Welcome, a new addition to the Onoto Shakespeare Collection, the enchanting Prospero Pen.
For the bookish of us, it’s hard not to think about Shakespeare’s final solo work for the stage, The Tempest, in our current isolation. Prospero’s twelve years in exile on a bewitched island, with his daughter Miranda, may not compare to the weeks or even months spent relinquished to our quarters. Still, these times surely feel out of this world. And there are many other similarities between the play and our reality as well.
For starters, the play’s symbolisms – art, service, books, and forgiveness – are hauntingly relevant to our current states. Conjuring illusions and other magical acts are described as ‘art’ in the play but so is the creation of performances, poetry and other artistic works. Questioning the fragile lines between art and artifice, or sincerity and deception. The latter, warns Prospero, can turn us into power-hungry tyrants if unchecked.
In this global experience including all 7.8billion of us, the expressions that first originated in the Tempest – such as a ‘brave new world’ and ‘sea-change’ – are now gathering new pace and meaning. Prospero used the sea to bring his enemies to him, by shipwrecking them on his island, so that he can return the favour of transformation, or change. ‘Sea-change’ has become to illustrate a substantial change in perspective, especially one which affects a group or society at large.
What’s significant, however, is that Prospero’s character showed mercy and forgiveness. His isolation and misfortune didn’t turn him into a vengeful duke.
“Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardon’d the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands”
It helped him learn something that we, as a collective, are still in the process of understanding. And it starts with giving up mindless power and artifice in the service of the common good.
We implore you to revisit the enchanted world of Prospero and if you have children you’d like to introduce to the world of Shakespeare, you can show them this magical animation by Hubert Humphrey.