Shakespeare's The Tempest: An Ecocritical Interpretation
It is a cosmically accepted fact that whatever is being contrived in the fields of science, technology, economics, history, literature, sociology and various other branches of knowledge, environment and ecology play a paramount role. In our enterprise of anatomizing diverse literary compositions one is able to perceive that man’s function and placement in relation to eco-environ has always been that of a preserver, conserver, exploiter, destroyer and the scourged. The proposed endeavour concentrates upon reading Shakespeare’s dramatic romance, The Tempest (1610) in the prodigious ecological matrix, which integrally comprises of the relationship between the organism and the environment. It makes an attempt to assess the identity, position and function of the characters in both positive and negative dimensions with respect to their interconnectedness with ecological phenomena. The Tempest, as the name reveals, is very close to Nature, hence both Man-Nature confrontation and cooperation are experienced. This exploration highlights not only the globally prevalent domination, exploitation, commodification, impoverishment and nullification of women, rustics and Nature but also their physically and symbolically intertwined characteristics. Man’s role, which has been predominantly of a predator of Nature, women and others close to earth is also underlined. It simultaneously projects a mosaic of the following factors: exploitation and conservation of ecosystem by civilization; practical and symbolic significance of ecosystem in human lives; embracement and overthrow of humans by Nature; interrelatedness and interdependence among the humans and their environment; ultimate submission of human beings in front of the omnipotent Nature; the dominating, and usurping tendency of civilization under an illusion of being the supreme authority/power, Nature’s mockery of the same, and metamorphosis of ecocidal entities into ecofriendly agents brought about by the enigmatic forces of Nature. The dissertation also attempts to project how The Tempest has catered the rhythms of the dynamic Nature in the context of an ever-changing society and how it reflects both elevated and distorted symbolic association of humans and Nature/the non-human world.
Keywords: The Tempest, Man-Nature, Eco-friendly, Ecocidal
Research Scholar, Department of English, Rani Durgavati University
Prof. Madhumalati Adhikari
Emeritus Fellow, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IITDM, Jabalpur, India