What is the semantic field used to refer to Miranda's memories in The Tempest?Act 1 scene2 PROSPERO By what? by any other house or person?Of any thing the image tell me thatHath kept with thy...


The Tempest

What is the semantic field used to refer to Miranda's memories in The Tempest?

Act 1 scene2


By what? by any other house or person?
Of any thing the image tell me that
Hath kept with thy remembrance.


'Tis far off
And rather like a dream than an assurance
That my remembrance warrants. Had I not
Four or five women once that tended me?


Thou hadst, and more, Miranda. But how is it
That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
If thou remember'st aught ere thou camest here,
How thou camest here thou mayst.


But that I do not.


Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,
Thy father was the Duke of Milan and
A prince of power.


MIRANDAThe ivy which had hid my princely trunk,
And suck'd my verdure out on't.

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When we talk of a semantic field what is meant is the kind of group of words that are used in a particular text. These can be grouped into topical headings, such as words refering to food or nature, for example. When we analyse the speech of Miranda in Act 1 scene 2, which is important because it allows Shakespeare to fill both Miranda and the audience in on the past of Prospero and his daughter, and how they managed to end up on the island, we can see that the words Miranda use are drawn from the semantic field of both dreams and emotions. Note how sshe describes her memories as being "rather like a dream than an assurance/That my remembrance warrants." This clearly indicates the way that her memories of her former life belong to her very early years, as she is unable to say whether they are real or just a figment of her imagination.

As her father begins to develop his narrative of their history, her semantic field is characterised by emotion as he tells her of the "foul play" that brought them to the island:

O, my heart bleeds

To think o'th' teen that I have turned you to,

Which is from my remembrance.

Note the use of the metaphor "my heart bleeds," which captures both the sensitive nature of Miranda, her love for her father, and the shock she feels and having such information disclosed to her at this stage of the play.


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