An Essay By Delaney // 7/27/2008

I love Miranda from The Tempest by William Shakespeare. She's not as witty as Beatrice from his Much Ado About Nothing, or as clever and spunky as Portia from The Merchant of Venice, but I love her just the same.

When the play begins, she's lived on an island with only her father and their hideous slave, Caliban since she was three years old. This naturally makes her relationship with her father very different from the relationship many girls have with their father. She confides in him openly, though she is rather a reserved girl, as a rule. Prospero is Miranda's world, until Ferdinand comes along, much like Cosette and Valjean in Les Miserables. But unlike Cosette, Miranda still has room in her heart to love her father as before, while Cosette pretty nearly forgot Valjean. (Selfish girl. Grr.)

I love Miranda's naive tender-heartedness. When Prospero tells Miranda about how they came to be on the island, she says sorrowfully, "Alack, what trouble was I then to you!" to which her father replies that she "wast that did preserve me." She is so delightfully innocent and sweet. I always laugh when Prospero says of Ferdinand,

"Thou think'st there is no more such shapes as he,

Having seen but him and Caliban: foolish wench!

To the most of men this is a Caliban

And they to him are angels."

and Miranda says,

"My affections

Are then most humble; I have no ambition

To see a goodlier man."


Yes, about Ferdinand. Growing up alone with her father's intelligent company, Miranda is old for her age, but at the same time she's still a normal teenage girl who is influenced by the emotion of a moment. When she first sees Ferdinand, she tells her father that she "might call him a thing divine, for nothing natural I ever saw so noble." It would seem pretty shallow for a girl in our world to fall madly in love with a guy you hadn't even spoken to yet, just because he looked "noble," "beautiful" or "divine." But Miranda lived with her aged father and Caliban, "a villain I do not like to look on," according to Miranda. She had never seen a really handsome man,; and who knows if Ferdinand was even really handsome? Prospero is testing Miranda's love in the passage I quoted above, but perhaps he is speaking some truth.

Ferdinand and Miranda's relationship is so full of wonder on both sides; Ferdinand's is the silly sort that you commonly find in Shakespeare's heroes ("O, if a virgin, and your affection not gone forth, I'll make you the queen of Naples" blah blah blah) but even so, they're so CUTE together! The thing I love the most about them is that when they have some time alone, they don't spend all of it simply talking about themselves and their undying love. They play chess and talk about their undying love:

Miranda:Sweet lord, you play me false.

Ferdinand: No, my dear'st love,

I would not for the world.

Miranda: Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle,

And I would call it fair play.


And I mustn't forget the sweet scene between them when Ferdinand is carrying and piling wood.

Miranda: If you'll sit down,

I'll bear your logs the while: pray, give me that;

I'll carry it to the pile.

Ferdinand says "No way." Some flowery speech follows, in which Ferdinand learns her name (haha... someday I'm going to make a list of all the Shakespeare characters who fall in love with a girl before they know her name). Then - this is my favorite part - Miranda asks Ferdinand if he loves her. It almost seems like she's saying, "Enough already, you're starting to make my head spin - just tell me if you love me." It makes me giggle.

Ferdinand: O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this sound

And crown what I profess with kind event

If I speak true! if hollowly, invert

What best is boded me to mischief! I

Beyond all limit of what else i' the world

Do love, prize, honour you.

Miranda:I am a fool

To weep at what I am glad of.

Again I say: Aww.

To conclude: Portia wins for spunk and brains but Miranda is such a lovely young girl. She has some of my favorite lines Shakespeare ever wrote, ("If by your art, my dearest father, you have put the wild waters in this roar, allay them" just sounds so COOL) she's a sweetheart with an interesting history, and she says "Alack" a lot.


Nice essay!

I love Miranda, she is such a sweetheart! Nice essay! haha I never thought about Ferdinand perhaps being not so handsome. That idea would definitely make the story funnier...

*Merry Christmas!*
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen rules!

KatieSara | Sat, 12/20/2008


"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"


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