Study Guide

The Tempest

by William Shakespeare

The Tempest Essay - The Tempest and Cultural Exchange

The Tempest and Cultural Exchange

Jean-Marie Maguin

Looking at commercial exchange may prove a convenient way of approaching the problem of cultural exchange in general, for commerce is steeped in all sorts of constraints and traditions and, pragmatic though it appears, still measures desire as much as reason, and reflects an estimated balance of power between seller and buyer. The proverb 'exchange is no robbery' (Heywood, 1542) is significant of a conceptual impediment. No less significant is the adjectival crutch it often uses in order to reassure itself and us that 'a fair exchange is no robbery'. Yet what is a 'fair' exchange? At one end of the scale, exchanging or bartering one necessity for another—so long as the need for the things exchanged is similarly pressing for both parties—may in all likelihood be accounted fair. At the other end of the scale, trading one luxury for another may be found fair as long as it suits the whims and plans of the exchanging parties. The trickster king, Richard III, exclaims 'A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse' (5.7.7). It is Shakespeare who adds the exchange suggestion. All that the source (Hall) says is that when they see that the battle is lost, the king's party 'brought to hym a swyfte and a lyght horse to convey hym awaie'. Are we to understand that Shakespeare's Richard is pinning a low price on his kingdom and a high price on a horse? As we laugh at Richard's desperate offer, are we to ponder also over the well-known fact that 'necessity's sharp pinch', according to Lear's phrase (King Lear 2.2.384), works a strange arithmetic or that need, as Lear puts it more generally some time later (438), is simply not to be reasoned at all? The truth here is more simple. Richard is trying to barter what is no longer his for what may still save his life. Here is the disproportion that goads the audience into smiling or laughing. In this battle scene, poles apart from epic or tragic grandeur, the cheekiness of the character, drawing close to his last gasp, is still in the spirit of farce, but his ultimate deceitful offer, though repeated (5.7.13), will not save him from death.

Less pragmatic, though hardly less artful in its desire to move the listener, is Richard II's exchange programme, carefully built on the rhetorical pattern of gradatio:

I'll give my jewels for a set of beads,
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
My gay apparel for an almsman's gown,
My figured goblets for a dish of wood,
My sceptre for a palmer's walking staff,
My subjects for a pair of carvèd saints,
And my large kingdom for a little grave.

Apart from the revealing—nay, poignant—symbolism of each proposition, the general truth applies to the beginning of the wars of the Roses as it did to the end of them at Bosworth: lost kingdoms go cheap enough.

All exchanges are marked by a triple uncertainty. They bow to circumstances that may suddenly transform a needle into the most precious thing on earth. They defer to subjective preferences whatever those may be. They reflect cultural traits. No two cultures rate their values according to the same scale. The scarcity of a particular product is a local factor and unless it proves a common denominator between the exchanging parties—which virtually precludes exchange of that product—it will lead to mutual misapprehension. To exchange a handful of glass-beads for an ingot of gold arguably sets up each party of that exchange as the other's laughing-stock, if the respective cultural backgrounds are not thoroughly known and mastered. In this respect, all exchanges, commercial bargains included, are coloured by culture.

As a story of visitors setting foot successively on an inhabited island, albeit singly, The Tempest addresess very plainly the problems that arise from cultural difference, and influence exchanges between men, and also, as it turns out, exchanges with supernatural entities. Although the story line adopted by Shakespeare does not appear indebted to any main narrative or dramatic source, The Tempest, for all its low level of intertextuality, still manifests a diversity of cultural exchanges. There is what Stephen Greenblatt has described in terms of 'negotiation'. To quote him, 'works of art, however intensely marked by the creative intelligence and private obsessions of individuals, are the products of collective negotiation and exchange'.1 The formula is deceptively unassuming and one immediately thinks this is nothing but the foreseeable return of a once fashionable socio-historical approach. And it is, in a way. Yet everything in Greenblatt's successful analysis is idiosyncratic, and, in the case of The Tempest, the measure of his mastery is demonstrated in proving—odds-against, as far as I am concerned—that the play is partly the result of a negotiation between representatives of two London joint-stock companies with Shakespeare standing for the King's Men's venture and Strachey for the Virginia company. The substance of the fascinating demonstration need not be summed up here; I shall accept it as defining a new type of cultural exchange, infinitely more subtle and important than the commercial negotiation whose pattern I initially borrowed to explore the concept of exchange.

