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Volume :6 Issue : 24 1986      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Enchanted Island: A Thematic Study

Auther : Mufeed Hawamdeh

This paper is a study of the alterations Davenant and Dryden rendered on The Tempest in their adaptation of it entitled The Enchanted Island. These alterations include changes in plotting, theme characters and characterization. In the adaptation, Shakespeare’s optimism concerning the amelioration of the human soul recedes to the background, giving room to adaptore’ advocation of love and civility for the establishment of a stable society Miranda’s innocence is capitalized upon to suit the taste of the Restoration audience. Skeptic of the Elizabethan deeply rooted belief in necromancy and preternatural phenomena, the Restoration writers dull the effectiveness of the Shakespearean protagonist’s magic. They, thus, put his efficiency as a reformer to question. prospero’s inability to control his world as in the original enables the adapters to bring the play to the edge of tragedy, a genre which they, especially Dryden prefer to comedy. They, however, have to retain the happy ending of the play in order to please the 17-century theatre-goers who prefer comedy to tragedy.

Writing for an audience which took pride in wit and taste. Davenant and Dryden despite their didactic moral undertones, are cynical about shakespeare’s admiration of the purity of the country and the innocence of the country people. The contrast in the adaptation is between prospero’s natural island and the Restoration “town” as much as it is between the natural Hippolito and the experienced and sophisticated Ferdinand. The Restoration Poet-Laureates show no interest in, rather laugh at, the natural man. Who for them, is no more than country bumpkin who should learn the ways of the world before he can be admitted to the civilized, urban society. The plays simultaneously imply a warning against immorality and excessive emotions, which may lead to anarchy and social disorder.

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