Commentaire de shakespeare the tempest act 2 scene 1
a) The laying out of a canvas
=> Gonzalo starts with a conditional form “had I” l 141 which lays out a blank canvas before the spectator of the island.
=> He considers objects to do with nature “corn” l 151 “nature” 160 but also of culture, describing through society “men” “women”, law “ contract” “magistrate”, military “pike, knife, gun”
=>He tries haltingly to consider all the elements that should make up a society, labor and agriculture, monetary considerations, hierarchical structure, ownership to defense and military. Interestingly he does this in the form of lists. As if he is filling this canvas with small touches rather like a sparse pointillist not generous broad brush strokes.
_ This can be seen in the absence of soaring poetry (ex: l. 145-146). gives irregular prosody.
b) A description that is more an experimentation
=> Gonzalo doesn't seem to have a firm idea of what he is saying. He is experimenting moving on haltingly with many hesitations. This is seen in the run on lines, that show that his ideas aren't firm or organized enough to fit in one line, his imagination has overtaken his reason, which creates haphazard thoughts.
=> this is also illustrated by the fact that he can say one thing and the opposite as pointed out by Antonio l. 156 “The latter part of his commonwealth forgets the / beginning.” He is not yet sure of what his land should be it's an ongoing thought process.
=> this uncertainty is also transmitted through modals. Indeed he uses “should”, the preterit form of “shall”,several times shows his hesitations
c) An uncertain sovereign
=> Gonzalo starts by setting himself firmly as the ruler of this imagined land with his use of the first person “I” that he repeats throughout the scene, which strikes the spectator as a kind of parody of Prospero.
=> However this “I” slowly shifts throughout the text and in the end doesn't seem to hold as much affirmation of power as