What prompted me to write about William Shakespeare’s play “the Tempest.” is that many people ask me why is the Prosperos Community, named The Prosperos? Is it some code name meaning prosperous or becoming wealthy? Where did it come from? Questions such as these, coupled with my viewing a few years back of the Public Broadcasting Stations production of “Shakespeare Uncovered” – In which the The “Tempest.” was one of the featured plays (I believe it is still available on CD from PBS). Suggested to me to revisit the name, the play, and the meaning The Prosperos.
The name Prospero was first introduced to the world at large, by renowned playwright William Shakespeare in 1611 in a play called the Tempest, purported to be Shakespeare last paly. Prospero is a magician king and Lord of the Tempest. We find the Tempest or storm to be the backdrop for the action and interaction of its Character, these Character in the play are the Keys to Thane, the Co-founder and first Dean of the Prosperos decision to name the School and our Community – “the Prosperos”.
As I mention in the beginning I wanted to bring a fresh insight for seasons students thinking of teaching for the Prosperos as well as to give an explanation of the source of the name Prospero for new students. The Public Broadcasting Station’s televised production of the Tempest gives seasoned students a broader scope of the play’s story, history, and the psychology understanding of the Characters seen through the eyes of the Actors in creating their performances and for the Prosperos student a chance to flush out more clearly the Archetypal story.
Here is a quick synopsis of the story line: Prospero is the Duke of Milan, with his young daughter Miranda have been deposed by his brother Antonio in a power take over. Prospero and daughter after being abducted and shipwrecked on a distant island for twelve years and have a change of fate when his brother’s ship is spotted passing the island. Prosperos with the aid of Ariel, a creature of magic causes a storm, the tempest at sea that brings his brother’s ship to the island, and this is when Prosperos real tempest begins. When he must face his innermost self.
Prospero find himself faced with these challenges 1) whether to continue his life has it has been lived these past 12 years? or to break from this way of life and to claim his rightful place in the world from whence he came? 2) If he should dole out revenge on his Brother and those that aided him? 3) What is his role now between he and his daughter, now that she has reached womanhood and wants love? 4) What is he to do about the two creatures that he has taken dominion over while on this island, Caliban the creature that was once the owner of this island, who taught Prospero how to survive on the island. Ariel the magical creature manifested into form from cosmic elements, Ariel who wishes to return to his all and nothing state of beingness. Does Prospero finally realize Caliban’s function and free him from slavery, and allow Ariel to be released into its cosmic state of Beingness?
The play represents for our School and Community the mythological Archetypes for our own personal journey through what some call their personal hell, and others would call their hero’s journey.
The play shows us how unresolved conflicts play themselves out as externalized drama’s in which we cast ourselves and others in roles, while at the same time we are playing a role for the others in their externalized drama. Issues of who is evil or bad arises, which we find can be more a matter of perspective than it is a reality. The important thing is to process it, to know yourself as consciousness, being conscious of roles played out, but to not be identified by the role.
People aren’t that different, in that we all struggle with something, but to get through it, will take a change of perspective and that is what the Prosperos Community offers.
I think we can sum up the process of Prosperos teaching as The Individuals willingness to release, that is to free everyone from the bondage of a situation including our self, for the Truth. And accepting an identity more in line with that which is so, that which is Truth.
I’d like to close with words from Shakespeare: “Our revels now are ended. These our actors…Are melted into air, thin air; and like the baseless fabric of this vision…We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
To learn more about this process of release, join with us by attending one of our open meetings or enrolling in an upcoming Prosperos Class.