The Tempest: A Postmodern Reading
The works of William Shakespeare have a universal influence and are considered representatives of all times and all ages. Critics, scholars, academics, and students have been rereading, reexamining, retelling, and restaging his plays century after century. This dissertation proposes to examine The Tempest as a postmodern text. The postmodern elements: ant-formality, pastiche, intertextuality, paranoia, irony, playfulness, puns, wordplays, conspiracy theories, temporal distortion, and supernatural elements, create an atmosphere in The Tempest, which can be described as postmodern. Focusing on Ihab Hassan and Brian McHale's definition and characterization of postmodernism which have created an opportunity to have a postmodern approach to The Tempest, this paper illustrates how Shakespeare deconstructs the formal properties of the text and uses pastiche that projects a postmodern connotation of the play. The dissertation also explores the religious, mythological, geographical, and historical references of characters and their names, events, incidents, locations, and places that construct intertextuality and insert paranoia into the play. In identifying postmodernist elements— particularly the presence of a supernatural and dreamy world—this paper examines binaries: natural vs. supernatural and reality vs. dream, which are pivotal postmodern concepts. Based on Foucault's The Eye of Power, the study also discovers the Panoptical Gaze of Prospero, who has assigned Ariel—as surveillance to keep an eye on everybody and everything on the island. Finally, this paper aims to reread The Tempest—as a postmodern text.