Brave new world
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in't!
'Tis new to thee.
Exiled from Milan, the former duke Prospero and his admirable
fifteen-year-old daughter Miranda have been stranded for twelve
years on an uncharted isle in the Mediterranean. Miranda's entire
experience of mankind has, until very recently, encompassed only
her bitter old dad and his deformed slave Caliban [see THIS THING OF DARKNESS].
After reading up on white magic, Prospero succeeds in
ship-wrecking his old persecutors on the island and, after
sufficiently humiliating them, produces them for his daughter's
inspection. Miranda, trusting first impressions, finds these new
"creatures" "goodly" and "brave." By "brave" she doesn't really
mean "courageous," but rather "handsome" and "noble." Their wrecked
ship had struck her as "brave"; her new fiancé Ferdinand looked
pretty "brave" too; the whole pack of Italian princes and courtiers
(most of them villains) are thus also "brave." Prospero has seen
their inner workings, and knows how old this new world is, and how
far from brave.
The phrase "brave new world" was your ordinary,
not-terribly-quotable Shakespeareanism until Aldous Huxley put it
on the map with his 1932 novel, Brave New World.