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Compare the Soliloquies and Asides Placed in the Adaptation of William Shakespeare The Tempest by Julie Taymor in 2008-10

In this essay, I will be comparing the soliloquies and asides placed in the adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest by Julie Taymor in 2008-10. A soliloquy is a dramatic technique used strategically to allow the audience to hear and see what is going on in a character’s mind, almost as if they are thinking aloud. The three scenes that I will be consulting during the course of this question are:

  • Act: 1, Scene: 2, Pages: 45-47, Lines: 329-363
  • Act: 5, Scene: 1, Pages: 173-177, Lines: 32-100
  • Act: 5, Scene: 1, Page: 195, Lines: 1-20

In the original script for this play, the major themes are used to lead the audience through a journey that highlights motifs that arise throughout. This being one of Shakespeare’s strengths, praised in his plays, had been left untouched in the adaptation created by Julie Taymor in 2008-10. Furthermore, the soliloquy in Act: 1, Scene: 2, Pages: 45-47, Lines: 329-363, spoken by Caliban to Prospero, is a good example of a dialogue in which a character expresses their emotions to another character in contrast to a monologue. Shakespeare uses the speech in this confrontation between the savage slave known as Caliban and his wizardly master, Prospero, effectively by making Caliban speak out against Prospero. This was adequately restored in the adaptation, as Hellen Mirren constantly shows some abhorrence to his spiteful insults in response to Djimou Hounson’s brutality as a noble savage.

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In relevance to the theme of nature v nurture, Caliban is incredibly ungrateful for the care given to him by Prospero as his original personality resumes control naturally. During this aside, Caliban is presented as malevolent by the malicious tone when conflicting against Prospero. The hatred was provided by Shakespeare originally through a patronizing and despondent diction applied by Caliban “The Red plague rid you For learning me your language” (Page: 47-8, Lines: 64-5). Djimou Hounson accurately adapts Caliban’s agitation illustrated in the script by altering his character’s body language to expressively reciprocate the ferocity of Caliban which Shakespeare aimed to present to the audience (He is seen making strange hand gestures whilst stressing an emphasis on specific words) (Page: 47-8, Lines: 64-5).

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In contrast to how Julie Taymor kept up multiple aspects of Shakespeare’s original The ‘Tempest,’ she also introduced an intelligent alteration to the main protagonist’s gender. The use of Hellen Mirren as Prospera compared to the original Prospero frequently lends itself to aid the character’s affection and passion expressed by Prospera. As a female, her ability to convey sentiment aided the dramatic elation beyond the capability of such expression from that of a male advocate. This is evident in the dialogue in Act: 5, Scene: 1, Pages: 173-177, Lines: 32-100. Furthermore, Hellen Mirren displays attachment to the magical spirit of Ariel. In addition, Julie Taymor applies close juxtapositions between Ariel and Prospera to powerfully expose the aptitude of their companionship.

On the other hand, Shakespeare hardly shows any strength in the attachment between them. So in the case of dramatic strategies, I believe that the adaptation proved to give more importance to the credibility of the bond between Prospero and Ariel than the original. However, the concentration on the dramatic effects crucially disrupted the importance of the speech, which allowed the audience to miss the imagery that Shakespeare tries to grow in the audience’s mind “A solemn air, and the best comforter To an unsettled fancy, cure thy brains. Now useless, boiled within thy skull.” (Act: 5, Scene: 1, Page: 175 Lines: 57-60). However, the imagery doesn’t affect the adaptation as it is a movie and leaves very little to the audience’s imagination, therefore making the use of imagery redundant.

Shakespeare adds a powerful epilogue by the central character that brings the play to a melodious end. He makes use of flowing structures such as rhyme to give the poetic speech a rhythm “Now my charms are overthrown and what strength I have’s mine own…” (Act: 5, Scene: 1, Lines: 1, 2). He uses an iambic pentameter to stress prominence on keywords that he intended would be heeded by the spectators “As you from crimes would pardon be, let your indulgence set me free.” (Act: 5, Scene: 1, Lines: 19, 20).

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To end the original play, Prospero returns to deliver an epilogue to the audience when everyone else has left the stage. He asks them to release him from the island. His magic is at an end, and he will have to remain on the island unless they free him through the power of their applause “But release me from my bands with the help of your good hands.”(Act: 5, Scene: 1, Lines: 9, 10). This epilogue by Prospero has often been linked to Shakespeare’s farewell to writing. In this address to the audience, Prospero is constantly asking for redemption and freedom. This can be cross related to Shakespeare asking for a final applaud and liberty from script work and retire to his family life.

In comparison to the original, the adaptation does not string along with the illusion of Shakespeare talking to the audience through his protagonist as Prospera does not show a link to Shakespeare as she is a male and therefore, Taymor is not aiming to highlight the possibility of Prospero being Shakespeare in disguise. Instead, Julie Taymor sheds light on the plea from Prospera in anticipation of the proclamation by the viewers. As it was reproduced as a movie rather than a play, the cinematography allows more attention to Prospera’s facial expressions, juxtapositions, and choreographed gestures. Even though Shakespeare could not write for that, the epilogue gives space for a justified assumption of emotions to be made, giving Helen Mirren’s performance sentimental value.

In conclusion to my comparisons, I believe that both the original and the adaptation have different purposes. The original is a final abode from Shakespeare to the world of literature, which exposes his true ambitions of retiring and highlighting the illusion of power. In contrast, the adaptation focuses on divulging each character’s motifs and feelings, merging that with the gripping graphics and convincingly prominent sets to create an artistically dramatic representation of the original composition.

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Compare the Soliloquies and Asides Placed in the Adaptation of William Shakespeare The Tempest by Julie Taymor in 2008-10. (2021, Aug 05). Retrieved September 30, 2022, from