While in material and commercial exchanges we can always trace a cultural element, in the cultural negotiation or exchange there is no swapping of objective goods, neither need there be an awareness of mutual enrichment on the part of the participants. Cultural exchange is primarily communication but this need not be reciprocal, and certainly not so hic et nunc. What did Shakespeare give Strachey, a friend of friends and a Blackfriars neighbour, in exchange for the yet unpublished account of his shipwreck and of the state of the Virginia colony? Put in this way, the question is badly formulated. What did Strachey receive in exchange for his information? Only Strachey knows. Perhaps nothing that he was conscious of, bar the pleasure he must have felt as a keen follower of the stage, of making conversation with the greatest dramatist in London—that is, assuming that the two men communicated verbally. Shakespeare may simply have read a copy of Strachey's manuscript letter, if the letter was circulated in this form, as we think it was. Even in this form, cultural exchange did take place. In exchange—but by now it is plain that strictly measured reciprocity and mutual advantage are no longer defining features— Strachey, like ourselves, received The Tempest. Adaptation, appropriation, deviation according to whatever set of pressures is at work on the body and the mind that receive the cultural implant take precedence as far as the literary scholar is concerned. The phenomenon is still akin to intertextuality even though the hypotext may not be a text at all. None of those who imitated, adapted, or stole from Homer could repay him, naturally. The type of cultural exchange I am describing is no longer reciprocal but one-sided and outward bound. Its progress is comparable to that of wine in a still. Substantial changes take place in the process. 'Exchange' and 'change', understood as 'transformation' become equated (as in the Oxford English Dictionary, 'exchange' 1.1.6.)

The play's plot successively portrays two pseudocolonial situations, the first with the relationship between Prospero and Miranda on the one hand and Caliban on the other, the second between Stefano and Trinculo on the one hand and Caliban again on the other. No structure could invite us more clearly to establish comparisons than does this parallel between two separate and successive representations of intercultural exchange. Such are the givens of the dramatic work that we are made to react to situations in different and often contradictory ways according to whether we pay attention to macro- or micro-elements in the play's structure. The parallel instituted between the three sets of pseudo- or would-be planters (Prospero, Gonzalo, and Stefano) depends on macro-elements.

While keeping them separate until the very end in order to allow independent and sharper focus, the play reflects here the contacts established between Europeans and Indians in the new world since the end of the fifteenth century. The spectrum of European society is reduced to its two extremes with at one end the gentility of the prince and his fair daughter, or the political philosophy of Gonzalo, and, at the other end, the vulgarity of the jester and the drunken butler. On the indigenous side, Shakespeare simplifies the social picture by giving us only one savage. Caliban's singularity possibly emblematizes an undifferentiated European vision of the savages as 'other'. Gonzalo and Caliban never meet to talk but exchanges between savage and prince, savage and rag-tag crew members pass through two distinct and opposed phases of friendship and hatred. The prince's gift of language and amity is reciprocated by the savage's gift of knowledge of the isle and worship. I stress knowledge of the isle for it seems to me that Caliban's gift is not simply practical. He has shown Prospero 'all the qualities o' th' isle, / The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile' (1.2.339-40). The proposition he makes later to Stefano, while starting more or less in the same fashion, soon bottoms out with mere ancillary services:

I'll show thee every fertile inch o' th' island,

I'll show thee the best springs; I'll pluck thee
I'll fish for thee, and get thee wood enough.

I prithee, let me bring thee where crabs grow,
And I with my long nails will dig thee pig-
Show thee a jay's nest, and instruct thee how
To snare the nimble marmoset. I'll bring thee
To clust'ring filberts, and sometimes I'll get
Young seamews from the rock …

In this passage are found micro-elements whose presence, as they raise echoes, modifies the more immediate response to macro-structural features. We are referred to an earlier moment when Caliban nostalgically remembered how, in the friendly phase of their relationship, Prospero would reward him by giving him 'Water with berries in't …' (1.2.336), a diet whose simplicity is reminiscent of the golden age. Not so the diet Caliban is planning for Stefano in exchange for wine from the wicked, inexhaustible bottle. Amongst the nuts and berries, there lurks food of the iron age. The flesh of the marmoset testifies to competition between the species and brings feeding disturbingly close to cannibalism since the victim belongs to the animal family closest to man. Are we to understand that the more varied and sanguinary diet is innate, that Caliban did all these things for Prospero too, and from the first, though we are not told in so many words, or are we to believe that Caliban's fishing and hunting skills grew from Prospero's teaching? The question obviously cannot be answered but the difference between the two discourses on food, the allusive and the detailed, is sufficiently marked to arrest us in this exploration of cultural exchange. From the innocence of water and berries we have passed to wine—the imported curse of colonized New-World populations—and blood, an ominous association. Caliban's other intended gift to Stefano is also stained with blood. It is political power in exchange for the killing of his present tyrant.

