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Other Titles by Ilan Stavans

On the other side was my best friend, Mark. S, whose office was at the front. Everyone did. She rattled off the house rules, took my money, and handed me the key to her best room.


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At 18 I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, but I had multiple jobs as a waiter and bartender. My wardrobe ran from black to off black, and my hair had an eggplant glow by the light of day. We were club kids.


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  • We hit the town and bounced from loft party to loft party, no invitation needed. There were bubble machines and drugs I now warn against. We danced till there was no sweat left, drank what was offered, and then did it again. Mark flirted and juggled, I did the same, minus the balls in the air. I broke into his room. Neither one of us were great housekeepers. And then I came home from my shift, and taped to my door was a black-and-white photo of a homeless man slumped to the ground.

    Over it Mark had written in black marker:. I asked what he meant, and it left me confused. Somehow Mark had had a mental breakdown, and I figured into it. I went to Bellevue. Not my first time on a psych ward as a couple of years earlier, a family member had a manic psychosis and was admitted to a private hospital. Bellevue was wire-laced windows, steel doors, and the dinge and grime from slippered feet of patients on too much Thorazine as they shuffled the halls with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

    He looked like Mark. He tried to smile like Mark. But it was forced. He had no laughter, and the spark was gone from his eyes. He struggled to focus, and his words carried a sense of apology. His answers were vague. It was somehow tied to our Prospero and Ariel high-octane Halloween. He scared and worried people, and they either called the cops or an ambulance. They brought him to Bellevue, where they drugged down the crazy until his hands shook and his face lost expression.

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    I never saw the fire of his psychosis. I visited a couple more times, but it gave him no pleasure. One of his clinicians told me that I was indeed a figure in his delusions, which he never shared with me. His brother had been right, or so I thought. And so I stopped going.

    Prospero's Speech

    Those are facts. Ask questions. Check out a support group. Knowledge is power, hope matters, and recovery is real. Charles Atkins, M. He is a member of the volunteer faculty at the Yale School of Medicine. The Connecticut Mirror is a nonprofit newsroom.

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    If you value our reporting please consider making a donation. Additionally, upon reading The Tempest, the lingering thought about monstrosity was in my mind. In this play, monsters are greatly looked down upon, mocked, and immensely belittled.

    Essentially, they are viewed as unnatural, outsiders, and deceptive. This particular stereotype has a great effect on one character in particular, Caliban. With Caliban being perceived and represented as a figure for monstrosity, I believe that he is a mere victim in this case. For instance, Prospero greatly demeans Ariel, making him feel forever indebted to him.

    Essentially, I got a sense of how Prospero is abusive, and greatly takes advantage of Ariel, demonstrating his superiority and narcissism, whereas Ariel expresses his fearful and submissive attitude towards his mistreatment. I felt as though I was able to engage with the characters and the storyline. Coming back to Shakespeare feels rather natural, having done one of his plays every year of high school, and preformed a few of them throughout elementary.

    I do admittedly enjoy Shakespeare, having done so much with it in the past. I found, for one thing, a few Machiavellian ideas that ran through it, prominently with Prospero. Arial does his dirty work, and so he very effectively keeps his hands clean. I found the most interesting characters of this play to be Caliban and Ariel.

    So, coming into the book, that was the impression I had of Ariel. I pictured Caliban as a sort of hunchbacked man, somewhat like Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame. He was given fish-like qualities but I interpreted that as greasy hair and his odd frame. I suppose that my mind went to lengths to picture him as human, despite evidence to the contrary.

    I was reminded of Richard III, probably largely because of the hunchback, but they both seemed misinterpreted by those around them. Caliban is not as cruel as Richard III was depicted to be, however.

    Michael Nyman - Prospero's magic

    But his appearance did play a very large role in how he was thought of. The Tempest is the first Shakespearean work I ever had to read. And to this day I still thoroughly enjoy it.

    My secondary school did a take on The Tempest working with the physical theatre group called the Zen Zen Zo. The tempest and the depiction of it was so good, they had a whole load of Ariels above flicking water into the audience as the ships crew fought it out with the ship.

    It was amazing and that is how I tend to view the play. The most memorable moment of the play, when I watched what I believe to be an animated version, I cannot really remember since I was in the 5 th or 6 th grade, was the part where Caliban meets Trincolo and Stephano. The Tempest is a very interesting play; this tempest, that shipwrecks Alonzo and company, is completely orchestrated by Prospero.

    I like the idea that the play is contained on a, essentially, deserted island and every aspect of the marooned peoples is controlled by Prospero. Although that sort of stuff was normal of the time. It is nice to see that, after his brother betrays him, he becomes more cautious of people and their thoughts since before he would hack away at studying while he let his brother govern for him. A Machiavellian prince for instance would have killed the original inhabitants, especially if they tried to kill him.

    Prospero is neither feared nor loved by Caliban or Ariel. To end, I have watched a pretty strange rendition of Romeo and Juliet. The end of this animated Romeo and Juliet ended with Romeo being killed by a tree lady A lady who had like tree arms and Juliet becoming a tree to save everyone. I felt that took away from the tragedy, but it was fun and romantic along the way.

    I wish we did Romeo and Juliet, but that might be because there is so much fun in it! I better stop here before my love of the Act 1, Scene 1 fight between the house of Capulet and the house of Montague take over this post. Again with Beowulf, I had already reviewed this text before.

    Actually several times, ever since Grade Our curriculum had some accidental repeats in terms of literature… This and Lord of the Flies became so overrated by the end of high school.

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    I can see why this text was included in Arts One B. It has some pretty infamous monsters; Caliban in particular. In a more modern take, Caliban can be viewed as one to have empathy with; a victim of circumstance. His island is taken right from underneath him! In a way, Shakespeare uses Prospero to inspire others to live to his legacy. It would have been a tear jerker for avid Shakespeare followers of the time, and even for some today. A wonderful aside. One of the most intriguing things I found in The Tempest was the symbol that the game of chess had in the narrative.

    Also… do yourself a favor and do not watch the latest interpretation of the movie… the one with Russell Brand. It is ever so weak, extremely dragged out, and Prospero is played by a female Helen Mirren …. The only benefactor out of that film was the pretty good continuity and the make up for Caliban and Trincolo. I never thought Russell Brand could get any creepier but alas I have been proven wrong.