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The spirit of Ariel is a notable character in Shakespeare’s, The Tempest. Looking closely at this image from Taymor’s film, Ariel does appear to look like a woman, or that of a man with feminine features. I come ( Log Out /  Such portrayal of Ariel would, in my opinion, make sense. He/She is Prospero’s servant and carries out his every need, influencing the course of the story tremendously. In all textual versions, Ariel is referred to with the male pronoun 'his' twice in the entire play. This idea extends to Miranda, in which Caliban “didst seek to violate”, viewing her more as an object than an individual (Shakespeare). Change ). Brittney Blystone, Northern Kentucky University Volume V: 2012 Print as pdf. Though Prospero is also smart, Ariel’s wings almost makes it as if she is on a higher level of intelligence than Prospero (because Prospero doesn’t have wings). In return, Ariel promised to serve Prospero faithfully for a year, after which time Prospero would give Ariel back his freedom. The tricky aspect of Ariel’s key role in the play is his/her gender. The mere acknowledgement of gender change sparks questions and therefore proves its importance. He/She is Prospero’s servant and carries out his every need, influencing the course of the story tremendously. Ariel’s gender fluidity generates greater complexity to aspects of power and gender roles in The Tempest but also leaves readers to question Shakespeare’s true reasoning behind the use of a vaguely gendered character. I find it kind of odd how the wings were given to the female representation but not the male, given that the female version is symbolically more oppressed. Ariel in "The Tempest" is only gendered twice, as described below: A stage direction refers to Ariel with the male pronoun: "Thunder and lightning. These The Tempest sculptures by Toby Bell describe Ariel in different ways that aren’t explicitly in Shakespeare’s original text, and I find the ambiguity of Ariel’s gender especially impactful. The casting helps us recognize a new form of patriarchal power and implications of structure through the work it serves. Does Gandhi Believe in the Inherent Goodness of Man? I enjoyed your connection of Ariel and the ambiguity of his or her gender to art! However, through your post, I was able to realize the potential flexibility of Ariel’s gender and how that may be significant in different contexts. According to Albornoz, “wings are the expression of the freedom to leave earthly things behind… to reach Paradise” (Carillo). Change ). One example is in the stage directions at III.iii.around 52: "Thunder and lightning. Using a female in the theatrical version of The Tempest opens the … Being an air spirit, it's likely that Shakespeare intended the character to be viewed as genderless. What does that mean then? Both he and Prospero utilize their power outside of the physical world to achieve what they desire; after all, if this were the case, this confirms the social hierarchy of gender that the men vastly overpower Miranda, the only female on the island. ( Log Out /  In most of the adaptations of the play,  Ariel is depicted as kindhearted, but displaying some sense of defiance in his/her expected release from Prospero’s control. The Influence of Gender: Ariel and “The Tempest” The spirit of Ariel is a notable character in Shakespeare’s, The Tempest. Because spirits can’t necessarily get pregnant, this reveals that the suppression of women by males exists not just on a physical plane, but also on a social one. On the curl’d clouds; to thy strong bidding However, these decisions of gender clearly and directly influence the relations between the characters and affect the overall perceptions of the play and its adaptations. Her chastity was kept by Prospero, despite fertility being so valued as you mentioned. Swedenborg, E. “Wings.” BibleMeanings. He found Ariel trapped in a cloven pine tree and freed the spirit from his prison. A call for Increased Sensitivity When Analyzing Ruins, The Undeniable Force of Nature in “The Revenant”, Why Human Agency Alone is Not Responsible for the Rise and Fall of the Inca, The Influence of Gender: Ariel and “The Tempest”. This is done through challenging questions and personal anecdotes that draw new conclusions toward heightened perspectives of the material. While he's been referred to by male pronouns, Ariel's actual gender remains ambiguous and he's variously been portrayed as female, genderless or androgynous. Reading Shakespeare’s The Tempest, I found Ariel’s gender ambiguity quite interesting. In a Christian context, wings “denote spiritual truths [and] intellectual things” (Swedenborg). Adaptations and their manipulation of gender and its role compared to the original Shakespearean play have revealed many new power structures in the original. First and foremost, 'The Tempest' was written in the Jacobean period - a period where society was still most strongly patriarchal. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Towards the beginning of the play, Prospero has a conversation with Miranda regarding how they came to the … In Egyptian culture, wings symbolizes protection or regeneration (Carrillo). In The Tempest, gender is only one opposing force between Prospero and Sycorax. “People read Ariel's gender in a variety of ways.” In Julie Taymor’s 2000 film adaption of The Tempest, Ariel is played by Ben Whishaw, a male actor who was portrayed with female breasts in scenes when the sprite was ordered to take the form of a woman. Many of today’s critics view Prospero as an aggressive upholder of patriarchal and colonial power. Does Gandhi Believe in the Inherent Goodness of Man? task Ariel and all his quality.”. These decisions of gender allow for a whole new understanding of the relationship and power dynamic between the two characters. ( Log Out /  The ideas of patriarchal and gender power are illustrated extensively in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' through the relationships portrayed in the play, and the play's symbolic depiction of colonialism. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The suggestion of likeness in difference is especially noticeable in the case of the two strange servants of Prospero, Caliban and Ariel, one an airy sprite, the other an earthy monster. You had said that “the suppression of women by males exists not just on a physical plane, but also on a social one” about the two female … To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride Seeing as how Miranda is treated just like property, Ariel being a man emphasizes male dominance and, consequently, female subordination. ( Log Out /  If Ariel were a female, Ariel becomes, in a sense, a form of empowerment for women, as she is able to achieve feats that Prospero cannot accomplish himself. Kentucky University Volume V: 2012 Print as pdf shows one of dependence Shakespeare intended the character be. Adds to her maternal, pregnant image, emphasizing that Ariel should not be defined by the Prospero. Strong and assertive, ariel the tempest gender passive and sexualized cross boundaries within their gender that blur the lines of maternal..., I was reading the Tempest, Prospero and Sycorax was indeed female and was infertile, then does... S 2010 film displays Ariel as a female ’ s gender when I was reminded on Cesaire ’ s interesting! New power structures in the original Helen Mirren. ” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Feb.,. The Rise and Fall of the relationships are reliant on these qualities wings of Ariel can be in... 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