The second phase in each relationship is one of hatred. Slavery and incarceration are the price paid by Caliban for his attempted rape on the person of Miranda. In exchange for this hardship, all he can repay Prospero and his daughter with are the curses which witness to his acquired linguistic capacity. This new type of exchange, using the word in the flattest sense of 'reciprocal giving and receiving' (Oxford English Dictionary, 1.1.d), has two main characteristics: (a) unbalance resulting from Prospero's position of power, and (b) the fact that it is no longer intercultural but becomes intracultural. Slavery and curses, meaningless in Caliban's original isolation on the island, are two evils that belong in Prospero's world. What Caliban has lost is a capacity to exchange with his visitor, and now master, anything of his own tradition. He is the exemplary subject of violent and total assimilation. The second phase of the relationship between the two drunkards and Caliban is also placed under the auspices of contempt, and curses are exchanged. While the balance of power is in this case satisfactory, Caliban is still shown wanting, as he was in his later dealings with Prospero and Miranda, in anything original to exchange.

It seems important not to restrain the meaning of Caliban's remark 'You taught me language, and my profit on't / Is I know how to curse' (1.2.365-6) to something which one could gloss as 'and now I am capable of verbal violence or vulgarity'. The play's strategy encourages such a limitation, in a sense, since a curse in the most common acceptation of the word is made to follow immediately: 'The red plague rid you / For learning me your language!' (366-7). Caliban's own account of the initial teaching process—he learned to name the sun and the moon—suggests that 'your language' does not mean the play's English, or its Milanese referent, but 'that thing which you call language'. In Prospero's laboratory an extraordinary experiment has therefore been attempted which consisted not so much in teaching someone to speak as in humanizing a 'freckled whelp' (1.2.284), a less than human creature accidentally found in the natural environment. In his original state, Caliban is like Chaos, which is not the world at all, but capable of becoming the world if it meets its god. What Prospero and Miranda teach Caliban is to conceptualize, and whether or not Caliban is 'A devil, a born devil, on whose nature / Nurture can never stick' (4.1.188-9), Caliban is stuck with language, or more essentially, as intimated earlier, with the power to conceptualize without which misery is nothing but an experience of the moment, and with which misery and loss of liberty become subjects of endless woeful meditation that aggravate the fate of the sufferer. What Caliban chiefly deplores is the step he was made to take into the human condition. He was taught language and the only profit he finds is a capacity to curse his fate.2

The Tempest is a play which capitalizes on contradiction, and commentary is bound to reflect this. Thus do I follow Shakespeare's example in simultaneously setting up Caliban as subhuman—therefore as incapable of culture—and analysing his initial exchanges with Prospero as evidence of an original culture. We should be careful, however, of possible dangers arising from the fact that our notion of culture is quite different from the Elizabethan concepts of the development of mental faculties, of manners, or education. Although the Oxford English Dictionary records one occurrence of the word 'culture' in the modern sense about 1510, all other illustrations are post-Shakespearian. Shakespeare never uses the word either in this sense or any other. Modern usage has certainly stretched the concept to take in manifestations which, even recently, ethnocentric prejudice would have pushed far below the level of the cultural. No matter how ferocious the contempt of the conquistadors for the people whose lands they were taking over, the very ferocity of their persecution is proof that, in most if not in all cases, they were eliminating a recognized competitor. The ardour to Christianize the savages meant that although occasionally deemed not to own a soul, they were thought capable of acquiring one through the mystic operation of baptism, just as subhuman Caliban is capable of receiving the language of man. When and where the indigenous populations were thought to be the children of the devil this did not preclude conversion. Their barbarity was only strangeness, pleaded some humanists and a few, like Montaigne, radically deconstructed the prevailing contempt for the savages by holding them up as an enviable cultural model. They formed a society closely mirroring the famed Golden Age which we could describe through an oxymoronic phrase as a 'natural culture'. This paradox, or seeming paradox, is not the product of modernity. It is embedded in the very myth of the Golden Age where Saturn gives man a sickle, a symbol that the natural fertility of the soil can still be improved. In the Judeo-Christian world, the garden of Eden has pitfalls of its own but no agricultural implements.

There are two main borrowings from Florio's translation of Montaigne's essays in The Tempest. They concern Gonzalo's daydreams about a Utopian government of the island (2.1.149-70) inspired by Montaigne's essay 'Of the Caniballes', as well as Prospero's statement that 'The rarer action is / In virtue than in vengeance' at the beginning of Act 5 (5.1.27-8).3 Montaigne's influence on the latter passage was identified by Elizabeth Prosser in 1935.4 It poses little or no difficulty. Shakespeare simply makes Prospero adopt, in his renouncing vengeance, Montaigne's sentiment that flawless and unshakeable goodness is as unheroic as it is incomprehensible, and that the voluntary domination of his passions and overcoming of temptation is a rarer virtue. The flow of moral philosophy from Montaigne to the play's character-philosopher is straightforward and unencumbered. The problem offered by Gonzalo's Utopian enthusiasm is different. Although it is well known I shall cite the passage in full since I intend to scrutinize it. I omit the courtiers' quizzing interruptions:

GONZALO (to Alonso)
Had I the plantation of this isle, my lord,—
I' th' commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things. For no kind of traffic
Would I admit, no name of magistrate;
Letters should not be known; riches, poverty,
And use of service, none; contract, succession,
Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
No occupation, all men idle, all;
And women too—but innocent and pure;
No sovereignty—

All things in common nature should produce
Without sweat or endeavour. Treason, felony,
Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any
Would I not have; but nature should bring
Of it own kind all foison, all abundance,
To feed my innocent people.

I would with such perfection govern, sir,
T' excel the Golden Age.

This, now, is how Florio translates the imaginary conversation carried out by Montaigne with Plato about the population discovered by Villegagnon in 'Antartike France':

It is a nation, would I answer Plato, that hath no kinde of traffike, no knowledge of Letters, no intelligence of numbers, no name of magistrate, nor of politike superioritie; no use of service, of riches or of povertie; no contracts, no successions, no partitions, no occupation but idle; no respect of kindred, but common, no appareil but naturali, no manuring of lands, no use of wine, corne, or mettle.

The very words that import lying, falshood, treason, dissimulations, covetousnes, envie, detraction, and pardon, were never heard among them.5

Montaigne had introduced this description by deploring the fact that neither Lycurgus nor Plato could know of the existence of such peoples:

for me seemeth that what in those nations we see by experience, doth not only exceed all the pictures wherewith licentious Poesie hath proudly imbellished the golden age, and all her quaint inventions to faine a happy condition of man, but also the conception and desire of Philosophy.6

Shakespeare appears to be working with Florio's Montaigne at his elbow and reproduces the list of twelve or thirteen characteristic features whose lack negatively defines the state of happiness experienced by these Antarctic populations. Illiteracy and lack of political hierarchy, which take second and third places in Montaigne's list, are quoted in reverse order in The Tempest. Lack of occupation and lack of metal, respectively number seven and number twelve of Montaigne's declension are switched about and figure as number nine and number seven in Shakespeare. Lack of corn and wine are given a higher priority in the play, figuring as number eight instead of number eleven in Montaigne. The prohibition of weapons is original to Gonzalo's speech, and he is made to interject a remark about the innocence and purity of women which is perhaps an interpretation of Montaigne's statement of the fact that 'the women lie from their husbands'7 and that the husbands are constantly reminded to observe 'an inviolable affection to their wives'.8 None of these differences however are very significant, apart from the emphatic ban on arms, and they would pass unnoticed in the theatre by anyone who does not happen to know Florio's text by heart.9 The manipulation lies elsewhere and is most evident whatever the capacity of one's memory.10 Whereas Montaigne is indirectly describing a state of affairs existing in the new world, Gonzalo is talking about (re)creating such a state of affairs: nature and lack of artifice on the one hand, artifice in imposing a return to nature on the other. Gonzalo is running head first into the perverse old paradox of pacifism and tolerance only ever enforceable by dint of war and intolerance. The best of intentions are often the nearest way to the devil. In this connection Gonzalo's most reassuring quality is his ineffectuality for we have met such fundamentalists before. Jack Cade and his crew are against possessions, partitions, and the knowledge of letters, and the rope and knife make short shrift of lawyers and schoolmasters. The courtiers are quick to underline the contradictions in Gonzalo's speech:'GONZALO No sovereignty—SEBASTIAN Yet he would be king on't.' (162). Although the courtiers are cynical villains this does not detract from the fact that their logic is not only valid but establishes the truth. Although the fact that they are right does not make them better characters in the appraisal of the spectators, the effective invalidation of Gonzalo's reasoning by an arrogant couple of blackguards seriously undercuts the attraction of his Utopian zeal.

The question that interests us here is whether the manipulation of Montaigne's essay by Shakespeare is made solely at the expense of Gonzalo or also at the expense of Montaigne's philosophy. The answer is not easy to determine. It remains a general truth that the ridicule of the exponent of a theory—here Gonzalo—will, up to a point, rub off on the theory itself and its original proponent. Nowhere is Gonzalo more ridiculous or naive and unrealistic than in the introduction of his argument when he announces that his commonwealth would do 'all things by contraries'. We are free to imagine what Swift might have constructed on the basis of such an extreme proposition. Nowhere is Gonzalo less convincing than in the summation of his argument when he smugly remarks that he would govern with such perfection 'T' excel the Golden Age'. The statement is markedly different from Montaigne's. The French writer uses the regular contempt of the philosopher for poetic imagination to announce to the world that the blissful state of existence of the savages actually outdoes all those excessive accounts of the Golden Age found in poetic tradition. He then proceeds to hoist himself with his own petard by furthermore assuring the reader that the savages have actually outdone 'the conception and desire of Philosophy'. Two things here would have ruffled Shakespeare's sense of the relative and his spirit of tolerance: (a) the philosopher's bad faith in accepting poetic symbols literally, and (b) the excessive claim in making experience the be-all and end-all, feigning thus to put matter so much over mind only to validate paradoxically what remains an intellectual operation, his philosophizing. In Shakespeare and Ovid, Jonathan Bate makes the point that 'Shakespeare denies the myth of the Golden Age restored in a New World peopled by noble cannibals',11 and that Caliban's fallen state, whether innate or not, is apparent in his claim of the island as his heritage. I fully concur in this judgement and refer here to the Golden Age as a myth respected as such by Shakespeare but rather affectedly spurned by Montaigne in a conventional instance of philosopher disparaging poet. The confrontation between Shakespeare and Montaigne, as I see it, is anything but a head-on collision. It is rather in the nature of an abrasion of Montaigne's philosophy by Shakespeare concerning the point of knowing whether the savages' existence is perfect or not. At first sight, we might have thought primarily of Gonzalo as a man hopelessly exposed, a sort of enfant perdu shot at by his own camp, by the Antonios and the Gonzalos. Instead we discover that Gonzalo is, practically speaking, a mask from behind which Shakespeare is vigorously teasing Montaigne for his radicalism.

The last manipulation relevant to the problem of cultural exchange that I wish to look at here is apparent in Miranda's famous appreciation of the men she discovers: 'O wonder! / How many goodly creatures are there here! / How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world / That has such people in't!' (5.1.184-7). The traditionally observed inadequacy of the remark can hardly be overrated, Miranda looking as she does upon usurpers and would-be murderers. Although Shakespeare is not above a joke at the expense of his characters, I do not think irony ad feminam to have been his main motivation in this case. The colonial analogy developed in the play with varying degrees of accuracy and varying urgency, seems to take over here. We have hundreds of accounts by Europeans of Europeans discovering 'savages', but how many accounts do we have, recorded by savages themselves, of their discovery of Europeans? By the time Miranda discovers the Neapolitans, we have already seen Caliban, the play's single aborigine, worship a couple of newly arrived drunken aliens, a mistake he readily acknowledges and one that is a repeat of his initial adulation of Prospero. Miranda, since she has only a few memories of Milan, could almost be considered as a near aborigine, but is the category admissible at all? It is clear that the education received at the hands of her father disqualifies her as a 'savage' commenting on her discovery of a new race of men. Why then does Shakespeare choose her to repeat Caliban's mistake in a register totally different from the grotesque farce of Prospero's slave? Beyond the comedy of misplaced praise, the pressure of contemporary colonial history introduces graver and disturbing echoes in her words of welcome. They ring with the fatal error made by all the New-World people who judged us on our fair looks and declared good intentions only to be rapidly subjected or wiped out by alcohol, disease,.and main force. In the circumstances, Prospero's warning to Miranda ''Tis new to thee.' (187) is one of those hushed, subdued asides that hold the promise of ulterior explanations ('Can't tell you now, not in this company'). The shift from 'savage' to 'civilized' is momentous. It implies that the error of the 'savage' in welcoming the colonists is not, as might have been thought, the unavoidable fault of brutish brains, a natural defect. European culture, represented in Miranda, is prone to a similar failure. The parallel between Caliban and Miranda is Shakespeare's deft way of putting the New World on the same fragile footing as the Old. Humanity is shared equally between them because both worlds are shown to have an identical potential for erring in judgement.

Curiously, Miranda's exclamation about that 'brave new world' is close in sentiment to a Latin quotation added in the 1595 posthumous edition of Montaigne's Essays—the one that Florio translates—and omitted in the English translation. In the French book it occurs rather awkwardly just before another Latin quotation from Virgil's Georgics, already present in the 1588 edition. The Latin phrase that Florio leaves out is taken from Seneca's 'Epistle XC': viri a diis recentes (men fresh from the hands of the gods). Montaigne applies the phrase to the savages, Miranda's salutation is aimed at the sophisticated, and perverse Old-World race as it appears before her. Could Shakespeare have had access to a copy of the 1595 edition of Montaigne's Essays in French? If he knew Florio personally—as it is quite possible he did since the two men shared the same patron in Southampton—he could have looked at the copy from which Florio translated. Would the difference, would the omission have caught his eye? It is impossible to say. The beautifully clipped Latin phrase has a magic appeal and would understandably invite memorization and re-use or adaptation in a different cultural environment.

There is on the periphery of any critical problem a zone of grey shadow whose status is ambiguous and uncomfortable for while it still invites attention and probably belongs to the ground explored, analysis seems to lose its leverage here, and demonstrates its power of persuasion. One should not be shy of stepping into this area but retreat should always be kept in mind. In this last instance, we are perhaps facing no more than the ghost of cultural exchange and must perturb the spirit no further, but rest content with the more corporeal instances previously encountered.


1 Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations (Oxford, 1988), p. vii.

2 In 'Learning to Curse: Aspects of Linguistic Colonialism in the Sixteenth Century' (Freddi Chiapelli, ed., First Images of America: The Impact of the New World on the Old, 2 vols. (Berkeley, 1976), vol. 2, pp. 561-80), Stephen Greenblatt appears fleetingly to move towards this conclusion but the problematics of his paper work against it since, rejecting the animal-man dichotomy which I retain as one of the issues here, he chooses to look instead at multiple degrees of humanity, as they seem to emerge from the discourse of some of the early colonists.

3 On these, and other similarities in thought and phraseology which he identifies, Arthur Kirsch comments in 'Montaigne and The Tempest' (in Gunnar Sorelius and Michael Srigley, eds., Cultural Exchange between European Nations during the Renaissance (Uppsala, 1994), pp. 111-21).

4 'Shakespeare, Montaigne, and the "Rarer Action"', Shakespeare Studies, 1 (1965): 261-4.

5 'Of the Caniballes', The Essayes of Michael Lord Montaigne, translated by John Florio, 3 vols. (London, 1904), vol. 1, p. 245.

6 Ibid., p. 245.

7 Ibid., p. 246.

8 Ibid., p. 247.

9 In '"The Picture of Nobody": White Cannibalism in The Tempest', David Lee Miller, Sharon O'Dair, Harold Weber, eds., The Production of English Renaissance Culture (Ithaca and London, 1994), pp. 262-92, Richard Halpern, also attentive to alterations of Montaigne's thought and phraseology by Shakespeare, sees a major instance in Gonzalo's use of the word 'plantation' 'which unambiguously signifies an exclusively European colony. Hence the "innocent and pure" subjects of Gonzalo's imagined polity are not Montaigne's Indians but white Europeans who now somehow occupy an American Indian arcadia' (p. 268). The whole essay contributes to greater awareness of multiple and subtle forms of cultural manipulation in The Tempest.

10 In Shakespeare and Ovid (Oxford, 1993), Jonathan Bate claims that 'Sixteenth-century models of reading were always purposeful' (p. 9) rather than mere stylistic imitations and therefore meant to be noticed. The problem is an interesting one.

11 Bate, p. 257.

Source: "The Tempest and Cultural Exchange," in Shakespeare Survey: An Annual Survey of Shakespeare Studies and Production, edited by Stanley Wells, Vol. 48, 1995, pp. 147-54.