at therefore far to drama and the phase:

“…the art of moving might be described as mostly concerned with the deliberate, knowing, ‘iconic’ usage of ‘non-intentional’ , ‘involuntary’ marks or ‘symptoms’ . An histrion, who intentionally blushes on the phase produces an image – an iconic mark – of a individual randomly exposing such an nonvoluntary symptom of embarrassment.” ( Esslin, 1990: 124 )

For Esslin, the dramatic public presentation involves a whole host of voluntary and nonvoluntary marks and forms that are non be present in the written text and that would be unavailable to the reader. In other words, the production and the public presentation when viewed as a aggregation of dramatic marks stands as far more than simply the projection of the director’s imaginativeness. For Esslin, it is the nonvoluntary and the unconscious marks that provides the profusion of the dramatic public presentation, for case, the relationship between two histrions, their stances, their emotional responses and their leaning for nonvoluntary reactions.

This means, I think, that whereas the experiences of reading and the experiences of sing a text likeThe Tempestmight be different, neither is more or less rich than the other. On the one manus we have the eternal assortment of meaning of the written word that literary semiologies has shown us and on the other we have the every bit rich and varied nonvoluntary marks that Martin Esslin ( utilizing dramatic semiologies ) equates with the public presentation.

As either readers or viewing audiences it is in the complexness of the marks that we gain an grasp of the work and this, as much recent critical theory has asserted, is down more to the receiving system than the primogenitor.


Eagleton, Terry ( 1992 ) ,Literary Theory: An Introduction, ( London: Blackwell )

Esslin, Martin ( 1990 ) , “The Signs of Drama” , published in Walder, Dennis ( erectile dysfunction ) ,Literature in the Modern World, ( Milton Keynes: Open University )

Harbage, Alfred ( 1963 ) ,William Shakespeare: A Reader’s Guide, ( New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux )

Montgomery, Martin, Durant, Alan, Fabb, Nigel, Furniss, Tom and Mills, Sara ( 1992 ) ,Wayss of Reading, ( London: Routledge )

Rice, Philip and Waugh, Patricia ( 1989 ) ,Modern Literary Theory: A Reader, ( London: Edward Arnold )

Shakespeare, William ( 1990 ) ,The Tempest, Kermode, Frank ( erectile dysfunction ) , ( London: Routledge )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *