In Shakespeare's The Tempest, Miranda says, "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world / That has such people in't!" (5.1.186-187). Prospero replies, "Tis new to thee." Why would he reply this way?

Expert Answers info

peterwillis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write1 answers

starTop subject is Literature

Note the exchange between Prospero and Miranda Act I scene ii l 473f: 'Thou thinkst there is no more such shapes as he [Ferdinand],/Having seen but him and Caliban...'.  Earlier in the scene (l 308), when Prospero says 'We'll visit Caliban my slave', Miranda responds with ''Tis a villain, sir, I do not love to look on.'

Miranda's reference in Act V to 'goodly creatures' would not seem to include Caliban, perhaps because he is not 'beauteous' or 'goodly, and (or?) because he is not of 'mankind'.  But Prospero numbers Caliban among the 'shapes' on the island, one Miranda has seen and has not deemed wondrous.  So while she may be wondrous about the people who are new to her, she knows not all 'shapes' on her island are equally so.  Perhaps she is rejoicing that her new acquaintences are not as unlovable to look on as her oldest - which indicates less than complete innocence.  In which case Prospero's remark about the island 'It is new to you' contains a deeper irony.

 

 

 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,416 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Prospero's...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1,001 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2003

write4,119 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial